Illustrations: Alaska

I MET A BOY who was a riddle speaker. He was 25 but looked 16. He was short but broad. He sat stiff, awkward, but smiled. We ate pizza by the open marshes next to the light house. Sitting outside on the damp wooden benches. It was long past ten but the sky was still light. And he told me an old story...
The kids run around and play games. The brother pretends he is a bear and the sisters act up – afraid. The boy chases them but to the sisters' horror, the boy turns into a bear. This time they are truly terrified and run for their lives. They run past a stump of a tree which calls out "If you climb me, I will save you." The sisters scamper on top and as they do the tree starts to rise up and into the air. The bear comes to hunt but they are out of reach, he roars and scores the bark with his claws but he cannot catch them. They are gone and the sisters grow up and turn into the stars.

All this happened when dogs could talk.

I MET A DOG named Wolfgang Deckers. Wolfgang had ice blue eyes. At first I thought he was blind because all I could see where two misty marbles as he got up to say hello. Then he looked at me and I could see the pinpoint black pupils staring directly. I paused still – I thought he might pounce and bite into my face. But Deckers just walked off to get his red ball so we could play. Deckers was old, I could tell from his thick, matted coat. Deckers spent all day tied to this pole out here. People underestimated him, I thought. He was sharp. But then he was bored, he was tired and had been tamed.