Friday 31 December 2021

I'm Surprised more People don't Know this.

On The Fair Island of Scap (never Scap Island) locals have a strange, genetic mutation. Some see it as an affliction, others as a blessing but as it only involves the natives,  if you move to the Fair Isle from elsewhere it will not affect you.


From birth until the day The Lord takes them, the number of words they can speak is limited. No one knows their quota, for there is no way to tell, but the day the quota is reached, is the day their mouths fall dry.


When people ask ‘where are you from?’ they are forced to reply ‘The Fair Island of Scap’ and hope that they don’t have to repeat it as it will use another five words from the limited supply. Words become as precious as life itself, and many will instead point across the water in the hope that this will suffice.


Rich folk from the Island employ a Wordspter to speak for them, but the hand written instructions are tedious to produce so the very rich also employ a Writesper to do this job, and simply nod in agreement (or not) to whatever the Writesper imagines their employer’s needs to be. Consequently, very good, or Anticipatory Wripesters, command high salaries and live on the better streets.


But for the rest of the population writing has become the principal form of communication although this never suffices in love or anger, at which point the islander of The Fair Island of Scrap resorts to the risky adventure of speaking. Some believe that whispering words of endearment counts double, others that anger and hatred will use up your quota of words at a faster rate.


Hence the good folk of The fair isle, for they are in most cases good folk, are quick to pen and slow to love and war.


To become a legend in the fair isle’s mythology, the last word uttered must be from the death bed; this has happened on very few occasions so there are only a few legends. One of these is Laughing Bob.


Laughing Bob was named as such, by one intrepid inhabitant who took the risk of speaking out loud, because after saying his last words Bob fell into a fit of laughter that eventually killed him.


There is a statue of Laughing Bob in the centre of the main Town, Becam. It was placed there by the wealthier, potentially eloquent landowners who live, with their Wordspters, outside of town. All the inhabitants, the only inhabitants, of Becam are those who have run out of words and, therefore, have nothing left to say.


Human Nature being as it is means that if they have nothing left to say, no one else is interested in listening to them so they form an underclass in the island’s society.


There is no way to trade words, so the Islanders have the constant need to decide when and where speaking will have an impact greater than the loss to their personal lexicon.


Some don’t care about any of this, speak their mind whenever and wherever and then live their lives out in mute servitude in a small flat in Becam, hoping to pick up work as a Writesper if a vacancy falls open.


And it often does, being a Writesper is a perilous occupation as the employer often gets frustrated and angry through the excessive amount of nodding they are asked to do, and that anger can only be be expressed in words.


Those with the most self-control and experience have learnt to restrict themselves to a simple shouted ‘OUT!’ and an angry point, but many has been the occasion when a frustrated and angry employer has lost all control and used up all their remaining words dismissing their Writesper.


Such an event of course, necessitates a move to Becam for one, and a terrible written employer’s reference for the other.


Becam sits on the western coast of the Island and there would be much to talk about in awe and wonder if anyone had the words for it. The sunsets are magnificent, the smell of the ocean sensual and the moon rise is breath-taking. Although Becam is the underbelly of society some of the greatest poets live in there, and they make a fine living writing love sonnets for less courageous folk who are trying to win someone’s heart. 


Anyone worth the weight of their own beauty, will wait for true love to declare itself in the precious gift of words.


Three if you speak English, two if you speak Italian.


Mary said...

To quote e.e. cummings:

"kisses are a better fate than wisdom". *


* Look it up -- from the poem "since feeling is first"

popps said...

I've looked it up, going to start associating beguiling with you from now on. :-)