From the 'Taur's Mouth...

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Posted by Lucius Appaloosius on October 06, 2003 at 20:12:50:

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I know that salutation seems a bit affected; but I've gotten so accustomed to it that it's hard to let go.

As so many of some of you...... a few.......well, OK, one.... As someone, at least, has noticed my last message, and asked me to provide a little more background, I feel obligated to respond. But first, a small caveat:


Now, there has been much loose talk going around concerning 'parallel universes'; this is complete nonsense. The Multiverse does contain many different realms; however, they are anything but parallel. Some may be closer than others, and may indeed have many points of coincidence; but each has its own particular wobbles. (As an analogy - at least for those old enough to remember - I might liken them to adjacent grooves on a phonograph record.)

This narrative, composed without premeditation - 'alla prima', as it were - has its own wobbles. Indeed, it is like to resemble a tangle of yarn (the sudden collision of similes here proves that); still, it may do for some cat to play with.


In that particular corner of the world where I first saw the light of day ( a region corresponding, in many ways, to New England, United States, Earth, in this universe), the Appaloosii were an old, respectable family. Many times during my colthood, some aunt or uncle would edify me with tales of my illustrious ancestaurs. (While this impressed me at the time, I have since come to the conclusion that it is far better to be one's own illustrious ancestaur: a status which I fear shall forever elude me.)

Pardon me for my omission; but I should have made it clear at the beginning, that one of the differences between that world and this, was the acknowledged - nay, common - presence of centaurs. While there had always been some friction between our people and humans, we had never been regarded as unnatural or 'mythical'. There were differing views as to our origins: some spoke of a separate Creation; others pointed to the fossil record, where a now-extinct species of hexapod hippoid had recently beeen discovered. The most cynical among the humans suggested an ancient period of interspecies cohabitation (a slander which, I find, has cropped up in this world as well).

Suffice it to say, however, we were there; and my forebears (pardon me, foretaurs) were often in the thick of things. How, then (I hear you cry), did I wind up, alone and obscure, in a world that knew so little of centaurs?

(All right, you probably weren't crying that. You are probably all bored to tears with this Dickensian language; but I thought a rhetorical question would be rather appropriate at this point.)

My parents, hoping to carry on the family reputation, had been grooming me for a career in the sciences. Their hopes, as many parents' will, shone with such luster that they were blinded to the dismal truth; despite expert tutors, despite the best of schools, I was scarce able to distinguish an acid from a base, a surd from a cosine, or a joule from an ohm. Instead, I spent my days mooning over books of fiction; lay abed constructing improbable fantasies (with myself as hero, of course); covered reams of paper with drawings I supposed to be humorous; and acted, generally, like any self-obsessed young geek.

Perhaps it was the still-potent aura of their illusions; perhaps it was an act of desperation to wake me from my daydreams; whatever it was, one day, my parents sent me, with a blessing and a slap on the rump, off as an apprentice to a distant relation, Prof. Franklin Selbstreiter, head of the Department of Meta-,Pata- and Cosmophysics at the nearby University.

You may imagine my thoughts as I trotted down the tanbark path ( there's another difference: this world has so few roads that are convenient or comfortable for centaurs to travel on); how I was going to work with one of the finest minds of our race; how this could be the chance to make my mark upon history, and add another shining name to the family tree.

You may imagine that; but in fact, I was simply thinking of a neat idea for a cartoon.

You will pardon me for breaking off my story at this point; but It is getting late, and, if I am half as weary as you are, it would be better to continue another day.........

Lucius Appaloosius

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