Updated: Apr 19, 2018
Once there was a small town. The inhabitants of this town were mostly employed by the state while others – mostly women – went to work in garment factories run by foreigners. Some lived from what little the arid soil allowed them to grow, which happened to be grapevines. In fact growing grapevines was something the inhabitants of the small town had a special passion for, or an obsession to be precise. They would spend hours and hours taking care of their respective vines, they would love and nurture them like one would do with children. Growing grapevines was a matter of pride – the bigger the vine and the more fruit it bore, the more respect one would gain in the small town. Each and every house had at least one grapevine situated at the gate or entrance so everybody could see right away if the person or family living in the house was a force to be reckoned with.
The matter of the grapevines was a serious one – neighbors would occasionally even fight over them, especially when two parties both claimed that their grapevine was the bigger, more beautiful, more juicy one or when they compared the amount of fruit the vines bore. One neighbor would say “My grapevine bore 50 pounds of fruit this year” and the other would respond “That's great, but did you know mine bore 100 pounds?”. Those kind of altercations quickly got out of hand in the small town and there were stories of people having been killed over grapevine issues; wives had left their husbands and the other way round, children had left their parents home, lifelong friends had become lifelong enemies over what was usually coined as “grapevine-issues” in the newspapers. In fact whole newspaper sections and TV shows were dedicated to grapevines and the issues that arose around them and there was even a magazine which was called “The Vine”. “The Vine” would routinely report on grapevine-related rumors and gossip – it was a news outlet which can be categorized as yellow press and funny enough it was “The Vine” that would play a crucial role in shaping the small town's future. The journalists of said publication usually used the “Grapevine Inn” as starting point for any of their stories and they also held their weekly editorial meetings at the Inn. They would also meet their informants and sources there.
Apart from the grapevines, life was pretty simple in the small town, fun was defined by the amount of fermented grapevine juice one had had or how much grape-leave joints one had smoked. In fact grape-leave smoking had become a thing in recent years; especially when it came to the younger generation. But it was also the amount of rumors one had heard or spread that defined whether one had had a good night out. In fact, gossip was the main free time activity in the small town. This probably had to do with the fact that life was rather monotonous for most inhabitants of the small town: Get up early, water the grapevines, eat some porridge – or if one can afford it maybe a bowl of cereal – go to work – or if one doesn't have work, look for work – have lunch at exactly 1pm, not one minute earlier and not one minute later. Then back to work or begging – also a line of work in the small town. Around 5pm hordes of humans were usually lining up to catch a bus back home. At home the townspeople watched the usual TV shows circling around the latest grapevine issues - if they were lucky enough to own one. If not, one would chat to the neighbors and exchange the newest grapevine stories. Most inhabitants of the small town had their fair share of fermented grapevine-juice every night but for some reason most still managed to get up the next morning to go about their respective business.