Friday, May 09, 2003

Writing Workshop Comtinued
Objective: Describe an action or series of actions
First Sentence: The coin toss decided matters and we began.

The coin toss decided matters and we began. Or at least we tried to begin, for as the golden coin spun clink-clanking on the stone floor, we noticed something odd about it, like it had changed its shape.

"Lookee-see," Peeboo shrieked, pointing at the golden coin. "It has three sides now!"

We slowly bowed at the same time to inspect the coin. It indeed had three sides! What a marvelous thing to have, I thought. A coin with three sides instead of two! But is a three-sided coin, or a many-many-sided coin for that matter, still a coin? I've heard of people from other countries using salt, or feathers, or even the skulls of fallen enemies as money, but not a three-sided coin. It must be pretty rare, and rare things are worth a fortune!

Seeing Peeboo in saucer-wide-eyed astonishment (quite spectacular, really, Peeboo being Chinese and all), I swung for the coin, grabbing it with my maggotty fingers, and sprang away into the market crowd. Peeboo went to squawking in his ancient stringy language and bolted after me.

What many people! What crowd! Fearing that I might drop my new treasure, I tucked the three-sided coin into my little pocket. With every thunderous step I made, my sweat flew like sea spray. Everyone in the market seemed to be in on the race, for they quickly stepped back to give me passage. (It was years later when I learned that they only did so to avoid getting basted by my secretions.) In no time, I was out of the marketplace, with Peeboo madly hop-rushing after me.

Up and around and across the town our mad chase went, from rainbow-decorated Bloober Street, through the sound-fragrant Circus Orchard, even under Overturned Bridge. In some moments, Peeboo would close our
distance with his insanely skeletal legs, while I'd compensate by rolling and tumbling down sloped streets with my fat-rounded body. "The three-sided coin will be mine!" I bellowed, treading down one such sloping avenue, not noticing Aunt Anastacia half-attentively crossing the road in her chicken costume. (She always wears it to get to the other side.)

BOOM! CRASH! DOUBLE CRASH! Aunt Anastacia yelped and groaned, her voice somersaulting from an angelic soprano to a deathly bass. In agitation, she clawed into my jacket and uttered a thousand prayers, including the lyrics of "Wooden Heart," with her legs entwining themselves three times around me. Too many things my Aunt Anastacia did (a trifle surprising for a septuagenarian) that I had not noticed Peeboo cackling uncontrollably farther and farther behind me.

"I should never have taken that three-sided coin," I bawled.

"You shouldn't have taken what three-sided coin?" Aunt Anastacia cried.

"Why are you rolling towards the breakwater with a wrinkled chicken?" called the constable, who sat cross-legged while pleasantly sipping orange mint coffee at a nearby café.

Sure enough, we slammed into the brick breakwater, throwing seventy-eight years' worth of Aunt Anasatacia, chicken-costumed and all, utterly ungracefully into the sea. For someone who weighed less than
a hundred pounds, she made quite a splash.

I stared at my dear aunt flip-flopping wildly in the water, feeling rather disappointed with myself. I reached for the coin in my pocket, and was surprised to see that it had gone back to having two sides, not three. What a waste of time, I thought. My body ached because of all that running and rolling, and my dreams of becoming rich faded away, add to that a new folly tale that Peeboo could easily use to entertain our playmates. Then there's my wet aunt floundering and writhing like a drowning chicken.

There's a lesson here which I now share with you, given my propensity to deduce such as a write my memoirs: Never trust money; they may decide some matters, but let them not decide your life.

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