Deal 1272: Wishes

It is nearly dusk at the lake shore. The last rays of the setting sun reflect off the deep still water, the orange tones contrasting with its usual blues. Most of the water is still, except for right at the shore, where a large shaggy dog is bounding enthusiastically through the shallows to the shore, sending spray, sand, mud, and the occasional weed everywhere. On shore, the car is packed, and the family is mostly aboard.

Everyone’s hopes are writ large in their expressions.

The dog has simple desires, and knows that he just got one last duck chased away before heading back to the land of fences and squirrels.

The children wish the week at the lake could last longer, and now clearly wish they weren’t about to spend several hours dozing in the car along with a large happy wet dog.

The parents also wish they were driving home a large happy dry dog; tempered by twin desires for a longer vacation, and a somewhat welcome return to their normal routine.

The duck’s desire is being realized below as the giant loud fluffy thing is loaded into the strange mobile box and driven away.


Deal 1269: Hundredweight carrot

The giant orange root would feed the village for a week. The hunters had outdone their previous efforts by finding the hundred pounder. It sat in the town square, awaiting butchery and eventual cooking. A wall of muddy orange, with small rooty tendrils on its sides, and the stump of a tree at the wide end.

Merely digging it up required herculean effort. Transporting it whole as well. And now it rests here, on trestles, waiting to be washed, buried, cooked, and eaten.

Already a crew was at work preparing a fire pit to slow roast the majority of it.

The succulent tip was already gone, so the hunters likely took their due when they lifted it clear of the ground.


Deal 1261: Carrots

The light from a single broken window picked out a single machine, and made it stand out from the rest of the abandoned factory. The rest of the space was lost to shadows with occasional brighter spots where a window was inexplicably cleaner than the rest, allowing a little more light to pass. The light from the broken window was placed perfectly to emphasize the complexity of this particular machine.

No one remembered what this factory made when it was in operation. The business name had been taken down ages ago, and most of the paint was faded outside. Even if the name had been legible, it was clearly one of those generic names that leaves no clues as to the identities of either the founders or their industry. Inside, most workstations had supplies of decaying parts and the occasional drawings. But the paper was yellowed with age, and the parts were as mysterious as the machines that had made them.

The most interesting thing was illuminated clearly. A bin of carrots, spilling out on to the floor into a mound that flooded two of the aisles between the machines. At the fringes, the carrots were rather old and dry, cracking in the dusty air. But near the top of the pile, the carrots might have been picked yesterday.

This bin, and the large machine beside it, were near the center of the factory, surrounded by the pile of aging carrots, and further out surrounded by undisturbed dust. There was no obvious way for fresh carrots to reach the pile. And yet, there they were, plain as day. The bright orange root glistened in the sunlight, a few grains of dirt and just a single dewdrop clinging to its sides. The greens were standing fresh and crisp as well.

Looking closer, I realized that the dust was not completely undisturbed. There was a single trail of small footprints, punctuated by occasional marks from what could have been a long tail. From the size of the footprints, a well fed rat was coming and going from the carrot pile, but was also clearly not sharing the location of his find with any other critters.

I heard a rustling noise behind me, and turned.

There at the top of the pile was a second fresh carrot.

I swear it wasn’t there before.