A Service Announcement by Elizabeth Walton

One day there was a lion with no eyes but extremely keen hearing. Awards were to be won, oh yes and lion won them all. Progressively, speeches were given which were received with much applause and contempt, simultaneously. Snakes and horses of every colour in the rainbow grinned and neighed and frequented the neighbourhood pubs after these glorious occasions. Impressed ducklings (ugly or not) cavorted and paraded their feathers but lion did not want these prizes; he was no king of the jungle to be swayed in such slippery fashions. No, these were not the type of prizes he was interested in. See, prizes are funny; awarded at the awardee's discretion, no interview or funny poll or quiz beforehand in order to determine what would be most appropriate. Just dressed up (or down, perhaps during those periods of reverse polarity). Shipped off, packaged up and sold on the spot to prospective and vaguely interested buyers. Trudging along the Rue de Sienne during peak times, one can idle throughout the idling spots. Areas devoted specifically to street walkers, street sleepers and those in the profession of monotony seeking pale indications of more to be had. Here and there one may find him- or herself lucky enough to encounter one of the magi. Special, unworldly animagi who will (and they will; take that to the bank) exploit and undercut any and every housewife and bigot with whom they find themselves immersed in small-talk and big-talk. Gifted with the powers of transformation and transmitigation and illustrious intelligent adjectives for which they pawned their underage daughters on the stock exchange. Exceptional, as they were. Or as they had been or will be or won't be. Our methods of measurement do not apply to these aliens, you know. Try as you might to place their value in Euros or Franks, or even their weight in kilos or grams or pounds, and you'll get lost and probably never be found. That's where they all go; that's why the Bermuda Triangle is so mysterious, see. No one realizes this mystical fascinating place is actually just a proverbial dumping ground for the supernatural. Then, fun's over and there's a new model, I hear. I think you've got enough frequent flyer miles to make your purchase, what with that dusty old rust-bucket there, who wouldn't want to upgrade? Grandpa closed the book and set it down on the old nightstand and folded his hands and eyes and lungs into a perfect square and sent me off to bed. I'm not sure if even he knew the moral of the story.

Elizabeth Walton is a writer currently serving a life sentence in small-town, Ontario with the slight possibility of parole for good behaviour.