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Andrew Kaufman


They fell in love and got married and then they decided to have horses. All of their friends were having children. But Michael had just been made partner and Sarah's dress shop was finally turning a profit. They were short of time, not money. So they decided to buy a second home out in the country and have horses. They both felt good about this decision. They made love. They were careful. They weren't careful enough. The next morning Mary knew. She just knew. It seemed ludicrous, this knowing, so she waited for twelve days. Then she waited seven more days. Then she bought a kit. She locked the bathroom door. She peed on it. A blue cross slowly formed. She called Larry at the office and to her surprise he was as excited as she was. Eleven months later she gave birth to twin horses.

The Blacksmith Has Had Enough of Them

The Blacksmith hates them equally, although Pestilence is the hardest to work for. "Is this steel and are these pins strong enough to withstand the end of the days?" Pestilence screams. His breath is very bad. The Blacksmith nods. He finishes shoeing the horse. Pestilence takes the hoof and examines it.

"Again!" Pestilence demands.

"But these shoes are strong and I have secured them well!"

"Again!" Pestilence screams.

"Enough!" the Blacksmith yells. He does not swing his hammer. For six years his work had never been good enough. He wishes Death would wait outside and that War would quit pacing and that Famine would stop belching. The Blacksmith stands and, shaking his hammer, steps towards Pestilence.

"When exactly is this end coming?" he asks. He's still angry. "I'm beginning to think that you four have only the power to threaten it, not bring it upon us!"

Too late, the Blacksmith realizes what he's done. He sets his hammer on the anvil. He kneels. He watches the dirt floor. He sees the horse's shadow as Pestilence leads it out of the shop. He remains kneeling, head down, shaking slightly until he hears the sound of many hooves galloping quickly away.

➥ Bio