Sunday, 2 November 2014

WordPress Daily Prompt: Second-Hand Stories

What’s the best story someone else has recently told you (in person, preferably)? Share it with us, and feel free to embellish — that’s how good stories become great, after all.

London by night from a plane

I live a sheltered life and people do not tell me stories, but who needs stories? They are usually passed through so many ears, mouths and even thoughts, that the truth is stretched into fathomless depths. No, I only really believe what I see, says my dad. His sight is OK, although with 99 years, not perhaps as realistic as it was. I, of course, am choosy and picky with my stories. Only yesterday I was transformed into astonishment. I was reading on one of my web sites and there was an important snippet of information. I had to spread the news, it was important, and who knows, with unknown consequences.

“Mr.Swiss, Mr. Swiss, look, you have to read this.”

“Read what? I am watching the news on the TV.”

“This is more important than any news story and it originates from a reliable source. From the NASA, you know that American space organisation. When they say it, it must be true. Read it for yourself.”

“But I am watching the news. What’s it all about?”

“It seems that doomsday is approaching, or something similar. We will be plunged into darkness from 16th December up to and including 22nd December. No natural  light, no moon, no sun, everything as black as Newgate’s Knocker, as me old mum used to say.”

“Oh, then make sure we have enough candles at home and torches. We have a laser pointer if the worst comes to worst. The cats like to follow the light when I switch it on. It might be quite fun, just get a little closer to each other. And now I want to see the news on the TV.”

“Yes, but everything will be dark outside. Our cats might lose their way without the moon to shine their path. How am I to go shopping when everything is dark? Perhaps there might be nothing to buy, no food deliveries, famine will break out.”

“Err, there is electric lighting on the roads and in the supermarkets? Don’t worry, I am sure it will have its good side. I read once that they had a terrific baby boom in New York once when the lights went out.”

“I don’t get the point? I am 68 years old, so put that out of your head. This is serious.”

“Stop walking around. You are standing in front of the TV screen and I cannot see what is happening. There is talk about closing the MacDonalds in Zuchwil.”

“There is more than talk about being plunged into darkness for a week. My orchids will die, all 16 of them, due to lack of light. The garden will probably survive as the plants are in their Winter sleep. Do you think it will be the end of the world, the apocalypse, like in that film with Marlon Brando and Martine Sheen. That did not come to a good end. The news programme is now finished, so now we can have a discussion. about the end of the world.”

“You are exaggerating as usual, and no, we cannot have a discussion, the weather forecast is now beginning. There seems to be a storm approaching, although luckily no snow up to now, but high winds.”

“You see I told you, that is an omen. In a month there will be complete darkness and a week before Christmas. Perhaps it is symbolic.”

“Ok, so now I have five minutes for your doomsday news. Where did you find this sensational news. I did not read anything in the newspapers.”

“Of course not, this is hot news, straight from Facebook with a built-in link, read it yourself.”

“Ah, I see, and now Facebook is decisive for our future. If Facebook says it, it must be true.”

“Not exactly Facebook, they are only a social site to keep us in the picture. There is a link from an online newspaper giving all the details. There will be a solar storm causing particles to block out the sun and moon. One good point is that it mentions there will be no grave results for the earth, but that is probably just propaganda from the NASA to stop us feeling uneasy.”

“I will have to check this on my iPad. Err, sorry to disappoint you but it seems it is hoax. It seems a satirical news site spread the rumour convincing many Facebook and Twitter users who are already discussing what they will be doing during the days of darkness. Something like when you wanted to empty a bucket of ice water over your head, remember.”

“That was for a good cause. Are you sure? You know you cannot always believe everything you read.”

“Yes that’s true, I think you are right.”

Did I notice a slight smile creep over Mr. Swiss face as he turned towards the TV set. A film was beginning with Bruce Willis, one of his favourite actors, “Die Hard”. At least it will take his mind off the world problems. I must remember to buy candles on my next visit to the supermarket and perhaps stock up on batteries for the torch.

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