Lost and Found
Short story by Iris Carden
People might have called Orsinius Wishlet a kleptomaniac, if they had known about him. But nobody did so nobody could call him anything. Orsinius was a wisp, living on the cusp of reality and unreality, not entirely here, but not completely not there.
People might have called Orsinius Wishlet a hoarder, had they seen his burrow. But as humans cannot see the fine barrier between what is and what isn’t, or whatever is or is not inside that barrier, nobody called him anything at all.
Today Orsinius had a new treasure.
As Maryanne Heggarty frantically searched under a chest of drawers for one diamond earring which she had dropped while removing it from her ear, Orsinius was carrying that sparkly object past his front door.
Near the front door was a pile of papers: hundreds of newspaper clippings people had cut to remember precious events, but then misplaced; thousands of shopping lists and telephone messages; a great idea for a novel that would never be written; the cheque that Angela Fromington insisted she had put in the mail, but the collections company claimed not to have received; and little Kerry Softmore’s Christmas card to her beloved grandmother.
While Maryanne Heggarty got a torch in hopes the light would be reflected in the facets of her missing diamond, Orsinius passed his biro store. There were biros of every colour, and every value. There were cheap bics that had been left beside the phone for messages, institutional looking pens that still had chains attached to them which were meant to stop them going missing from bank or post office benches. There were more upmarket pens that had rolled off desks, disappeared in the bottom of handbags, or from desk drawers. There was even an engraved gold pen, given as a gift to the politician in appreciation of his kindness to a particular business organisation.
While Maryanne tried to explain to her husband how one of the pair of earrings he’d given for her for their anniversary had simply vanished into thin air, Orsinius climbed over the jumble that formed his bed. Mostly this pile was odd socks, lost from washing machines, from under beds or from kids sports bags. There were also a number of teddy bears and other soft toys, and Orsinius flinched has he stepped on the knitting needle still in the half-made jumper Gertrude Durnsteff had just put down for a moment while she checked the mail.
As the Heggartys searched their bedroom, both exclaiming it could not have gone far, Orsinius moved aside his card collection. There were bank keycards and credit cards, access cards for secure doors, endless shop loyalty cards, the business card of the plumber who’d actually turned up on time and done the job well for the quoted price, all sorts of bits of plastic and cardboard that humans had carried in handbags or wallets or left stuck on the fridge.
As the Heggartys’ frustration led to an argument, Orsinius finally reached the deepest, most special section of his burrow. This was where his greatest, shiniest, treasures lay. Very gently, he lay the diamond alongside a various items of highly polished silverware, a tiara from a European royal house, an historic necklace from a museum display, a Faberge egg and ruby the size of a golf ball.
As Martin Heggarty slammed the door and left his wife in tears, Orsinius sat transfixed, looking at the shining and glittering things in the deepest part of his burrow, on the boarder between reality and unreality.
Orsinius Wishlet Stories
Lost and Found was originally a one-off story, until the day I had the idea for A Wish Come True. After that, Orsinius and the world built around him just kept coming back to me.