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by Jessica Amanda Salmonson


The American buffalo is not a mammal but an island. The world is a cruel place, but on these islands, there is paradise. They are wandering islands, self-sufficient, and not bound to the troubles and upheavals of the sea.

On their shaggy shoulders, which are mountains, little shepherds take care of their flocks with the aid of such small dogs — it is all quite dear. In the sweat of these islands are colorful fish. In the fleshy folds are villages protected from the elements by the valley ledges.

The people get around by means of jinrikisha. As there are no slaves in this paradise, the people take turns riding and pulling.

The forests are a bit plain, it is true. But the worst monster in the forests is apt to be merely a tick or a louse. It doesn't take much for a hunter to kill one of these monsters, as they bury their heads and aren't the least clever. Whole villages can feast upon just one kill.

When in the old days islands died or were killed by Indians, the populace transferred to other, healthier islands by means of wishful thinking. Today, however, a wish cannot take them far enough. Zoos are spread too thin. Sometimes the people of paradise find they must live on the arid hillsides of camels instead. It is terrible. These people have a saying: "What good is a world where wishing is no use?"

It is sad indeed about the islands.


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Jessica Amanda Salmonson is a writer of breathtaking power and imaginative scope, and an editor of wide-ranging taste. She lives in Bremerton, Washington, where she tends her garden and presides over the amazing online antiquarian bookstore, Violet Books.

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