Corey came back yesterday, as a woman.

“I’m thinking of becoming an amphibian,” she said.

“Any reason?” I asked, always careful not to step on her dreams.

I have an impressive record of not stepping on the dreams of my friends. The Wall Street Journal once wrote a human-interest article about me. Not a very long piece, as one of three other people they cited about respecting the dreams of friends and family. According to a national survey, the three of us had stepped on the fewest number of dreams in our lives.

I imagine the two others, both women, were also deluged with offers to sponsor products, have movies made about their lives, and offered cash to simply put their face on the cover of a product. Lara Richardson was the most tempted of the three of us. She was quite ill and, in her late fifties, hadn’t long to live. She was appreciative, as were Karen and myself, but in the end, it just wasn’t something we wanted to pursue.

Those years were some of my best. I traveled widely because of a small stipend I had received from the Journal of Astrophysics arguing that God was left-handed, which apparently a world of reticent right-handers out there happened to agree with.

I went with Orville, as my love life was generally unreliable. Orville had been with me since I was eight. My parents were shopping for linens on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, which was the heart of the linen district in the city many years ago, where I found him in an old toy store. Orville, whose biography I wrote about several years back, was, as expected, excellent company for a teddy bear and on more than one occasion seemed to be more informed about significant geopolitical issues in northern European countries than the guide we had been using at the time.

Orville suggested that I collaborate with Karen on a book entitled How Not To Step on Dreams. Karen, a shy and hesitant woman, declined and wished us the best of luck. Orville and I completed a final draft in a year. Perkins, Elmer & Ross, one of the most well-respected publishers in the country, contracted for the deal. The advances on the potential royalties were startling, as word spread that one of the last surviving members of the three who were cited in the Wall Street Journal was creating a follow-up piece that was to delve deeper into the psyche of mankind.

I believe their enthusiasm was also based on an earlier treatise Orville wrote about the fallibility of mankind titled You Can Always Do It The Wrong Way, which was picked up for reprint in 193 of the 195 nations in the world.

We had completed a strong first draft when Corey returned. I was taking that day off, as Orville was at the Smithsonian in Washington on a separate research project on cosmology, his favorite subject. A bright, sunny April day in the seventies, I took lunch to Central Park, when a tiny green lizard jumped up on the bench where I was sitting.

“Hey, I did it.”

I looked down and recognized Corey’s dark-blue eyes. “Congratulations,” I said, beaming with delight. I had faith in her to pull it off. She was that talented, and I was that convinced that if it were possible to go from a man to woman to amphibian, it would be her, or him. Whatever.

She was wearing a three-piece suit with a plaid bow tie and brightly colored ascot. Her sartorial taste was always remarkable, and even though I thought the fit a bit too snug, when you considered all the jumping around she had to do, it was nonetheless impressively British.

We chatted for a while until a patrol car pulled up. Apparently, several people grew suspicious of a middle-aged man looking like he was having an intense conversation with himself on a park bench. Central Park has what is called Controlled Conversation Codes for that kind of behavior, and I and another fellow nearby had obviously crossed that line without knowing it.

The officer was tolerant. 

“You look like a sane fellow, so I won’t give you a fine, but if you want to have a controlled conversation, try after 4 p.m, when there is less of a crowd, and not on a day that is so beautiful, where you could sing and dance in the streets and thank your maker, or makeress, for being blessed for just being alive,” he said, got back into the squad car where his partner was fast asleep, and drove off.

“I have to be going,” Corey said, poking her head up between the wooden slats on the bench where she had taken refuge when the squad car approached. Corey flipped around and jumped into the bushes, and that was the last I ever saw of her. I was unhappy to see her go and without discussing her next transformation, something I was always envious about, but we had both noticed the falcon circling overhead toward the end of the officer’s advice so I knew it was best for her to flee.

A family of peregrine falcons had recently made a roost in the upper floor of a fancy building on Fifth and Seventy-Second Street. The newspapers covered it. It was hailed as a sign that nature, in all its glory, was returning to the city.

The falcon family was growing rapidly, mostly because the park hosted a world-class buffet of fresh pigeons.

I spent another hour in the park, knowing that Orville would be back in our apartment by dusk and both of us would be eager to get back to the manuscript. Before I left the park, I decided to take a turn on the carousel, a ride which had been my favorite as a child and to this day brought back wonderful memories of a world growing up in the city.

I made my way further down into the park toward the carousel. The Central Park Carousel, officially the Michael Friedsam Memorial Carousel, a vintage wood-carved carousel located in Central Park in Manhattan stands at the southern end of the park, near East 65th Street. It is the fourth carousel on the site where it is located.

Children, adults, everywhere. I was beaming with delight. Then I noticed as I stood amongst the spectators that the time of the ride was running too long, and there was no one at the controls. I walked over to where the attendant should be and saw a note saying he had to go to the bathroom. I instinctively knew where the controls were and slowed the carousel. When the carousel stopped, I asked the lineup of parents and kids if they would mind if I could take a turn by myself in honor of saving the lives of terrified children and horrified parents. A quick vote was taken. Over 92.6 percent agreed that I deserved the treat.

By then, the attendant had returned, barely hitching up his pants, then brushing off the crowd for being so demanding and critical, mostly because he repeatedly said he left a note and that his handwriting was nearly perfect and they were overreacting, but grudgingly agreed that I deserved some kind of reward for my services.

I rode the carousel myself for a full cycle. In the beginning I was delighted, but as my turn continued, I started remembering all those who had made my life worth living and longed to share the ride with them.

That would have made for a perfect day.

Meet the Author!

Arthur Davies has been published in a collection, nominated for a Pushcart Prize, received the 2018 Write Well Award for excellence in short fiction and, twice nominated, received Honorable Mention in The Best American Mystery Stories 2017. Additional background is available at Arthur’s website, and Author Central site on Amazon, (


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