Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Pytheas and the Midnight Sun

The day after Pytheas was dismissed from his job, and while the feeling of humiliation was still with him, he sat alone in his garden, in the shade of a lemon scented gum, and consoled himself with a pot of lapsang souchong tea; he had been saving the leaves for some time. He took a biscuit from a small sunny-yellow plate, moistened it in the smoky infusion, and ate it.

The warmth of the tea permeated his body; the tender afternoon air spread over him like angels’ wings; and the sweet song of small birds worked upon him like a lullaby.

Pytheas feel into a light slumber in which he dreamt he was standing upon a circular dais, a turbid sea of people swirling around him. To his left, the towering figure of his father, his booming voice: “Pytheas: you are dismissed.” The hysterically laughter of the crowd; hands tearing at him, pulling him down and drawing him amongst the tumultuous convolutions of their movements. He was badly handled, wounded, and ejected into a place of total darkness.

Pytheas awoke with a gasp. Night had fallen. All was quiet except for the chirping of crickets and the occasional croak of a frog. The tea was cold in its pot.

He picked up the yellow plate, and, for no reason at all, moved it in his hand until he was holding it like a discus. A paroxysm of anger coursed through his body, and he launched the plate through the air, feeling at first strong and godlike, but then, as the plate turned towards his neighbours house, horrified at the recklessness of his own actions.

The plate hit aa wall with a thunderous crash before bouncing off and landing undamaged on his side of the fence.

A light turned on within the house, and he heard rushed footsteps.

Pytheas hid himself within the shadows as he made his way silently back indoors.