• A Broken Ship, a Sailor, and a Sum of Gold •

There once was a man with an uncertain ship and a large sum of gold. He kept this gold in the trunk it came in, because there was nothing wrong with it.

He took some of the gold out, the pieces that had been tarnished from years of misuse, and cleaned them.

He took other pieces and forged jewelry, but the whole of karats remained priceless.

The ship, having never been on solid footing, creaked and groaned unhealthily; it took on more weight than it should have over the years, but carried on nonetheless.

Then, for days, it sunk. Patchwork fell through and demise became a certainty.

A distant island was the sailor’s only hope for continuing his existence, so he took the gold to his back and began swimming.

The ship sank as he carried the treasure chest above water, attempting to save it from the tarnish of old abuse.

It was futile. His choices were to sink with the gold or to release it, and so it sank into a part of the sea where light could not penetrate.

The sailor made it to his island, but had no strength left for anything more than basic survival. He saw something in the distance that same day: Another ship.

It was full of people who had witnessed the fall of that broken old thing.

They took specialized gear and flashlights down to the depths, trying to scavenge form the wreckage, and a few came upon something glimmering in the darkness.

They swam over and scooped up handfuls of gold from the broken chest, ignoring the splintered wood in favor of its rich innards.

He watched from his island and made eye contact with these people as they returned to their ship.

And the jewelry he had made remained in the sea, while the rest was stolen by those who shamed a broken ship for sinking and a sailor who couldn’t keep his head above water.