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Riana Pfefferkorn will break your heart

It takes Jacob thirty-nine seconds to grow up. For the last twenty-six, Piper is there too. Bandit starts out next to Jacob but disappears, gray-muzzled and bent, soon after Piper shows up. Zomba’s cameo in the middle is a firework of black. The images wriggle, change hues, fade and brighten.

Snapshots every week: even when he wasn’t speaking to them, fourteen, sullen, hair hiding his face; even when she had a broken leg, the hated, leaden cast. At twenty-four frames per second, those pains disappear. The weeks are too fleeting to notice, the years barely register. Hit replay. Again. Again.

Chili John

The man Chili John calls Piper doesn’t have a pipe, but a what are they called? Panflute. The chimpfall is fresh. The whole town has come out to watch.

“This better be worth our time,” grumbles the chief.

“What?” says Chili John.

Piper’s dancing a slow, shuffling dance now. He’s moving the panflute; it doesn’t seem to make any sound. There is something shining just over his left shoulder, though.


The crowd leans forward, trying to see. Piper moves. The glimmer moves. The crowd moves.

Chili John, his ears stuffed with rubber plugs, grins to himself. The chimps grin too.