Alex remained indifferent to the plague all the village was worried about, for he was the village fool…
Errands for you, and you! fix my car, polish Mr Quito’s shoes in three minutes…. only, and only, for a bunch of coloured feathers.
And everybody was fond of him, we could even say proud of him. But why he loved the feathers – people kept on asking each other. There were always jokes going on about Alex’ s feathers, and he didn’t really like that- but nevermind! He always got beautiful ones from friends returning from holidays or business trips.
One morning the fool heard a knock on the door. He was asked to dispose of his feather collection, as a precaution to take against the enigmatic plague going around.
His flatmate Manu managed to agree to give the feathers, only if these would be returned once the disease would receed.
Manu kept checking on him all day, in case he would be upset without his feathers. But on his way back home, he was absorbed by the colourful decorations on his friends’ garden trees, and statues…
– “Isn’t all this festive? Alex has been charging everyone with old curtains… instead of feathers!” For the first time in a month, people were cracking jokes again, distracted at last from the same topic.
A couple of weeks later many folks were happily helping him make his creations, and some ladies even asked them to do their garden doors up.
The sick started to take tiny walks out- just to admire the colourful, crazy new attire their old town was showing.
When the subject was raised at the village neighbourhood meeting, all agreed that, even if Alex had asked for permission prior to putting up the funny decorations, the artwork would be removed after the summer.
In need of nonsense, the people were getting more ideas just to stay away from the taboo subject- from taking the cattle on a stroll to wearing flower diadems- anything to show they were not afraid.
* * *
Mario’s car wouldn’t start after a long day training at the doctor’s surgery, so he called the strong Alex to help push it back home. Once by the porch, he told the fool
– “Make sure you wash and dry all that sweat off before you go to sleep!”
– “No need.”
– “No need.” Mario looked at him, and Alex explained,
– “If I keep the sweat then I will grow feathers!”
The car engine started as a comical sychnonicity of events, for the idea this silly comment had sparked in Mario’s scientific mind made him rush back to the surgery lab, to stay and work on it for the following weeks.
The decorations in town started getting exaggerated and lost their novelty charm. With the plague, they added to the confusion. So down they came.
The fool thought he wanted his feathers back: he walked to the surgery hoping to find Mario, besides there being rumours he wasn’t in town.
Mario was on the phone speaking some foreign, very weird language. Saying something about a “formula“. When he saw Alex, he smiled and rushed inside to get the box of feathers.
– “Aye! My feathers!”
– “We got something even better. Wait here five minutes.”
– “A drone! A drone!” People were clapping. More drones followed. Maybe these were bringing vaccines!
– “I’m going to sleep in my bed now- please Alex, don’t say anything.”
– “I won’t.”
– “Oh, I wanted to ask you…. well, I was slightly curious…. why do you collect feathers?”
Alex put his head down and turned sad.
– The feathers…. my feathers… well, it’s just that maybe one day I’ll get invited to one of those really funny dressing up parties…. so I’m saving up all the feathers for my costume!”
There are other jolly means than monetary remuneration to celebrate your existence.