The Starving Activist is the sometimes-home for words. AR Neal (that’s me) finds them, cultivates them, and leaves them here. Enjoy.

InMon, 11 March 2013: Answers-Are-Us

The prompt: Paradox Repair; 334 words offered for this week's InMon. Click here for more on the crocodile paradox if you are interested...

"It is not my job to know how the crocodile was able to dial a phone." Why I got stuck with each new recruit on Tuesdays was beyond me; I think the boss did it in hopes that I would be able to train them properly. Wilomena was a piece of work for sure and the day was getting longer with each question. I had just made a repair and was going over the manifest with her.“So the crock dialed in and what was his problem?” Wilomena seemed to go cross-eyed in thought.She just wasn’t cut out for this business. “The dad correctly guessed that the child wasn’t coming home,” I sighed. “We get lots of calls when that happens because the crocodiles don’t want to appear uncouth; they need our help to formulate a kind and witty retort."“So tell me again what you said,” Wilomena settled down with her pen and pad, intent on recording my every word as if it was gospel. I took the pad and pen from her.“Listen, dearie.” I sat next to her and tried to keep my voice as kindly as I could muster. “Most of this job comes from the heart. We listen to the customer and we respond with empathy. Think of it: if you were in the crock’s place, what would you say if you didn’t want to hurt the dad’s feelings?”Wilomena thought for a moment. “Well,” she sniffed, “I wouldn’t have stolen the child in the first place. That’s just cruel.”I took a deep breath and tried not to roll my eyes. “Just say you did steal the child, but you were gonna give it back. You get the dad on the line and ask him to guess the plan and he guesses right. What do you say?”Her eyes lit up. “I’d say, sir, you are much wiser than me. You are correct.”That wasn’t what I said, but maybe the old girl had promise after all.

FLASH: Country Mouse

Trifecta, Week Sixty-Eight: Deep Space Astronaut