Totem poles are a dime a dozen north of 63° ... but only Ketch, the lying Eskimo, vowed they dropped out of frigid northern skies.
e ceased to manipulate the unresponding controls. Stretching his trunklike torso to its full twenty feet, four heads gazed through observation ports at the four points of the compass while the remaining head desultorily watched the instrument panel.
Since die he must, Probos Five would meet his end stoically, and five pairs of stumpy arms folded over five chests in a coordinated gesture of resignation.
Probos Five thought fleetingly of his wife Lingua Four and remembered with some annoyance that she was the author of his present predicament. A social climber, Probos Five thought to himself, but aside from that a good wife and mother in addition to being a reigning beauty. Lingua Four was tall even for a Mercurian. Already she scaled seven dergs, or in Earth terms, fourteen feet and was beginning to show evidences of a fifth head. Five heads were rarely foun
The story is not meant to be taken seriously. A tragedy for Mercury turns out to be a windfall for Earth. The ending is telegraphed early on, so the joke is pretty much stale by the time you get to it.
2013 SFR GALAXY AWARD WINNER
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