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Bewildering Stories

Bewildering Stories reveals

The Muskrats’ Rosetta Stone

by Bill Bowler
and Bewildering Stories

Caught Muskrats” appears in this issue.

Bewildering News Flash

Decipherment of the Muskrat Stone Rocks Scholarship

An ancient mystery has at last been unlocked. Hieroglyphs inscribed on a stone discovered in Muskrat Swamp have puzzled scholars since the likes of Alan Turing and the Colossus machine worked on it in their off-hours at Bletchley Park.

By applying the AWSHUCKS algorithm (AlWays Sure He can Understand Complicated, Knotty Submissions), Dr. Bill Bowler reveals that the inscriptions are actually a kind of cheerful gnomic verse. Dr. Bowler, a latter-day Champollion, is hailed for his discovery and will undoubtedly win a medal of some sort.

Literary scholars applaud Dr, Bowler’s breakthrough in cryptanalysis. By applying the OHYEAH? algorithm (Over Here, You Eagerbeaver Analysts, eH?), some have discerned an embedded code recounting a dark epic of family life. But whose family, and what shenanigans are they up to?

Scholars of the GOTTABEKIDDING (acronym too long to expand) school are working on yet another interpretation. Literary scholarship will surely have its hands full for centuries to come.

Translator’s note: A series of aphorisms, much like Blake’s Proverbs of Hell. The original is oblique, but not impenetrable. After all, did not some forgotten critic once say, “Some of the greatest poetry is only partially understood”?

original translation
Muskrats, caught in traps, continue to make a difference, at shekels per day. Ordinary people, in their mundane existence, still matter.
Bank accounts, simultaneously hiding intestines, though, resolve no conundrums. Money will clothe you but not solve your problems.
Private rooms, also circles’ memberships, might or not prove beyond that realm. Get out and live a little. Circulate.
Whenever being helped up a building’s front steps, one ought to curtsey. A little courtesy can go a long way.
Simply, discovered ruses tend to send multiple emails to outworlder patrons. Be careful, your little tricks can end up on FaceBook.
Self-reflective moments, alternatively, become privy to most live thoughts. And vice-versa.
Plus, following residential questions makes for sieved agencies, lost sheep farts. [Inscription partially obscured. Perhaps] Real-estate agents may be of little help in finding lodgings. [or] Figuring out who sleeps where can be a mug’s game.
Choice gets implicitly taught by explicated moments more than odd circumstances; You can exercise your free will, to some extent.
Unresolved responses notwithstanding, nearly all minor league pitchers strike out. I just got a rejection slip for my latest submission.
Should you desire to expose condemnatory feelings, not only will birdsong fail, But, additionally, homeless teenagers will, after a manner, act in kind. Keep it positive and set a good example. Nagging family members will only backfire.
Great fireballs / Blaze first in upper atmospheres, then, only later, drift across continents. Choose, then act, and what you do may have glorious consequences.

Author’s note: Oh. My. Goodness. Soooo fabulous! I could not stop laughing at Bill’s response. Thank you for giving joy to this starfish. I think you caught the gist going forward and rolling backward. As to meaning, your interps sent me forward and rolling back. Have you read I. A. Richards’ The Meaning of Meaning?

Literature is lovely in that it’s subject to interpretation. Meaning gets co-created. See Pearce and Cronen’s Coordinated Management of Meaning Theory, real live academic stuff. Step this way, ladies and gents! — Channie Greenberg

Editor’s note: Thank you, Channie. Bill and I agree that you set an excellent example of good sportsmanship!

As we always say, “Tell the readers what they need to know, but do not do the reading for them.” Even so, you have to put ropes around a wrestling ring, or the spectators will join the wrestlers in a riot.

I would not say, “What we have here is a failure to communicate,” far from it. Rather, “What we have here is a riot.” — Don Webb

Copyright © 2014 by Bill Bowler,
Channie Greenberg,
and Bewildering Stories

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