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July 22, 2005

Volume 3, Issue 22

The word of the day is:


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Michele: Things That Go Bump

1am: 7-11.
2am: Reading.
5am: Pacing.
7am: Driving to work, bleary eyed, wired and on edge.

On Williams Street, a small kid runs in front of her car. She slams on the brakes, jumps out, ready to scream at the careless child. She sees only a garbage pail on the ground, thrown there by gusting wind.

Good old insomnia hallucinations. She laughs nervously, drives away.

On Porter Street, the wind kicks up again. Another garbage pail flies in front of her car. This time she hits it, and she curses her sleep-deprived reflexes.

Wait, she thinks. Garbage pails don’t scream.

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Laurence - Stung by the Spelling Bee

Podcast of this storyThe Caesar Chavez Middle School Spelling Bee was drawing to a close. Twenty-three kids had left the stage, and it was down to Shirley and Humberto.

Once again, a blue card was drawn from the deck on the podium.

"The word is insomnia," said the judge. "Insomnia"

Shirley took a deep breath and closed her eyes. "Insomnia," she shouted. "I-N-S..."


The auditorium burst into chaos. Half the audience raced to the exits. The other half drew guns and shouted various curses in Spanish.

The Spelling Bee judge sighed. "I hate holding these things in San Diego."

Eventually, Humberto won.

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Andy: The Ark of the Flatulent

"Build a boat. Sail the sea. See the world," he said. Always a tinker, I agreed. Calling in favors, I borrowed some tools and we got to work.

The boat soon took shape. Each night, we slept onboard, as the forecast always called for rain.

The downpour overpowered the cries outside for mercy and deliverance. As the waters rose, the voices fell silent in a cacophony of bubbling notes, and when the rain ended we were left with only the hush of the sea.

We slept well.

Until the elephants developed gastric distress.

Forty days? I'd settle for forty winks.


The Eschatologist: The Last Victim

When doesn't my head hurt?

Every day. Every night. Oh, Lord, the nights.

A dull throbbing as the sun breaks the plane of the earth. Then a pinching feeling in the back of my skull. This is followed by the ice picks. Right into my sinus cavities. I shouldn't scream or cry, but I do, despite knowing it's coming. Then the stars, then black.

I can't remember a goddamned thing. Every night. Nothing.

The sun cracks the other horizon and the pain fades in reverse.

There's just me. Exhausted again. Blood everywhere in some anonymous tramp motel. Mother Fucking MK-ULTRA.


Ted: Worked to Death

She knew he would come up to bed soon, he just had to. He'd been at work for more than twenty hours now. This was the ninth time in as many days. His work was very important, she reminded herself. His work would change the universe.

She heard him on the stairs at last. His tread was slow, each step with the weight of the world behind it.

She leapt from the bed, to be prepared when he entered.

"Is it finished? Are the equations complete?"

"Yes. I finally found all the answers.

"Good. Now rest."

He welcomed her blade.