Written by: Danielle Renaud

On a planet the size of a cantaloupe, suspended by four strings, there are forests made of trees and animals, mountains made of rock and snow, and oceans made mostly of seaweed and a little water, among other things.

The music of the waves enchants the entirety of the planet as it moseys by in the clockwork of its day-to-day life. On the north beach of the east sea, a talented violinist gazes over the horizon. He is entirely human, apart from his head, which is that of a large white dog with long hair and big ears and intention.

If you listen closely, you might hear the dog-man, with his gloves the colour of a snowflake still afloat, breathing with the ocean and allowing his instrument to play him with the same largo tempo that moves the water.

His song reaches the ears of a concrete giraffe, who is completely submerged in the ocean during high tide, and whose head pokes just above the waters when the tide is low. His spots are made of fluorescent algae that glow a deep Himalayan-salt orange. His emergence is the illusion of a second sunrise.

Cats with twelve legs and one eye, who live among the trees in the forest, begin to wake up and stretch their legs in the artificial light. The trees, with leaves made of playing cards, reach higher than Cantolopian skyscrapers, and can be seen easily by anything fluttering in space near the planet. The cards hum ancient tunes as the warm air dances around them.

If you listen carefully, you might hear creatures telling the tales of a dictator who cut the tails off of all the Cantolopian dolphins, so that they had no choice but to adapt and learn to hop around on land.

They might tell you of the time that it snowed for five years, and they had to create a system of under-snow tunnels just so that they could get around and continue on with their lives while the trees shivered, and the giraffe remained submerged. When all the snow melted, the resulting water was absorbed into the earth. The ground became swollen and as difficult to walk on as a water-bed. It was a time when the creatures found it easier and faster to bounce rather than to attempt walking. This method gained popularity for months, until a type of velcro shoe was created that could hold their feet in place wherever they chose to step. They could walk on the streets once more. They could walk up trees and houses. They could walk on water. If they moved fast enough, they could even sprint up the raindrops that fell from the sky to go take a nap on a cloud.

The dolphins, however, were very grateful for the elasticity of the ground. They politely refused the velcro body suits that had been designed for them, and chose instead to bounce freely among the others, who obsessed over sticking themselves to things.

The planet itself became so used to absorbing water that when the land was dry, it began to drink from the oceans. Eventually, the giraffe was left naked and exposed in the empty basin of the sea – a child in an empty swimming pool.

He remains there to this day, his legs covered in a pile of salt that reaches his knees and dusts his back like snow. He stands without tiring, sunrise after sunrise, in his empty basin near the north beach of the east sea, on a planet the size of a cantaloupe, waiting for someone to stop and listen.

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