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6. Scenes in a Roman Theater

Elsa Marston Indiana University Press ePub

A STORY FROM TUNISIA

 

With a sigh, Hedi plunked himself down on a stone seat in the Roman theater. As the last of the afternoon’s tourists straggled off and disappeared among the ancient walls, he stared dully at the grand view of the ruins and the green hills of the Tunisian countryside beyond.

He hadn’t done very well today. Only one hat sold. His mother would be disappointed, and he wouldn’t blame her … having to make those hats every night after her day’s labor in the fields, weaving straw till her fingers were sore. Tomorrow he’d try harder. Midwinter break from school gave him a few days to earn money, and he couldn’t waste the chance.

It’d be so much better, Hedi often thought, if he could be a guide, more interesting and more money. Once in a while he did manage to latch on to a friendly couple and show them a few sights … the temple, the theater, the baths and marketplace—and best of all, the communal toilet where twelve people could sit at a time. That always got a laugh, and Hedi would get a few small coins. But that was all. A real guide had to be older and know a lot more.

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Chapter 5

Timothy J. Bradley Argosy Press PDF

“You two climb like little old ladies,” Penny said from near the top of the rock.

“Oh, yeah?” Sid shot back panting. “Watch this!” He tried to reach a distant handhold, but his foot slipped, and he tumbled back from the rock face into the air.

As soon as he started to fall, his zero‑G harness nullified the gravity around him, and he floated gently across the gym, about fifteen feet off the ground. There were already thirty other students in the same predicament.

“Oh, come on!” Sid shouted, exasperated as he floated midair, tumbling slowly.

Just then, Hari fell away from the wall and started floating. Penny was the first one to make it all the way up the wall. She gave a victorious whoop.

“I can see that most of you need a little more practice climbing,” Ms. Newton said laughing. She turned the master control for everyone’s zero‑G belts up a fraction, and the floating students slowly settled to the ground.

“Let’s try that again,” she said, and the students groaned as they struggled to their feet.

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Chapter 6

Timothy J. Bradley Argosy Press PDF

CHAPTER 6

With the sun up, it was time to start exploring their first live hive. A small electric vehicle towed a portable miniaturizer from the flying lab out to the hive. Dr. Sharp and Verge, one of his assistants, went first. The students followed. Sid watched as the beam projector was fired and a cloud of mist enfolded Hari and Penny. He could just make out the shrinking forms of his two friends for a moment before they seemed to disappear. The mist cleared, and then he was next on the platform.

Sid barely had time to worry if he was ready when the technician fired up the miniaturizer. When the mist cleared, he was looking at the tech’s shoes, which were now the size of houses.

“Come along! Quickly! The miniaturizer platform must be cleared before the next students can be reduced.”

Dr. Sharp was waving them toward the microshelter. Once all the students were inside, the professor made sure everyone was strapped to the padded floor. He then signaled they were ready to be moved by flashing a series of lights. At their tiny

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5. In Line

Elsa Marston Indiana University Press ePub

A STORY FROM EGYPT

 

Halfway home from school, on a lovely clear day in December, I did something really daring. I decided to change my route. Not much, of course, because my mother knew exactly how long it took me to get home and she would be waiting. I just thought it would be nice to walk along the canal a bit and pretend it was the Nile. That’s how it happened I ran into Fayza.

I’d noticed her in class. You could hardly not notice her, even in a classroom as packed with people as ours. She always raised her hand to answer the teacher’s questions—she even asked good questions of her own! What’s more, she was a lot smarter than most of the boys and wasn’t afraid to let them know it. So I’d begun to think I’d like to get to know her. But how? Most people still acted as if I were from Mars, or someplace even farther away, and they couldn’t figure me out. I was afraid Fayza might feel that way, too.

Well, I would try, at least.

Fayza was standing at the edge of the canal, holding a big bunch of flowers—roses so bedraggled they looked as though the flower seller had given them to her for free. But what made me curious was the way she was staring down at the canal. I stopped near her to see what she was looking at. It was a donkey, dead, lying there in the water.

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Chapter 2

Timothy J. Bradley Argosy Press PDF

give her what she wants, and you won’t have any trouble.

That’s reasonable, isn’t it?”

Sidney looked at her narrowly. “It sounds reasonable, but it doesn’t feel reasonable.” He sighed. She looked tired.

“I hope you didn’t get into trouble or anything at work.”

“Well, pal, it wasn’t great to get called out in the middle of a meeting,” she said as she raised her eyebrows.

“Sorry. Thanks for picking me up.”

“Just promise me you’ll keep a handle on your temper from now on, okay?”

“Okay,” Sid replied ruefully. He felt bad about ruining his mom’s meeting, but he wasn’t sorry for what he had said.

It was all true. As they made their way home, Sidney admired the nanobot bridge. The beams glistened in the sunshine.

Maybe life would be simpler if I just act like a mindless bot and do whatever everyone else does, he thought. The car lowered its wheels to the ground as it left the highway and started threading its way through the neighborhoods that led to the Jamisons’ house. Sid brooded, staring out the window, wishing he never had to see Ms. Dirge again.

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