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TITLE: The Coin Parable
By Joshua Paul Bechtel
06/19/11
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This is one of my first attempts at fiction.
There were two cities. At first glance it would have appeared that it was one city with a peculiar monument in the center. It was completely round. It stood tall and glistened in the sun. It was a gold coin.

Having such a magnificent treasure of gold should have been cause for much celebration. It would have seemed wise to use this gift...that is what it was...to help make everyone rich.

Instead, it became the central battle field of a long and bloody and...senseless civil war.

Nobody denied the monument was shaped like a coin. No one even argued that there wasn't gold in the coin. What they argued about was absurd...except that they took it so seriously.

The fight was over what was actually on the coin. In Obverseville, it was vehemently proclaimed that there was only a face on the coin. And some lettered writing that the very old men once knew the meaning of.

Their enemies in Reverseville, with equal vehemence, proclaimed that there was a house or temple or statue on the coin, and some obscure lettering that the old men used to know what it meant.

As time went on, things became absurd. There were schools of thought that proclaimed that the coin was narrow and narrow only. Some of course exulted in how wide the coin was.

Some spent their time in counting the ridges on the coin, and there were heated debates regarding whether or not there actually were ridges, what they meant, if they meant.

To the nations in other parts, this city was a laughing stock. Any news about the city ended up in the entertainment section or the so called scandal sheets of the day.

When a “great one” fell, there was a general rush to “get him out of here, lest he defile us.” And there were some cases where these were received in other cities which had not the coin and knew not where it came from.

Believably or not, there was a civil war. Where there should have been schools of wisdom, there were massive cemeteries of the fallen. For some reason, crippling diseases were every where. There were even reports of blindness.

There should have been groves of trees with refreshing shade and abundant fruit. Instead there stood rows and rows of execution poles... The town reeked with the scent of decaying corpses.

The extremely logical among them even suggested that there wasn't even a coin in their midst.

One day there was a war committee meeting in Obverseville. After several hours of discussion, someone who was not considered all that “bright” came up with a suggestion.

“We have spent ourselves broke...we have driven away good solid citizens by our constant warring. What if we sent a committee over to Reverseville and see if there actually is something on their side the coin?”

A stunned silence.

Blank stares.

Then fury.

Unbelievable fury.

“Get him out of here! Jail him! Exile him!”

“Why? What in the name of the Divine has he done?”

“It doesn't matter. He spoke against the main reason for our war. He is not loyal. He has dared to deny that we are in the right.”

The meeting ended in confusion. In the end, there were a number of arrests and trials held. Numerous were exiled, accompanied with severely worded letters to anyone who would come into contact with these....

Heretics.

There are reports that a number, who spoke out and actually went over and looked at the other side of the coin were captured, flogged and crucified as warnings to the other citizens of Obverseville.

One day they woke up and realized that the coin they had been fighting over was no longer there.

Did anything change?

No one had a clue how long it had been since they last saw the coin.
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