On her way to the Arctic, Professor Agatha Rumrock heard a story about a young girl who’d been raised to believe she was special. This young girl, whose name was something like Aubrey or Audrey or Audie or Amy or Ondella Dumont, had been born in one century, died in another, and lived most of her life in a different one entirely. This was not what made her special, because, of course, how could she have been raised to know that she would live to the age of a hundred and four? What was special about this young girl (or old woman, or just woman for much of her life) was something she never knew. No one had ever quite explicitly spelled it out for her, and so she always wondered. All her life she wondered, what is so special about me?
The person who told this story to Professor Agatha Rumrock was a former neighbor of that somehow special person. More precisely, he had once been a bartender working at a nightclub in a neighborhood in which Ms. Dumont had once resided. She only lived there for a short time, a matter of weeks as the professor found out once did some more digging around. The former bartender, who had also been a former Marine, a former maritime commissioner, a former used boat salesman and a former fisherman, had heard a story about Aubrey or Audrey or Audie or Amy or Ondella once, on his way to the arctic.