The Lucky and the Sublime

(the fifth chapter of Shell Games)


The great town seal of Blandis depicts a man on his knees, his hands raised joyously toward a mountain with the sun’s rays shining from behind the tall peak.  The year this occurred, 1734, is emblazoned at the bottom.  All in all, it’s a very impressive work of art—an image that artfully cleans up the real moment Josiah Blandis founded the village named for him.

To be sure, the official depiction gets all of these details correct, except one.  Josiah Blandis’ hands had not really been empty and stretched out high.  In truth, the exquisite scene had been too much to take,  making him clutch at his chest and a pained, disbelieving heart.       

“Epiphanies are not kind,” were his last four words.

What Josiah Blandis meant, if he could have been allowed the time to be more exact, was that epiphanies are meant for people who can handle them.  Bonnie Prince Charlie was lucky enough to be just such an individual, whose own heart survived another 42 years after inspiring historic calamity.   Josiah Blandis was not meant for epiphanies,  and so was instantly done in by the sublime.  Molly Connors was not lucky either.

Four days after her own epiphany the bedazzled girl disappeared, never to be seen in Blandis, Massachusetts again.

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