A crowd was forming at the base of the mottled granite plinth. The stone was reminiscent of black-eyed peas, the beige and black slopped together in a way that was both elegant and nauseating. In the space above the slab was a shape covered in a stark sheet.
Murmurs had begun to spread among the gathering, everywhere at once the question was being asked:
“What is it?”
No one person quite knew what the answer was but all minds were pitched against the question that hung around and clung to each of them like a grasping fog. The curiosity was thick, creating a stew of unease and expectation.
Somewhere in the back of the crowd a voice spoke quietly into someone’s ear.
“It will be unveiled at noon. At least that’s what I heard.”
The voice hadn’t heard that at all. It had just wanted to seem important enough to have privileged information. Nevertheless, the words bounded through the collective minds like a swarm of locusts chewing through a corn field.
The clock tower across from the square where the plinth stood began to pleasantly toll the noon hour and the murmur began to roil like an angrily boiling pot. The mob ecstasy overcoming any bounds of civility.
Here and there words could be heard bubbling to the surface, only to burst forth and die in the throng of voices.
“Well then what is it?”
“It’s 5 past Noon!”
“Will someone pull that damned sheet already?”
The pulsing mass began to press against the steel barricade. There were cries of pain from those at the front. The pressure of the crowd had become overwhelming. The spiraling furnace of the sun overhead began to bake the addled minds gathered around the plinth. Curses began to fly from the group. Some directed at the plinth and it’s hidden occupant, some at the fellow members of the gathering. Curses turned to shoves. Shoves turned to punches. Screams filled the air.
The sheet hung and fluttered gingerly.
b archaic : swoon
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