Thursday, 7 February 2013

283: The Thin Man

Once upon a time there was a man who was very, very thin.  His head looked like it had been clapped really hard until his face had hardly any width to it at all.  In fact, he was so thin that he was little more than a person in profile.

There were other people who were very thin, but they were thin from front-to-back.  It was unheard of to find someone so very thin from side to side like Malcolm was.  The front-to-back thin people made fun of Malcolm because he wasn’t like them.  They could never have an eye-to-eye conversation with him so thought he seemed shifty.  The ordinary depth people made fun of Malcolm because he wasn’t like them either.  They found when looking at him front-on they could barely see him and they didn’t like him appearing and taking them by surprise, like he often did.

One day the local school caught fire and all of the children from the village were stuck inside.  A wall collapsed just behind the door so it would only open a very small amount.  The ordinary depth people tried to get in to save the children but they were too big all over to fit through the small gap.  The front-to-back thin people tried to get in to save the children but although they were thin enough to get through the gap, their eyes faced the wrong way and all they could see was the collapsed wall.

The people of the village called to Malcolm and begged him to help rescue their children.  “Malcolm, only you are thin enough to fit through the gap and rescue the boys and girls.  Will you help us?”  Malcolm worked in the heat and the smoke going back and forth through the thin gap of the door, helping the children to escape, comforting them and passing messages from their worried parents, until every last child had come safe out of the burning school.

Malcolm was the talk of the town and everyone called him a hero for saving all of the children in the village.  People began to realize that being different doesn’t mean someone isn’t as good as you.  Sometimes being different might be better than being the same as everyone else.

And Malcolm?  He realized he could use his uniqueness after all.  He started a career as a master jewel thief, sneaking into houses through the tiniest gaps and repaying the years the people of the town made his life so miserable felt really good.

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