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Gravitas: Epilogue

by Alicia Gifford

bonus features:
continued/extended ending for "Location! Location!" by JoeAnn Hart

the first couple pages of BJ Hollars' "Gutted" (fill-in-the-blank style)

The End Lands: In Which My Beautiful Long-Legged Now Born Niece Visits the Sutro Baths, excerpts of story by Claire Vaye Watkins with photos by Lise Baker

an epilogue for Alicia Gifford's "Gravitas"

Photo from Petter Lindgren

Leaving the glowing doom of the Big Island, the fast-swimming turtle towed Millie north-by-northwest to East Island at the French Frigate Shoals. The turtle swam along the shallows while Millie touched down gently on the sandy strip of beach. She had about 55% of her gravity back, so she could stay on the ground but walked in giant, buoyant steps as though on the moon. She undid the tether and the turtle eagerly headed out to the epipelagic waters to mate. Soon a strapping male honu bumped into her, biting her neck and flippers, drawing blood. She indicated her deep interest. He mounted her, grabbed onto her carapace with the recurved claws of his front flippers and whipped his tail between her rear flippers, embedding the tail-end claw into her plastron and his penis into her cloaca, a 3-point lovelock that lasted ten honeyed hours. Afterwards, they swam around looking for different partners. When they bumped into each other again, they looked away, pretending they’d never met.

Millie found freshwater tanks nearby and drank long and deep. Her excellent adventure was beginning to inch toward despair until a skiff of turtle taggers arrived from Tern Island. One was a man called Poke and he and Millie experienced the phenomenon of Love at First Sight. He fed her spam sandwiches and papaya with lime and iced Patrick Farms Kona coffee from a thermos shaped like a dolphin. Despite her fatigue, exposure and newfound love, she noted it was the best coffee she’d ever had in her life, and the papaya wasn’t bad either. She ate the spam out of good-natured and grateful politeness. They swam in the warm, clear turquoise ocean and made like a couple of turtles, calling it their honu moon.

After her fill of love, the gravid turtle lumbered to the sand, dug her hole and laid her eggs. She nested three more times and then, ravenous, she headed south-by-southeast dreaming of a benthic pig-out in Kauai. But first, some self-indulgence at a reef near Necker Island, stopping there so the wrasses, tangs and butterfly fish could eat the parasites and algae from her shell and body. This was turtle life at its finest. Millie joined Poke with his work to save the sea turtles, lobbying fiercely in Washington D.C. for:

· funds to research and cure the turtle fibropapilloma tumor epidemic,

· banning and ridding the planet of plastic bags,

· a global ban on turtle soup.

She not only got her gravity back, she gained five pounds.

Eddie Vedder learned of Millie’s story and wrote a song called “Carapace”. Pearl Jam performed it on Earth Day in a worldwide broadcast from Seattle and it became the most downloaded iTune in Apple history, so far. All proceeds from the Pearl Jam Honu Tour went to the Archie Carr Center for Sea Turtle Research at the University of Florida.

("Carapace" lyrics, "by" Pearl Jam here)

"Carapace" lyrics, "by" Pearl Jam, by Alicia Gifford

Mix and Match! Deleted Sentences from “Our Lady of Sabattus St.” by Amy Clark

Outtakes and Extras from "Mooning: A Short Cultural History" by Daniel Nester

Lumberjacks Visit Camp Interesting by Lydia Conklin and John Woods

Collages by Guy Brookshire, inspired by Blake Butler's "Smoke House"

Some photos by Mike Young of murals, which may or may not have inspired his story, "Stay Awhile If You Can"

Everything Google Knows About Apple Cinnamon Pancakes, compiled by Mike Young