NEW Story: The Greek
⚠️ This article is archived, and should be considered non-canon.
In the narrow streets of the Lola district in Vekllei, artisans and artists hurry about, peddling art and fine goods and attracting the rest of the city to its stores. In Vekllei, there is no currency, so shopping is almost always a pragmatic affair.
Not in Lola. If you’re in Lola, you’re there to see the good stuff, produced and sold in little shops like this one. The apartments of this place are small and cramped, and the streets are rarely wide enough for vehicles to pass, but many students dream of moving into the vibrant and colourful district and building lives around their creative passions. Coffee shops here are filled with notebooks and haggard young things, penning their screenplays and worrying about their existential purpose.
Vekllei is a society of restlessly educated people, looking for some greater satisfaction in their lives without the incentives of money. Many serve their country, others fall in love. This shop owner found his. He stocks books, apples, rare foodstuffs and anything that takes his fancy, like an eclectic general store. There are few supermarkets in the country. The demands of the collectivised economy for constant overproduction and total employment results in decentralised distribution like we see here. Tzipora is eleven. She doesn’t understand all that. But she understands that her mother wants spiced meats for a platter, and Lola is the best place to find seasonal or exotic foods like spiced meat.
Twelve festivals rouse creativity out of the otherwise sleepy Vekllei economy. The festival of feasts, in September, halts regular production and many restaurants switch to exotic foods. During this month, cafes and restaurants are overflowing with people jawing about where they’ve been while cramming their mouths with Oriental, American and South American staples. Following September is October’s festival of the sea, the climax of which includes the detonation of a nuclear bomb out at sea and a slow, luxurious media worship of the enormous warships that Vekllei operates.
Tzipora ducks under the curtain in the doorway of the store, and wipes her nose on the back of her arm. The bag full of meats is heavy for her. It’s a long walk back to her apartment building, but on warm autumn evenings like these, that’s not a bad thing. She waves goodbye and leaves.
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