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Thread: Short stories that aren't really short stories

  1. #26
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    A friend of mine had to go to the doctor's office yesterday.
    He had severely burned both his ears.
    The first thing the doctor asked was "How did your ears get burned like that?"
    My friend answered, "Well I was ironing my shirt when the phone rang. I just instinctively put the iron to my ear before thinking about it..."
    "I see... So then how did you burn your other ear?"
    "Well the stupid guy called back."
    =V

  2. #27
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    Jon was so embarassed. It was his first day as a roofer but roughly half the tacks had the head on the wrong end so he was thorwing them away. When his boss found out he was furious and called him an idiot for throwing away tacks for the other side of the house. He wanted to write it down so he would never forget but the only pencil he owned had the eraser on the wrong end. Fortunately he had enough bullets with the lead on the right end to kill everyone on the work crew.

  3. #28
    Member
    Registered: Dec 2007
    Location: Finger paintings of the insane
    Quote Originally Posted by nicked View Post
    I awoke to pain and cold. She was long gone, but the hurt she had left throbbed in my head and my side. I blinked my eyes open in the ice-filled bath and wished I had had a kidney to spare.
    <3

  4. #29
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    By the way, true story, I was one of the recipients of the original kidney-theft email by Kimm Antell that became the source for one viral version of it... Not the original, original, but the version that got morphed into the urban legend canon, the "college student" branch of it anyway.

    As evidence I offer you:

    My Facebook front page with Kimm Antell at the top
    We were both acting in a play together at UTexas, 1995-1999.That's how we became friends.

    Edit: I can do better than that pic. Here is a cast picture from November 1996 (Madrigral always happens around Thanksgiving), just a month after the fateful email in October... and I've circled the 1996, and our names at the bottom.

    And

    The Snopes article on it, the part in bold being the email I got.

    Quote Originally Posted by Snopes
    Perhaps it was this very dearth of authoritative-sounding window dressing which prompted the next phase in this particular piece of scarelore's development. What a good story lacks can always be added by somebody, and that is indeed just what happened. In October 1996, Kimm Antell, a woman working as an administrative assistant for the University of Texas at Austin's mechanical engineering department, received the e-mail quoted above. Not at the time thinking to doubt it, she forwarded it to her friends, her only contribution to the missive being the attachment of her standard signature block to the bottom of it.

    Within a matter of weeks, a more authoritative version of this e-mail was on the loose. Kimm's signature block was now a fixture of the standard mailing, but now she was identified as the editor of the University of Texas at Austin's Daily Texan, not as an administrative assistant in Mechanical Engineering. The following details also appeared to complete the ending:
    Regardless, he is currently in the hospital on life support, awaiting a spare kidney. The University of Texas in conjunction with Baylor University Medical Center is conducting tissue research to match the sophomore student with a donor.
    A previously wishy-washy e-mail had thus been magically transformed into something authoritative and thus much more likely to be taken seriously. What with an editor of a named newspaper making the announcement, it now looked like a press release or a news story, and the invocation of such recognizable names such as Baylor and the Texas Rangers added further credibility.

    By January 1997, Kimm had received about 400 calls, 200 e-mails, and 25 faxes about this "article" she'd run in the Daily Texan, including inquiries from Inside Edition, Headline News, NBC, and two radio stations. She was also interviewed on an Australian radio program.

    [...]

    To this day, that apocryphal Daily Texan article continues to circulate on the Internet and is forwarded in private e-mail. Without at all wanting to be there, Kimm Antell has become worked into the fabric of netlore.
    Ah, when Internet was still young...
    Last edited by demagogue; 14th Jul 2011 at 11:06.

  5. #30
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2006
    Location: On the tip of your tongue.
    The squirming discomfort in his stomach suddenly morphed into a brief stabbing pain. He hurriedly excused himself and ran into the house. He started to close the patio door behind him, but abandoned it as the urgency of his situation became apparent. He half-ran, half-waddled up the stairs to the bathroom. Throwing the door shut behind him, he tugged at his trousers and yanked them down over his hips without even undoing his belt. He pulled up his "Kiss the Cook" apron as high as he could. The relief was immense as he sat and his bowels opened like a pregnant stormcloud unleashing a seasonal torrent. The lactic acid stab in his gut continued. The stench now emanating from beneath his legs was anything but healthy. It must have been the burger. He'd thought it seemed a bit undercooked. But he'd cooked it for as long as any of the others. Everyone else at the barbecue was fine. It was then that the sound of screams and retching reached his ears from the garden outside. Sweat beaded on his brow. He leaned forward, and pushed the door latch shut.

  6. #31
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: Sulphur, whatever
    I wrote this to distract myself today. Didn't put much effort into aesthetics, so it's a bit rough. Apart from that, apologies are in order for two reasons: one, for this actually being a short story, and two, for the clichés .

    -----

    Salman studies the scene before him with knitted brow.

    'I don't...' he begins, then stops.

    'I have...' he tries again, but that doesn't do it either. He sighs. 'Fine, I give up. What the hell am I looking at?'

    Vivek smiles, teeth shellaced from the waxy apple he half-scarfed before abandoning it... somewhere. Salman can't see it now, but the evidence of it remains. Flecks of red speckle the borders where his teeth meet his gums. 'Is it not obvious?' he asks.

    'Um. No?'

    'Fine. Let me answer this way, then. Where are we?'

    'We are here. In your backyard. At your house.'

    'Do you remember me calling you here, Salman? Do you remember getting "here"?'

    Salman thinks. 'No, you didn't call me. I just dropped by on the way from... well, I can't recall, but it was somebody's house.'

    Vivek's smile broadens into a grin. 'Look closer then.' He indicates the scene before them with a broad sweep of his hand. 'Go on.'

    Salman walks towards the spectacle. Ribbons of shivered light hang in the air, wrapped around a fantastical diorama that looks like a thousand exploded mirrors, all moving towards and away from each other at the same time. He sees hundreds of smaller versions of himself flickering in each shard, all of them moving independently -- walking, talking, staring back, and it is impossible to focus on just one. Vivek taps him on the shoulder and guides his eyes towards a jagged piece of reality, rainbow-edged light sluicing down its frame.

    Salman looks closer. He sees himself, driving from this place, taking a bend in the road... but no, it isn't a bend in the road, it's a bend in... 'Wait,' he says. 'The car, it's disappeared. Where did it go?'

    'Is that the right question? Where did it go, or where will it go?'

    Salman feels a chill travel down his spine. 'The Bottle... we did it?'

    'Yes. And it worked beyond our wildest dreams. The three mad mathematicians were right.'

    Salman whoops and laughs, hugs Vivek then stops, grabs his arm. 'We're going to be famous!' he yells. A smaller voice inside him whispers, 'You're going to be famous.'

    Vivek smiles, then shakes his head. 'Salman. It worked, yes. But we made a mistake. Possibly the worst one. The Bottle... I realised something was off with the geometry. Someone modified it, you see, so that in space-time, it still intersects with itself. The moment of its creation is also the moment of its undoing. When you asked me to trigger the sequence I saw it only after it was too late. The Bottle... it is, well, broken.' Vivek indicates the shard Salman was looking at. 'See for yourself.'

    The car is back. But something is different. Salman sees himself park the car and get out. He sees himself walking towards a house and ringing the doorbell.

    Realisation comes to him in a sickening wave of vertigo, and he knows what is about to happen next. He does not stay to see it. He is running now, running out of the backyard and towards his car, fumbling for the keys in his pocket. His hands are clammy as he turns the key in the ignition. He looks out the window, sees Vivek still gazing at the twisting knot of fractured space in front of him. He doesn't seem to hear Salman pull out of the driveway.

    The wind whips in Salman's face as he guns the engine and makes for home. Tears stream from his eyes as he bites down on his knuckles hard enough that the skin ruptures, and the blood flows freely.

    Salman doesn't look out the window, doesn't notice the subtle fracture in the sky that he is barrelling towards, doesn't notice that, for all the world, as it splits the setting sun behind him, that the light warps and shivers in his rear-view mirror like it is bending in on itself, just before the car vanishes completely.

    ...


    No point waiting any more, Salman thinks as he gets into the car. It's now or never. The wind picks up, carrying the scent of possibility with it. He takes his phone out, taps a message to Vivek and Carla to begin the Klein sequence. As he returns the phone to his pocket, his hand brushes against the Webley's seven hundred grams of cold steel tucked into his waistband. Its weight is a silent comfort, and he smiles.

    'It is going to be a beautiful day,' Salman says to himself as he revs the engine.

    No one responds, but as the wind roars in his ears, Salman knows that the universe agrees with him.
    Last edited by Sulphur; 9th Aug 2017 at 15:57.

  7. #32
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2002
    Location: Cologne
    A nicely described loop. I didn't get the part about "the bottle" or anything about how they did it, who they are, etc. Maybe I'm too stupid, or maybe it needs a bit of extending, but what's there is great.

  8. #33
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Idiocy will never die
    Nice Sulphur, nice.

  9. #34
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: Sulphur, whatever
    Thanks, guys. I agree it needs more detail (character and everything else, really). It's a ham-fisted thought experiment at visualising a Klein bottle in spacetime, minus a bunch of things that may actually happen instead -- if it were physically possible, which it isn't. Not for us, anyway. God may have the last word on implementing n-dimensional non-orientable surfaces.

  10. #35
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Idiocy will never die
    Sunday afternoon and we’re all in shop. Bits of this is legit but as like most Sundays most of it is chop. It’s the best day to be on ‘cause the pay is much better, naturally. Overtime on a non-legit? Yeah, that’s got to get in the coin or why else would you really do it? Everybody does but if you’re going to work here at all you’ve got to be all in sometimes. No weak links in the chain if and when… well, you know.

    This is what happened.

    Just after three this bald guy in a suit rolls in, all smooth like. Not his manner; he was actually smooth. Head like cue ball and so clean shaven I though he had one of those hair-losing diseases until I noticed his little eyebrows. This guy rocked up in a light grey suit that was slightly too short in the leg, with black shoes and a dark blue crisscross patterned cotton shirt. He had those tiny round glasses like you see on German officers in WW2 films, or that general dude who burned his hand in the snow in Indian Jones. The money was there, the matching wasn’t.

    So anyway, he stands in the middle of the shop and clicks his fingers, loud. Everyone stopped to look at this out of place, short, skinny, shiny intruder with his bad dress sense and art house glasses. This is what he said.

    “A man I’ve never met, whose location and contact details I know nothing about, sent a timed email 5 hours ago. It won’t be delivered until Wednesday. He knows who I am, what I look like and he’s tracking me with an app on my phone. He’ll meet me between now and Wednesday but I don’t know where. I’m just going to go about my business, or not, as the case may be.”

    He paused. Pauly looked like he was about to say something but just then this moleman from the offices started again.

    “If I don’t get what I need I’m a dead man anyway so killing me now will make no difference. However, if I do get what I want that email will be recalled. That email, fellas, contains the pictures, names, dates of birth, passport numbers, addresses, contact details, car registration numbers, resumes and a whole lot more about all of you, your spouses, your parents and your kids. One of you has stolen something from my employer’s employer and if that email arrives everyone in it will dead by Saturday.”

    He paused and looked around, at our faces.

    “If you return what was stolen when the man I’ve never met sees me, sometime between now and Wednesday, I’ll pass it on and email will be recalled. So you see fellas, at least one of you has a big confession to make and something to give me. I’m going to sit in your office. I’d love a coffee. I’ll be here for ten minutes.”

    He walked into Jimmy’s office.

    That was 20 days ago. I’m still on the run.

  11. #36
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: Sulphur, whatever
    Nice. Very Black Mirror. I like the colloquial touch to the narration, too, seems a bit nadsat, a bit everyday.

  12. #37
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2002
    Location: Edmonton
    I'll read the new stories a bit later on, but I just wanted to say how surprised I was to see this thread crop up and how I had almost entirely forgotten writing it.

  13. #38
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: Sulphur, whatever
    A good surprise, I hope. I just remembered it the other day and decided, 'Well hell, why not?' Reanimation is one of my other on-again off-again pastimes.

  14. #39
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    When I saw this I winced thinking "oh hell what did I post" but I kind of like the ones I did. They have a deeper layer and a top one that is amusing.

  15. #40
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    Archibald fervently peered through the telescope, then down at his charts, taking frenzied notes in the margins.
    It was a new celestial object to be sure, but what to make of it?
    It was hardly a pin prick, even through the telescope, and could easily have gone unnoticed if the world hadn't had someone as disciplined as he was in his nightly accounting of the sky against the old charts.
    He was sure it was not there the night before.
    For a brief second he allowed himself to feel vindicated for his tireless work, but quickly returned to the crisis at hand.

    He thought the phenomenon may have been described before, but where to look?
    He ran to the shelves and pulled the dusty old tomes of the charts going back far into the past, and poured through them, looking for any hint. He noticed the new objects added to the charts as the telescopes gained power. But were any of them completely new objects? How could he know for sure? There was nothing special about them now, save their dimness and small size.

    But this object -- he peered again into the telescope to see it still there -- was something else entirely!

    He ran to the door and pounded his fists.
    "Who is out there tonight?! You must listen to me! There's an object! An object in the sky!"
    He pounded and wouldn't let up until the tiny iron window was pushed open.
    "Quiet down! Quiet down! It's me, Mortimax. What's this about an object? You must settle down."
    "An object in the sky! Look here..." He held the latest chart up to the tiny window and pointed to an empty space in the Raven's constellation.
    "It's here! It's here! Look, what do you see?!"
    "I see nothing. What am I looking at?"
    He pulled out his pencil and began circling the empty space.
    "Here! There is an object here! And what do you see?"
    "I see nothing. You are circling empty space."
    "But it isn't empty. You must look into the telescope and see!"
    "Go to sleep, Archibald."
    He slammed the little iron window shut with a crack.

    Archibald would not be deterred. He began to pound on the door.
    "You must see it! You must see it!" he shouted, his voice cracking with desperation.
    He finally heard the familiar clacking of the key unlocking the door, and he felt the swell of relief that only comes to the man whose life's work is so long confined to the shadows and finally recognized by the world.
    The door was thrust open, throwing Archibald back.
    Mortimax walked in and grabbed him by the throat, pushing him to the bed.

    He towered over the old man and his giant hands easily wrapped around Archibald's neck like a twig, his trunk-sized biceps rippling.
    "You were told not to scream at night, were you not?"
    The shock and the burly grasp around his throat left Archibald speechless.
    "You were told what was expected as appropriate behavior if you were to be left alone, were you not? Is this appropriate behavior, Archibald?"
    Mortimax pushed Archibald to the bed and pinned him down as he pulled the leather straps over his body, tightening each one and fastening them as Archibald wrestled against the inevitable in futility.
    "But the object! Ugh! You must see the object! It doesn't belong there!! Uggghhh!"

    When Mortimax had the man strapped down, he walked stridently outside and quickly returned with the old leather mask.
    "Nooo... Please. Just look. The telescope is right there... I'll be quiet. Just look." Archibald hushed to a whimper.
    "You were told, Archibald."
    Mortimax pushed the mask over Archibald's face, the rubber knob forcing itself into his mouth and muffling even the hushed whimpers to a murmur. Archibald's writhing slowed and looked at Mortimax with pleading eyes.

    Mortimax stood up, looked at the telescope, looked at Archibald, and gave an impatient huff.
    He walked over to the telescope and ran his fingers down its stretch. From across the room Archibald's eyes plead.
    Mortimax picked the telescope up, a giant hand on each end, then flexed his trunks until the telescope snapped in two.
    He dropped the pieces on the stone floor and they clanged like broken midnight bells.

    He quickly walked out, muttering only "You were told, Archibald."

    Archibald was left strapped in his bed the next day as punishment, only let out every few hours for feedings and sanitary matters.

    The day after that, finally freed from the bed, he took to mending his telescope. He drew his instructions for casting the new pieces and handed them to the next day's guard, Johannes. But he knew it would be some time before they would bother getting around to his request. It would certainly not be to please him, but the family had made some kind of minimal promise to his wife and children, when they were still alive, that he would be treated humanely, left to conduct his studies in peace and not mistreated, apparently except as called for. That left him with a certain very small amount of leverage he knew to save for important requests like this.

    But he couldn't wait for the new pieces. He needed to advance his studies this very night.
    He wound a cloth around the breach of the broken telescope and asked for some plaster to seal it.
    It was essential that no light leak through.
    Thank goodness the lenses were not cracked.

    When the stars began to emerge, he aimed his mended contraption at the location he had so fervently circled in the chart.
    It was still there, but something was different.
    He brought up the filters. Sure enough, while still small, its apparent magnitude had almost doubled in the time since he had last seen it.
    He double checked his notes.
    Surely that could not be an artifact of his repair job?
    He looked again. Over the course of several hours, he almost convinced himself it was growing brighter and larger as he watched it.

    He didn't know what to make of it, but it looked like it was getting closer.
    Last edited by demagogue; 19th Aug 2017 at 06:58.

  16. #41
    El Shagmeister
    Registered: Jul 2000
    Location: Under your fingernails.

    Poetry, yo!

    Hai, imma post some short poetry 'cuz I need to polish some stuff first. Your comments/feedback/critique/Sulphurtearingmeanewone are always welcome.

    <3

    ------------------------------------------------------
    ------------------------------------------------------

    Ivory Memory

    Touched by your hands, I lived.
    Our nights breathed in crescendo.
    Each note a promise.

    Call out for me, I still exist.

    ------------------------------------------------------

    Came A Deer

    Hoofed steps skip a beat,
    the earth holds its breath.
    The stream burbles, the wind swishes,
    leaves rustle. Wait, a branch snaps.
    The moment breaks, now it is lost
    Spring whispers, but the deer is gone.

    ------------------------------------------------------

    This Dance

    Everybody leaves
    the dance floor.
    The record skips,
    no one is listening anymore.
    It’s the only thing
    holding me together.
    I can’t stop spinning,
    otherwise I’ll fall.

    ------------------------------------------------------

    Essentials

    I loved you
    before I learned
    how to breathe.
    Who are you?

    ------------------------------------------------------

    Skin

    My body lies
    at the razor’s edge of revolution.
    These lips of mine are a fire.
    With a word,
    I’ll see the World burn.

    Desire breathes
    through every pore.
    My skin is woven taut
    with desperation.
    It pulls anxious
    for a single touch.

    ------------------------------------------------------

    Fourteen Billion Hands

    Solitude extends indefinite
    over a wandering gaze.
    Moments of uncertain tranquility,
    caught in transfixed irises.
    Carrying the surface tension
    of a lingering kiss.

    Orange beams
    bleed slowly into frame,
    warming the confines
    of this cage.
    A flutter.
    The heart speaks.
    Its words lost in
    the midpoint of empty spaces.

    Loneliness is a word
    the World is built upon.
    Fourteen billion hands
    hold on to
    nothing.
    This is not what was promised.
    Last edited by MrDuck; 19th Aug 2017 at 06:57.

  17. #42
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: Sulphur, whatever
    dema: I like the suggestions of the world you've constructed in that, which seems like oppressive 17th century Europe (with Discworld names!) yet also ambiguous as it's potentially told from the POV of a man who might not have it quite all together.

    Duck: always happy to, but a gentleman always knocks first.

    I've been spinning out a cyberpunk story in my head for a while, and while it will eventually see the light of day, I've committed a few *rough* joke-y snippets to keyboard, one of which was intended to be blunt commentary below. Yes, it's currently too indebted to Gibson; I'll need to address that at some point when I get to writing this seriously. Lols welcome!

    ----

    Joe flits through the catalogues, imprints a pattern on the front of a pair of corduroy briefs - a cow's skull - and orders five to his condo in Atlanta. It takes him all of two and a half seconds to finesse the entire transaction; Teyrne's UnderNet sips his data stream and helpfully spins the information to his most recent contacts in the area while recommending them useful variations, including toreador-themed vibrators in the shape of a bull's horn, latex bras with polypropylene udders, and, most depressingly of all, calfskin boots -- in less than half the time it takes for him to blink at the sudden influx of videos across his adstream featuring women stepping on baby animals.

    'Fuck,' Joe mutters. 'There an AI out there that doesn't go full sperg?' A thumbnail clip plays of a woman who looks like Amy smushing a timberwolf puppy into a tangle of matted fur beneath a bare foot. Her feet are exquisite, toenails painted with the exact same shade of scarlet Amy used to wear.

    Joe shakes his head, then acknowledges to the overnet that, yes, he'd like to enter Crush.<3's free trial period.
    Last edited by Sulphur; 19th Aug 2017 at 07:06. Reason: brain-fart re: when Galileo lived

  18. #43
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    @Duck, I think my story and your poems share the same theme of calling out for some recognition.
    It must be that time of the year.
    For little bon mots your poems have got some spark in them. Coincidentally I've been reading through the Norton Anthology of poetry this week -- not even sure why -- but it's been making me think about what makes for good poems. I think it'd be an interesting experiment to fill your head with them and see what comes out under their spell.

    @Sulph, ambiguous yes, also that if he is seeing something real, he's the only one noticing something big about to go down in a world that can't hear his warnings.
    And FTR, legit lol from your little scrap.

  19. #44
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: Sulphur, whatever
    Thanks! And yup, and that's what makes your story work for me, the fact that you can read it both ways.

    Ducksauce: these are nice; I suck at poetry critique, so listen to what dema says before anything else. Personally, I'd say your strength lies in expressing the physical. Like the last verse of Skin, which is quite evocative of the mood you're going for.

  20. #45
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Idiocy will never die
    See now, I really like the ending of yours dema. It's open but you know somethings going on and it feels like something is going to happen. But we'll never know!

  21. #46
    El Shagmeister
    Registered: Jul 2000
    Location: Under your fingernails.
    Quote Originally Posted by demagogue View Post
    @Duck, I think my story and your poems share the same theme of calling out for some recognition.
    It must be that time of the year.
    Many of us want to be seen, no? <3 Somewhere in time it's always that time of the year.

    Quote Originally Posted by demagogue View Post
    For little bon mots your poems have got some spark in them.
    Imma blush now, aw! <3

    Quote Originally Posted by demagogue View Post
    Coincidentally I've been reading through the Norton Anthology of poetry this week -- not even sure why -- but it's been making me think about what makes for good poems. I think it'd be an interesting experiment to fill your head with them and see what comes out under their spell.
    I was telling Sulphy today that I've read individual poems here and there but funny enough, I don't have the habit of reading poetry per se. I think I should start. Especially since other poets have mentioned that I seem to have the sensibility for it, so I'm going to say that's worth something. Plus, I enjoy it (not as much as prose, but still enjoy it).

    <3

  22. #47
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2008
    Location: on a mission to civilize
    To whoever may find this letter:

    Please read this. It's imperative that you read this and try to understand. This. This is the end result of the event, and we don't know if it will ever get better. The way it looks, soon it likely won't matter at all. Soon, it'll all be over. Everything. But until that time comes, we remain vigilant. This will hopefully be a testament for those that may come one day, to see with their own eyes. Hopefully this story will find its way into the hands of those who may have the future that we never will. Hopefully there will be a future. Hopefully you'll understand the words printed here, and know what really happened. Hopefully you'll understand those that are responsible for our current state of being want you to stay ignorant. Don't want you to question.

    Nothing happened here, they will say.

    But it all started here. To whoever may find this letter, you are at ground zero. For a community so isolated and seemingly so insignificant, this is where it began, and this is where it ended.

    This isn't our story. This is our confession. This is our plea.

    Why did we let them convince us? Test plots!

    It was so tempting, being the first community to apply the miracle. Kleb-Grow. The jealous eyes of the world would be on us. They said we would be feeding the land while eliminating all weeds and undesirable growth. They said we'd be planting the new Vacanthimum vulgaris, rendering it into alcohol that could then be used to power our engines, and distilled into sweet liquor. We'd be famous. We'd be saving the world. So we did it.

    How were we to know? Did they know? They were the ones that created the devil. We were the ones that unleashed it. Dear God, did they know?

    Only, alcohol is no good for kids, is it. Especially when it's all we had to offer. So we all decided to put the children to bed early. It was the only thing to do, with their tummies so empty for so long. I tucked little Ruthie in myself. Even as weak as she was, she cooed and giggled with delight, anxious for another game of peek-a-boo, as I fluffed the pillow. It was a struggle. It took her awhile to finally go to sleep. I guess it did for all the other children, too, but she eventually settled down. Eventually became still. I watched over her for a bit, stroking her silky hair, which always smelt warm and sweet, like fresh cut alfalfa, as the rosy glow in her cheeks slowly faded.

    Sleeping is always better than hunger.

    Sleep tight, children. Sleep tight. Tonight, somewhere out there, a select few will be dining and making merry. Tonight, they will be fattening themselves on profits and losses, while your loving parents will be toasting their own success, toasting how clever we were, toasting just how we were the ones who were to save the world. Tonight, we will raise our glasses high, full of spirits, full of emptiness, and warm our stomachs on the fruits of our labor while your stomachs turn cold.

    Then, we will throw our glasses into the fire.

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