Estimated reading time: 3 minute(s)

Below, you will find a brief story involving The New Leaf Journal’s fictional dialogue duo, Justin and Justina. Today’s story explains why Justina has a chalkboard built into a plastic pink easel in her bedroom, and how Justin is responsible for it. If it says “FREE!” on the chalk board, you have to take it, right? Or so Justin spoke the fateful words: “You take one end. I’ll take the other.”

Before continuing, you will find all of our Justin and Justina dialogues here. You will find our articles on discarded furniture in Brooklyn here.

Introduction

We encounter Justin and Justina walking through the scenic Brooklyn neighborhood of Cobble Hill on the evening of September 4, 2021. Something pink arrests Justina’s attention.

A Free Chalkboard?

Justin: So that’s how Odoacer forced the boy-Emperor to abdicate and became the King of Rome.
Justina: What’s that?
Justin: Do you want to go back a bit and look at what led to the end of the Western Roman Empire?
Justina: No, no one cares about that. I mean that.

A chalkboard built into a plastic pink easel sitting in a tree pit in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn.  "FREE!" is written on the chalkboard in chalk, indicating that it was there for the taking.
I (N.A. Ferrell) took this photo with the Open Camera App on my Motorola Moto e6 phone in Cobble Hill on the evening of September 4, 2021. Victor V. Gurbo edited the photo for publication.

Justin: Oh, that. Let’s see.
Justina: A chalkboard! I haven’t used one of these forever.
Justin: Ugh. Those. Can’t use them. Terrible noises.
Justina: I think it says something on it. What does it say? I don’t have my glasses.
Justin: It says, and I quote, “FREE!”
Justina: I guess someone outgrew it. I hope it finds a good home.

“You take one end. I’ll take the other.”

Justin: You take one end.
Justina: Huh?
Justin: I’ll take the other.
Justina: Why? You just said you hate chalkboards. It’s also for toddlers.
Justin: Justiiiina. Rules are rules. One end, other end. Chop chop.
Justina: What rules?
Justin: It’s here and it’s free. It’d be impolite to not take it.
Justina: Neither of us need it.
Justin: Have you ever heard of asset accumulation?
Justina: What?
Justin: Need to accumulate assets. Then you have more to trade later.
Justina: What are you talking about?
Justin: It’s only a matter of time until you cash in that conditional second round draft pick in 2035. Same goes for chalkboards built into gaudy pink plastic easels for toddlers.
Justina: Is this sports?
Justin: It’s life. But there’s a problem.
Justina: There are many problems.
Justin: I can’t take my end until you take your end.
Justina: Why do I have to take an end? I don’t want it.
Justin: “You take one end. I take the other.” Look, I don’t make the rules, I just follow them.
Justina: I’m pretty sure you’re making up rules.
Justin: Justiiina. The sooner you take one end, the sooner I take the other end. The sooner all this ends.
Justina: Alright! Fine! That’s the first thing you’ve said that makes sense.
Justin: I knew you’d come around.

Prelude to Epilogue

Justina is sitting in her room. She is staring at the pink chalkboard. It still says “FREE!” on it. This is most likely because Justina does not have an eraser. She also does not have chalk. Justina, wondering how this state of affairs came to be, sent a text message to the person she held responsible.

How Did This Happen?

Justina: Why is this thing in my room? What do I do with it?
Justin: Thing?
Justina: THE CHALKBOARD!
Justin: Well we each took an end of it.
Justina: I remember. It was light. Even I’m saying that. You could have carried it yourself.
Justin: Then you went home.
Justina: I know…
Justin: And you took the chalkboard.
Justina: WHY!?
Justin: Well we took it that far. I don’t know. Why are you asking me?
Justina: YOU’RE RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS!
Justin: You brought it home.
Justina: YOU MADE ME CARRY IT! WHY DIDN’T YOU TAKE IT HOME!?
Justin: Two reasons.
Justina: I’m waiting.
Justin: For one, I can’t use chalk.
Justina: Which is why it made no sense for you to pick it up.
Justin: I only took ONE end.
Justina: …
Justin: Second, I don’t have room with Pumptake.
Justina: …Is this all revenge for my buying myself a guinea pig for your birthday and foisting responsibility for its upkeep on you?
Justin: You’re talking like me now.
Justina: It’s terrible.
Justin: But no, it just worked out that way. By the way, when are you coming to visit Pumptake? He misses you.
Justina: He does!? Aww. I’ll come this weekend. Can you send a picture?
Justin: I’ll do you one better. I’ll print the picture and send you some tape.
Justina: Tape?
Justin: You can tape the picture to your new free chalkboard.
Justina: …I hate you.