It’s just another day in the shell market. Across the busy square, vendors ply their hollow, unsatisfying trade. This WAS the biggest fishmarket in the world, but when the clams stopped flowing, the market dried up. Now, they sell the empty husks of shrimp, piles of those sharp little crab claws, the ones that aren’t really worth the effort–and, of course, the shells. Piles of shells. Not pretty shells, not exquisite, collectible shells like the noble pen shell, once used to dye the clothes of nobility, or the lovely “Glory of the Seas,” still collectible even after its Dutch Tulip Bubble-like collapse of its reputation. No…just clam shells, cast-offs from dinner…maybe you can boil them to get the ghost of a chowder.
Still, the market’s endless rattle and clink falls silent when she enters the room.
“Won’t you please buy my shells? Spare a few dollars for yesterday’s oyster?”
She’s the queen of the market, delicately moving through the stalls in a dress that uplifts the common clam into a thing of art. Even after she lost her arms in that tragic lobster trap accident, she still kept her spirits up and stayed thematically appropriate.
Go ahead, buy a clam. It’s an investment in the spirit of the shell market. You’re not just buying a shell, you’re…buying something quite complicated, made from them.