This silver disk, so much a part of me. It shines like the moon, or the edge of a sword. I look down at that face in profile, a long dead monarch.
With the coin, every decision is binary. Yes or no. Left or right. Up or down. More or less. I feel a rush each time my thumb sends it flipping upward, ringing through the air, the scales about to fall one way or the other. Every time it slaps down in the centre of my palm, like a caught bullet flattening against my hand. None of that slamming the coin over onto the back of my other wrist – I’ll take it as it lands, thank you very much. Incidentally, heads is always the first option.
Eight years I have lived by the coin.
In a cafe. Tea or coffee? The coin lands. Coffee.
Sometimes I swear I can feel the coin down there in my front jeans pocket, even through its little velvet bag. The warmth of it, or maybe just the weight.
The coin has seen me through a thing or two. Jobs, women, cars, homes. Really, there has been only one constant.
It had started as a way to control my urges. I reasoned, if every time I felt like having a drink, it was 50:50 with the coin, so half as much drinking. I guess I got addicted to the toss as well, though.
Sometimes I feel a little trapped by this fragment of currency. I asked it once, “Should I get rid of you?” The answer was no, of course.
There are a lot of names for coins. Loose change, shrapnel, pennies, coppers. They were invented, like most things, by the ancient Greeks. A person who collects coins is called a numismatist. The most ever paid for a single coin at auction is $7.85 million. These are the extent of the coin facts I learned, before deciding I wasn’t particularly interested in coins in general, only in their facility to choose for me.
I push my hand into my pocket to draw the coin out. Panic rises. The coin is gone. It can’t be. But it is. Lost, blundering, I retrace my steps all the way back to the cafe. I ask the lady behind the counter, she remembers me flipping the coin and returning it to my pocket. My coin is gone. The woman looks at me with a very odd expression, I realise I am crying, I turn and leave.
Outside, my vision swims, a world of possibilities opens out before me. Options, options, options. Maybe I don’t need the coin, I could get used to deciding for myself from more than two outcomes.
Quickly, my thoughts overwhelm me. There is just too much choice. I am paralysed by it. A thousand alternatives scream for my attention. One thought, clear amongst the mêlée: maybe I could get a dice?
Word Count: 487
Written for a contest, with prompt: Write about a character who is very superstitious, very suspicious or both. Word limit: 500