The Ripple Effect
The sleepy shark rolls from bed at the sound of the bell: the fisherman's foot ringing in the water. On the pier a young girl purchases a dried apricot from a vendor and rolls its wrinkled skin over her tongue before biting down. Behind tightly drawn curtains, the boy who might have grown up to be her great love (or grocer) succumbs to his illness and orphans his parents, as the shark draws behind a curtain of foam. The girl, grown tired of waiting for her father, disappears into the crowded streets of the village as a bell ringing from the marketplace wakes the sleeping fisherman just in time to reel in his apricot. The young boy watching from the pier bites his tongue at the sight of the wrinkled skin. Succumbing to his illness, he runs off to the grocer as if to his lover. The young girl, running late for dinner, stops off at the marketplace on her way home. She purchases a shark from the vendor and leads it home through the crowded streets of the village to meet her parents. The girl is an orphan but it doesn't matter. There are wedding bells ringing in her ears. They're in love.
"The Ripple Effect" © Jamey Dunham, from The Bible of Lost Pets (Salt, 2009). Reprinted by permission of Salt Publishing, London.