Plight Of The Sycophant
by Alan DeNiro

The border between the two worlds is hard to describe but easy to feel under the skin. Even a few miles away, you can sense its effect, in ways that you’ll probably never understand. Much like when a person puts a gun in your mouth (though this has never happened to me). The bullet doesn’t leave the gun--anticipation is its own weapon. And fear. One must never forget fear.

You can have this unsettling feeling on either side of the border, though you will likely prefer one side to the other. One world to the other. The sun will be bright, as it always is in this part of the world--except, perhaps, for September--and the giant angels will be patrolling the mist, as they always do. There will often be rainbows, on account of this bright sun and the mist. They grow boring.

The border is not actually a wall but a waterfall. No one knows where the water comes from; there is never a cloud in the sky. But the water comes. The angels are rather mean and swear a lot. They wear bright, yellow ponchos, with a red script in their language up and down the sleeves. There is only one checkpoint, one place to cross by foot (although it is not advised) or car. The cars have to be coated in a certain type of myrrh, or else the border patrol would not even consider letting you cross. And even then you have to have the right kinds of papers, the right bribes. And--the hardest part--the right attitude. Angels will detain a person trying to cross for months, sometimes years, trying to find out what attitude a border-crosser might have. What desires they have. Their prisons near the gate are little cottages and are actually kind of cute.

Sometimes the angels are satisfied by the answers and sometimes they are not. Some travelers end up leaving their cottages, and some do not.

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