21. Drum

The mummy shambled toward the six bandmates, its eyes alight with eldritch hatred. "Who," it intoned, "has dared beat the cursed drum Zubushazzi, and roused me from my netherwordly slumbers?"

All eyes turned to Milton, who coughed and glanced awkwardly downward. "Well," he murmured, "I did need a replacement tom-tom…"


22. Shirt

Daphne knew, of course, that sleeping in her Pteranodon shirt wouldn't really make her one for a day. That was just Grandma's silly story; new-minted 10-year-olds didn't believe such things – but, still, she tried it anyway.

And, as she swooped exultantly over the Cretaceous ocean, she was glad she had.


23. Neck

"Who cares what some pea-growing religious nut says? M. Lamarck's a real scientist; if he says stretching my neck will make me a giraffe, then it will!"

"But…"

"Shut up! You just want me to fail! I don't have to listen…"

"Leave her, Busara. Some okapis you just can't persuade."


24. Stove

"A stove?" said Noel. "Certainly, ma'am. We have wood stoves to heat your house with, gas stoves to cook on, electric stoves to point and laugh at, and 17th-Century German stoves to have world-changing philosophic insights in."

"I'll take one of each," said Lisa.

Noel chortled. "I love rich people…"


25. Extra-Large

"All right, Edwin," said Anna. "I understand picking a random menu item rather than admitting you can't read Polish – but was an extra-large portion really necessary?"

Edwin, still suppressing dry heaves, didn't reply, and Anna sighed and signaled a waitress. "Panienko, could we have a box for my friend's head-cheese?"


26. Guttural

Yes, I heard. Ghastly, nie? But the fool asked for it. He should have said Wangen; turning that palatal into a guttural wouldn't have cost him his intestines.

Oh, naturally. But, foreigner or no, you don't tell the Kaiserin that her face contains two rose-pink wild sows. You just don't.


27. Comparison

"It's like slicing for yourself inside the pie. You're taking your due, but disenfranchising others."

"But that isn't my due. My due is one slice of pie, crust and all. If my due were generically one-eighth of the pie, taking it from wherever wouldn't disenfranchise others."

"…Okay, bad comparison. Sorry."


28. Toe

"How's a fine lady like you still single?" said Steve ingratiatingly.

"I'm not," said Vanessa. "I wear my wedding ring on my toe. Religious reasons."

Nonplussed, Steve started to retreat; then he paused, glanced down, and narrowed his eyes skeptically. "In those shoes?"

"An intelligent bachelor," Vanessa marveled. "Diogenes!…"


29. Grieving

"Miranda," I said, "why are you wearing a brassiere on your head?"

"I'm grieving for my lost innocence," she replied.

I blinked. "That seems rather an irrational symbol of grief."

"Exactly." Miranda sighed. "How innocent I was, thinking rationality was important! If only Professor Alter hadn't made me read Hume…"


30. Stale

"Master Jacques, your apprentice is today Faerie's greatest hero," Nymue exclaimed. "Since his summoning last night, he has overthrown a tyrannical ogre, rescued King Alberon from deathly peril, and restored Avalon's fruitfulness through sheer purity of heart."

The baker arched a sardonic eyebrow. "And this excuses letting brioche get stale?"