In the Village

12 O'Clock News

                                      As you all know, tonight is the night of the full
                                      moon, half the world over. But here the moon
gooseneck lamp            seems to hang motionless in the sky. It gives very
                                       little light; it could be dead. Visibility is poor.
                                      Nevertheless, we shall try to give you some idea of
                                      the lay of the land and the present situation.

                                      The escarpment that rises abruptly from the central
                                      plain is in heavy shadow, but the elaborate terrac-
                                      ing of its southern glacis gleams faintly in the dim
typewriter                    light, like fish scales. What endless labor those
                                     small, peculiarly shaped terraces represent! And
                                     yet, on them the welfare of this tiny principality

                                     A slight landslide occurred in the northwest about
                                     an hour ago. The exposed soil appears to be of poor
pile of mss.                  quality: almost white, calcareous, and shaly. There
                                    are believed to have been no casualties.

                                   Almost due north, our aerial reconnaissance reports
                                   the discovery of a large rectangular "field," hitherto
typed sheet                 unknown to us, obviously man-made. It is dark-
                                   speckled. An airstrip? A cemetery?

                                   In this small, backward country, one of the most
                                   backward left in the world today, communications
envelopes                   are crude and “industrialization” and its products
                                   almost nonexistent. Strange to say, however, sign-
                                   boards are on a truly gigantic scale.

                                   We have also received reports of a mysterious, oddly
                                   shaped, black structure, at an undisclosed distance
                                   to the east. Its presence was revealed only because
                                   its highly polished surface catches such feeble
                                   moonlight as prevails. The natural resources of the
                                   country being far from completely known to us,
                                   there is the possibility that this may be, or may
                                   contain, some powerful and terrifying “secret
ink-bottle                    weapon." On the other hand, given what we do
                                    know, or have learned from our anthropologists
                                    and sociologists about this people, it may well be
                                    nothing more than a numen, or a great altar
                                    recently erected to one of their gods, to which, in
                                    their present historical state of superstition and
                                    helplessness, they attribute magical power, and
                                    may even regard as a “savior,” one last hope of
                                    rescue from their grave difficulties.

                                    At last! One of the elusive natives has been spotted!
                                    He appears to be—rather, to have been—a
                                    unicyclist-courier, who may have met his end by
typewriter                    falling from the height of the escarpment because
eraser                          of the deceptive illumination. Alive, he would have
                                    been small, but undoubtedly proud and erect, with
                                    the thick, bristling black hair typical of the

                                    From our superior vantage point, we can clearly see
                                    into a sort of dugout, possibly a shell crater, a “nest”
                                    of soldiers. They lie heaped together, wearing the
                                   camouflage “battle dress” intended for “winter war-
                                   fare." They are in hideously contorted position, all
                                   dead. We can make out at least eight bodies. These
ashtray                       uniforms were designed to be used in guerrilla
                                   warfare on the country's one snow-covered moun-
                                   tain peak. The fact that these poor soldiers are
                                   wearing them here on the plain, gives further
                                   proof, if proof were necessary, either of the childish-
                                   ness and hopeless impracticality of this inscrutable
                                   people, our opponents, or of the sad corruption of
                                   their leaders.