New Guinea

The man is—what? An amalgamation of animals? A chimera? But aren’t we all such things? Mixtures of substances, elements, ancestors, spirits, humors, in a word, star stuff, the smoke from a solar furnace? Regardless, he has the face of a guinea pig, that’s for certain: broad nose, thin eyes and lips, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he suddenly confessed to owning a great deal of guinea pigs over the course of his life, if he had a taste for them as both friends and dinners. Handsome men are likewise known to spend substantial portions of their free time in the company of lions, so as to improve their physical appearance; this practice is called Psychological Cosmetics. Anyway, his cheeks are so bristly it seems his beard is made of quills, so it’s best not to pinch them, much as you’d like to. As for his body, well, it’s big, broad, wide, tall, distinct as a giant snapping turtle waddling on its hind legs, so he’s not entirely guinea pig, more a guinea turtle, or a snapping pig. A fondness for sweaters and wool hats worn indoors bespeaks a Canadian heritage…I liked him because he reminded me of Maine. He could have easily been born in a straw-roofed den tucked somewhere deep in the pines, snowed in under a mountain of white glittering powder, a little wisp of smoke curling up into the sky with a few red sparks following the wind’s sinuous contours.

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