The only time that Thing would ever make it down to the town was on the day of his birthday. His mother had marked this special day on the calendar and so every year he would tick the days off until his birthday came around again.
However, if truth was told, it was the same old calendar he used year in, year out and so what day his real birthday was on had disappeared into the mists of time.
When he was younger, his youthful energy and bravery had made him walk up to the others and invite them to his birthday party. Some said no, some said yes, and some just ran away.
Thing didn’t take this as being offensive as he understood that people didn’t know what to say to him and so they just ran off. What did disappoint him was the fact that very few actually showed up for the party ; after he had told his parents that there were many who had said yes, so they would buy in all the food and lay the table for a score of people.
But when only one or two showed their faces, his parents would be silent for a while, wipe away a tear then slap a big smile on their faces.
“Oh well, we can just have a treat for a few more days,” was what his father said.
“That’s exactly right, husband,” said his mother.
And that’s just what they did – they would spend the next few days eating the cakes and chocolate. The ones who had bothered to turn up thought that it was one of the best parties they had ever attended.
Now that Thing was on his own, at least for the time being, he thought it only right and proper that on his birthday he should head down the mountain side, cross the creek and hitch to town.
He knew he was near town when he would hear doors being slammed shut, but he guessed that it was such a cold night that folks wouldn’t want the heat getting out of their house.
At the far end of Dawson Street stood a small sad café that was very rarely used by the good and the great of the town. So on his birthday, Thing always made it his business to celebrate his party in that small and sad café.
Frederick, the café owner, looked forward to Thing and his party as once a year the café would have a smile on its face again and the room would be alive with laughter and music.
Now that Thing was older, he was not so brave and youthful, so he didn’t bother to ask people to his party. Instead he would set up a table in the café with all the sweetest things in the world and hope that people would come to him.
Some times there was only Thing and Frederick sitting at the table while a thousand noses were pressed against the outside window looking in. When Thing went to the door to invite them in, they would all scream and run away.
This year Thing decided on a different tactic and wrote invitations, by name, to everyone in town inviting them to the café at 6pm for cake and chocolate.
Some ripped their invites up there and then, and told everyone who would listen that they weren’t going to mix with a freak like that Thing. Some said politely that they couldn’t make it, but emphasised how sorry they were.
And some just walked right through the door and sat down and got stuck into the cakes.
And it was because of those people who Thing sat with the biggest smile on his face the whole night.
There was a strange thing that happened that night and people still talk about it. A Twister came out of the night sky and blew away all the buildings in town, carried them (and the folks inside the houses) miles away, into another county in fact. Only the folks that had attended the party had been kept safe and this is the strange bit…the Twister hadn’t touched their houses. Not one bit.
bobby stevenson 2016