All Souls Day


Serafino Celebrations – making YOUR moments last forever.

Anna added the date to the card – Halloween 2021 – and slid it into the plastic pocket with the coppery-coloured foil disc.

“Are you still bringing those into the house?”

Anna shrugged. “They seem to be getting here under their own steam now. This one was in the hall when I got up this morning. But I do seem to be finding them wherever I go now – I found this blue one in the sand at the park when we were playing with Imy the other day.  And I picked this gold one up on a lonely road while I was on Coll last week. Maybe I’m drawn to them.”

“Or they’re drawn to you.” George sighed. “Have you found out much about them?”

“Yeah, a bit. You know I couldn’t believe it when Hannah told me they were a kind of confetti – something that people deliberately throw in the air at weddings, or that spill out of a balloon at a birthday party.  As I suspected, they’re metalized plastics – mostly mylar. We used to use aluminized mylar tape in the lab for radioisotope lifetime measurements – it could sit in the path of the accelerator beam and not melt or burn. It’s incredibly hardy. NASA’s first communication satellites, Echo I and Echo II, were basically huge metallic mylar balloons. This stuff is essentially going to last forever – it doesn’t biodegrade or decompose. These little discs will just float around the environment unless someone like me picks them up. I’ve not made much progress on working out their carbon footprint though – I need to get more information on exactly where the materials come from and where the factories are. There’s a couple of big companies that seem to dominate the market: I think these particular ones were made by Serafino Celebrations, but they’re not answering my emails.”

Serafino Celebrations – we put the life and soul into your party!

I must be dreaming. This can’t be real. Has to be some kind of dream. I remember: lights – headlights, a horn blaring. Someone screaming – was it me? Trying to wrench the steering wheel around. And then the impact, the windscreen exploding, fragments rushing towards me, pain like I’ve never felt. Then nothing. Darkness. And now this.

I can’t feel anything. But I can see, a little, and I can hear. There’s a dim, coppery light, filtering through the walls of the womb-like space that encloses me. I can sense the presence of others in here with me, but I can’t make out anything – the shadows cast from outside this space are moving, confusing. I can feel their confusion though, and a rising anxiety. I must be dreaming. Maybe I’m unconscious. In a coma. But I think I can hear laughter, children chattering? And now – this really has to be a dream – I can hear cheering, crowds calling out, “Hip hip hooray!” and now BANG!!! the protective skin explodes and I’m floating through bright sunlight among smiling, shining faces. A gust of wind takes me and I start my journey …

Choose Serafino Celebrations – for that eternal sparkle.

“Hey Gabe, what are we gonna do with this one? It’s just a kid.”

“Ah, Raffo, man, you know we ain’t got no choice.The rules is the rules.”

“But Gabe, I get it when it’s a grown-up. Someone who’s made their own choices. You know, someone who’s not so bad as to get sent downstairs, not so bad as to deserve a roasting. But not good enough to be welcomed up there. Like that star-chaser we just processed, so obsessed with celebrity that he didn’t care about the cost, the waste and the mess he caused trying to live like those guys on Instagram. Or that one yesterday, who wanted the rhinestone-studded handbag so bad she turned a blind eye to the conditions of the poor folk labouring in the factory. But the kids … do they have to spend so much time trapped in the in-between, waiting for the Big Day?”

“Yeah, I know, Raffo. But like you said, this one’s not going to get past the man on the gate upstairs. This way they stay safe and sound, no chance of them ending up in the Other Place by accident. And at least they get to go to one more party.”

Serafino Celebrations – spreading joy all around the world!

Well, this is different.

I couldn’t quite believe it when she picked me out of the mud at the side of that lonely island road. Now, washed clean and dried, I’m reclining in what appears to be a plastic tub, sitting atop an untidy pile of books and papers at the side of an equally untidy desk.

I can tell there are others here like me; we can’t talk to teach other, but I can pick up some of their thoughts, as I’m sure they can pick up mine.

For years now – decades – centuries – who knows? I certainly don’t. But for years, I’ve been blown about the planet, washed through sewers into rivers and oceans. I’ve passed through the bellies of beasts, been shat out and consumed again. I’ve stuck to wheels as they roll along tarmac and to the soles of boots as they tramp through fields. I’ve blown through the Red Centre of Australia. I’ve crossed the Atlantic in the stomach of a tern and swum in the Amazon in the body of a Tambaqui. I’ve seen ice floes in the Weddell Sea – and believe me, they’re smaller every year.  And in all that time, in all those places, I’ve never been able to forget a thing. Unable to speak, unable to control my endless peregrinations, I’ve been condemned to the prison cell of memory, reliving the choices I made over and over again.

So for now, respite from the weather, from the cold and the wind and the rain, but not from myself.

Serafino Celebrations: if you can dream it, we can make it real.

George woke with a start. For the last few weeks, his dreams had been getting more intense, and … well … just weirder.  Like they weren’t quite his own.  He kept finding himself waking up in the middle of a dream about something he’d never done, in a place he’d never been, with people he’d never met.  The usual easy-to-diagnose stress dreams, where he re-lived distorted versions of episodes from work, were being displaced by something different – something that felt disturbingly like someone else’s stress, someone else’s work, someone else’s memories.

He picked up his phone from the bedside table: 4.07am. Too early. The other side of the bed felt cold; Anna must have been up for a while. Her sleep patterns seemed to be getting worse and worse. He pulled the quilt up over his shoulder and closed his eyes, hoping to return to a less turbulent sleep.

Serafino Celebrations – because the party never stops.


This story was co-created with George Robertson, who deserves much of the credit as well as much love.

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