An Empty Chair Interview with Forrest Gump

It’s rare that conversations start with a pair of shoes, for a man anyway, but that’s how this one did.

‘Those must be comfortable shoes.’ He said to me.

At first I didn’t register that he was referring to mine. There I was waiting for the bus and this strange man sitting next to me was trying to strike up a conversation about my shoes.

‘Thanks.’ I replied, nonplussed and returned to looking up naughty pictures on my phone.

‘My name’s Forrest… Forrest Gump.’ He extended a hand towards me.

‘Errm… people call me James.’ I shook his hand. I guess we’re doing this now.

‘People call me Forrest Gump.’ He repeated.

I suppose it’s true what they say about stupid people – don’t be one.

‘Would you like a choc-olate?’ He offered. He had a strange way of talking – like he had been chugging hot molasses all morning. Never one to turn down free confectionery, I smiled and took a piece.

Perhaps he wasn’t so bad, and I could do with a break from porn for a change. This was also one of only a few fictional characters I had ever met before – I had only watched the movie like a hundred times. I knew his lines as well as my own armpit.

‘So Forrest…’ I addressed him by his preferred name ‘any thoughts on life and junk?’

He pondered for a moment, or at least I assumed that’s what it was (his blank expression was hard to read). Then he delivered his most famous philosophical utterance.

‘Momma always said life was like a box of choc-olates.’

A shiver ran up my spine and I did a little dance for joy in my mind. I could die now. I might have stayed longer to drag out this conversation, but just then the bus pulled up.

‘Is that the number 9?’ he called out as I made to board.

‘The number 4.’ I replied. I bet you didn’t think I remembered which bus Gump was waiting for.

Life is somewhat like a box of chocolates after all. Nobody likes the white ones.

– Empty Chair Interviews