Saturday, June 2, 2007


Letter to Friends and Lovers (p. 2)

Dear Friends and Lovers,

It has come to my attention that you are aware of the presence of one publication, The Awkward Alligator, of which you are at the present moment in possession. While I recommend that you read the contents of said magazine with whatever keen awareness and vigour you are able to devote, I also would like to place inside your head a number of notions that we have been discussing of late. Do you mind if I explain in the next paragraph?

Thank you, Reader, I see that you are both humane and of capable faculties. I was telling you before that we have been gabbing about new ideas, and we've decided to make some additions in the coming year that you should probably make yourself familiar with. Some of you are already familiar with the group to which we belong, the RE: collective, but others of you are not. The website is on the back of this AA, and you should probably poke in to say hello. Through RE: we do our mail art stuff and a new project called Excerpts that's pretty sweet. In the next year we will also be launching our Wish Tank, dedicated to writing strongly worded letters to all the different people and organizations that so desperately need a dose of diction. All of our friends are encouraged (almost required, really) to download the letterhead, write off a couple scolding lines, and then send it to the offending person (or organization). We'll make sure you know more about it as the website comes up.

Speaking of which, can I write to you for just a second in a candid manner? Bless you. The deal is this: many of you have chatted with us over our email address (, and this is always good because we like chatting, but now we have a website where you can also chat. No, seriously. All of you know how much we flap our gums about helping smart readers find smart writers, and a blog-style website seemed like a logical extension of that. We're still doing a bunch of work, but most AA back-issues are up there now for your perusing pleasure. Where is it? At, of course! All submissions, comments, questions, and general gossip can still be sent to the email address, (and for submissions the email address is the only way [actually, just recently The Awkward Alligator has activated it's very own PO Box, feel free to send things to us; see "submit work" section on the right side of your screen for address details]) but for other chats about stories, poems, or friendship we'll now be using our new babble-wagon.

I know that you're smart, Reader. You'll figure out the rest. In the meantime please try some of this Awkward Alligator. I hope you think it's delicious.

With Due Gusto,

Vincent Saint-Simon

Contents (p. 3)



Never Ignorant of Getting Goals Accomplished
Oedipus Jones

brock bernard

Outline For a Discourse
C. Yumi Kim

brock bernard


Nikki Rainey

Artist’s Statement
Curt Bozif

Strongly Worded Letter to Smiling Fox
Vincent Saint-Simon

Strongly Worded Letter to Vincent Saint-Simon
Smiling Fox


Don’t Forget to Write
Vincent Saint-Simon

The Awkward Alligator is lovingly shuffled together by Matt, Nikki, Curt, Natalie, Brock, AJ, and Nick. Please send submissions to:

Never Ignorant of Getting Goals Accomplished (p. 6)


Never Ignorant of Getting Goals Accomplished
Oedipus Jones

I want
To drink coffee without any ulcers,
To smoke without worry of cancer,
To take drink in excess with no consequences
Physical or social,
To read think and write (almost) exclusively,
Confound reason and commonsense,
And plague the collective unconscious with my contemptible whims.

I will achieve a literal immortality
And die by my own hand.

floaters (p. 7)

brock bernard

i asked around
and i hear that they're called floaters,

quickly becoming
a great annoyance for me.

they make me feel old.
they make me feel dry.

they make me feel like a writer,
which is quite the shame; i am most certainy not,

waking up a three pm
with burning eyes because of that oppressive

late afternoon sunlight, reading Ginsberg and
writing 'i feel' statements.

a different floater in a different eye
every other week.

and it makes me wonder,
really if they aren't just errant memories,

ones i was looking for a fortnight ago,
saying their last goodbyes laughingly.

three-and-twenty feels old
and i can't back that up tomorrow, with new ash

in my eyes.

Outline for a Discourse (p. 8)

Outline for a Discourse
C. Yumi Kim

The Windy City
The Coast
Crowded Airport
You, of course.
In Between
This is the skeleton of a discourse. I hope to finish it one day.

ten (p. 9)

brock bernard

turtle shimmied left,
he only wanted to
see the big sky

Manifesto (p. 12)


Nikki Rainey

Saturday night, I babysat Anya and it took her forty five minutes to fall asleep she’s really nervous about sleeping. I told her a very prolonged, cleaned up version of the Twelve Dancing Princesses and then sat patting her back for what seemed like hours.

I think: she can’t actually be paying attention to this ridiculous shit, I add adjectives “luxurious gown,” “melancholy visage,” I wonder if she’s scared, or if she thinks I’m insane, or if she’d really like to believe that she’s a princess sneaking out of her room every night to muck around with handsome phantoms in an underground ball.

I have this childhood memory of telling myself stories when I couldn’t sleep, hoping the stories would turn into dreams. Now I’m a grown-up and I teach poetry to children as part of my job. I ask them, “write a list of three dreams you can remember.”

They write about:

1. boogers,
2. wrestling (specifically John Cena from the WWF),
3. traditionally inanimate objects violently eating their friends.

This is what they always write about, except for one teacher-pleasing little girl who writes about wanting to be able to fly, and God I love her for it. But I can’t blame them, it’s after school, they’re being smart, being funny, and making up good lies to get someone to laugh.

If they were grown-ups, I’d tell them my Manifesto:

* Letters from Wally and Julia are just as brilliant as any famous novel.
* All good writing (not just poetry) uses images and sound.
* In spite of an obvious love for innovation/sophistication/cleverness, no fair forgetting the original bone/primal love of resonating with stories
* I secretly still think boogers are funny.
* I believe in fearlessness,
* a desire for experiment,
* boredom when it comes to experiment
without purpose,
* dancing in underground balls.
* No one is famous anymore so fuck it
and just make something beautiful already.

Sadly, I am a miserable poetry teacher, so instead I say something vapid and grown-uppish like, “That’s hilarious, but could you show it to your mother?”

They roll their eyes and secretly we both know that some things are just not for your mother. Secretly we both know that skating the line between funny/nasty, fanasy/reality, singing/talking, waking/dreaming, grown-up/kid, John Cena/human, Anya/Princess is what makes writing fun, hard, and a powerful tool for liberation.

Post Script: I love ya’ll, come visit me in Wisconsin and be a guest writer in my class. We’ll pretend you published a couple of novels and impress the hell out of some 8 year olds. I don’t have a couch, but we can sit on my porch and tell each other fairy tales all night long.

Artist's Statement (p. 14)

Artist’s Statement
Curt Bozif

At its most basic level my work is concerned with drawing attention to the beauty of human activities/efforts and their effects positioned within/against their own transient nature. More specifically, the content of my work gestures toward a preoccupation with the subject's psychological economy and movement within ideology (religious, political, and socio-economic), i.e. the dialectic struggle that is the subject's simultaneous resistance to and reliance upon the social Other. In my work these concepts find signifiers in an economy where mundane material objects (such as brick, carpet, and ball-point pen), the tools of execution (such as hammers, compasses, and rulers), processes (such as the lifting of fingerprints from random objects), and formal elements (color, shape) in conjunction with one another, give themselves, that is, their literal material properties, over to the meanings they are provided by the very nature of their functioning within the practice of everyday life. In this sense, the drawing of countless straight parallel lines in blue ball-point pen, significantly with the aid of a ruler, may activate connotations to the reified, homogeneous, and expendable worker/individual (the mass produced ball-point pen) exercised by a higher authority (the ruler) through an assembly-line process (the systematic stacking of repeated marks). In addition to the logic of its symbolic order, my work is overtly process based and labor intensive, involving the repetition of simple gestures and tasks such as standing still and walking in circles on carpet, boring through chalkboard with sandpaper, and crushing brick by hand. The intensity of the labor process and the familiarity of its material parts should function (ideally) as an entry point to the work, heightening both the viewer's sense of the time and efforts required for the realization of any certain goal, i.e. the human endeavors that give definition to the world that surrounds them. Obsessive in its execution and succinctly closed logic, my work is imbued with an absurd and at times pathetic (though undeniable) seriousness that may seem trivial next to the want that is the product of such efforts. Through my work, I attempt to fathom the nature of a humanity that is assailed on both sides in the struggle between order and chaos, orthodoxy and innovation, the eternal and the ephemeral. Lastly, if at all possible, through these activities I aspire to heighten one's sensitivity to the (un)redeemable, to those most authentic of moments that seem forever lost to each of us in the constant movement of days.

Strongly Worded Letter to Smiling Fox (p. 16)

Strongly Worded Letter to Smiling Fox
Vincent Saint-Simon

Dear Sir, Madam, or any combination therein:

I find upon your character a mark as revolting as Ms. S’s genital warts and almost as strong of scent, and if you will permit an explanation I will willingly give it in about the next paragraph or so. I see now that you are a man of the strongest indifference and boorishness, an oaf of the highest variety, and, on top of these qualities, you happen to display a stubbornness far above the average in two to five year old idiots and general-class fools. That you, in haste and with (I might add) language a chimp could comprehend, antagonize me to condescend to you a letter against your baseless and churlish pseudo-thesis only reiterates for me the notion that you are of the most simple class of what are loosely (and benevolently) referred to as human beings, if in fact we can have a clique of humanity that requires no indication of Reason to enter. I also posit that you find yourself in the most depraved and ridiculous of company since you exhibit the rationality of Ms. V on a hunger binge and the mental capacity of Ms. E after watching season two of The OC. Not that you would mind, since you seem to like that vapid show, and I have to admit you should since it suits your disposition so well. That you would even consider infringing upon my well being to make yourself feel like a Fulfilled Person (a title which you have never earned) makes you susceptible to the same hubris and fallacious logic that I find in your peer Mr. A; that is to say your disorganized attempts to rape my good name only lead to you looking all the more rude and unskilled, while your name (which could only laughingly be considered "fair" before) swiftly becomes something only urchins and bawdy street-tongue-laden Queens deign to converse of. Please, I beg you, go back to reading your Dan Brown novels and listening to your coveted Switchfoot CD's before you hurt yourself or those you have caused too much pain to already by your mere and ribald existence.

I believe you forget yourself, Thing.

Ever Yours,


Strongly Worded Letter to Vincent Saint-Simon (p. 18)

Strongly Worded Letter to Vincent Saint-Simon
Smiling Fox Vincent,

you walking crotchet, i am beginning to get the feeling that you want something from me, but i cannot possibly begin to imagine what it is. you have the audacity to send me a comment on __Space, no less, about something that i know next to nothing about. i'm sorry that some people simply do not have the respect or consideration any more to keep in mind that some people such as myself are youth-impaired, and thus, memory impaired, and i feel it needless to mention—but i shall for some modicum of measure and the sake of some subtle satiation—that i can barely get up in the morning (which is somewhere around two o’clock) because my back doesn't seem to want me to get out of bed, and if it is not that, then it is my almost constantly palpating righteyeball, as if it is having a seizure. do you think that is pleasant? did you know that a piece of my right pinkie toenail is missing?? did you know that i wasn't at your little summit?? i am halfway tempted not to give the slightest fraction of a fuck—if i may be so vulgar (and i will)—about all these cute little things that are happening. 'Mm, yes, look at all of our lovely ideas, burning up our heads. What's that? What black guy?' exactly. how do all those rectums taste? hm? all those highfalutin flatulence factories, those bombastic butt-holes? do they taste like steam? literature? feminism? painting? goodness, i hope not. but there is an idea, since i know that i will have no emancipation from your interminable inconsequential intimidations and your perpetual provocations; why don't i simply collect all the faecal matter that is falling out of your maw, slather it on the interweb and call it, at the most fundamental plane, a commune of aesthetes and pseudowordsmiths reeling on the flipside of voyeurism and forsooth soforth and somethingorother. but listen to this old man ramble! let’s just do this, Vincent. i shall lie prostrate and naked on some canvass, and you find a feather, and i mean a good feather. then, you will proceed to spread my quote-unquote ghettoed booty and tickle my sphincter until a chunk of foetid prose to your liking slides out all on its own, and you can call it, oh i don’t know, an excerpt.

-Smiling Fox

Don't Forget to Write (p. 22)


Don't Forget to Write
Vincent Saint-Simon

Alvin sat hunched against the first cool evening breezes, watching the twin suns go down, squinting through the whirling sand of yet another Tatooine sunset. "WHA WHA WHA!" he sighed to himself in discontent. Readjusting his sawed-off blaster rifle on his back, he turned and looked at the rest of his friends on their Banthas. He wished his parents were rich enough to buy him a Bantha so that he wouldn't always have to ride around with Oliver, who happened to be a total douche. It seemed like all his friends ever grunted about was getting wasted on glug and raiding moisture farms. Alvin stared hard into the suns, watching them until the last arcs of orange were past the tan horizon, hoping that the bright orbs would take away his sight, his boredom, or his loneliness. The suns picked answer D, taking away none of the above.

Charles Dickens awoke suddenly to a mass of hands, horrifying masks, and blaster rifles. He didn't sweat it. He was Charles Dickens. He tried to sit up, but the pain was too great. His legs felt like they were being slowly roasted, his back felt like it had been neatly sliced open right over his spine, and his migraines were worse than England's view of a child's education (which was very bad indeed). In short, it was nothing he couldn't handle, but he couldn't get up. Fortunately, a hand rested on him, stopping any other efforts. Dickens saw a compassionate mask above him.

"WHA WHA WHA!" the mask said soothingly.

"Yes," Dickens whispered, "Thank you. I do need rest. But where am I? Where is the Corellian Corvette 'Staplehurst' that was supposed to carry me to my reading in Mos Entha?"

The answer came back to him in a flash. The careless mechanic that accidentally disabled the sub-light engines. The panic on the faces of the other passengers as they recklessly careened toward Tattooine. The tears in the Solstan captain's eyes. Dickens himself screaming at the crew, trying to be heard above the din of the women and droids, telling them to turn on the repulsors and to please, for god's sake, remember the plight of the lowest class who had to face worse trials than this every day just trying to feed their families on the few shillings that were condescendingly thrown at them by the industrial tycoons. The capital ship ripped through the atmosphere and gained momentum. As they barreled toward the expanse of sand Dickens thought he remembered a lone figure running out ahead of them, desperately trying to get out of the way of the ship, looking over his shoulder every couple of seconds with terror written on his mask. Alvin dove to safety just as the ship slammed into the ground spraying waves of dust, sand, and wreckage.

Charles Dickens' eyes opened as he slowly came back to consciousness. The blurry outline of a dark brown lean-to, the sharp aroma of the tanned Bantha hide, and the sound of a fire were all he could gather of his surroundings. Fully rested and suddenly famished Dickens sat up and took his thumb out of his mouth. He found, however, that even these small motions were too much for him. He slumped back down onto what he now knew was a Dewback-hide bedroll, pain throbbing in his powerful cranium and down his back. It was in this moment of vulnerability that Dickens heard footsteps behind him. His headache was getting worse, his forehead and palms sweating under the pressure, his breath coming heavy and infrequently. The steps came closer, stopped, a clang of metal and the rustle of cloth as something knelt beside him. A cool cloth on his enormous brow, a hand in his hand. As the pain subsided and Dickens could breathe normally again he looked up and through the tears saw the most beautiful mask he had ever seen. "Thank you," he whispered, "What is your name?"

"WHA WHA!" the beautiful mask said.

"And I am Charles Dickens," he said, "You can call me Boz."

Alvin also came to see the bed-ridden Dickens many times. He had no choice. It was his hut. Still, as the days shuffled themselves neatly into a week, and Charles was slowly beginning to regain mobility, Alvin found that he liked the man, and that in fact they had much in common. It was Alvin who told Dickens about the Staplehurst crash, about the smashing of Oliver and his other friends, and how Alvin stole their two Banthas before the respective families could claim them (something he was very proud of but that utterly perplexed Dickens).

"You say you stole their banthas?" Dickens queried.

"WHA WHA WHA!" said Alvin.

"Well, that really is something then. And you had not one of your own?"

"WHA WHA!" Alvin said emphatically.

"Ah. That is what I did not understand. You are of the lower caste, then, and must make do with what you can. In a position like yours I am surprised that morality is even a word in your vocabulary. Well, we all hope to be moral but," and here Alvin noticed a tear in Dickens' eye as he squeezed Alvin's shoulder, "the world often has other plans doesn't it, son?"

For the first time Alvin felt like someone understood him.

During the middle of the second week Dickens was able to leave the hut and walk around unassisted. He began to talk to the other Raiders in the village, to tell jokes to the women and teach the children games. In fact, he seemed to be everywhere at once. Though many had wanted to slay Dickens right after the crash and take whatever stuff he had for their own, all were now deeply impressed by his kindness, sincerity, and willingness to help. Alvin was proud. It was also during that second week that Alvin took it upon himself to introduce Dickens to his wife, Ellen Tersken.

"I believe we have met before, have we not, Ms. Tersken?" Dickens said with a sparkle in his eye.

"WHA WHA WHA!" Ellen coyly responded.

"Yes, I thought it was you, madam Ellen. Alvin, you have a most beautiful wife."

Alvin already knew that, but he was glad to have Dickens' approval. If the smile on his mask appeared just a little plastic it was only because he knew Ellen to be a bit of a stoic; never letting anyone get too close, not even Alvin. She did not have any good friends and she seemed content to keep it that way. Why, then, had she referred to Charles as Boz?

That evening Alvin and Charles rode Oliver's bantha out into the expanse of desert known as the Dune Sea. Stretching waves of sand, moving in the wind and smashing on the horizon against the cliffs of the Junland Wastes. Dickens took a long look at the golden-tan ocean and then out towards the two suns, one of which was setting neon-rose. Alvin had stopped the bantha and now stared at Dickens amazed. Even the double-blinding glare of two suns couldn't damage his eyes. Eventually the two dismounted and sat on the skeletal spine of a Krayt Dragon looming large on one of the taller dunes.

"This place reminds me of England," Dickens whispered reverently.


"No, no, Alvin my friend. Not like that. England," Dickens said, "doesn't have sand. I mean that the waves remind me of water and the cliffs are like their counterparts in Dover. Also, I have noticed the way people here talk about moisture farms and the so-called 'human' cities."

"WHA WHA!" Alvin said bitterly.

"I thought as much. Of course you cannot enter the cities. I'll bet they chase you off like common beasts, don't they? Like a bunch of feral felines that they don't want hanging around the scrap heaps, no? Well! So much for 'humanity.'"

Alvin couldn't help but look down. "WHA WHA!" he said.

"Yes," said Dickens, now looking him straight in the eye.

"WHA WHA WHA WHA!" Alvin said, sawed-off blaster rifle waving above his head in excitement.

"Yes," said Dickens.


Yes, my friend," said Dickens. Some conversations can never be fully translated, but tears were in eyes and mask alike as they stood and embraced. "The suns do not shine upon this desolate planet to meet frowning eyes, depend upon it," Dickens said.

Alvin, a little embarrassed by the moment he and Dickens had shared and also forced, with his wife, to hunt to feed themselves, spent the next three days without so much as the sight of Dickens. He found when they came back laden with the bodies of womp-rats and two moisture farmers that, in fact, no one had seen Dickens. Others reported he had not left his hut (he had by now moved into one of his own) since he came back with Alvin from the Dune Sea. Concerned but still feeling awkward, Alvin asked his wife to look in on Dickens. After nearly three hours Ellen returned saying he was not well and could not see people. The trauma of the crash catching up to him at last.

Ellen spent much time with Dickens, devoting almost all her free moments to him while Alvin tended to their hut maintenance and cured the meat. Sand People started to talk. Why was Ellen there for hours? What was she holding when she came out? Even Alvin started to see curious habits. Ellen would start fires in their fire pit (in the middle of summer, no less) and he could swear he saw paper burning. He also thought he saw her squatting on the floor scribbling on what appeared to be stationary. Alvin was not the type of sand person who felt the need to bust into every situation yelling his mask off about everything under the suns and demand his wife not keep secrets. He realized that intimacy thrived on autonomy, and he just could not believe that anything sinister was happening between these two people he loved.

On the second day Dickens was in confinement, however, Alvin's curiosity got the better of him. As his wife left the fire to go back to Dickens' hut Alvin ran over, whipped out his portable hose, and pissed out the fire. There was a letter in it! All was burned but a small scrap, almost nothing really, but Alvin picked it up anyway. "The beating of my heart was so violent and wild that I felt as if my life were breaking from me..." the letter read. After that small sentence there was a charred piece of ash and then, barely decipherable at the bottom, "Boz."

Alvin had no idea that the Staplehurst crash had had such an effect on his friend and felt bad for reading even the shred of letter he had been able to. He decided then and there that, however bizarre, he would not interfere with the close relationship that seemed to be budding between Charles and Ellen. If it would help Dickens heal, it was worth the small pain of tamping out his curiosity for the time being.

It wasn't until two weeks later that a truly strange event finally brought Dickens out of hiding, although by that time he had invited Alvin to his hut at least once a day to chat. Dickens made it clear, over the course of their conversations, that he was very troubled by the second-class status of the Tuskens.

"Don't you see?" Dickens had explained to Alvin one day, "The people here give you the name 'Raider' and with it the connotation that you have always been a barbarian people who are by nature a danger to society. They force you to believe horrible things about yourselves; that you are aggressive and cruel; that you eat humans and take their things; that you do not have a place with the other so-called 'civilized' races that push you into the unspeakable wasteland of sand where nothing will grow. But how do they expect you to live when you cannot grow food and are forced into a parasitical relationship with those around you? It is a vicious cycle where they force you to pillage what you can and then say you are to be feared because you pillage. If only they would give your children a proper foundation, schools and housing, a decent job, or the charity all people are owed. My meaning is that no man can expect his children to respect what he degrades."


"Don't ever say that, Alvin," Dickens said looking him straight in the mask, "you must never lose hope. There will come a time when we can prove them wrong. Also, please don't take my name in vain."

Alvin apologized for his oath.

Three days later a Tusken hunting party from Alvin's small village brought in three drunk smugglers who had wandered into the desert. They were, of course, dead by the time they made it to the encampment and two had already been gutted and skinned. As the third was being dressed for dinner, however, a data pad was found on his body. Dickens had asked the village to bring any written findings to him, that he might assess their value, so after every raid all data pads and other more conventional written documents were put in a sack that Ellen would take in. When Dickens read this particular data pad, he came bursting out of his hut half-dressed (although Alvin knew from personal experience that Dickens slept in his clothes) and ran over to Alvin's hut.

"WHA WHA WHA," Alvin asked.

"Our solution, that's what," Dickens responded with a gleam in his eye. "Can I borrow one of your banthas for a journey? I'm afraid I must go alone."

"WHA WHA WHA," Alvin responded, confusion written on his mask. Dickens was already almost out the door again, all excitement.

"Thank you, my friend."

The day Charles left was the hottest day the tribe had experienced in a great many years. There were places in the sand that were literally smoking from the heat, turning to speeder-class wafers of charred glass. Most in the village expressed concern, asking Dickens to please wait until this heat wave passed them by. They also reminded him that the water from the moisture farm they had taken over was rapidly evaporating and they would soon have to relocate. They didn't know where they would go, what they would do, much less how they would let Dickens know. He seemed to barely hear them. Mumbling his thanks for their kind thoughts and telling them to remember the orphans, he saddled Alvin's bantha. He took no water, telling the tribe that he did not want to inconvenience them and politely reminding them that he was Charles Dickens. Finally all preparations were done and it was time to leave. Everyone able gathered to see him off, many of whom were grunting and sobbing, their tears instantly dissolving in the heat. Alvin and Ellen were at the forefront of the mass.

Dickens embraced them both, whispering something in Ellen's ear that made her mask blush.

"WHA WHA," Alvin asked, his sadness overtaking him.

"I will return in forty days," Dickens responded, brushing his beard out of his mouth, "and not a day later. Goodbye until then, my friend."

With that Dickens rode out, and though Ellen still wrote letters constantly no one knew where they went and no one saw or heard word of Dickens.

During his sorrowful days Alvin often went out with hunting parties to take his mind off things and everyday he would go to the edge of the village and etch in the sand the number of days Dickens had been gone. They were always gone by morning. Eventually he lost count, choosing instead to etch random numbers, always wishing that the total of his etches would rise like the two suns to match the number that had hit inside his head with the force of the blaster bolt, shattering all other wishes and dreams and leaving only a longing for his friend that he had never known.

Another curious thing shook the village shortly after Dickens faded into the pulsating horizon: Ellen started to show that she was pregnant. Alvin, loving her more than ever, stuck his blaster rifle into the sand and made another mark.

The small tribe had just finished putting up their lean-tos at the commandeered moisture farm that was to be their new home for a while. All had gone inside, adjusting bedrolls, cooking, or making love, and so no one was there to see the bantha or the man who rode it. Dickens had returned.

Of course there was a big to-do when Sally the Widow went outside to take a leak and happened upon Dickens doing the same. He was as handsome as ever, calm now, with a look in his eye that bespoke great adventure and personal achievement. The whole village gathered, but it was Ellen and Alvin that he sought first, embracing them both the same as when he left. Ellen was composed. Alvin broke into tears and eventually had to have a bag put over his mask to keep him from hyperventilating.

"Hello, my dear friends. I come from Jabba's palace, and I come with great tidings. I'm sorry I had to leave in such haste, but I hope I can explain myself. The data pad the smuggler carried contained information about a lottery that Jabba was having to gain money for a new operation that it is best you know little about. Most of the capital from the sale of the tickets, of course, he kept for himself, but to the winner of the lottery he offered five million credits in one lump sum. I traveled to Jabba's palace and had an audience with him. After a series of charismatic efforts on my part he threw me into a pit with a giant rancor, wishing to kill me. I was able to impress him and all his underlings, however, when I looked the rancor straight in the eye and told it to stop. Of course it did. I then asked its name and then said, 'Micah, I command you to sleep.'

After this event I was able to get into Jabba's inner circle. I told him of the Staplehurst crash and how I was living among those called Sand People." Here Dickens stopped and looked at Alvin.

"You have been a good friend to me, Alvin, and my life is better for the meeting. I did this for you, and so to you will go the reward for my efforts. This," here Dickens took out a credit chip, "is for you."

Alvin looked down and saw the chip was for 4,800,000 credits. Shocked, he looked back at Dickens.


"Please Alvin, I want you to have it. You raised an interesting point. Where would the money come from? The cities will have nothing to do with you and you certainly have no savings of your own. This is to build our dream. Right here. A school for your children; clothes; decent food; moisture farms. This is the investment I am making in your future. I hope you will use it to help the Tusken people everywhere to better their position and once again join the world of the living--where you belong."

Alvin's mask, already drenched, was leaking anew. He bowed his head, humbled.

"WHA WHA," he whispered.

"I knew you would," Dickens said, "and I'm glad. I will not be here to see it, but I know it will be a source of pride for your people."

Dickens did not even give the village time to release their shock and protest.

"Don't bother with your excitement or your pleas. I love you all but my time here is finished. I have used the remaining credits to buy myself a ship, and it awaits me."

Dickens started to turn and then looked back at Ellen.

"Your child will be the future of your people. Congratulations, Ellen, and please--don't forget to write."