Wednesday, 2 April 2008

In the beginning there was the blank. A space between tiles before the building. Then there was Sid who scratched his head, looked at the design and after a little narrowing of the eyes sighed and went away to the tile-yard. He bought boxes of small tiles - tesserae and on the Monday, after several people had left the glamorous building he put down his tatty old cushion and an old blanket and began to work. First the sand then the levelling it off.

Now the tesserae were put down into their sandy bed one at a time. Sid began with the lower edge, letting the patterns develop with each piece pulled from the boxes. White, pale green, pale yellow, a darker blue - each tiny tessera went into the sand bed. By the end of the morning he had most of the lower half done. By the end of the day the lower edge of the border of the word. He put a board over the whole area and went home for his supper.

The following day he began... the first word began to take shape. He'd made the scroll and the background to it. Even the shadow behind the scroll. He pulled out the blue and black tesserae for each letter until slowly the 'T' took shape. More background - the 'H' by little bit. A man in a black suit and tie with a briefcase and a nervous look passed him into the lobby taking care not to tread on the work or to get his shiny black shoes dirty with sand. Still Sid kept working. The Landlord of the building dashed past him into the lobby and followed the suited man. Some few hours later, Sid straightened up, rubbed his aching back and left 'THE' as it was to go and have a cup of tea and a sandwich. When he came back... the Landlord was being taken off by the police and the man in the suit was nursing a bruise. When Sid asked if everything was alright, somewhat tentatively the man in the suit took out his wallet and handed Sid a wad of money. Sid's eyes widened even as his heart dropped.

"Finish that 'THE' and then go. This building's closed down. There's no more money. There's no more money!" the suited man told Sid.

Then he hurried away leaving Sid with a wad of money in his hands and an unfinished 'THE'. The tiler knelt on his tatty cushion mixed up some tiling cement and smoothed it over what he'd done. Then he scraped it slowly off. The tiling cement filled in the gaps between the tesserae, fixing the 'THE' into place. When it was done, Sid gathered up his old blanket and the cushion. He hauled the remaining boxes of tesserae into his van and locked it up. At the last, he turned and gazed for a moment at what work he had done.

"In the beginning was 'THE'," he said sadly.

He got into his van and drove away.


Rosemary in Utah said...

Don't be sad, little van man--"THE" is a great beginning!
Think of THEories and THEmes--very useful, education-wise.
And THEspians and THEatres--both amusing, recreation-wise.
THEology or THErapy could help in a funk,
And some rum in your THErmos could help you get drunk!

madameshawshank said...

rosemary, the کاشي معرق (Persian version of tesserae) are as happy as larks...for so long folk in Melbourne have been a walking over them...clomp clomp, all of a sudden...wondrous witty words from other parts of the globe come to coat that image...welcome on board the good ship Snapper and the Griffin!

framboise_et_rose said...

I am going backwards here. Start commenting on the latest and work towards the beginning.

Congratulations chers Madame and Griffin. It is soooooo goooood to read you rolling...........

framboise (aka Lilia)

madameshawshank said...

The Alphabet Wizard has given the nod ~ to letting a little of each photo's history be divulged. I will post a little of the previous photo's life after G posts each new story.

This is at the entrance to The Block Arcade in Melbourne. It's a lovely light-filled space.