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WRITING STORIES WITH MONSTERS


Glorious & Wild Birds

Glorious & Wild Birds

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The renowned 1929 edition of The Guide to Glorious & Wild Birds of Achoa National Island gave no advice on how to deal with the island’s monstrosities once you discovered them. This was two-fold. First, its editor, St. Timothy’s Press, assumed you were not dumb enough to approach the creatures and second, a bird of underestimated strength mauled the author who ignored the first assumption and created it in the same moment. Assumptions are a funny thing and because people assume they are universally acknowledged, the editor of the book printed “The End” after the unfinished tenth chapter: “Our Guardian Angels: The Symbiotic Relationship Between Men and Birds” and chose to exclude any information on the author’s mysterious death. And yet Dr. Isaac Glass, trusted academic and premier scholar of zoological oddities, assumed the brevity of the tenth chapter was in preparation for a second volume and a tactic to increase sales. He tossed the book into the river and commanded the boatman to push forward with a wave of his hand.


a bird of underestimated strength mauled the author who ignored the first assumption and created it in the same moment

Dr. Glass was in a pursuit of a rather cryptic raptor, given name, "Hellbird" found in chapter three. His knowledge of its general location and appearance boiled down to some napkin sketches stolen from a boozer in London, and St. Timothy's Press's text. Neither proved reliable and ending his research, he took the first plane he could secure and knocked on the door of a local. The boatman answered and for the price of a pint of Guinness, agreed to guide Dr. Glass to the presumed location of the Hellbird.

Their conversation was sparse and in the middle of a debate about God's role in science, the boatman ended the conversation: "I am a man of what I can see." He refused to take his eyes from his destination and Dr. Glass let the conversation hang knowing he was in the presence of another man of science.

Touching sand, Dr. Glass paid the boatman and refused all invitations to see him back: "I am quite content and prepared to be where I am." He offered a prayer to science and upon "amen" the boatman pocketed the change and rowed home. Dr. Glass, reciting the first few lines of his acceptance speech, took a deep breath, and marched towards his prize.

The second edition of The Guide to Glorious & Wild Birds of Achoa National Island printed in 1933. A reader of the first edition will note that the page count increases by a mere one page, inserted after the publisher's information and before the table of contents. It reads: "If you use this distinguished book to locate one of the many majestic birds found on Achoa National Island, please do not approach it. They see it as an act of war."

The editor denied an attempt to change "The End" to "To be continued."


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