If you love, adore the moon. If you rob, steal a camel.

Stories for the Long Silk Road

Sunday, December 16, 2012

KJ Hannah Greenberg: Defense

Honorable Milktoe George Wallibun II, Regional Magistrate,

Last week, Ducky Earl, owner of Galactic Leveraging and Landscaping Service of The Milky Way, gave me an estimate for some work. Mr. Earl said it would cost Intergalactic Standard 245.00 to subdue four specimens, and an additional Intergalactic Standard 174.00 to move them, plus any other species (up to 1 rocket’s worth), to Bode’s Galaxy from my home in The Virgo Cluster. Mr. Earl also said it would cost Intergalactic Standard 262.00 to reintegrate those specified beasts. Last, he quoted me an additional cost of Intergalactic Standard 40.00, per man-hour, for subduing and transporting any additional large species and an additional 29.00, per man-hour for subsequent, but less skilled ,work. I agreed to those terms and paid him a deposit of Intergalactic Standard 500.00 on June 1.

On June 6, Galactic Leveraging subdued the four indicated specimen. The work took longer than the Mr. Earl had estimated. As a result, Galactic Leveraging only subdued three of the seven hydras I had wanted transported, citing that the company lacked time to subdue more. As a result, my large red pyrohydra, my colony of cryohydra, and others of my mature specimens, were left behind. In about half of an hour, Galactic Leveraging loaded, onto two of their rockets, all of the available reintegratable materials, both what Galactic Leveraging had subdued and what a neighbor’s teenager had subdued prior to Galactic Leverageing’s arrival.

Once in Bode’s Galaxy, Galactic Leveraging interned the four large items. Galactic Leveraging did terminate two chimeras in order to do so and did move one chthonic water beast away from its destined location. Meanwhile, since Galactic Leveraging had such a long haul, I had the star cluster’s best ethnic restaurant restock their galley and I shipped them classic Coke from my own personal larder.

Galactic Leveraging interned nothing else for me during that span since Mr. Earl said it was imperative for his team to go home. Thus, three of the precious hydras of mine, that had been transported, were left uninterned. All of the other members of my menagerie, which made transport, too, were left uninterned (and remain that way to this day-I have lost thousands of Intergalactic Standard units on dead and dying specimens). Meanwhile, I gave the Mr. Earl another 500.00 and suggested we figure out the balance when he returned to reintegrate the remaining hydras.

His people did not return until June 20, after many pulse messages from me, to reintegrate the hydras (are a large variant of the species, about eight Galactic in circumference). Galactic Leveraging interned them where there was no room for any further hydras to grow. Mr. Earl acknowledged that he was aware that one of the hydras would suffer stunting given the location in which he had had his men locate it. So I asked them to rereintegrate all of the transported hydras, never dreaming they would charge me for correcting their error.

While the men were working on the hydras, the Mr. Earl and I sat down to discuss billing. We agreed on: the Intergalactic Standard 245.00, the Intergalactic Standard174.00 and the Intergalactic Standard 262.00 charges (see above) to a total of Intergalactic Standard 681.00. We did not agree on the Intergalactic Standard100.00 extra Mr. Earl asked me to pay for the second rocket.

As a negotiation strategy, I asked Mr. Earl to estimate the actual time it took his crew to subdue, to transport and to reintegrate the three leftover hydras, to terminate the two chimeras and to make hash out of the small, but lethal, gelatinous blue flying quip that Mr. Earl found when his men interned the three hydras.

Mr. Earl asked for eight and one half extra man hours, en total:
* one extra man hours for loading;
* one extra man hour for unloading
* one and one half extra man hours for terminating the chimeras and the gelatinous flying quip
* three extra man hours for working with the hydras
*two and one half extra man hours for miscellaneous fees, including the time involved in rushing a worker to a galactic hospital
For a total of 8 ½ extra man hours beyond Galactic Leveraging’s initial estimate at a cost of an additional Intergalactic Standard 681.00

In sum,
At Intergalactic Standard 29.00/hr, 8.5 extra hours =Intergalactic Standard 246.50.
At Intergalactic Standard 40.00/hr, 8.5 extra hours=Intergalactic Standard 340.00.  Intergalactic Standard 681.00 + Intergalactic Standard 246.50=Intergalactic Standard 927.50;
Intergalactic Standard 681.00 +Intergalactic Standard 340.00 =Intergalactic Standard1021.00.

I told Mr. Earl we could settle the tens of Intergalactic Standards later, when he finished reintegrateing my smaller specimens. He already had Intergalactic Standard1,000.00 of my money in the form of a deposit.

In answer, Mr. Earl fumed and fussed about the hours that his crew had used to subdue and to reintegrate the above listed specimens. He said that the work had taken two or three times what he had estimated.

I acknowledged that, in hindsight, he had underestimated, but offered to pay him no extra for that error. I would not have hired him had I thought it would cost twice what his written estimate had stated.

I had to leave my new Bode’s Galaxy home to conclude some business in The Virgo Cluster. When I returned, rather than finding others of my specimens reintegrated, I found Mr. Earl, his men, their rockets, and their tools gone.

On June 29th, I received a statement from Mr. Earl claiming that I owed him an additional Intergalactic Standard 1,046.00. He also mailed to me official paperwork, which he wanted mailed back to him, claiming that his work was a capital improvement and therefore not subject to tax (form enclosed).

On the statement, the Mr. Earl charged me for the labors that I had executed myself or that I had hired a neighbor’s kid to complete. What’s more, Mr. Earl charged me for many more man hours than he had orally specified in our conversation of June 20, i.e. for twenty-five man hours of unloading specimens, rather than for the half hour he had originally claimed. He charged, too, for “consultation with customer on reintegration placement.” That latter business was nonsense since I, myself, had made the drawings of where each species was to be placed in my biological gardens, including the destined locations for the specimens Mr. Earl had failed to subdue or to move for me. Finally, Mr. Earl also meant to charge me for relocating the last three hydras even though he, himself, had admitted that he had botched that job.

I was shocked at that letter. First, Mr. Earl hadn’t even tried to contact me via pulsing channels. Second, the nature of the letter amazed me. “Audacious” seems a polite term for Mr. Earl’s behavior.

On the advice of a friend, I waited to sort out my sentiments before responding. Thus, it happened that I received a second copy of Mr. Earl’s June 29’s letter on July 24 and he had heard nothing from me.

Again, I was counseled to wait. On August 19, I received a third copy of his letter with a warning attached that Mr. Earl would be seeking legal remedy.

Today, Sept. 22, I received a certified letter (having received a fourth, uncertified, copy in today’s mail). Those letters summon me to small claims court. Mr. Earl thinks I should pay Galactic Leveraging and Landscaping Service of The Milky Way the additional Intergalactic Standard 1,046.00 that he has “documented” in his series of mailings, plus that I should pay his Intergalactic Standard 16.00 court filing fee.

I think I should pay Galactic Leveraging Intergalactic Standard100.00 for the extra rocket, only. If there are other fees to be adjudicated, it’s the case that Mr. Earl owes me. Many of my specimen collection was neither subdued nor shipped. In addition, my zoo called for the reintegration of all seven of my hydras, not merely for the three that he chose to subdue on his second trip to Bode’s Galaxy. Even those three fared poorly, having grown impossibly wild during the weeks between their arrival and their internment.  I believe that Mr. Earl needs, as well, to reimburse me for the specimens that rotted in his crates when left at the star port.

Please advise, at your first convenience, a suitable remedy. My garden is destroyed. I do not want that bandit to have the pleasure of ruining my pocket money, too.

Clarence P. Snickleberry

Monday, December 3, 2012

M.N. O'Brien: Mr. Bennett's Holes

Robert Bennett arrived in Jefferson some years ago, wearing a navy blue suit and round red spectacles. He had purchased a sizable plot of land of twelve square acres in the remote part of town, south of the railroad. Since his arrival, Mr. Bennett had caused quite a stir of gossip in the small New England community. It was not his high-end attire that caused the commotion, though it likely accumulated some ill will towards the man at first; the town was quite poor economically, and such a well-dressed man is bound to be observed with tempered speculation. The main concern of the town involved Mr. Bennett’s use of the land he acquired.

The plot of land was fertile and ideal for farming an impressive array of crops. As various planting seasons came and went without produce being grown from Mr. Bennett’s land, the townspeople came to wonder why a lucrative investment opportunity was going to waste. Then one day, Mr. Bennett walked out upon his land in denim overalls and red flannel shirt and started to dig.

The townspeople quieted down for a respectable amount of time, rationalizing that Mr. Bennett was finally going to put his land to good use. After several weeks had passed from any ideal growing season, Mr. Bennett continued to dig holes all over his property. Rumors spread across town as to the reasoning behind Mr. Bennett’s holes.

Theories grew across town from both sides of the tracks. Mrs. Williston hypothesized Mr. Bennett was digging holes for graves for a future apocalyptic war or famine. Harold Bridges son, Jack, thought Mr. Bennett was trying to dig for oil. Dr. Jamieson, the dentist, believed that Mr. Bennett was constructing a minefield. Some people thought Mr. Bennett was digging for fossils, others thought he was some sort of geologist, and conducting a study of the area, for some scientific reason. The townspeople became divided into schools of thought in regards to the purpose of Mr. Bennett’s holes.

Several more bold speculators inquired Mr. Bennett as to what he was doing. Jeff Higgins would stop by every few days, lean on the rickety old post-and-rail wooden fence that bordered Mr. Bennett’s land from the road and shouted inquiries and offers to aid him in his task. Higgins would jokingly ask Mr. Bennett if he was trying to get to China. All the inquiries went unanswered by Mr. Bennett. Though the townspeople were frustrated with the man, it was only when Mrs. Everett came home from the supermarket one day when anyone from the town felt threatened by Mr. Bennett’s peculiar actions.

Mrs. Everett had finished putting her groceries away and was about to call her son Bill to get ready for dinner when she spotted him in the backyard. Bill was digging a hole. When asked by his mother what purpose he had digging a hole in the backyard, Bill replied, “Why not?”

Soon, several of the children of began digging holes in their parents’ lawn. The trend caused such a significant outcry from members of both the church and the PTA, that the town had a meeting at City Hall to discuss a possible solution, and cast blame on the responsible party. Mr. Bennett was not in attendance.

Mrs. Howard, head of the PTA, told members of the council in a firm voice that Mr. Bennett was having a negative impact on Jefferson's youth, as well as Jefferson’s image by ruining the town’s aesthetic quality with a bunch of holes. Several uproarious citizens shouted in agreement. One person shouted the suggestion that the whole community go over to Mr. Bennett’s house and fill all his holes. This created laughter among the children who were in attendance, but the adults found the laughter more reason to dislike Mr. Bennett. Another concerned parent asked what right Mr. Bennett had, keeping his head underground all day.

After several more outbursts, the committee issued a cease and desist order to Mr. Bennett. The order forbid Mr. Bennett to dig holes that were not going to be used for crops. In addition, Mr. Bennett was to fill the existing holes on his property. The order was delivered to Mr. Bennett’s house through mail, as none of the local authorities wished to confront Mr. Bennett, as curious as they were to witness the man’s reaction.

Within two weeks of receiving the order, Mr. Bennett filled the holes on his property and sold it back at a fraction of the price. It was presumed that Mr. Bennett had returned to where he came, though it is unknown if he knew the reason why he was ordered to fill up his holes. The citizens couldn’t care less. The town of Jefferson returned to its life without any holes.

Silk Road Mantra

by Suchoon Mo

bury me not

in the lone Silk Road

I go and go

from west to east

I go and go

from east to west

bury me not

in the lone Silk Road


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