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The Town Of Huxley


Daniel W Kneip

John Shankers wandered into the quiet town carrying a black satchel and a stool and he hoped everyone would know what those things were used for. The town of Huxley had only a population of thirty, and just as he noticed that on the sign, a man in coveralls hurried over and made a slash through the "thirty" with a brush and stroked in the number "33," saying, "There's a blue bird just had babies!" And when that man smiled, John was scared. Yet, he was more wise than anything else, and he offered his hand in kindness to the old fellow.

"My name is John Shankers and I'm proud to be in your curious little town, my good man." And the good man smiled again, a nearly toothless smile that sent John reeling with fright!

"Please stop doing that!" John screamed and he took the old man by the arm and said, quite clearly,

"Now I have a medical license for performing dentistry. Do you have any idea what that is?"

"Is it for cookin' beans?" the old fellow responded in a wonderful little way.

John paused. In his mind of minds, he knew there were a few "certainties" about small towns. One: everyone has teeth - well, almost everyone! Two: when teeth go bad, people need someone to go to for aid. John was that man and he planned on opening a dentistry shop in the town of Huxley.

"If you'll have me," he said, charmed I'm sure.

So the old man escorted John through the town toward the mayor's office. But along the way, John was introduced to many of the citizens and he was bitterly alarmed to discover most of them were missing most of their teeth and then he found out that the mayor was missing ALL of his teeth.

"Ya wanna open what?!" and "What fer?" were the mayor's top two questions and John was rather stymied. So John simply asked, with a kind smile, "Which way to the next town?" and the mayor said it was "thirty miles in that northernery way."  So John Shankers picked up and started walking, still dreaming about opening a dentistry shop. Somewhere!

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