bob sloth’s inter-dimensional crisis

Whilst traveling between two dimensions, vinyl siding salesman Bob Sloth noticed a loose thread in the fabric of space-time and, without even remotely considering the implications of his actions, idly began pulling on it. It happens to the best of us: one moment you’re just trying to get from point A to point B and the next you’re trapped in a state of inter-dimensional liminality with no one to blame but yourself.

In his defense Bob had been going through a recent rough patchhe’d come in below quota on his sales figures from the previous month and his boss Phil Hesher wasn’t too pleased. Then there was the dismal economic state of his town Largesse. Ever since construction of the inter-dimensional bypass, Largesse has been in a slump of epic proportions. Finally, his one-man show ‘My Life Feels Like a One-Man Show’ was flailing at the box office due to his understudy Bob the Sloth’s bombed performance.

Now here in this nowhere place in nowhere time Bob contemplates the vast wasteland of his life up until this point. It has always seemed to him to be one long sequence of continuity errorssome committed with great intention, others on a whim, but none, so far as he could tell, had been accidental. No, he alone was to blame for each and every one of these disruptions in the status quo, these deviations from the norm, from the general forward movement in the name of progress. ‘Two steps forward, three steps back’ has always been his unofficial motto (as assigned by astute observers and unbeknownst to himself, that is). On the contrary, his official motto, that is the one he assigned to himself, has always been ‘To what end, Bob, to what end’, with the second repetition enunciated at a slower, measured cadence in his head, eventually dropping off to the point of an almost-whisper, though still coming to a firm, audible full stop after the second ‘end’.

There could not be more appropriate circumstances for this contemplation. It is as if his life has been paused and he is hovering in a void, neither losing nor gaining momentum. A chance to catch up has been granted, perhapsto take stock, as they say. Thoughts of how to escape, to transcend this space between dimensions, have not even begun to coalesce. Will they ever or will Bob remain entombed in his interstitial hidey-hole indefintely (forever?). Only time will tell…or will it, seeing as it has no bearing on events transpiring in Bob’s current locale….

bob sloth’s one-man show

Vinyl siding salesman Bob Sloth was starring in a nowhere-near-Broadway production of a play he’d written called ‘My Life Feels Like a One-Man Show.’ One night he wasn’t feeling well enough to go on so he called his understudy, also named Bob, better known as Bob the Sloth, for he was indeed an actual sloth. Bob the Sloth (or BTS, for short) had been waiting for (and dreading) this call ever since he first agreed to help Bob out. He answered the phone is his usual slow manner.

Hello, Bob speaking.

Bob, this is Bob.

Oh, hi.

Look, I’m not feeling myself today, so I need you to play me in the show tonight.

Uh, okay, sure…

C’mon, man, I need you to muster some enthusiasm. I need you to convince me you can play me. That you can be Bob.

Well, I am Bob.

I know, I know. But you’re Bob the Sloth. I need to know you can be Bob Sloth.

I can do it, man. I won’t let you down.

Great! I’m glad to hear it. Break a leg tonight.

BTS hung up the phone with a heavy sigh. It had taken all of his remaining energy to convince Bob he could do a good job. Consequently, he decided that a nap was in order. A nap would replenish his energy and he would still have plenty of time to practice his lines and get down to the theatre. The theatre was in the town of Largest, not to be confused with Largesse, which is the town where both he and Bob lived.

While BTS took his nap he dreamed of his ancestral birthplace—the Land of the Sloths. It was a pleasant dream and he awoke with a tinge of sadness that it was now over. To sweep this feeling away, he rehearsed his lines for the play.

Hi, I’m Bob, he intoned. But the intonation was off. That was not how Bob spoke at all. BTS went through a few more lines—all of them fell flat. He grew discouraged and soon fell asleep curled in a ball on the floor.

When he woke up it was late. He only just had time to get dressed before he had to rush out the door and hustle down to the theatre. From behind the curtain he stared out at the audience. It was a big crowd. The word had spread about Bob’s show and the reviews were good. ‘Bob really nails the role’ screamed the headline on this week’s issue of Variety. The review goes on to rave about how it almost seemed as if Bob was born to play this role. ‘The most genuine performance we’ve ever seen from Bob Sloth,’ it triumphantly concluded. Well, thought BTS, those people out there won’t be seeing Bob Sloth tonight. They are stuck with me. So here goes nothing.

It’s really best not to belabor the specifics of what happened next. Suffice it to say, BTS did not kill it. In fact he was booed off the stage. He couldn’t remember any of the lines, for he had not learned a single one of them.

The next day Bob Sloth called up his understudy but there was no answer. He’d heard the reviews and wanted to make sure BTS was holding up okay. After trying him a few more times he went down to the theatre for rehearsal. On stage practicing his lines he heard a faint snoring sound coming from below his feet. He peeked down into the orchestra pit and there was Bob the Sloth sound asleep, curled in a ball on the floor.



Bob, wake up. It’s me.

Oh, hi Bob.

Look, man, I know things didn’t go well last night, but I just want you to know that it’s okay. You’re not me, I get it. So how can you be expected to play me in my own one-man show?

Well, I didn’t want to let you down, Bob. No one ever asks me to do anything responsible like this, so I felt like I couldn’t say no, like it was a big opportunity for me. And then I blew it.

Don’t worry about it. Tell you what—let’s go and get some ice cream. I bet that’ll make you feel better.

Thanks, Bob. That sounds real nice.

On the way out the door, BTS turned back and looked down at the stage. Maybe one day I’ll have my own one-man show, he thought. If I ever do, I think I’ll call it, ‘My Life Feels like Bob Sloth’s One-Man Show.’

bob sloth

Bob Sloth (not to be confused with Bob the Sloth, who lived in a tree down the street) woke up this morning on the wrong side of the bed. For Bob, the wrong side of the bed was not a metaphorical place. It was a very real place, and he had been waking up there with increasing frequency, to the point where he now felt his existence cleaving into two halves. Bob felt unsettled, though not quite horrified, by this development in his usually simple life.

To earn a living Bob sold vinyl siding, an act for which he despised himself. He didn’t have much choice in employment, though, given that the vinyl siding company (Cheap Siding, Inc.) was the only business still operating in his native town of Largesse (not to be confused with the town of Largest, located a few miles down the road, which despite its name enjoyed a modest but growing tourist economy based around its stature as the smallest town in the country).

Due to the bleak economic conditions in their town, most Largessians commuted to Largest, where they did shift work as actors in a continuously running historical reenactment of the region’s settlement in the 1820s. The majority of the Largessians played roles as settlers of Largesse, for as actual citizens of that town they had keen insights into Largessian language and mannerisms. In fact, tourists often commented that the Largessian actors were the most authentic ones in the show. One would think that this might inspire the Largessians to take pride in their work, but it actually caused them to resent the citizens of Largest even more for profiting from Largessian history, for stealing the Largessians’ ancestral stories from them and then paying them low wages to act those stories out in front of gawking strangers.

[Thank you for your patience during this digression. However, the long-running feud between the citizenry of Largesse and Largest, while certainly interesting in its own right, is not the focus of this story, so let’s return with haste to Bob Sloth and his ongoing troubles.]

When Bob wakes up on the wrong side of the bed, he is almost always late to work, and when that happens his supervisor docks five percent of Bob’s sales commission for that day. Given the narrow margin between Bob’s earnings and his cost of living, this loss of wages can translate to the difference between eating three small meals per day and eating one large meal per day, for at least a week.

Today when Bob was driving hastily down the street on his way to work, his coffee sloshing all over the vinyl-covered dashboard of his truck, he was forced to a screeching halt when he encountered Bob the Sloth lying in the middle of the street. Bob immediately jumped out of the cab and rushed to Bob’s side.

Bob, Bob, are you okay, he whispered.

Bob the Sloth slowly raised his head and looked around. Hnnhhh, he said.

What’s that, Bob? I don’t speak sloth. Could you please repeat that in English? Bob asked, glancing at his watch and calculating in his head the chances of still getting to work on time.

With great effort, Bob the Sloth rose to a sitting position and scratched his head.

Sorry, Bob, he muttered, guess I fell asleep there in the middle of the road.

No problem, Bob S. said. I’m just glad you’re okay.

Bob Sloth rushed back to his truck and drove at top speed (42 mph/68 kmh) the rest of the way to work, barely making it to Cheap Siding, Inc. by 9 AM.

Bob’s boss Phil Hesher narrowed his eyes over his coffee mug as Bob lurched through the front door, breathing hard, his white dress shirt speckled with coffee stains.

Wake up on the wrong side of the bed again, Bob?

Bob’s eyes bugged out of his head and dangled in the air by their stalks.

How did you know, he gasped.

Phil just laughed and handed him his sales route for the day.

(This story is now over. Thank you for reading.)

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