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robert allen beckvall. The Strength of Desert Dwellers By: Robert Allen Beckvall

Dr. Jack “Diamondback” Veenum was so busy collecting venom for Arizona’s stockpiles, important stories outside of his world like the E-R-* (1-2-3) project would have never crossed his radar. But, the paper letter was now pinned to his corkboard, signed by Dr. Wang. The project and this lady were now on his radar, and she was all over the news, internet, television and magazines. How in the hell did she get his name? He had on the news in his office at the University of Arizona. He had caught a glimpse of Dr. Wang on the television, and saw a beautiful Chinese American lady talking to the gathered world leaders. This caught his eyes and ears as he had opened the rare paper letter. This in turn caused him to look over his e-mails, which he would let sit until hundreds of them had piled up. It was his business address and he would let a graduate student look over them and decide what was worth looking at. But this time, with the paper letter getting his interest up, he looked at the e-mail from E-R-* (the symbols that represent one, two and three in Mandarin). It now made sense as he had caught Dr. Wang speaking in Mandarin and perfect English. The letter he received was very specific about his role. It pointed out something about the strength of desert dwellers. It read:

Dr. Jack Veenum,

We will be opening new worlds in such remote places as Earth’s deep ocean, our own moon, and the fabled red planet of Mars. Our goal of having working, thriving communities would not be complete without places like zoos for children and and research centers for scientists. Having said this, our main committee has come to the conclusion that reptiles would have the best chance of survival as we open these new frontiers. Your name and University was on a very short list from around the world. You are considered one of the top herpetologists. Further, we feel that desert reptiles are the heartiest of reptilian creatures on earth. Having said this, we are offering you the job of creating our initial zoos and animal laboratories on our three worlds. We understand the important work you do in Arizona, with snakebites at an all-time high in your 20

region due to human encroachment on snake habitats. But here, we offer you the chance to bring your expertise to the world. We have sent an e-mail with an attachment that requires the following code if you want to open it: drjvuaer*123. There will be a major press conference taking place in New York, at the United Nations. If you have the time, please tune in. You are our #1 choice. Not only is this a major career changer for you, but your most beloved University of Arizona will also reap benefits as this will be new and important research.

I look forward to working with you. Sincerely, Dr. Wang

He picked up his cell phone and called his assistant.

“Is everything packed for the Prescott trip?”

“Yea, it’s all in the truck. We put some extra antivenom in. There is some of every type you might run into up there. Were you going to go out anywhere along the way?” “No, just Prescott on this trip. Their population has really grown and we got people and pet troubles both these days.”

“Everything is set Jack.”

“Thank you. Take care of the place. I’ll call if I need anything shipped. Maybe I can get stuff at Yavapai College. I ought to make friends over there.”


He was watching Dr. Wang get interviewed on some women’s talk show. She had a great smile. He continued to pack his tools for venom hunting. He looked at the letter on the corkboard, then at his laptop. What the hell. He e-mailed a short reply that said he was gathering venom in Prescott, that he had read the letters and had been reading up on the project, and that he was seriously considering coming on board. Could they meet when he got back?

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The Bitchin' Kitsch October 2013 issue  

The Bitchin' Kitsch is a zine for artists, poets, prose writers, or anyone else who has something to say. It exists for the purpose of open...

The Bitchin' Kitsch October 2013 issue  

The Bitchin' Kitsch is a zine for artists, poets, prose writers, or anyone else who has something to say. It exists for the purpose of open...