by Phil Geusz
Text ©2005 Phil Geusz; illustration ©2005 Cubist

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An earlier edition of this story appeared under the Infinite Imagination eBooks imprint

This story is available from, as part of the Amazon Shorts program.

= 1 =

   You could only stare at a chicken for so long before it began to get old. Unless you happened to be a rooster, I mused idly to myself. In that case, Mother Nature would see to it that hens were very fascinating objects of study indeed. But I was not a rooster; I was a rabbit. It was very, very hot out where I was waiting for our weekly tram to arrive. And watching Mrs. McClellan scratch for beetles in the Center’s cemetery was growing very old very fast.
   I sighed and shifted my position on the bench slightly, then pulled out my notebook. February fifteenth, the last entry was dated. February fifteenth, and it had been seven full months since I’d last made an entry. Even that one hadn’t amounted to much, I noted while squinting through my glasses in an effort to decipher my own terrible handwriting. “February Fifteenth,” it read. “It is very cold today, though the sun is shining nice and bright. A robin appeared outside the dining hall, and perhaps spring will come early this year. I look forward to composing an essay about the fresh blooms.” I sighed and shook my head. In point of fact the spring had come unusually late, no one had bothered to plant any flowers, and even back when I’d written that particular entry I hadn't any great reason left to think of myself as an author anymore. I closed the battered little book and clasped it awkwardly between my forepaws for a very long moment, staring at the trash car waiting to be picked up by the tram when it came…
   …and then slipped it thoughtlessly back into my pocket as my long ears picked up the first distant whine of the pint-sized electric locomotive’s motor. Bill Hardeson back at the main station had warned me that he was going to be running an hour or so late, I reminded myself. I had only myself to blame for the long, hot wait I’d just endured. But I always left my house at two in the afternoon on Thursdays to come and meet the tram! It was much easier to sit and wait an extra hour in the hot sun than to come up with anything useful that needed doing.
   “Wheeee!” the small electric motor cried out as the tram crawled its way up Loki’s Hill towards our Town Hall, the place which served as our administrative center, dining hall, and primary recreational building. Mountainous Arkansas was no place to try and build a railroad, but our little narrow-gauge line was a very special exception. Even though it was only two miles long, the track ascended a five-percent grade until it leveled off just behind the Town Hall. I watched as the blackened and scorched cars slowed and then stopped. There were four miniature rail cars on the tram this time—one more than the usual three. One was for refuse, the second an insulated reefer unit for foodstuffs, and the third a sort of tiny boxcar for mail and general cargo. But this time the tram pulled a fourth car, something that only happened once a year or so. Despite myself I felt a tiny tingle of excitement flow through me. The Arkansas Lokiskur Center was receiving a new resident!

If you’d like to know more about the Lokiskur Center and its newest arrival, you'll have to sharpen the Left-Handed Sword yourself! Only USD 49¢, from Amazon Shorts.

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