Don’t Cross the Line
Originally published in Portugal, this raucous story blends metafictional elements with sharp political commentary that makes it clear that people—and that includes ghosts, aliens, spacemen, animals, and a newborn baby—won’t suffer injustice. At issue: a guard, under orders from one General Alcazar, refuses to let anyone cross over to the right-hand page of the book. “But why?” asks a confused citizen. “Is there some terrible danger? Are we being invaded?” Nope, the guard explains, “my general reserves the right to keep the page blank, so he can join the story whenever he feels like it.” Soon, the left-hand page is crowded with outrageously varied (and none-too-pleased) characters with bean-shaped noses and wide eyes. After a boy’s ball bounces onto the empty right page, the floodgates are effectively open, and when the tyrannical general appears, he’s no match for the assembled masses. Though the scenario is ludicrous and the execution playful, it’s a pointed reminder of where power and authority lie.
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