In the Valley of Good Things

Aidan de Lorenzo

–ingesting the berry in liquid form, when mashed, strained and fermented, has known to spread warmth through the head and neck, giddiness and erosion of social inhibition. While some note the clarity it brings, others speak of its ‘jolly clouding’ effect on the mind. Eaten raw, the Meloberry provides a great surge of energy. When brewed into tea, the drinker often experiences heightened concentration and a marked lack of fatigue. The minor downside of this is an almighty drowsiness quite immediately upon ceasing to drink the brew.

From Mirl Hick, Introduction – Mysteries of the Meloberry: Aroma, Remedy, Merriment

©Roy Chen

©Roy Chen

There is a planet not too far from ours, a very long way from ours called Plnt. The whole of Plnt can be walked around in seven-nine days, depending on your pace and how often you stop for snacks.

Four nations, named after the planet’s elements, occupy Plnt: Human, Ghost, Butter and Bread. The Butter and Bread Nations live on The Mountains, the Ghost Nation roams The Flats and Human Nation resides in The Valley.

The Valley is considered the loveliest place to live, almost entirely because it is the only place humid enough for the Meloberry to grow.

Famine has clung to the Butter and Bread. Ghost and Human warred on and off for many years.

Today, the wisest from each nation of Plnt, known as Wisecracks, come together to decide once and for all a definitive recording of all good things.

‘The Meloberry,’ Aul Ghost said. ‘This must be included.’ The other three nodded.

Christo Butter said, ‘Yes. Although it has not been done before, we must devise a system of transporting the Melobery up to The Flats and higher still to The Mountains.

‘No fighting. No war.’ said Rilke Human. ‘All disputes must be solved with diplomacy. Or Tai Chi.’

Oi Bread spoke: ‘Enough food for Bread Nation… And for all of Plnt.’ The Wisecracks nodded.

Two trays of Meloberry were brought, halved and dribbled with something similar to lemon juice. Four cups filled with a steaming slurp as the Melotea was poured. After the  tea, discussion resumed. A hundred, a thousand, a hundred thousand good things manifested, and were written down. Midday naps. Citrus. A cool breeze. Games. Hot sex. Showers.

***

‘The list grows long.’ Oi said, looking across the valley at the dipping sun. We have been talking for almost nine days. We must end it. Soon.’

Christo slammed a fist down on the old oak table. ‘Crisp new laundry?’ he croaked. This was added.

‘It is done.’ Aul said, slumped. The scribe blinked, her pen dropped and her hands shook. She winked out, already unconscious.

‘Love,’ Rilke murmured, as he and the other Wisecracks fell into a deep slumber.