Thanks for hosting the event Elizabeth!
Congrats on your new place Sangu!
You know what? I think I’m in a rut.
I don’t dislike my job, it pays my rent and lets me live comfortably.
Most of the time, I think it’s a pretty good deal for nine-to-five behind a desk in a law firm, faffing about on a computer.
But sometimes I can feel the wheel turning. You know, the wheel of life, the wheel of time… and I think to myself, “What the hell am I doing?” But then I pick up my book and forget completely about it.
My clunker of a car broke down and would cost more to repair than it would to replace. I knew it was coming. I’m now officially 30 and I’m car-less, the way I was when I was a teen. So here I am sitting at the bus stop thinking about my life. My book is in my purse, but instead of taking it up I’m pondering the meaning of life… Without the benefit of the pythons.
So her thoughts ran as she sat on the wooden bench waiting for the bus. Then she noticed something next to her foot. Taking a closer look realized it was a coin the color of corroded copper. When she picked it up she was surprised to find that it was much heavier than she expected. She didn’t recognize the writing around the edges. One side was embossed with a curious geometrical pattern of concentric circles and the other with strange-looking symbols that looked uncomfortably familiar, they reminded her of… Her thoughts were interrupted by the arrival of her bus, and so she hastily pocketed the coin and grabbed her bag and her purse.
Later, during her lunch-break, she had as usual shunned the company of her co-workers. She liked eating her sandwich in a nearby park while reading on her favorite bench. She was about to sit down when she noticed the strange greenish-blue coin on the bench. At first she thought that the one in her pocket must have fallen out onto the bench somehow, but she pulled it out of her pocket. She picked up the second coin and compared it to the first. They were identical. She shrugged and stuck them both in her pocket. And set about reading a chapter from her book as she ate her sandwich.
Shortly afterwards she had finished her chapter and her lunch. It was time for her to go back to work. “Just one more chapter…” she thought to herself. Four chapters later she closed her book and looked pensively up at the sky and the passing clouds. The pointlessness of her job struck her like a kick to the heart. She realized that nothing much would change in the world if she just stayed in the park until she finished her book. Nobody would care if she didn’t file her afternoon’s stack of reports in the system.
She decided to flip on it. Going through her pockets for a coin and coming up with one of the weird ones she had found with a shrug and a smirk she said, “Circles I go back to work, weird symbols I stay and finish my book!” With a flick of her thumb she sent the coin spinning in the air and it rang a single clear note, like the singing of a crystal glass. At the apex of its flight something strange happened. Instead of obeying the laws of gravity, it hovered in space, spinning faster and faster, and humming a sharp crystalline note. It hung in the air thus for a few seconds, then started to glow like a bluish green candle flame, then fade from view… The ringing note lingered for a few seconds then it too faded away.
She quickly looked around to see if anyone else had seen what had happened but no-one seemed to have noticed. Baffled, she decided to go back to her desk and look up what had happened on the Internet. So she gathered up her stuff and headed back for the office…
She walked through the door into the reception area of the office. Gillian was at her post behind the front desk.
“Hello Ms. M. How are you today?” the receptionist said with a polite smile.
“Um… Gill, I saw you just this morning when I came in? And what’s with Miss?”
“I’m sure I don’t know what you mean Ms. M. Did you come in this morning? Anyways, can I just say I’m very much looking forward to your next novel! Are you coming in to deliver the manuscript?”
She was completely confused but her gut reflexes took over and she said, “Thanks, I’m glad you like my work. I’m still working on editing my latest novel… I just remembered I needed to be somewhere… Bye Gillian, nice chatting with you.”
“Huh? Alright, Ms. M. Good luck with your manuscript!”
She walked through the doors and onto the street. Utterly baffled by what was going on, she turned around to check that she had entered the right building and noticed that while the building was the same, the sign was different, it said “Oryxkin House Publishing” instead of “Ramkin & Usulügner, Attorneys at Law”!
She took the bus home in a daze. At her door she fished in her pocket for the key and pulled out the other mysterious coin. Once inside she found that her apartment, while still her apartment, had been remodeled and redecorated. A quick trip to her bookshelf turned up three hardcover books with her name on them. The manuscripts she had written in college but had never queried… She set the books in the middle of the dining-room table and set the mysterious coin on top of them. She sat there a while, staring at them, and grinned.
“I wonder if I have a car now.”