Winter 1981 • Vol. III No. 1 FictionJanuary 1, 1981 |

A Shoal of Brine Shrimp

Ryōji, in his second year of junior high school, was playing with a device that had come with a science magazine. When he touched red and blue poles to a dry battery, a suspended needle waved back and forth. His father, having a nap after dinner, could not see very well from beyond a low table. Before his eyes as he awoke was a needle, moving this way and that. It was like an angler's bob, and it moved in a most leisurely fashion. It did move, to be sure, but as if gathering strength for each new effort. The boy was engrossed—unconscious, or so it seemed, of time and space. He seemed a good match for the needle and its deliberate motions. Ryōji had track practice every afternoon. It would be dark when, having said good-bye to several friends who lived in the same direction, he would come climbing the hill. Sunset was early. There was to be an important long-distance relay. The friends would say their farewells in still childish voices as they came near th

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