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“I’VE GOT a magic trick for you.”
“Okay, great. First, pick a number from zero to a trillion.”
“Hold it in your mind. Really concentrate.”
“Inhabit it. Be that number. Feel its value, its shape, its weight. Know the numbers on either side of it. Tell them you live there now. You are that number. Illuminate it from within. Own it.”
“Wow. This is intense.”
“Okay. Now, think of what it is you really love to do.”
“The thing you do that makes you happy, whole, and complete. Got it?"
MY NEW 100W PERSONAE FOR 2013
Hapsburg Pete, a sweet, perpetually penniless longshoreman from Switzerland who doesn’t understand he’s landlocked.
The Kid Who Likes to Eat Cap’n Crunch Cereal To Excess. [Autobiographical]
... and his pal Germaine P. Grapes, dreaming to him telepathically from Montagne de Reims Regional Natural Park, France, where he has fallen Into a geologically unlikely crevasse that harbors sentient, and none too pleased, lichen.
Bob Mangle, Mangle Motors.
Dandrich Clabernackle III, the world’s most vexing mixologist.
... and his wife, Milagros “Yo Soy de Lima” Clabernackle, seemingly —
Seventeen additional variations on, “I’m not sure I follow you.”
ADDITIONAL 100W PERSONAE FOR 2013
Biff Schmelman, a man whose forehead feels warm and had better lie down; no, no, that can wait. I’m going to bring you a washcloth.
The Regular Scientist, whose carefully collected data suggest more study is warranted, and fortunately the NSF has been very supportive.
The Man Who is Mildly Allergic to PAAS® Easter Egg Dye.
A bowl of split pea soup with ham and carrot.
...and his companion, a moody but hungry boy who doesn’t realize he’s scooping his friend out alive.
A man writing angry letters to his postman.
Mel Blanc’s butcher.
FURTHER 100W PERSONAE FOR 2013
— Jerome Stone, or Stein, but definitely Jerome.
— A man desperate to know how many grains of salt constitute a mouthful.
— Petey “The Big Man” Scungille, a hapless galoot who does not realize he has loyal, eager, and manifold mob ties and that he is under a federal surveillance warrant for investigation into same.
— A man who remembers where he was the day Alfred Lunt appeared on “The Dick Cavett Show” (Feb. 19, 1970; Kresge’s department store, then home).
— Gao Xingjian, recipient of the 2000 Nobel Prize in Literature.
— Skylab’s ghost, cursed to haunt these parts.
A TUESDAY'S WORTH OF NEW 100W PERSONAE FOR 2013
— Sheoppard Hatfield, whose given name does not rhyme with leopard, as you might expect, but instead is pronounced SHE-oh-pard. The second p is vestigial.
His surname, Hatfield, depends from 1792, when Canadian fur trapper François Hattiefoeld misspelled Hattiefoeld in a hurry on a rabbit hunting application, known in those days as a musket stamp.
Explained “Hatfield” at the time, “Les lapins ne demandez pas le nom d'un homme, et je n'ai pas besoin d'un dictionnaire.” So the name stuck!
Anyway, Sheoppard built a time machine.
— The bite of lemonade.
AS MANY NEW 100W PERSONAE FOR 2013 AS I CAN CRAM IN TODAY
— Fletcher Boyce, imminently divorcing, courageously decking out his apartment with houseplants.
— A philodendron in a flower shop. Oh, my, yes, these and Pothos will grow anywhere; just don’t overwater them. This big one is $6.50. We also have them smaller, at $3.50, and they will spill over.
— Helen Greaves, proprietor of Greaves’ Leaves, who is on such tight margins thanks to the Internet that, well, her accountant says it’s not good.
— A paper bag.
— The Lord God, considering a prayer: “Please let this one live.”
PROPOSED ADDITIONAL 100W PERSONAE FOR 2013
Expedition 197 is under way as Commander Kevin Mittens and flight engineers Bruce Glover and Ray Palmwarm continue their stay until April 2034. The station’s newest trio began their mission when they docked their Red Bull RBE-06M spacecraft to the Pepsi module on Nov. 21.
An astronaut, yes, but only as part of an elaborate scheme to get away with murder.
Devoted to the International Space Station project but fears the day he’s discovered to have cheated on his high school physics midterm.
Hates space and everything in it. Invisible.
NEW 100W PERSONA FOR 2013
Tang Juwu (1898–1939), Chinese officer; general of one of the anti-Japanese volunteer armies resisting the pacification of Manchukuo.
Late in life Tang Juwu is beset by chest infections and suffers frequent coughs, chapped lips, and slickened handkerchiefs. Worse, his only grandson, Jing, recoils at the stricken man’s touch, and will not sit long with him to hear his stories. His pride wounded, Tang Juwu daydreams the child trampled by a horse.
However it is Tang Juwu, himself, who eventually is trampled by a carpenter’s nag named Longma.
The Japanese remain until 1945.
SPANKIN'-NEW 100W PERSONAE FOR 2013
, 45, whose suspicion that he was switched at birth with the baby of an orangutan family is reinforced after he wins his enclosure’s nomination for beta male.
J. Ingalls Redbutte
, 45, whose mother, God rest her soul, always loved him and always believed in him:
"Jeff, our beautiful boy, you can do anything you set your mind to, like with the tree house. We were so, so proud. Oh, Tom, please be patient with him. If only you could see him through my eyes. You will show him love, won’t you, Tom? For me?"
“What about J. Ingalls Redbutte?”
“He came in with the briefcase.”
“Oh! I liked him. He’s young...”
“But that’s not a bad thing. We could start him at $7.25. Did you like him?”
“I liked that story about his sisters and the tire swing.”
“That was charming. And he seems confident. All right, so these are our three: Smith, Jones and Redbutte.”
“Jones is ideal, in my opinion, but she has shaky transportation.”
“Smith... God. I like this one. Hold for references.”
“Redbutte... Let’s get refs, but I’m leaning toward Smith.”
“DO YOU KNOW who that is?”
“Yeah, just one of the guys in Primates.”
“On the surface, yes. But do you know who his father is?”
“I have no idea.”
“Thomas Morton Redbutte, of Redbutte Allied Manufacturing.”
“His family is.”
“So why’s he working at the zoo?”
“Maybe his dad wants him to be well rounded before he makes him CEO.”
“J. Ingalls Redbutte? The guy who feeds the chimps?”
“Maybe his dad thinks it’ll build character.”
“Mindy in Gift Services told me.”
“Well how the hell would she know?”
“AGAIN, thank you all for an outstanding push heading into Q3. Special Events, you’re the head of the class. Everybody: Register now, today, for that career development webinar. Good stuff. Anything else? Anybody else? Hearing no objection, ba-boom! Let’s get out there! Let’s go Bronx Zoo!”
[Cheers. Milling about. Finally...]
“Excuse me, Joel?”
“Ms. Glenda Jane.”
“I didn’t want to bring this up during the meeting, but I’m concerned about one of the Primate hourlies.”
“I don’t know how to describe it.”
“Did you talk to Patty?”
“I did. I did.”
“Oh. Okay, what’s your concern?”
“J. Ingalls Redbutte.”
Thomas M. Redbutte is cooperating with investigators and has not heard from his son since before the orangutan’s disappearance, Platt said. The two share a home on the Upper West Side.
“What we know at this hour is that an orangutan is missing from the zoo and that qualified people are doing everything they can to bring it in safely and without incident. This is not supposed to be a dangerous animal, but rather an older fellow who’d prefer to be home in bed. That said, it is at heart a wild creature, and we are going to find it,” Platt said.
Mr. Snyder, you have some guests today. Okay? Are you comfortable? Here they are. Their names are Tad and Bean, and they’re from a high school. Go ahead, boys; please, sit.
Thank you. Uh, hullo, sir. Is it okay if we sit out here with you? It’s nice out.
It’s nice out today.
They’re so young. Just starting out. Is that the fashion now, the caps? I nod.
Okay, wull, what we wanted to ask you about was the One Hundred Words. Everyone knows how famous you are for them.
Am I? That’s flattering. I nod.
Crayons, paper, grape juice. I was six, feverishly setting down my first story.
Me and my brothers, George and Stephen, had superpowers, but only at the lake where we summered. George could chop trees down with his hands and make cabins, canoes, and stockades. Stephen was invulnerable and forever being shot at by fugitive, frightened bank robbers until he snared them in a net. I had the ability to summon Shiggoleth-Ra, Devourer of Souls.
My second story was about Dr. Hirsch.
My third story was about visiting the city.
My fourth story was about robbing banks.
— And poor Stephen.
I’LL TELL YOU about my older sisters next: Abigail, Betty, Clara, and Eleanor.
Abigail is my eldest sister, but not my eldest sibling. (That would be Alexander.) I’m not close with Abigail and tend not to think of her as a sister. She’s more aunty. I see her at every Thanksgiving, wedding, and funeral. Her partner’s name is Merry.
Betty is a district attorney. I’m very close with her son, my nephew, Andrew. He taught me to drive stick shift.
Clara married into vast wealth. She manages international equestrian events.
Eleanor teaches language arts, history, and social studies in Manhattan.
LAST-MINUTE PERSONAE JOINING THE ROSTER FOR 2013
freelance master of ceremonies for the medical technologies industry. (Reasonable rates.) Owns his own tuxedo and collects novelty cummerbunds. Got his break at DiagnostiCon ’88 when asked to fill in for Vannivar “Hap” Hazard, who’d choked on a catered canapé and lost his nerve.
artistic director, Beau Ties (and cummerbunds) USA. As a child, lost his little brother to a hit and run driver while walking him across the street to borrow sugar from a neighbor.
blubbering all to a priest, certain he’s damned. Still drinks.
“Your date of death is Oct. 11, 2031. Traffic accident. Sorry.”
“Yes. Larry Ratzner. You’re Larry Ratzner, aren’t you?”
“Who the hell are you?”
“2511 Juniper Drive?”
“Oct. 11, 2031. Would you like to know where? Any other details?”
“Who the hell are you? Where do you get off announcing shit like that? How do you know my name, where I live?”
“I oughta call the cops! Jesus Christ, mister.”
“I’m sorry. Never mind. Fare thee well.”
“I’m gonna remember you.”
“Ah, there he goes. Yes, the Ford F-150. Off to meet the Mendelsons.”
No one remembers who Dr. McCoy is after he touches.
A dignitary from Vulcan is not who she seems as.
Kirk is flattered when famed space explorer.
A man claiming to be Chekov’s father.
Held in quarantine after contracting.
A disturbance in space threatens.
An old flame turns out.
Strange dreams start.
An explosion aboard.
Thrown back in time.
Aliens accuse Spock.
A scientist requests.
A derelict warship.
Kirk wakes to find.
An old foe needs.
Uhura has only.
Unless he gets.
“A SITCOM ABOUT your life? Really?”
“It’s hilarious. I didn’t even know about it until someone mentioned it on Facebook. It’s really very funny.”
“Well, so, it’s about a writer?”
“It’s specifically about me. John Snyder. They got the guy from —”
“It’s not about you. It couldn’t be about you. Did you sign anything? Did you agree to... Why would anybody make a sitcom about you?”
“It’s the damnedest thing. I’ve been getting checks from Warner Bros. Television and ‘Chuck Lorre Productions.’ I didn’t put it together until today, but it makes complete sense.”
Ha ha ha ha ha!
“WHAT ABOUT IT, Spock? We’ve heard stranger stories.”
Spock slid an orange card into the reader and called up his report. A mark in the lower left corner of the screen indicated the Vulcan had already submitted his findings to peer review.
“Here, Captain. Our “doctor’s” bio-scan shows he is an apparent genetic duplicate of the late Leonard McCoy, unless someone has tampered with the birth records at Atlanta General. And those files are preserved holographically.”
“But how, Spock? A clone?”
“No, Captain. He’s the real McCoy.”
Kirk’s eyes lit up in a smile.
“If you say so, Spock.”
“DO YOU see her?”
“I’m trying. So many motes. The dust. The... yes. Oh! Beautiful! She slings there, in that orbit. Ha ha!
“Do you know the world?”
“They call it Tarsus IV. How... how do I know that?”
“You tell me.”
“I heard it. Oh, do you see this? Their compartments burn. Their crew are dying.”
“Why... Why aren’t they uncoupling their... shield manifold? That fuel feeds the fire. Look. So many run past it. They don’t know.”
“What else... I don’t...
. The planet. Debris.”
“And... another ship. Tucked away, waiting. ‘Klingons.’”
“WHAT ARE you, a...”
“I am Klingon, dear lady.”
“On Earth, yes. This is where we are, you and I.”
**Sir! She offends! Permit me to —**
**Stay, Kargoth. She is no more offensive than the rest. And look how frail she is. Come. We have business with their mumbling ministers.**
**Yes, my lord diplomat.**
“What’s that you’re saying? I’m sorry, I don’t understand your —”
“Forgive us, dear creature. We were just remarking on your wares. You have a lovely shop.”
“Oh, ha ha! Thank you. Is there something specific you’d like to see?”
“Another time, perhaps.”
"YOU GUYS talking about landing parties?"
"I've been on two of them."
"You mean Enterprise landing parties, right?"
"Okay. Yeah, then I've been on two of them."
"The first one they had me detailed to the helmsman. We were doing a botanical survey on this real nice little moon out there somewhere. He’s an amateur botanist."
"The second time was intense. It was me, the captain —"
"Yeah. And Mr. Spock and Doctor, uh, McCoy."
"We were investigating a haunted house on an asteroid."
"It was also my twenty-fifth birthday."
“I REMEMBER that, the haunted house. I didn’t know you went down there.”
“What was that like?”
“First of all, the way it works is messed up. You get this call to report to the transporter room, and you hustle over, and no one says what the mission is, you just beam down.”
“So they drop you into God knows what.”
“So the captain motions to me with his phaser —”
“Right at you?”
“Yeah, right at me, and basically tells me to look for anything unusual. I’m like, We’re on an asteroid, next to a Gothic mansion.”
“NEXT, IT’S bone-cold. Bone-cold.”
“Right. What do you think we’re wearing?”
“We were issued cold-weather gear, right?”
“They didn’t say to bring any. So we’re down there on this rock, in shirtsleeves, at like midnight, in this cemetery.”
“At the haunted house?”
“Yeah, adjacent to the house. Just chattering.”
“Anyway, I thought that was poor planning. So now I’m poking around by myself —”
“No! No tricorder. Just me, stumbling around. And I’m thinking —”
“You’re supposed to have a tricorder on these things.”
“This is my point. Yes. You’re right.”
“SEE, I remember that time because I had just gotten my certification for phaser control, and Paul Stiles was supervising me. He was all freaked out because he was convinced the haunted house thing was going to turn out to be, like, prelude to war with the Romulans.”
“What would the Romulans have had to do with it?”
“I don’t know. He was a skittish guy. But my point is he was on, like, personal red alert the whole time you were down there.”
“Okay. Well, it wasn’t the Romulans.”
“No; I know, I know. Go ahead.”
"Bargoth! The multiplexer."
"Fool, it’s on the console."
"So it is. You passed my test. Very, uh... Very good."
"It is nothing."
"Well, well. Kort’a’th, master technician and supreme engineer, can not locate a multiplexer unaided."
"I was stupefied by your stench. How anyone can find anything while —"
stench! Have you smelled yourself lately?"
"What is the reading on main output?"
"Uh, seventeen and a fraction. Seventeen and one eightieth."
"Tell me when it gets to twenty-five."
"You’re going in the wrong direction. No, here it comes again. Twenty-two. Hold. Hold! Forty."
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