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    Volume 12, Issue 1, February 28, 2017
    Message from the Editors
 The 'aiei of Snow by D.A. D'Amico
 Quintessence by David Bowles
 The Improbable Library by Kathryn Yelinek
 Crawlers by Jay Barnson
 General Notice to Off-World Visitors by Dana Martin
 Author Interview: Laurence MacNaughton by Nikki Baird


General Notice to Off-World Visitors

Dana Martin

We know you're here.
          You've been using the fountain in the south side of the mall as a portal, and your bio-immersive shields don't work. Perhaps they were damaged by the de-sudsing cocktail in the fountain water, or maybe it has something to do with our patented FlatterGlo® lighting, but in any case, we see you. If you want proof, watch the online footage. Search for "aliens guzzle cologne at the fragrance counter" or "aliens vaporize pretzel kiosk" or the most-viewed video of the month, "aliens ride the merry-go-round."

You have an impressive command of the English language (and some concerning misinformation).
          Be advised, using the local tongue won't help you blend in if you say things like "observe how some humans are squishier than others" or "the fricasseed liver of an intoxicated man is considered a delicacy on the planet of Ataloo-Ung." On Earth, commenting on how someone looks or tastes is generally poor form. Also FYI, the loud ululations you've heard emitted by our customers are not mating calls, they are screams. Humans make this sound when they are upset by something, such as the remarks of an off-world visitor about how they might taste.
          And while we're at it: the mall is a retail complex, not a palace as your tour guides keep claiming. The jewelry stores are not treasuries, the home goods departments are not armories. The waffle irons are definitely not torture devices. Above all, the merchandise is not free for the taking. Please stop helping yourselves to "souvenirs." If you wish to make a purchase, speak to the service desk about our newly-instituted inter-planetary exchange rates.

You have violated the safety code.
          On 1,341 counts. We won't list every infraction here, but suffice it to say that any act that threatens the safety of the mall's property, merchandise, or customers is prohibited. This includes destruction caused by fire, acids, laser beams, and fumes, even when these result from a visitor's natural bodily functions.
          And you're leaving puddles. When dozens of visitors burst from the fountain and then shake the water out of their suction cups, the floors become quite slick. This is a hazard. If you must travel by fountain, heed the advice of a certain galactic guidebook and bring your towel with you, or purchase one from the towel kiosk that has been stationed near the fountain.

We are prepared to destroy the portal.
          We don't want to. Frankly, your presence has been a bigger sales boost than Christmas. But if your destruction persists, we have been told (by Legal and certain Agencies) that we must curb your visits. We are in talks with some very skilled animatronics people to replicate twenty of the most popular off-world visitors, and we are satisfied that they will be able to impersonate you well enough to convince the public. Again, this is not the route we would prefer. Since its opening, the mall has welcomed all customers, regardless of origin, and we would like to foster inter-planetary commerce so long as we safely can. We hope we can look forward to your co-operation. If not, we have a fountain-removal team on standby.

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