Saturday, September 2, 2017


Tom Swift and his Automatic Sausage Maker

The front door opened and another one came out, carrying Grandma's Victrola. Janice peered through the binoculars. At 8X they looked like Santa's elves, right down to the curly-toed shoes. Pine straw poked her in several places, and because of the lack of underbrush she couldn't move much without being spotted. Now two "elves" went back in the shed, carrying between them some parts from the old washer they'd been dismantling. Nearly all of the Chevy had already disappeared inside, not to mention the toaster and a bunch of other stuff from the house. It must be getting pretty crowded inside. One of the elves had what looked like a meat grinder going as fast as he could turn the crank, but what went in was dead leaves, and the sausage that came out shone like aluminum. At least they're cleaning up the place, she thought, and Emma will stop riding me about that. Emma! There she was now, pulling into the yard, apparently lost in radioland, not even noticing the red-jacketed creatures who had taken over the yard. Shit! She actually got out and started for the house, then stopped dead still. She wasn't screaming and jumping around; something must be wrong. Janice bit her lip, then picked up her rifle, never taking her eyes off the tableau below. Two of the elves took Emma's hands and led her into the shed. Now they had a hostage. She silently backed down the hill. She'd have to come up from the west where there was more cover. She'd have to do it fast.

By the time she had the yard in view again everything was gone: the shed, the truck, the rest of the Chevy, the elves, and Emma. She ran to the spot where the shed had been. Bare dirt; the meat grinder stood in the very center as if left behind in payment. Her baby sister was gone. It was time for a drink.

After a while the quart jar was empty, but nothing was going to bring Emma back. A tear ran down her cheek. She thought for a few minutes. A meat grinder that turned dead leaves into aluminum ought to have SOME value. It did.


About a year later Emma showed up again, her diminutive baby in tow.

He takes after his father. I think he'll be a great engineer," she said.

Publ. 2007 daily cabal

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