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Thrilling Tales of the Downright Unusual
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Enlarge: Rosie takes a break on her pile of rocket parts

Rosie was stumped, and she knew exactly what to do when she was stumped. She turned her back on her workbench, walked right out of the garage, and went to sit on her favorite pile of spare parts. She'd piled this one especially high because it had such a nice view of the Transit Authority's main terminal, where the monorail lines snaked together from all the places they went.

She liked to think about the different destinations that were served by the trains, and about all the hurrying passengers, and about all of the things they were off to do - or which they'd just done, maybe, so that now they were happily setting out on their way home.

Somehow, watching and imagining all of that activity helped her to sit still and to think, without thinking, about whatever problem she was trying to solve. Thinking without thinking is a subtle art.

"Sometimes I sets and I thinks," Rosie murmured to herself, "and sometimes, I just sets."

There was something new on her parts pile. That was annoying. She had a system, after all. She picked it up: just a scrap of paper that must have blown here on the wind. She wadded it up and stuffed it in her pouch.

There was a lot going on at the Transit terminal. Rosie smiled.

Something else was off, though. She wasn't sure what, but whatever it was, it wedged its foot into a crack in her contentment and shoved. What the heck was it?

Out of the corner of her eye Rosie saw something move. It had been too small for a customer, but too big for most anything else she wanted to see in the yard. Hadn't it been wearing a hat?

Rosie grunted and went over for a better look. Whatever it was, it was gone: but here was another paper tacked up on her fencepost. 'The Clockwork Book Knows All! Reasonable Rates! All Stories Available, and Persistent Questions Resolved!' She fished the first scrap out of her pouch. It said the same thing. Times must be tough, Rosie thought, if that thing's started to advertise.
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