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In this world, there exists a select collection of ideas about which few people know and about which even fewer people think. Among these ideas are the color fuschia, the number googolplex, and the state of Wyoming.
It all began, really, at an ice cream parlor populated by a strawberry blonde cashier in a shirt that left little to the imagination, an eighteen-year-old photographer in a floral shirt, a fourteen-year old aspiring Congresswoman who spoke nearly fluent Latin, a nineteenth-century British gentleman trapped in an American sixteen-year-old’s body, and nobody else. As four teenagers trapped in a small, enclosed space often do, they began to converse. Somehow, the topic of Wyoming came up.
The sixteen-year-old gentleman, naturally, was the first to comment. “Gemma,” he began and turned to address the aspiring Congresswoman, “we should move there someday. Natural wonders, barely any people - what do you think?”
Gemma rolled her eyes. “Fine, Mark. Only if you come with me, though.” She gave him a playful punch on the arm, not taking his request seriously.
By the end of the day, the photographer, whose name was Evan, and the cashier, whose name was Maybelle, had decided three things: that Mark and Gemma would end up together one day, that Maybelle would always be able to beat Evan in arm wrestling, and that someday all of them would end up in Wyoming.
Seventeen years later, two of those predictions had come true - Mark and Gemma were not only married but also had five kids, and occasionally Maybelle would call up Evan to invite him over for an arm wrestle. She won every time. However, Gemma and Mark were yet to move to Wyoming.
On the sunny day of November 19th, 2035, Sally Cassidy was sitting in the back seat of her parents’ trashy minivan. Her thick, dark hair was tied back in a messy ponytail, her wireless earbuds in despite her parents’ request for her to listen to the country music station to “get used to it.” Her parents had ordered her to dress like the rest of her siblings, and even though she normally wouldn’t be caught dead coordinating with four little kids in a shirt that said “Rockefeller Ice Cream Parlor Reunion: Wyoming or Bust,” she didn’t want to put up a fight.
From the beginning, Sally had been upset. A month ago, when her parents had announced that the family was moving to, of all places, Wyoming, she had been livid. Her family was leaving everything behind - their friends, her mother’s career as a Congresswoman, her father’s law practice - to go to the state which, Sally had learned, had more cows than people. Not only would she have to leave all of her friends, but she would only have bovines to replace them with!
Now that she had had time to adjust to the idea, Sally hated it even more. On Day 7, Hour 3 of their drive to Wyoming, her father pulled over at a squalid barn-looking thing. “We’re he-ere!” he exclaimed. She rolled her eyes. Next joke, please. But when her mother ran up to it and opened the door, she realized that as much of a joke this was, this was now her life. Sally Cassidy’s life was officially a joke.
The inside of the house was a gloomy gray. The old-style furniture was caked with dust, and the floor abounded in bug skeletons. In the one bathroom was a fish tank half-filled with yellow water, and every curtain was shrouded by cobwebs. This looked like one of those houses in a book, one of those houses in which somebody would get murdered - if there were enough people in Wyoming to even carry out a murder.
A loud bovine grunt interrupted Sally’s internal complaining. She sighed. A stupid cow. She better get used to them - there were going to be a lot of them around from now on. However, what she saw in her neighbors’ pen when she looked out the window was not a cow. It was enormous with pointy yellow horns, and it was completely covered in fluff. She screamed, and her mother immediately ran over.
“Oh, Sally, carissima, that’s just a yak,” she laughed. “That’s the whole reason we came here, remember?”
Sally grew confused. “But I thought you came here to see your friends Maybelle and Evan.”
Her mother laughed again. “Oh, mea parva,” she said, “of course we came here to see them. Problem is, they’re fighting right now. Evan’s yak went on Maybelle’s property, and we’re trying to solve their dispute.”
Sally immediately buried her face in her hands as she experienced the epiphany of a lifetime. Wyoming sure was strange and underpopulated, and maybe Sally would never grow to like it, but at least it wasn’t lacking in drama.