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clambers aboard before dawn to await her lover. And these geographical shifts were broadcast by the King’s eight best heralds, one for each direction, though North East and East constantly crossed paths and shouted the same news twice in one part of town (“Mild quakes at sundown; queasy sleep, followed by dreams of flying; high chance of Charlie horse”) while another quarter received no news at all. Obviously this caused some problems with real estate. Tourism, too, was a tricky business. The King preferred not to lie. These bedrock agitations made foreigners infrequent, for who would risk losing their deckhands on the voyage when the lighthouse could change locations three times in one night—first here, then there, and now—nowhere? (In an untimely bout of boredom, the lightkeeper had finally found some sleep.) And so the citizens kept to themselves, tossing in their sleep, making myths about a shadow monster they named Bougie for the candles he blew out as he stumbled around, knocking into furniture that bled in with the dark. Come dawn, the King’s people wore the same defeated expression, tagged with eggplant-colored skin below the eyes, and patches of un-dread-lockable hair from where they’d rolled their pillow out, back and forth, back and forth, as if they could fashion quiche crust from scraps of interrupted dreams. Too tired to frown or shout, they did everything in half measure, appearing less angry on the whole when a traveling anthropologist came to take a measure of the Gross Kingdomly Happiness. Ys made its only appearance in a travel guide under “Places You’ll Never Visit But Always Wish You Had.” Some people, it’s true, were able to leave their exhaustion in bed, showing none of the normal sleep-deprived anxieties, that propensity for second-guessing decisions and re-opening shut doors. They had an easier time than most, for they 347

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2017 Word for Work Workshop ebook  

2017 Word for Work Workshop ebook  

Profile for cusoa