The full moon had formed over Thing’s cave 12 times when he decided that enough was enough.
He now realised that his mother and father were not coming back home.
Where ever they were, he hoped with all his heart that they were happy. That night, Thing sat at the mouth of his cave and thought about all the stuff that concerned him.
He needed to get a job since the money and tokens his parents had left in the cave were just about to run out. Thing had done okay at school, especially with counting and numbers. Perhaps he could get a job in the town’s bank.
When Thing awoke the next morning he found himself still sitting at the mouth of the cave. He got washed and made his way down the mountainside, crossing the main street and into town.
Thing was used to people staring just because he was different. People didn’t like difference, it frightened them, and frightened people didn’t always behave rationally.
He loved life, and he loved the town where he had gone to school and where he had found (and sometimes lost) friends.
He went to the employment agency to see what job were available. Thing didn’t notice as he entered the office, that everyone stopped and stared. Thing wasn’t the first Thing who have lived in the town. There had been Thing’s grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and of course, his parents.
All of his family had gone to the northlands where many of the Things had formed a colony. His own parents would have gone there too, was it not for the fact that his mother had taken ill and gone to hospital. The last words his father had said to him was that he was just popping out to see his mother. Neither of them returned, although Thing had spent many sleepless nights waiting and wondering. He had many good friends in school and some enemies but that wasn’t any different from anyone else. Children learn either love or hate very early in life and rarely do they forget.
The one brave soul in the employment agency asked Thing how he was doing.
“Fine,” said Thing. “Very fine, indeed.”
Thing told the person that he was good at numbers and counting. The agency manager went through many cards, saying ‘no’, ‘no’, ‘no’ to most of them. Then he pulled out a card and exclaimed ‘a-ha’.
The job was at a café near Thing’s old school. He’d remembered the owner being a kind elderly gentleman. As was requested on the card, Thing popped along to the café for an interview. The old man remembered when Thing’s parents had held a birthday party for him in the café. The old man was happy to give Thing a job and he was able to start immediately.
The following morning Thing almost skipped all the way to work, given that it was such a nice morning and that he enjoyed being at the café. He had company there and people to talk to.
In the middle of the morning, a middle-aged man came in and when he saw Thing, the man said he didn’t want no dirty animal serving him and he expected a human to give him a cup of coffee.
When the old man told the customer that Thing was his new server and that was that, the man said he would be taking his business elsewhere.
The old man thought that would be the end of it but it wasn’t. By the time he was ready to shut the café, the middle-aged man was standing outside with several others of his kind and all of them had flaming torches.
“If you don’t put a human behind the counter then we are going to burn the place down.”
Thing told the old man that he was sorry, it was all his fault, and that he wouldn’t return to the café the following day – but the old man just shook his head and said ‘nonsense’.
Then the old man went outside and faced the gang of men intent on burning down his café.
“You men, think that because Thing looks different that he deserves to be treated differently. In fact to be treated as a lesser being that you. Is he a child of a lesser god? I don’t think so. How many of you created yourselves? How many of you brought yourselves to Earth? None of you? I didn’t think so. We are all in this living together and all we can do is live together. It is you with your black hearts and thoughts who are different from the rest of us. The problem is you hide your evil thoughts in a body and brain that looks like everyone else. But you are not like everyone else. You are evil and most of all, stupid. So burn my café down if you want. We will only set up in another place, and yes, Thing will be there too. You people are what is wrong with the world, not Thing, not me.”
And with that the men, one by one, threw down their torches and wandered off. The middle-aged man came forward and spat at Thing. The old man wiped the spit from Thing and apologised to him.
“I cannot make an excuse for such a person. They are what they are, and we must exist beside them. Now you go home, have a rest and I will see you tomorrow. We have living to do.”
bobby stevenson 2016
> I used to think it was scary to be different – now I see it was actually frightening to be the same. 🙂