"Nature abhors a vacuum", theorists of both philosophy and
politics assure us.

What's more, the phenomena is not confined to mere
physical science given the nature of human opportunism.
Glance a map of central Europe for further insights. One
side always replaced the other when a "common," enemy

Boca might well have studied such eventualities.

Boca was a writer. More accurately, a "touch-dancer" with
the written phrase, deftly painting the catchy one-liner with
effortless ease and grace. Boca knew his craft, be it the
arena of story, poem, drama, (it didn't matter the genre).
Unfortunately, his oeuvre remained fixed and static. Boca
never progressed beyond titles.

"A right, jolly good thing, too", said Boca in his own

The short burst counted most, whether in thought, sport or
field of battle. The utterance of a single breath. That was
it! It all lay in the aside, the pun, a retort, the rë©cit. If this
were all to the story, there would be no doubt whatsoever;
Boca excelled.

"In the briefest expression, perhaps", said the critics. But,
as they were quick to point out, it didn't lead "anywhere".

"Where is the larger, more important fruit? His finished
verbal passion?", intoned one.

Still, this chance fortune led to the inspiration (and success)
of unusually vivid titles.

But ... titles? Just "titles", said others nervously? Yes,
proclaimed Boca. Titles. Not epithets, or rejoinders,
cat-calls even repartee.

Not even wit in the normal understanding of the term. Just
mere titles. Bushel-baskets of them. Worried looks crept
onto the onlookers' faces.

Encyclopaedic came the flowering. Ad factories should
have tapped such a larder. Any creative department could
have done worse than with Boca's dripping imagery and gift
for the keynote phrase.

"There is majesty here", said one, "and more than a little
Blake. I am reminded of the great symbolists."

"One has to be practical", cautioned still another. "What's
here is hardly epigrammatic or even purely an aphorism in
any truer sense of the word."

"I'm simply perplexed", said the man finally to his
colleague and both left without further ado or thought to
Boca's work.

Indeed Boca loved his words, tinkering with the very
essence of language.

"A great beginning", cheered a rare voice. "Let's hope one
without premature end."

Boca continued to conceive titles by the hundreds. He
didn't merely dream up a few, in snatches, he proliferated
them in vaster and vaster quantities. It was if a salmon left
to spawn could endanger a sea shelf or river bed under the
sheer quantity of her seed.

"A one-man explosion at the typewriter", chortled an
onlooker, happening to see the quantity of Boca's largesse.
That was before he stopped to inquire of the nature of
Boca's work. Then perturbed, this same man hurried away
to the utter indifference of Boca who kept a steady
pounding in spite of the interruption.

On they came. More and more titles. By the hundreds -
for scripts, larger dramas, treatises, epistles, monologues.
All. And all without a scarce concern for their ultimate use.

Are we to believe each one came to naught as the sceptics
predicted? After all, in this practical world who has use for
dreamers? We already know Boca was stymied at the title
level. Nothing ever graced his newborn creation beyond
that first utterance. It was like sending a baby into the
world without proper bedding or clothes.

One nastier commentator even alluded to Boca's work as
the equivalent of premature ejaculation. All buildup with
no satisfaction. "The promise", he chuckled, "without the

And that is what came to pass.

Each of Boca's titles, true to prediction, came to "naught"
or, rather, nothing much. Blank. A zero. With each "title"
one ran aground on the larger abyss of its central problem.

That being, as Boca had been warned by his legion of
critics, "one of size".

What good are titles without textual description, chapters,
scenes, the "overview?" said one literary agent gruffly.

Boca, taking a respite from his typewriter, had had the
temerity to approach one such man in the comfort of his
office with reams of suggestions.


People shook their heads at Boca always scribbling
furiously. Always working but apparently accomplishing
precious next to nothing. "Something" was evidently being
done in the strictest sense of the word, but what? What?

"Could his ... well, problem be explained?" one vocal
opponent of Boca urged.

"What the hell is he up to?"

Strangely enough, for the seemingly longest time this did
not deter Boca. He was his own universe. His feet were
on solid ground. The air about him teemed with ideas. He
was too busy fishing for the "mot juste", he explained in
a moment of clarification.

"One man in the right is a majority", proclaimed Boca,
remembering a snippet of John Stuart Mill.

Too busy was Boca replanning the structure of the
Colosseum so it might better accommodate his label, his
notion, his re-christened version of the ideal verbal escort
to accompany that ancient edifice.

And write Boca did. Titles fell increasingly from his pen.

"The Barking Tree."

"The Leaking River."

These were but two. Boca thought he would improve on
Tolkein's efforts, at least in the direction of title. After all,
to send a work into the reader's lap without proper
introduction was like trying to get acquainted without the
proper introduction.

Maybe Boca had a point.

"Assembly without Hope" and "Nirvana without End"
touched on his mystical stage. He dropped this and
proceeded into the area of historiography. And afterwards,
dry epistemology would see him concentrate his efforts.
These forums were indeed worthy of his attention. Too
long had they been neglected. All were in need of good,
metaphoric dusting by title.

At last word, Boca was inching toward Kant's, "Critique of
Pure Reason".

"That one, in particular, has a poor ring", he was heard to

On they came. Precise. Hard-hitting, or so he thought.
They made the mind's eye swell with the promise of more
and more. Indeed, that "eye" could get bloodshot reading
all of Boca's interception.

But the "more" in the sense of the follow-up, the "delivery"
or accompaniment of pages never came.

Nowhere was there to be found the Hemingway to follow
the "Moveable Feast".

Or "The Edible Woman".

Even the promise of thrillers for a scary submarine epic like
"Three Eggs on my Plate" never materialized.

Nothing. Just titles. More, then more and increasingly
more of them. Annoyingly so. Scraps of paper decorating
a table without an intended victim ever coming close.

It was as if so many salesgirls had left price tags off
matching merchandise. That's all that remained. Just the
stickers forlornly, white and detached, staring up from their

More than just a little tacky.

A woman given to comparison confronted Boca.

"Imagine a zoo where the curators had all the animal
names, but they were not paired with their owners. That's
your stuff. Everything in a weird isolation."

Boca could not be Borca and not even Carl Sagan could
rescue him. No large bottles floating in formaldehyde with
the decapitated heads from Belle Epoque sailors were
possible here.

Boca was more obscure than Gaspirilla Island. More so.

And a final verdict, if there is need for one, can be seen in
Boca's last will and testimony.

He let it be known of his intention to chisel the "ultimate"
one-liner. One to grace his own tombstone. On this he set
to work with a last burst of frenzy.

"To mirror my tragic-comic fate", as he would have said.

Perhaps Boca is still at work, either on the snappy final
wording ("the right elasticity") or in the mechanics of the
engraving itself.

Only a stone-cutter could estimate the probable expenditure
in time for the latter.

Novelists in dire need of fresh insights should enlist Boca.
He's definitely available, if difficult to reach.

Boca might have rescued many a masterpiece from the
dustbin, if not the Box Office, had his specialty been

I look at Boca and hear fire bells. His plight remains the
very stuff of tragedy. By epic standards, how many Bocas
are there worthy of a balladeer and myth maker? Credible
Boca may be, but understandable?

Boca, the metaphoric equivalent of a Sisyphus chained to
his rock of obsession.

"This horrible rock", (or pebble depending on your
viewpoint), wailed Boca.

"I've become my own obstacle, my work is the
personification of my own limitation."

Worse, imprisoned in an inescapable logic and the narrow
confines of a blink of talent.