The Shine came on Tuesday and left late Saturday evening.
But how many days or weeks had passed between that Tuesday and Saturday?
Some claimed it had been years, decades or possibly centuries. “Think of Snow White,” they said.
Others pooh-poohed any idea that more than the usual Wednesday, Thursday and Friday had slipped by.
“Look,” they said. “No flowers faded while we were in the Shine. Someone has deadheaded the roses, mowed the grass, done the ironing, put out the garbage.”
“But maybe we did all that – and just forgot?” people said.
And that was the problem – no one could remember anything of what they had done during the Shine.
But whatever they did, it must have been wonderful. Look how lightly they walked, how ready they were to laugh, how quick to help a neighbour in trouble, how they hummed the whole way to work. They were always stopping to sniff the camellias and gaze at sunlight twinkling through the trees.
By the following Thursday, all was back to normal. They rushed around grey, irritable and grouchy, complaining that their backs hurt, they’d missed their favorite program on tv, that the shiny red apples they’d bought had turned out to be brown and floury inside.
They longed to return to the wonderful time of the Shine that they could not remember.
The town officials conferred with each other, held public consultations.
A young cashier who worked at Mlarty’s Supermarket dragged an old man through the market square, up the town hall steps and into the consultation chamber.
“This guy’s got some Shine,” she yelled. “Look in his pocket. I saw it when he was pulling out money to pay for his milk.”
The officials looked in his pocket (with some distaste for he was not the cleanest or most pleasant smelling of old men). And there in his pocket was a thread of Shine, golden and gleaming.
The town mayor put his hand in the old man’s pocket and grabbed the thread of Shine. No sooner did he hold it up than it wafted away through his fingers and back down into the old man’s pocket. The old man smiled.
Face bright purple with fury, the mayor shouted: “This man is a thief, a charlatan. Into jail with him this instant.”
The prison cell had a stone floor and a small window so full of bars that no light could penetrate.
The old man lay down on the stone floor, touched the warm glowing Shine in his pocket, chuckled to himself and fell into a very pleasant snooze. As long as he had his Shine in his pocket, he’d be happy.
He woke cold and shivering. He felt for his pocket… His coat was gone.
He sat up and asked the guards very politely for his jacket. They brought it to him a few minutes later.
“Where’s my Shine?” he demanded.
“Don’t you worry about the Shine,” they said. “It’s nice and secure in a metal chest locked with forty one locks and sealed with one hundred and seven seals. It’s perfectly safe.”
“But it’s my Shine,” he objected.
“The Shine belongs to everyone,” they told him. “That’s what our constitution says and anyway it’s selfish to keep it all to yourself. It will be divided fairly between all citizens in due course.”
They opened the door and kicked him down the town hall steps. There was nothing he could do but limp home and wait for delivery of his share of the Shine.
He waited and waited.
How he longed for his thread of Shine.
One day in the deep of winter he heard a knock on the door. At last, he thought, my share of the Shine!
He flung open the door. The bitter wind gusted around his knees and under his armpits. No one was there. The street was deserted. It was just the tap of a frozen branch against the wall.
But how the icy branch gleamed and sparkled and glinted in the streetlight!
Still in his slippers, the old man waded out through the snow and snapped a shining twig off the branch. He popped it into his mouth. Swallowed. Now his Shine was safe.
How quickly this year is passing! My 2016 new year’s resolution was to find a spare moment every week to write a quick ‘blurt’. These have been mostly fiction with some wanna-be poems in there too! This is #43. Only nine to go! Already I’m wondering what to do for next year’s resolution.