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Bewildering Stories

Carol Reid responds to...

Challenge 268: “Urban Elf”

Challenge 268: In P. I. Barrington’s “Urban Elf,” is Thraniel dead or alive in his own world?

I love these challenges, which often turn out to be fun and educational!

My feeling is that Thraniel is alive in his own world. Yes, I know, feelings schmeelings, but where’s the evidence?

I had another “feeling” that the incident with the coffee had some bearing on the answer to this question, so I Googled caffeine and electrical conductivity . According to several pharmaceutical articles which I barely understand, caffeine is a very effective conductor of electricity, which does make sense when one considers that the sensation of perking up after a cuppa coffee can be traced to increased electrical activity between the neurons in the brain. So my theory is that Thraniel’s excessive caffeine intake allowed the electrical current to be conducted through him into the hapless (but ultimately happy) narrator!

Carol Reid

Copyright © 2007 by Carol Reid

Thanks for the nice words about the Challenges, Carol. And wow, thanks for the research. From now on I’ll be quaffing my morning cuppa with even more gusto than ever, secure in the knowledge that I’m literally getting “wired”! Chug it with a smart pill... I can hardly wait to find out what I’ll be thinking.

I must admit, though, I was a little disappointed by the ending of “Urban Elf.” I’d have liked Dannika Lawrence to leave behind a note pinned to her scorched and vacated clothing: “Gone to the Elf forest with Thraniel. Will report back when I get... um... zapped.”

That way, P. I. would have to write us a sequel where Dannika is an “Urbanite in the Elf Dimension.” Gotta love it.


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