I'm thinking of making a collection of modern fairy tales, taking everyday situations and twisting them into something vaguely absurd. The Man Who Fell in Love with a Paper Doll and this one are the first 2 in that series. I wrote another today, so i'll type that up soon and post it. Anyway, enjoy this one.
Edger used to own the world. He won it in a game of cards, either poker or gin rummy, he can no longer recall which. He put in his best comb and came out with the world. Life is, as they say, a game of chance. Edgar carried the world back from the pub in a jam jar in his pocket and put it on his bedside table so he could watch over it. He took his responsibility very seriously, not wanting harm to come to come to his planet through his own thoughtlessness, but sometimes this could not be helped. Back in ’87 he bumped into the table getting out of bed and in San Francisco 100 people died in an earthquake. In 2006 he was enjoying his new cocktail shaker, a Christmas present from his grandson when he slipped and a tsunami ravaged Asia.
Eventually he could no longer live with the guilt of the suffering he had caused. Every time he looked at the news, in the papers or on the tv, he wondered if it was his fault. Had his yelling at the cat influenced someone in the world to an act of anger or hate? Did his weeping at a film cause the depression of thousands? He decided he had to get rid of the world, had to put it out of harms way, where no human action could influence the fate of the whole planet. But where? Should he lock it in a storage container like the lost ark? What if it didn’t get enough light, would Edgar then be responsible for eternal planetary darkness? The same problem came from burying it or throwing it in the river, but with the added risk of a global shortage of air. An alternative must be found. Eventually, Edgar decided on a course of action. He donated his jam jar world to the British Museum, where it would get light and air and be viewed by its own clueless inhabitants.
The curators of the museum were very polite, took the jar with smiles and open hands, and when the old man had left they put the old jam jar with its contents of green and blue, it’s continents and oceans, families, friends, pets and cars, into a basement cupboard, to wait for years to be classified, valued as worthless and thrown out.
Edgar went to the museum occasionally, hoping to see his little world on display, but when he did not see it he was almost relieved. He told himself that, realizing the worth of his jam jar’s contents, they must be keeping it somewhere where no harm would ever come to it, away from the shouting and tapping fingers of schoolchildren and the calculated indifference of adults. Edgar found hope in the thought that his little world would survive, safe and unharmed, long after his old self had left it.