The story “Hall of Small Mammals” by Thomas Pierce takes place in a zoo. The narrator and Val (the 12-year-old son of the narrator’s girlfriend) are standing in a very long line to see the zoo’s baby Pippin Monkeys, which are on the endangered species list. The narrator confesses that he is only here because he wants Val to like him, while Val is very excited to see the Pippins.

Val goes to the bathroom and tells the narrator not to leave the line. The narrator opens the boy’s backpack and reads some of Val’s screenplay about time travel, learning that Val has imagined him in the role of a villain who holds his mother prisoner. The narrator realizes that he should probably hate the idea, but in fact he feels honored to be included.

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