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devil duck


I think I was at a college in the country, and for some reason I was looking for a place to hide: nobody was chasing me in particular, but I didn't want them to see me. Anyway, I ducked into a small wooden utility shed and watched through the slightly-ajar door. After a minute the shed started to move, I saw the administration building starting to recede, and I realized that the utility shed was actually a carefully disguised railroad car, now pulling away from the campus on what I had always assumed was a disused track.

Once we were safely away from campus, the shutters over the windows fell away and I realized I was lying on a raised platform in the middle of a room in which perhaps a dozen other people lay sleeping in various positions all over the floor.

POV shift. The female college president announced that there would be a prize awarded when this particular Special Train returned from town, and to win it you had to decode the secret message encoded in the numbers of people going to (respectively from) town on the train who had exactly eleven letters in their names. And indeed, as I was introduced to the other passengers I observed that a remarkable number of them had exactly eleven letters in their names (that is, they told me their names and I mentally counted, finding eleven again and again). Of course, this didn't apply to me, since (a) I was an unintended stowaway, and (b) my name has twelve letters, not eleven. But I had a vague foreboding....

"Town" was a small Western town with dusty streets, saloons, &c. [presumably triggered by the movie "A River Runs Through It" that shalmestere and I saw a few nights ago]. At one saloon, I found myself trying to juggle biscuits, and found to my surprise that they were much easier than the leather beanbags of shalmestere's that I've been practicing on. Anyway, whether for juggling or for some other achievement I can't remember, I made the local paper, which misspelled my name with a "v" rather than a "ph" so it does have exactly eleven letters. As a result, I was the only person who knew how many people had really been on the train with eleven-letter names, and I won the prize.