New Frontier

questWelcome to a wee bit of a short story, starring Betsy–a humble author, and Harry–a white gerbil who is the Guide on Betsy’s Quest to become a successful independent humble author.  Harry is on a quest of his own–he wants to transform from gerbil to white hare or even a white stag (all of the best Quests are Guided by stags).  Thus far, he is unsuccessful.

But today… today he seems different.  Jaunty, even.  And he’s dressed…weird.  Whatever is going on?

Let’s see….

Betsy is lounging in her brain, thinking of nothing, when the door to her office opens and Harry strides in. He looks different than usual. Taller. More confident. And he’s wearing a hat with a floppy brim and long white feather, leather breeches, and thigh-high boots.  This is a little disturbing.

“Comst thou with me, wench,” he says, and, turning, leaves the room.

Betsy blinks several times. Then, figuring she’s not getting much done anyway, gets up and follows him.

“Where are we going?” she asks when she catches up to him.

“Thou shalt see.” Harry says, striding forward

“Thou? What’s with the thou?”

“Comest on.”

“Why are you talking that way?” Betsy skips a little so she can keep pace with him. His breeches and boots might squeak, but Harry is moving very quickly.

Harry does not answer. Instead, he leads her through the corridors of her mind to a meadow where Betsy has lain for many hours looking at stars and fireworks and magical creatures.  As they walk past the great lake in the middle of the meadow, Betsy hears water splashing.  She sees her Muse, dressed in bright, shining finery, cupping her hands, dipping them into the water, and then bringing them up to her face.

“Hey, Muse,” Betsy calls. “What are you doing?”

“I am bathing in inspiration,” Muse holds out her hand. “Come on in.”

“Nay, wench!” Harry snaps.  “Do not distract this one. We canst not stop now!”

The Muse slowly lowers her arms, and, equally slowly raises her eyebrows.

“Excuse me?”

Harry turns as pale as a white rodent can, and falls to his knees.

“I am sorry, my queen,” he says with his nose to the ground.

The Muse nods. “Forgiven.” Waves hand. “Go forth my good man.”

Betsy blinks at both of them. “Why is everyone talking this way?”

“Come.” Harry jumps to his feet, grabs her hand, and drags her along after him.

They walk across the meadow to a mountain. They walk up the mountain. They walk down the other side. They walk up another mountain. Betsy, who is not a supreme physical specimen, thinks she is going to die.

Finally, Harry pauses at the crest of a hill and gestures.

“Behold,” he says grandly.

Betsy frowns at him. “The power of cheese?”

Harry takes off his hat and slaps her with it. “Nay!” He gestures again. “Behold.”

Betsy turns and sees several mountains before her. There are cities perched on the top of each one. One of them is pretty close; the others range out from it.

“What’s all this, then?”

“This is where your journey is taking you.” Harry points to the closest mountain. “There we see your current work in progress.” To the next. “There is Welcome to Hardy Falls 2.5” The next. “There is Welcome to Hardy Falls 3”. He points to the one furthest away. “The spin off.”

“Huh.” Betsy studies the mountains and the cities. “The one closest to us seems pretty big and well-developed.”

“’Tis because you have traveled there many times now and can see the territory and terrain.”

“Uh huh. And the others cities look a little more barren.”

Harry gestures with a sweep of his cloak. “You have traveled to yon cities and gazed upon them, but thou hast not as yet mapped them completely. Whenst thou dost go and mark time within their streets, they shall blossom and bloom.”

Betsy considers him. “You sound like Shakespeare.”

Harry sweeps off his hat and bows. “Many thanks, milady.”

“Great.” Betsy considers the mountain ranges and the cities. “So where are we anyway?”

“Behold thy new frontier.”

“Th…my new frontier?”

“Yea, verily. Thou hast crossed out of the first valley and now seekest thy fortunes beyond the walls of thine own city.”

“I have? I do?” Betsy blinks. “When did that happen?”

“Why, when thou didst persist in thy Quest. When thou created these cities within thy mind and aimethst thine arrows at them. Whenst thou sawest past the next folio to all that is beyond.”

“Yeah?” Betsy rocks back on her heels. “No crap?”


“So, that’s good, right?”

“Aye.” Harry glares at her. “But thy journey is still long, my girl. Thou canst not rest on thy laurels and eateth bon-bons.”

Betsy frowns. “It’s a lot of work. Maybe I’m too late to get to all the places I want to go.”

Harry shrugs. “Then go where thou canst.”

Betsy looks down at him. “And you’ll still Guide me?”

Harry bows. “’Twould be my pleasure, my lady.”

“And are you going to keep talking this way all the time?  Because I have to say it’s getting kind of old.”

“Nah.” Harry takes off his hat and shakes out his cape. “It’s kind of a pain in the butt to add all the “sts”. But I wanted to be, you know, artsy fartsy when I showed you.”

“Showed me the cities?”

“Those, and….” Harry turns around, lifts his cape, wiggles his little butt. “Look!”

Harry’s long thin gerbil tail is different. It’s short! It’s puffy! It’s…

“Harry!” Betsy exclaims. “Your tail! It looks like a rabbit’s tail! Are you…?”

“Yep!” Harry turns around, does a little dance. “My ears are longer too. I’ll be upgraded to a White Hare Quest Guide before you know it!”

“Harry!” Betsy clasps hands to breast. “You’re growing! You’re actually growing!”

“I am.” Harry jumps up onto Betsy’s shoulder and looks her right in the eye. “And you know what?”


“You are too.”

To be continued….






  1. Very funny, very exciting, very insightful. Go Harry! Go Betsy!

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