The Coin

He held his fist before me, tightly clenched.

“I have in my hand the coin,” he said.

“What kind of coin?” I asked.

The coin.”

“What kind of coin?” I insisted.

“I cannot show you the coin.”

“You don’t even have a coin, do you?” I accused. “Nobody has a coin.”

“I don’t have a coin. I have the coin,” he italiced.

“What kind of coin?” I re-iterated. “If it even is a coin.”

“It is the coin.”

I pushed him in the chest with two of my hands and he stumbled back but his hand never wavered nor unclenched nor even somehow moved and instead of falling over he was held up by his hand which held on to nothing except perhaps for the coin.

“How did you do that?” I enquired.

“It is the coin.”


I began to turn away but even as I turned my eyes stayed looking at his hand and the more I turned the more painful this became and so I turned back and looked at the hand straight on rather than obliquely through the translucent edges of my skull.

I stared at his hand for a while with a winning intensity and eventually my gaze unsettled him into a declamation.

“Behold,” he said. “Behold the coin!”

He began to unfurl his palm, slowly, so slowly. His huge fingers peeling away one by one like bananas opening up to reveal the pearl in their grasp.

The anticipation pricked at my skin and I jumped up and down and wobbled my legs around and leant forward then backwards then forward again and finally his hand was open and I could see the palm of his hand and it was empty and coinless.

“You may touch the coin.”

There wasn’t a coin.

“You may touch the coin.”

I leant in close and poked at his palm with the cleanest of my fingers.

I felt… something. Something cold. Something old. Something untold.

“What is it?” I said.

“It is the coin.”

I pressed the coin. You wouldn’t believe how I pressed it.

There was a click, a tick, finally a tock. His fingers sprang back into position. He turned and ran away.

And that is how I lost my hand and gained the coin.

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