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  • Oppressive DestinationsFrom The Lost Traveler's Tour Guide
  • Alexander Weinstein (bio)

The Island of Trilage

A love exists on the island of Trilage for all that spins. Here you'll find pinwheels aflutter in front yards, clacking spokes of bicycles studded with playing cards, roulette wheels whirling in casinos, and toy shops selling yoyos and spinning tops. Every clock in Trilage has a frenetic second hand, relentlessly circling past the hours as if attempting to win a race it can never conquer, and by doing so, it perfectly imitates the lives of its citizens.

For, on the island of Trilage, everyone is busy. Mornings are filled with the clatter of men and women rushing through kitchens, coffeemakers percolating, tea kettles screaming, as they hurry to feed the dog, iron their slacks, inhale breakfasts, and tear off in their cars for work. Around the island, shop owners prepare windows for the holidays or clear them for the next sales event. Angry motorists idle at red lights, policemen place tickets beneath the wipers of parked cars, workers rush to lunches, overworked parents do last minute grocery shopping, lovers hurry to dinner dates, and friends down a single-malt before running home. Playdates are arranged for children months in advance, only to be cancelled last minute, birthday cards are sent a week late, and every social occasion is buckshot with apologies. So sorry we never got back to you. I've been meaning to call! He's been so busy. You know how it is.

On Trilage, everyone wishes they could rest for a moment, long enough to have a glass of wine, plant a garden, take a vacation—but they never have the time: there's still laundry to fold, weddings to plan for, houses to paint, and lawns to mow. Next summer they'll finally take that vacation, they promise, and they roll up their sleeves and dive into a project which will consume the next decade of their lives.

This is why, despite all the hours, funds, and sleepless nights which The Trilage Bureau of Travel has spent trying to increase tourism to the area, their efforts prove unsuccessful. Those who visit the island, feel like lost goslings as they jump out of the way of impatient drivers, cringe from surly waiters, and cram into buses amid pushy men and rude women. They've left the island vowing never to return. Indeed, why anyone would ever book a trip to Trialge is a complete mystery to us; it's exactly like our hometowns. [End Page 77]

The Country of Abnök

In the dusty halls of the National Library one can still find the country's original maps. They've been there among the dark desks of the Law Library where old men turn onion-skinned pages, raise a finger to their lips, and tell you to shush. A large globe sits in the corner of the map room, ringed by a heavy brass stand which shuns its purpose with a printed sign: Do Not Touch. And there, behind the glass cases are the yellowed edges of the maps. Look closely, and you'll discover that, before Abnök, there was just an expanse of hills and plains and a river which now runs through the country's center.

Who constructed Abnök's borders? Schoolbooks tell the story of Archmanz, a man who prior to Abnök's creation was known for his small hands and an ability to build walls. He began by recruiting workers to build a wall around his hut, then a wall around his neighbor's, and soon he recruited more workers to build walls around the wheat fields and walls around the cattle. There were complaints from friends and family, but Archmanz rewarded his workers with stores of grain and jugs of cream, and soon Archmanz's walls expanded like ripples from a cast stone.

It was then that Archmanz announced his plan for The Great Wall. Soon, many came to help mix the mortar and stack the bricks until the wall stretched from the forests of the South to the mountains of the North. Archmanz crowned himself king then, and he turned...


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pp. 77-80
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