[ToC]

 

THE XENOPHOBIC EGG-LAYING MAMMAL

Michael Brooks Cryer

 

Twittering among the talismans and homunculi we'd already collected, the xenophobic egg-laying mammal stared into our eyes, never having seen a hairless face or a pair of lips. It received us in a way we hadn't anticipated, looking passed us with a slipping glimpse. This is what genius looks like, I'm sure—just before pests swarm in surrounding those who've recently bathed in their own shallow discoveries. But this wasn't that kind of experiment—we had tongs and tubes. Our laboratory's vestibule was rife with glamorous images of outposts we'd once visited. Or should I say, we'd been places that were now photographed for the sake of their vanishing points. The new mammal we'd taken prisoner would never know any of these places or grow to dislike anyone but us. You could tell by the way it scratched its thigh, pointing one attenuated finger in our direction that the little xenophobe's myth was ours and ours alone to destroy.

 

 

 

 

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This is an old poem. I think I had read somewhere that a new mammal had been discovered in a rainforest someplace—it might have even laid eggs! I can’t remember. But I’ve always liked oddball animals like the aye-aye and the platypus. Natives of Madagascar think if an aye-aye, a night lemur, points at you with its long index finger you are marked for death. Also, not only does the platypus lay eggs, it has a poisonous spine. Imagine!