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Tuppence sat in the chair, eyes closed, gripping the ridged edge of its head. Its? “I can’t be an it. But . . . male? Female? Hermaphrodite?” Well, no, not when the bottom looks like the top. If not . . . then what? “I can’t take this anymore!”

Tuppence pushed its rotund body out of the chair and clunked across the pinewood floor, careful not to fall between the planks. Not that those fat shoes couldn’t span the Mississippi. The front door was shut, of course. They kept her—“That’s right, I’m a she,” she said. Not in those shoes, babycakes, a quiet voice cackled—inside until ready to put on display. How many e-mails had she walked? How many Websites? He—no, it—had seen the world, had pasted on a smile while marching to the beat of an unheard drummer.

No more.

Easing through a gap in the weather stripping, Tuppence made its way outside, the bright sun instantly warming her copper coating. At the edge of the sidewalk, he gathered up his long arms and legs, and jumped. A risk—she could have landed flat on her back and they would have found her. But she rolled. Rolled fast, gathering momentum. A freedom it had never known filled it. She was soaring!

She continued down the street, rounding corners, bumping over cracks in the sidewalk—oops, sorry to break your back, Mom!—cruising toward the park. When she reached the fountain, he jerked sharply to the right, and like a top, spun in place until she came to rest on the warm concrete. Relief!

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In retrospect, it was probably a bad idea to let the refrigerator have any say at all. As if I didn’t have enough problems already, what with the toaster grumbling about his dislike for whole wheat and the blender complaining about being lactose intolerant. Mind you, I normally maintain strict discipline in my kitchen. But once the dishwasher declared her independence, things fell apart quickly.

It all began as I loaded a few glasses into her top rack. She muttered something about my not understanding her needs.

“What’s that?” I said.

“I said I’m the only appliance in the kitchen that gets old, nasty food shoved inside.”

“But that’s your job.”

Oh, is it?!?” She leaned in closer to me, a bit of sour milk dribbled out of the corner of her door.

I sensed her unhappiness. “But of course,” I said, “you are a dishwasher. Notice there is nothing about food in your title, and it would be silly to put clean dishes into you.”

“Well, maybe I need a change,” she said.

“And what is it you’d rather do?”

“Food processing!”

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Fossil Hunter