the inquisitive one

The inquisitive one woke up determined to solve the mystery of whether the i.o.’s house was in the U.S. or Canada.

“I can do this,” the i.o. said, sitting up in bed, and frowning at the nearby maple syrup and hockey gear. “I can solve this mystery!”

At that moment, the wise ant was sauntering in through a crack in the baseboard. “There’s no mystery,” said the wise ant. “We’re in Canada. It’s obvious, eh?”

“I’m not so sure,” said the inquisitive one. “I’m going out to investigate!”

“Suit yourself. But bundle up. It’s chilly out there, eh?”

The inquisitive one threw on some running clothes and a hat and gloves. Then the i.o. took a foot tour of the neighborhood. The houses, the i.o. noticed while puffing loudly, for the i.o. was badly out of shape from living in Liza’s closet for months, looked exactly the same as they always looked, . . . with one big exception.

American flags used to fly from porch stands and flagpoles around the neighborhood; but these were now replaced by the red maple leaf of the Canadian flag.

“Did my “date” somehow transport the entire neighborhood to Canada?” wondered the inquisitive one.

The i.o. kept jogging at a slower-than-usual pace. With a sudden flash of brilliance, the i.o. veered south and eventually made it to Rock Creek Trail, following the famous pathway all the way to Washington, D.C.

Indeed it was Washington, D.C., or at least it looked exactly the same as Washington, D.C., except for the Canadian flags everywhere. And then the U.S. Capitol came into view, and the inquisitive one was shocked to see the Canadian flag flying from that building, too.

“Whaaaa . . . ?” said the inquisitive one, and spun around to run back home.

On the i.o.’s nightstand, next to the jug of maple syrup, was a business card belonging to the “date,” which the inquisitive one had noticed earlier. Escort and Travel Consultant read the job title. The inquisitive one dialed the number listed.

“Hallo,” said the “date.”

“Hey, what is going on here? Why is there a Canadian flag flying from the U.S. Capitol building?!”

A big sigh reverberated through the phone. “You couldn’t just live there peaceably. You had to go and investigate.”

“Well, people don’t call me ‘the inquisitive one’ for no reason!”

Another big sigh. “Look. You did something unforgivable: you stormed the U.S. Capitol. How on earth could I save you from that? I had to take drastic measures. I transported you to an alternate universe, where Canada has captured most of the territory of the U.S. Here, you won’t be perceived as a villain, but as a hero. What more could you ask for? And, believe me, transporting you was a big and difficult job. Not just anybody could’ve done it. Your bill will reflect that.”

“But I don’t want to live—”

The inquisitive one could not finish the sentence because, suddenly falling backwards, the inquisitive one got sucked into a black hole that had suddenly, unaccountably, taken shape in the middle of the i.o.’s bedroom.