The Self-Made Man

Fifth Runner Up, The Saturday Evening Post Great American Fiction Contest

“What about that one?” Bonnie asked, pointing to the skull.

“Ah! You’re curious about the Smilodon. A cat with teeth like double-edged knives. This creature was a consummate predator, as I’m sure you can see. Go on, go on! Have a good look. If this animal were alive today, you wouldn’t be able to get this close.” He clucked his tongue and turned to the next case. A cabinet of bones — claws and horns, antlers and tusks — ran the full height of the room.

“There are a lot of dangerous animals in here,” Laurie said, frowning a little at the pointed, wicked claws. It was all too easy to imagine the rest of the animal — the fur, and the teeth, and the growl, and the roar.

Barometz looked affronted. “This, my dear, is a theater of memory itself! We merely seek to reflect the world as we see it. You look at these predators and see something dangerous. I see a creature following the script that nature has written for it. Just look at those teeth. It has no other choice but to hunt.”

Read the story in The Saturday Evening Post

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