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Home Country

BY SLIM RANDLES

Willoughby breezed through the valley the other day. He lives in the capital city, but whips on through here about once a month, and each time he comes he has new things to sell.

"You suppose," said Bert, watching Willoughby's van pull into town, "he sells all of it each time and fills everyone's orders, or just doesn't sell any of it and has to try new things?"

If we were to ask him, of course, it would ruin speculation, which is one of our favorite things to do around here. Willoughby, despite his advancing years, leaped out of the van and went into the Soup 'R Market to see Annette. Naturally, we followed.

"Say," Doc said, as we crossed the street, "wasn't Willoughby's hair brown the last time he was here? It's black today."

"I believe you're right," Bert said.

Coal black. We could see that as we came in and bought sodas. Shoe polish, I think. We settled back against the pop machine and prepared to enjoy the show.

"Whatcha got, Willoughby?"

"The latest and greatest thing going, Annette. You know how you can't get fresh seafood here because of the distance, right? Well, now there's Simulated brand Seafood, all the flavor of the briny deep without any of the delicacy that makes it go bad on you."

"Simulated?"

"Just as good as the real thing. Yes, ma'am, I have simulated swordfish steaks, slightly sea bass, faux flounder, kinda crab, and our number one seller this week ... you ready for this ... tah DAH .... Scarcely Scallops!"

"I don't know, Willoughby..."

He sparkled right up to the challenge. We sipped on those pops. This beat anything on TV.

"Now we have simulated seafood, with a shelf life that will keep all your customers happy for as long as they want to hang onto them."

Annette said no to Willoughby, sending him on down the road to greener pastures. It's just as well. I'm holding out for Prit-Near Prawns myself.

Brought to you by Imagination Theater. Hear what you've been missing at www.transmediasf.com/imag.html.

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