More Gamma World Short Fiction - Sleeth Stacks

"So, it is a picture but it is also a number?"

The sleeth teacher nodded for what seemed an eternity. Then in his reedy hiss he replied, 'Yess, thiss iss the essence of it, yess.'

The boy still bore the same puzzled look. He looked around at the old mouldering books spread across the table and opened and closed his mouth, as if to say something, but made no sound. The old sleeth, sensing the boy's apprehension, made the crooked-finger gesture for a question and nodded for the boy to speak.

"Patsuru, I have many questions. If we cannot tell between pictures and numbers, how are we to understand any of the Ancient book learning? Could we be reading words when numbers are the language or numbers where words really belong? How can we be certain we know Master Joosts was correct about the Guin Ness Book? Could the DOS for Dummies possibly have nothing at all to do with Obbs?"

The reptilian professor listened to the boy, blinking his eyes after each question. Then, leaning on his staff, slowly stood up, his lanky frame towering over his student. "So many questionss today, hmm? Skolaren is most interessting to you today? Sso many questions from sso ssmall a sstudent needss time for sstudy. We sshall ssave them for later. Now you sshall help Brother Enok to burn back the zeethh."

Sensing that any protest would be futile, the boy stood up and with a quick leap took flight from the treetop classroom into the canopy, still wondering about the the day's lesson. The Brotherhood always raised interesting questions, but demanded so much work, too. Burning zeethh, gathering ed ep berries, weaving linen, and cleaning the skol. As he glided down to the forest floor he swore to himself that he would see the day when his students would wonder about HIS lessons while they burned back the same patch of zeethh.