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A bill of $40 million is presented to the village. A million a day plus service plus bonus plus tax. There is a press launch. The Premier cuts a blue ribbon across the new more narrow valley. I stay at the store that day. Still got the marks from the handcuffs the last time.
Ten environmental monitors will remain for a year. That's extra. The rest of the workers pack up, ready to move onto their next project: it seems that the next valley is now 100 meters too wide. I'll head up there in my new Mustang, wave at Tangerine Boy, see if Pinky Sweety wants a ride. I've got a lot of cash now and only a few years to spend it. And I saved a few of them magic blue pills. In this crazy modern world at least there's one thing you can count on to point you in the right direction. Maybe she'll flash me a "Fast" sign.
Babar Javed is a British-Pakistani immersed in the joys of British Columbia. He is named after a medieval Indian emperor, rather than an elephant, blacksheep, hairdresser or dessert. Babar has had articles published on archaeology, spirituality, language and female fantasies. Baa-baa's current projects are mystical short stories set locally, and a recounting of his pilgrimage to the world's holy sites. Barber likes sacred geometry, classic sci-fi and Canadian Tire. Rum Baba's favorite quote is by Persian mystic Rumi: "The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you." He is usually up by midday.
Third Place #2
By Rebecca Wood Barrett
In the spring of the year I turned thirty-one, my maternal clock started ticking-I ignored it. The next thing you know every time I switch on the radio Metallica's For Whom the Bell Tolls was playing so I casually brought up the subject with my husband James.
"What do you think about us having kids?"
"We should get a cat," he said.
I couldn't disagree. We both loved cats.
"A cat? Or a kitten?"
"Kitten. But it has to be completely black."
"Really? All black? Not even a mustache? Little white mittens?"
"Bob was all black."
Bob Cat was James's beloved pet of 14 years. A couple of years previous the elderly, cancer-ridden feline had gently passed in his arms. I watched a grown man weep inconsolably over a cat. He got through the denial and anger stages, and when he moved on to bargaining I asked him to marry me.