Moon-lit

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Two people struggle with changing values.

Words 1000

Moon lit The pigs root along the river bank. They like the grubs squirming in the mud banks, the lush of the skunk cabbage and the occasional animal suffocated by the muck. The pigs snort, grunt and squeal their way up and down the river bank along the river, always staying in the same vicinity. When the population grows too large for the available food, a group will move off forming another population in a likely spot. And so it goes, all up and down the river. Therioni and Moogege make their living snaring pigs. They sell the pigs they catch at the market. Theirs is a comfortable living. The market is held in the ruins. All the windows were blown out by the blast in most buildings but this building had few windows, inconsequence the space is well protected from the weather. That’s also why, there are so few plants growing in this building. There is little sunlight and water. So this is a great building in which to hold the market. Over the years the land around the market has been cleared of debris. Little by little each person has independently cleared a space for their cart. Over time the many small spaces have accumulated into a great space. People live a distance from the market. Everyone got together years ago to discuss how best to situate the market as well as the places to live. There was a vote. The option to restrict living close by the market was the most popular choice. Elders say this was one of the first examples of people calmly making a rational decision. No one wanted to resolve matters in the old way. *** Therioni and Moogege make their snares on a large frame they built in a factory ruin. In the factory there are strips of material that the pair are able to slice thin, then weave into the nets that make-up the snares. Other people come into the factory. They observe what the two are doing and want to make nets too. Some build a frame for themselves. Some wait patiently for time on Therioni and Moogege’s frame. People talk, sing songs, cook food or take naps. There is no rancor, no hostility, nothing of the brutality of the old way. The pigs damage the snares when they are caught which requires Therioni and Moogege to come frequently to the factory to repair the snares. The pair puts the snare on the frame then reweaves the damaged section. As a result they have become very well known by the people who create snares in the factory. So much so, that on occasion the two come to the factory when they do not have a snare to repair just to take part in the conversation, singing and storytelling. They enjoy themselves immensely. Today the couple has come to the factory for the evening meal. They have brought with them tomatoes, which are considered a great treat. “Hail all,” shouts Therioni as he enters. His breech cloth hangs to his knees otherwise he is bare. Early on one could find shoes however they rotted away years ago. “Hail to you,” a chorus rings out. The people are dressed in a variety of costumes composed of synthetic materials because organic cloth has disintegrated. Many have ornaments in their long hair, with crude tattoos on their skin. The tattoos are scratched in with rusty pins found in the old houses then are rubbed with fire ash to color. No soap remains so bathing has fallen out of favor. Without toothpaste there is no reason to brush one’s teeth. Many people have but brown stubs left since a good part of the diet is what’s found in packages from the old days and the contents contain significant sugar. No one notices the body odor since they have lived in its exposure their whole lives. They have grown accustomed to it or possibly more accurately immune. The couple distributes the tomatoes throughout the throng before settling themselves at the fire. After singing Rikeli stands and surveys the group, “May I speak?” The group in chorus responds “speak Rikeli.” “We have woven snares to catch pigs. We have prospered. All are comfortable due to our snares. However, occasionally the frames for the making the snares break-down and require repair. There are those amongst you who are able to repair the frames. There are also those amongst you who are unable to repair the frames and ask for assistance. The assistance is given to you freely. However, there is a cost.” People shout, “Eh! What cost?” Others shout, “Let him speak.” Still others, “What is this, why does he speak of costs?” Again Rikeli speaks, “I am a person who is adept at repairing the frames. I take no pride in this; it is just a natural talent, nothing I worked to acquire. But when I assist you with the frame repair, I am unable to snare pigs, or tend my garden or make tools. These are the costs of which I speak. Now, I say to you is it not fair that when I assist you and am unable to attend to my family’s needs that you should compensate me for my loss?” Again a chorus rings out, “we work as one, all contribute, and all prosper. When you need assistance, you receive it in exchange for what you have provided to others.” Peenalo stands and says, “May I be heard.” The crowd assents, “speak Peenalo.” Peenalo says, “What Rikeli says while true, is reminiscent of the old way, the way of selfishness. Let us think of what that way caused.” Mooluuk stands with raised hand in reply, “a man has a right to recoup his loss.” Therioni and Moogege steal away. As they walk home Therioni says, “The wrangling the elders warn of has begun.” Moogege says, “Yes, let us be away from here.” “Not in the sunlight but when the way is Moon lit.” The End


Submitted: September 08, 2015

© Copyright 2022 jeffrey a paolano. All rights reserved.

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