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Dreamed 1982/9/17 by Chris Wayan

One day, generations from now, after nuke-spread, terrorism, war, plague, collapse, famine, barbarism, and a slow stabilization into a medieval society... one day, in the ruins of an American city whose name has been lost... one day, I meet a ringman having lunch under an oak. We talk a bit. His guild specializes in mining precious metals. They train ground-squirrels to dig down into our ruins, find the bones of our dead, and like a trained cormorant bringing up fish, gnaw the wedding rings off our lost fingers, and bring them up to sell.

The idea fills me with a slow horror; but to him it's just a way of life, that of his whole guild's. He knows it can't go on forever, but so what? There are millions of us down there, and only a few ringmen. Our dead won't run out in his time, or his grandchildren's.

That many of us, and that few grandchildren.

And after all, it's not his fault. It's ours.

trained digging-squirrel with a wedding ring in its mouth

LISTS AND LINKS: death - time travel - post-apocalypse dreams - ring dreams - squirrel dreams - buried treasure - guilt

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