I dust off the transceiver and hit the transmit button. “Is this frequency in use?”
No response, so I repeat. My words fade into the silence.
Satisfied that I wasn’t intruding upon giants debating how best to protect their castles in the sky from invasive vines, I say, “CQ, CQ, CQ. This is Kitsune calling.”
Twice more I utter those words, but, aside from the brief techno power washer that leaves my ears ringing, I hear nothing. I check the time. I glance at the map and double check that they are within one of the reachable swaths. They are. I check my frequency. I try again and wonder if the only reply will be light years away and won’t be able to answer until long after I have figured out how to have more than one tail.
It’s hard enough trying to contact Reality, Inc. and reminding them that, “yes, I’m still paying the bills and, no, I haven’t checked out yet, that’s the fox who lives down the lane from over and under the hill next to the candlestick maker who had a falling out with his two friends after the tub incident last December, but whether or not said fox is actually gone or is merely creating the illusion of having departed is a trade secret of the Tricksters Guild, of which you are obviously not a member, so I cannot inform you and, oh bother, you’ve gone and hung up on me.” But try contacting a wordweaving phoenix who dances, a painter of stars, a brotherhood of somewhat scruffy-looking eschewers of obfuscation who have been known to help you off the cliffs of insanity, a mega wolf (or man or wolfman) and his diminutive ponies, or any of the others who are probably quite put off that they weren’t included. At least with Reality, Inc. you know right away when you’ve spaced on the gravity bill.
As I stare at the transceiver, someone on the frequency says, “I noticed that your word choice in your message wasn’t enough to get many people to pay attention to you. If you pay me money, I can help you intersperse your speech with the words you need to be heard by millions.” It was only a Viking.
I almost turn off the set, but keep it on in hopes that someone will come on looking for me. Having been under radio silence for so long, the fault was probably mine – there’s only so much someone wants to go calling, “Fox. Fox!” before they slip out. A clock ticks out the hours. They stroll in, boisterously banging on whatever they can. I barely hear them sneak out. At the end of the day, I’m a little bit older, even more distracted, and still unable to bridge the distance, as the dragon flies, between me and those dear to me.
The start of my month-long dance with 50,000 coherently connected words is tomorrow and though I’ve said half of what I have to say in half as elusive of terms, I’m afraid that I will sleep half as well as I deserve for half of the time remaining. Hopefully I can balance the enlightenment (or furthering of delusion…) of my students with the new sort of dance I am about to start. As a bonus, it would be nice to ramble to you on time, but let’s not be too hasty.
P.S. TheSaurus, or “the lizard,” is a wonderful sort of dinosaur and will let you ride on its back while it romps around the verdant peat bogs.