Charlie Sodona, recently on vacation from his soul-sucking job, was back home and enjoying his last day off, unwinding and reviewing all the pictures he’d taken. He expected the post-vacation blues to hit and hoped that looking at the pictures might ease the malaise. He flipped quickly through the pictures of Europe and stopped when he came to pictures of a rainy day. Yesterday, his first day back. After going out and about every day on vacation, and with the impending anxiety of returning to work, the thought of being indoors felt like a waste of a day off. And something about being free to do what he wanted to do in his own home town brought a surge of inexplicable hope. Continue reading
It wasn’t the rats that caught my imagination when I first heard the tale as a child. It wasn’t all the lost children. It wasn’t the man in the pied coat that haunted me.
It was the pipe.
And when I met James so many, many years later and we happened upon a discussion of the old folk tale, starting with all of the historical basis for the legend, we stopped for a moment, laughed, and then he said the words that echoed my own thoughts.
It wasn’t the rats that caught his imagination when he first heard the tale as a child. It wasn’t all the lost children. It wasn’t the man in the pied coat that haunted him.
It had a name, but everyone simply called it the Company. The Company was prosperous, prestigious, and pervasive. Dominating all industries from sea to sea. Exploring and founding even beyond the sea. It was a coveted position to be a worker in the Company. Those who attained the highest ranks were envied and revered all the more. For in those ranks, one was not a mere “worker.” One was a Hand. The Company had many Hands. And these Hands reached into every corner of the known world. The Company did not tolerate weak Hands. Only strong ones.
There was no great mystery about how one could become a Hand. One had to meet and complete the Challenge of the Hand.Continue reading