Peter Hilton, Hidden Cities
The Time of Dyed Hands
Occuring shortly after the mistaken suicides, the time of dyed hands began when the baker of rolls Herzog J oberserved that those rolls that were not watched with a cautious eye would someitmes disappear. He repeated this observation numerous times, placing his rolls about his bakery, even marking their placement with a coal pencil, and each time he would turn quickly away and steal a glance back, only the markings would remain.
All this stealing, he said.
At this point in our history the Eminent Rabbi Gagel F was chief executor of legal regulation. So as to conduct a fair investogation, he saw to it that everyone in the shtetl was treated like a suspect, guilty until proven otherwise.
WE WILL DYE THE HANDS OF EACH CITIZEN WITH A DIFFERENT COLOUR he said, AND WILL THIS WAY DISCOVER WHO HAS BEEN PUTTING THEIRS BEHIND HERZOG'S COUNTER.
Lippa R's were dyed blood red. Pelsa G's the light fren of her eyes. Mica P's subtle purper, like the silver sky aove the Radziwell Forest's tree line when the sun set for the third Shabbos of that November. No hands or hues were exempt. To be fair, even Herzog J's were dyed, the pink of a particular Troides helena butterfly that happened to have died on the desk of Dickle D, the chemist who invented the chemical that couldn't be washed off, but would leave smears on whatever the dyed hands touched.
As it turned out, a simple mouse, may his memory live close to a stinky tuches, had been sneaking away with the rolls, and no colours ever appeared behind the counter.
But they appeared everywhere else.