The challenge today was to write a story in 40 minutes, no more, no less. I did not get to finish or did I. Good exercise to drive some creativity.
‘Yeah?’ Not looking up Julie was fixated on the coloured scented candles spread across the table in front of her.
‘I think I’m going to go have a look over there.’ He’d been following Julie around the markets for hours, they’d looked at paintings, candles, watched one or two artisans plying their trade. Had a corn on a cob, and he was feeling bored.
‘Over there, in the Life Dice tent. Maybe their selling some good story dice, something that might help me with my writing.’
‘Ok, when your finished, just come back - I am going to continue down that way.’
Great, he could take an hour for a lunch and a beer and she would still be easily found, fixated on the markets as much as she had been. The Life Dice though really had grabbed his attention.
Wandering over towards the tent, it finally dawned on him, the white canvas tent was reminiscent of the old clairvoyance tents you see scattered around hippy markets all the time.
Square with a pointed top, simply modernised, where in the past they would have been poles on each corner and a single one to the peak in the middle of the tent. This was simply a modern lightweight and efficient version of the old.
Pulling the tent flap aside and stepping in Justin was quite surprised at how dark it was inside, the bright clear day, the hustle bustle of the markets was shielded by the canvas of the tent.
Sitting at a table in the centre of the room was a young guy, mid twenties at the most, blonde shoulder length hair held back by a single black elastic, board shorts and a singlet.
‘Sir do you want to roll the dice?’
Justin looked around, this guys definitely was not selling story dice. ‘Hello. What’s this about?’
‘These are life dice, you roll them and whatever lands face-up gives you an indication of things yet to happen in your life. Not dissimilar to story dice, the difference though is one is to inspire your imagination, the other to determine your life.’
This was odd. Everything about it was odd, a modern interpretation of a clairvoyant tent, the fellow did not look correct, and who had ever heard of Life Dice. ‘You seem a bit out of place for this sort of stuff?’
‘No Justin, I only look this way to you, I am reflective of what you were in the past, the dice tell you what of your future.’
How the hell did he know my name. How did he know I used to surf, I most definitely don’t look like a surfer anymore, my middle aged paunch and all.
‘How do you know my name?’
‘I know a lot about you Justin, now do you want to roll the dice?’
‘You decide that after you have rolled, you value what the dice tell you.’
‘Bit odd, how do you make any money?’
‘Oh I do alright, now do you want to roll?’
Justin without speaking sat down on a small three legged collapsible stool opposite the young surfer dude. The surfer slid a small wooden cup towards him.
Lifting the cup he tilted it towards him to look at the dice. He could see nothing. ‘There’s no dice.’
‘There is Justin; shake the cup and cast the dice onto the table.
Justin shook the empty cup, there was no sound, it was definitely empty. He shook it for a long time, wondering if he should go through the act of pouring an empty cup onto the felt table in front of him.
This was incredulous, he saw no dice when he looked, he could hear no dice rattling in the cup, bouncing of the palm of his hand, no shifting weight. He was so tempted to stop and look again. Instead, on an upward shake we tilted the cup and angled his hand away from the mouth, pretending the non-existent dice would flow out onto the table top.
Five white dice tumbled out of the cup, clicking against each other as they silently landed onto the felt of the table and rolled. Two of them rolling so much they bounced of the raised edge of the table, a raised edge that was there to stop the dice from landing on the floor.
‘A knife, Gravestone, a Padlock, A ship, and a skull and crossbones’
Surprised, justin simply looked at the five dice in front of him.
‘That is an ominous roll my friend, do you value the role?’
‘What do you mean do I value the roll? Look at it, surely three of the five things on there aren’t good. Can I roll again?’
The surfer dude sat silently and weighed up Justin’s question. ‘You have to told me if you value the roll you already have.’
‘What do you think, look at it, gravestones, knives, skull and crossbones, a padlock buggers knows what that means, and a ship, I hate sailing. No I don’t bloody value the roll.’
‘To roll again, you must pay a price that I decide, else you can not roll’
‘Bullshit!’ Justin snatched up the dice and threw them inside the cup that he still held. He shook the cup and then cast dice, nothing came out.
‘Justin, do you agree to pay? If you agree you can roll again?’
Justin pulled his wallet from his back pocket ‘Do you have eftpos?’
‘That won’t be required, what you must pay really won’t cost you’
‘What do you mean by that?
‘To roll again, you must agree to take the life dice.’
‘Really? Is that all?’
‘Yes. Do you agree?’
Without speaking he shook the cup again and cast the dice.
‘Car, Mountain ranges, treasure chest, castle and a grim reaper’
‘Are you happy with this roll?’
Do you value this roll?