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The snow is peaceful and quickly becomes part of the landscape. The colors of grass and still-clinging leaves on trees become grainier and dotted by the dusting of snow. You wrap your arms around Arbatrus, sharing your warmth with her; soon she will become the first snow-dinosaur across this land. She appears cold, but you are unsure—as this is the first time both of you have approached cold weather.

You wrap your scarf around Arbatrus and she looks up at you, smiling. She huffs a breath of warm air into your face. It looks like she is ready to move again. You climb onto her back and she starts at a slow amble away.

It gets a bit warmer as the day progresses but you feel a hint of doubt growing at bringing a dinosaur into the city. When was the last time anybody had seen a creature like Arbatrus? You look down at her bulky snout, as you lean against her warm neck. The slow lumbering movements of her stubby legs will feel out of the place in a city, won’t they? How will she fit in among the speeding cars and the bustling foot traffic?

As if listening to your thoughts, Arbatrus cranes her neck to try and raise her button eyes up to you.

“We could take a little detour, I suppose? There’s no real rush to get into the city.”

An assenting huff.

“It’s not like they’d put you in a circus, right?”

The question hangs in the air for a moment before disappearing. Maybe the city could wait another day. Even if it got a bit colder, what was another day spent exploring on our own?

As if reading your mind, Arbatrus stops and turns slightly west.

“I heard there’s an even bigger park just outside the city. Why don’t we start there?”

Setting off together, the heat from Arbatrus’ sides spreads to your own legs and upward to the rest of you. The snow is falling again, a bit more heavily. With the city to the side of you both, you set off together, dotted by snowflakes.

Your arms are growing tired. Your phone feels like the heaviest kettlebell from the gym, the one that you can only pick up with two hands. And so, with the great weight that it is, you keep your phone balanced between your two thumbs and the rests of your hands as you snap a few more photos.

You ask yourself: how long have I been standing here? and was this thing always this heavy? The wind coming off the bay cools your tired arms enough to make you feel like you can go on taking photos and enjoying the view. Each photo looks better than the last! Your arms tense and feel pumped, again, like you’re halfway through a workout. The phone starts to get heavier. What if you drop it into the sea? It’ll surely sink. You ask yourself: are all phones this heavy? Do I need to upgrade to a smaller model?.

But you do not, for everywhere else, phones are becoming increasingly heavy. People walk down the street and their shoulderbags or pants grow heavy; some even have to stop to tighten their belt as they feel a new mysterious weight that seems to be pulling them (or their pants) down. Those holding phones in just one hand immediately drop them; some unfortunately are dropped on unsuspecting feet. Everywhere, people’s phones drop to the ground, sag in pockets and backpacks, and even in some cases, fall through glass tables and smush piles of food.

You don’t know any of this, though. You just feel yourself getting ligher and lighter. It looks like the mist is going to lift from the bay. You stand for a few more minutes and when the sun comes out, you lower your arms and take a breath in. Then, in one swift movement, you heave your phone into the sea.

Does a shirt billow?

In a moment, you will stand by this question, having come to a stop at the bottom of the dune. Moments ago, your shirt filled with the air of your falling; it felt like a sail. There is no water around, and you’ve stopped moving. Looking up, the sky is the closest to an open body of water. You reach your arms up toward it, while you feel every grain of sand surround your still body. You fall back into the sand, and keep staring up, up, up, upward. You pull off your shirt and hold it over your head. You can still see the blue sky through its patterned checked-ness, but even the little shade that it offers makes you feel closer to water than you have felt in days.

In two days you will find yourself splashing water on your face from a dirty porcelain sink. The dunes will be behind you, miles and miles away, but for weeks to come, you will find sand in your possessions—in your socks, in the eyelets of your shoes when you lace them up, in your billowing shirt.

The sound of a blow drier pulls you into the present. You look up from where your hands, tucked under the barber-shop gown draped over you, and into the mirror in front of you. It is startlingly light here. Images of a darkened forest disappear into the back of your mind as you breathe in the smell of your treated and now drying-hair.

A few moments ago your bare legs were brushed by the untrampled growth of a small wood. You had never walked there before; it seems that no one had been here in a long time. As you passed through the wood you spent time noticing the smallest of sounds: Creeping Thistles and Cirsium swaying like pendulums after coming into contact with you and then springing back; you leave them behind as you continue to walk, continuously meeting new plants and leaving them with your quiet acquaintance); the sound of sunlight flickering through the canopy above you — the sound of it not quite reaching down to the undergrowth; you hear the sound of the one plucked fern you hold; its arms waving freely in the wind of your movement.

“How does it look,” the hairdresser says now, in the present. You don’t say anything, and he takes your silence as dissatisfaction. “Here, take a look at the back.” He pulls up the hand mirror and you see the one plucked fern you had held just moments ago, now resting peacefully, an extension of your hair.

“It’s perfect.”

You spin yourself around in the barber’s chair, faster and faster (faster, and faster, and faster) until the floor starts to swirl. It swirls faster (and the chair, faster) and faster until the chair and you upon it, disappear into the floor with a great suctioning noise.

When you wake up, you are back in the woods.


Former Action Quack

Somewhere between 250 and 500 words.

Nope! You could submit a photo of a place or thing and we'll still make a caricature for it.

At maximum, no more than two weeks.

We'll send it to you in an email. If you marked your caricature as public, we'll also send you a special link so you can share it. Public caricatures stay up for two weeks.

We delete all caricatures and their respective photos two weeks after you receive it. So you can, like, totally share your caricature with friends for just long enough before they forget about it entirely.

Well that would just be too bad. We hope you do like it, though. (Sorry, no refunds.)

The definition of a caricature is: 'A picture, description, or imitation of a person in which certain striking characteristics are exaggerated in order to create a comic or grotesque effect.' So, instead of a picture, we use words. Also, we skew positive, and not mean.

Yeah, please don't. You won't get a caricature and you won't get your money back.

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