“Good tidings to you, sir,” the stranger said to me. “May I ask you to help me out? It seems that I have lost my shadow. He turned around slightly and pointed toward the ground. “You see,” he said. “My silhouette is nowhere to be found.”
This strange man didn’t appear to be a homeless man talking gibberish. He didn’t smell poorly and he was reasonably well dressed in his white dinner jacket. So what was he going on about? “I’m sorry, but I’m not sure I get your meaning,” I said.
I could see that he was beginning to get irritated. “My shadow is missing!” he said in a rather loud voice, a look of frustration on his face.
Was this man exhibiting some form of satire that I could not fathom? I looked carefully at him and pointed out that one must be standing within the range of some source of light in order to cast a shadow. Since it was neither sunny out, nor were there any artificial sources of light around that might produce a shadow, I explained to him that there was nothing unusual or untoward about being unable to see one’s shadow under the circumstances.
Curiously, just at the moment at which I pointed out that there was no source of light, the sun broke through the clouds. Given that it was late in the afternoon, I was sure that the man would finally be able to see his silhouette reflected on the ground behind him, thus alleviating his anxiety.
“Oh, look,” I said, pointing to the sidewalk behind him. “There is your shadow.”
He looked down and behind him. A smile graced his face and he said to me, “Good sir, may I offer you my most sincere wishes for many happy returns?”
I was truly befuddled. Tidings? Wishes? Happy returns? What a curious man he was. Now it was my turn to become irritated with this strange man and the way he talked. I acted out my irritation by throwing a punch at him. Suddenly, I found my arms and torso being grabbed by a handful of men, all wearing the same white coats as the man who had been unable to find his shadow. These men ignobly hauled me off and threw me into a room with padding on the walls.
I heard the strange man who had been unable to find his own shadow say, “Can you believe that he took a swing at me?” to one of those who grabbed me and threw me into the room.
Then I heard a different man say, “It looks like Mr. Alexander is having another one of his episodes. The medications are supposed to control these hallucinations. Did you check to see if he got his meds this afternoon?”
What is with these people? They apparently don’t appreciate what it means to lose one’s shadow, to have no silhouette. Don’t they realize that without a shadow a man is nothing but a ghost? I looked around my padded room, but no matter where I looked — up, down, front-to-back, and side-to-side — I couldn’t find my shadow. I couldn’t see my silhouette. I had become nothing more than a ghost.
I started to scream.
Written for these daily prompts: Your Daily Word Prompt (tidings), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (silhouette), Ragtag Daily Prompt (satire), Word of the Day Challenge (wishes), MMA Storytime (returns), and The Daily Spur (punch). Photo credit: Valori Fussell.