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03/01 Direct Link
“NOW take this fellow Abernathy. He has it in his head he’s gonna open a mechanic’s garage.”

“Okay.”

“Needs the money. So he buys all the equipment: the wrenches, the spare tires, the fan belts, and opens up shop.”

“Yeah, yeah?”

“His first customer, an Irishman, walks in: ‘Pardon me, boyo. D’ye think ye can give me an estimate on new spark plugs?’”

“Okay.”

“Abernathy looks at his appointment book. ‘Come back Friday.’ And the Irishman walks off.”

“Ha ha!”

“Next day it’s a Swede: ‘At’sa spicy McRadiator!’ Abernathy looks at his appointment book. “Come back Friday.”

“Ha ha. Yeah?”
03/02 Direct Link
“‘Snyder.’ Hey, are these your dad’s books?”

“Yeah.”

“He wrote a lot of them.”

“He wrote thirteen books, fiction and nonfiction, and edited seven anthologies. There are also a few Kindle Singles and such floating around. All of his good ideas are in the books, though, so I’m not going to try to track everything down.”

“Have you read all these?”

“I’ve read... Almost all of them. Anyway, if you can just grab those two boxes, I’ll bring down the dishes and the stereo equipment.”

“Okay.”

“That’ll be it for today. I’ll come back for the rest tomorrow.”

“Yeah, cool.”
03/03 Direct Link
“WHO’S THIS?”

“That’s my great-grandfather on my mother’s side.”

“You look just like him.”

“I guess.”

“You really do.”

“We named John after him, actually.”

“Oh, I love that. I love old family names, old Bible names.”

“Uh huh.”

“Can you imagine living back then? Like, when is this? Nineteen...”

“This was... Here. You can see in this newspaper he’s holding. Two thousand thirteen.”

“He looks exactly like you. You could be he. The same sad eyes.”

“Sad eyes? He’s smiling.”

“I’ve seen that look in you. I’ve seen all your moods.”

“Oh really? Have you seen this one?”

“This one’s my favorite.”
03/04 Direct Link
“NEXT trickster?”

“This is Unguent Peltinnian, of Broken.”

“Specifically, sirrah?”

“Here, his agency; here, his modus.”

“What says our special thinker-man?”

“...According to Tortalson, fits he... here.”

“Ah, whyo!”

“Tortalson derived—”

“Never, no. It's rhetorical. All right. Add him to our recruits. He’s the last.”

“Agreed.”

“Build me a Peltinnian. And haul Tortalson.”

“We tagged Tortalson for antenight.”

“Haul him early, then. Haul him now.”

“Pleasantly.”

“Wait.”

“Yes?”

“This bit. What 'gambols here as glad appendo'?”

“Unguent Peltinnian; Mappy; Genie.”

“This... much?”

“Go back. Tree it. Yes: America, 1,221 BRE.”

“Peltinnian?”

“Evidently. See? Ha! His twin.”

“'John Snyder. Sensitive.'”
03/05 Direct Link
“PERFECT. Nicely done.”

— “There, the high ground?”

“No, east. Those ruins.”

— “It’s all ruins.”

“Vector nine.”

— “Take it. I’m gonna puke.”

“You’re delicious. Stay inside, then. You can read your—”

— “We’ll stay three hours. No more.”

“Absolutely. There. Down there.”

— “I’m sorry to complain so. It’s just... What Peltinnian did to my people...”

“I’m sorry too.”

— “To wallow in his... his...”

“We’re not wallowing.”

— “Tone. We’re clear.”

“This is scholarship.”

— “Seven meters... Five meters.”

“This is scholarship.”

— “Peltinnian, Snyder, the rest. Monsters.”

“Yes, but they’re gone. Long gone. And now—”

— “One. Secure. Thirteen-hundred. Mark it.”

“Marked.”

— “Three hours?”

“Three.”

— “...Home.”
03/06 Direct Link
“IT IS UNACCEPTABLE.”

— “The men were replaced. We lost one shift only.”

“Asteroids are not fleeting forest shadows. They’re prominent.”

— “Yes.”

“You can see them years and years away. You can set your watch by them.”

— “Yes.”

“And we lost—”

— “These collided.”

“Pardon me?”

— “Forgive me.”

“‘These collided’?”

— “Forgive me.”

“We can no longer calculate vectors? The interaction of masses in space?”

— “We can. We can calculate them.”

“But you did not.”

— “No. It was an oversight. I apologize.”

“Setting aside the men — damn the men — I was made to watch my scaffolding, my logo, fall and burn.”

— “Mercy!”

“No.”
03/07 Direct Link
“SNYDER is an atrocious man.”

“Yes, but what an emperor. You have to admire his appetites.”

“Dear God.”

“You’re not afraid, are you? You give this conversation the pallor of—”

“No, not afraid. He wants nothing to do with me, and I want less to do with him. I simply remark. Dinner party chit-chat. Among friends, yes?”

“Of course. Oh, good heavens, yes. I agree. He’s horrid.”

“All right. I just like to know where I stand with people. With you, to be honest.”

“You’ve nothing to worry about here. I’ll never report you. I do so enjoy your parties.”
03/08 Direct Link
“The Jovians died.”

“They did. It’s a tragedy.”

“What now?”

“What now for whom, us?”

“Yes.”

“Nothing. We go on.”

“Is there no talk of... justice?”

“I have a job to do. That’s what I’ll do. You have work to do, too. I recommend you content yourself with that. Today is today. We’re alive. We—”

“Are you such a coward?”

“Hey!”

“The Jovians died for us. We have to fight on. For freedom. For justice.”

“Hey, listen...”

“No. I can’t take this anymore. If you’re not the man I thought you were, that’s fine. But somebody must stop Snyder.”
03/09 Direct Link
“WHAT ARE THEY hitting it with?”

“Vitrions.”

“That... really? That sounds made up.”

“It’s a trade name. I honestly don’t know what it is or how it works.”

“What a bizarre project. Meanwhile I can’t get a grant for a Belt census...”

“Well, he feels—”

“A simple population census! Just to identify who we are, where we live, all that.”

“Okay. Well, I agree. Wait in line. I’d like more funding for my documentary work. Nobody’s funding that either. ‘Look to the future,’ they say. As if this isn’t.”

“Vitrion rays... Earth’s a cinder. They will never, ever, reclaim it.”
03/10 Direct Link
“IT’S AN ODD theory, don’t you think? A revolutionary dynasty?”

— “Why?”

“Well, revolutions overthrow dynasties. Not—”

— “Okay. This is what they’re calling it.”

“Does it—”

— “Do you know who isn’t quibbling? The dearly departed: our sage leaders. They’re solidly on board with the revolutionary dynasty plan.”

“What’s with you?”

— “With me? Nothing. I’m gonna keep smashing rocks like I’m supposed to do.”

“No, no, no. This is something. What is it?”

— “In a hundred fifty years, two hundred maybe, we’re gonna be back on Earth—”

“Bountiful Now.”

— “And someone’s gonna be in charge. Let them call themselves whatever they want.”
03/11 Direct Link
“I HONESTLY didn’t believe it possible.”

— “She’s alive.”

“She is. My word. Thank you, Chief.”

— “It was a pleasure. Thank you for the opportunity. And for my father’s and his father’s and his father’s opportunity.”

“It’s just like the simulations show. Ha! Look! A storm.”

— “Beautiful. Have you thought of a name?”

“Yes.”

— “Earth?”

“No, we’re not keeping Earth.”

— “I didn’t think so.”

“Did you have an opinion? Everybody else has. Yours I would weigh.”

— “Thank you. Can I think about it?”

“You can think about it. Take us in; I want to breathe the air.”

— “Destination?”

“Surprise me, Chief.”
03/12 Direct Link
“THIS IS what it was all about.”

“Oh.”

“See?”

“Wow, wow, wow.”

“Yeah.”

“I didn’t understand that. I didn’t get that.”

“No. Most people don’t.”

“It’s so ... yeah.”

“Right?”

“I get it. That would have been easy. Wow. That all fits together.”

“Yep.”

“Wow, even just looking at it makes me happy.”

“I’m glad. I have to close this now.”

“Okay. Wow. People.

“It’s something. It’s all right there, but so many people will never come close. Even though, ironically...”

“Yeah. I had a sense of that a couple of times. I was, like, almost there.”

“Were you?”

“I think.”
03/13 Direct Link
BUCK: Does everyone understand the rules?

[General assent]

BUCK: Okay, let’s play. I’ll go first: Whales.

DARLA: Potato skins.

LOU: Vintage barber poles.

FRANCINE: Elk.

TANYA: Dire injustice, unrelieved.

[General praise]

CATHY: Um, spatulas, the orange ones.

BUCK: From where?

CATHY: In the kitchen.

BUCK: And back around: Leptons, sometimes.

DARLA: I say...

BUCK: You started with potato skins.

DARLA: Geometry.

BUCK: Good.

LOU: The death of hope.

FRANCINE: Helium balloons?

BUCK: Good.

TANYA: What a pepper shaker smells like after all the pepper’s gone.

CATHY: A... jigsaw puzzle.

BUCK: Bowling shoes.

DARLA: Friends playing a game.

BUCK: Bzz! Sorry.
03/14 Direct Link
"AMBROSE."

"Phipps."

"Well, congratulations."

"Thank you."

"Your team cracked it."

"We were lucky."

"Not at all. You asked the right questions, followed through..."

"Shoulders of giants, and all that. The hard part will be convincing my wife to get on a plane."

"She doesn’t fly?"

"Not if she can help it. An ocean voyage, certainly. And a cross-country drive is her pleasure. But up there, she turns green."

"Well, for this, maybe she’ll surprise you."

"Say, I understand congratulations are in order for you as well!"

"Oh, you heard?"

"Yes, of course! A zombie plague!"

"We’re all very excited."
03/15 Direct Link
“WHAT does yours say?”

“Uh.”

“Well?”

“Jesus Christ. What the...”

“What?”

“It’s... It’s just a date.”

“What?”

“Aug. 13, 2032.”

“Ha! What the hell? Let me... Can I see?”

“Here.”

“Wow. Oh, my God. Just a date.”

“What does yours say? Is it...”

“It’s nothing.”

“Is it a date?”

“No, it’s something stupid. Wow. I’ve never seen one with just a date before. What... Is it like a misprint or something?”

“I have no idea. I’ve never seen this. It’s creepy.”

“Yeah! Or maybe, like, that’s the date you’re gonna win the lottery.”

“What does yours say?”

“Nothing. It’s nothing.”
03/16 Direct Link
“MR. DIRECTOR, welcome. Please come in.”

“Thank you.”

“May I take your coat?”

“Yes, thank you.”

“Your hat?”

“If you don’t mind.”

“Not at all. Please, make yourself comfortable. Tea?”

“Darjeeling, please.”

“He’s delighted you agreed to visit.”

“I’m intrigued by his results. I’ve heard the most amazing things.”

“It’s all true.”

“All?”

“Well, I shouldn’t speak to rumors. It’s certainly worth your time... Here you are. With milk.”

“Yes, thank you. And you are?”

“Avalon Reynolds.”

“Ms. Reynolds.”

“Avalon.”

“How long have you been with him?”

“Four years. He recruited me out of university.”

“He gets what he wants.”

“He does.”
03/17 Direct Link
THAT HOUR they hit us with their sonics, vipper-vaps, and needles. I’d heard we had a plan, but not the plan itself, and in any event we collapsed on landing and weren’t of use to anyone. We would have to be extracted, or, as what happened, ma’am, left for dead.

With a sonic you fall apart bloody. You shake down, melting and meaty.

With a vipper-vap you spin away sideways as a fount of ash, then clog the breathers of whoever’s downwind. Then that sound.

The needles do catastrophic internal damage. A marvel of engineering.

More turkey, please.
03/18 Direct Link
“THIS IS GEORGE.”

“Hello, George.”

“He was with me in the 588th. He was there that day.”

“Oh.”

“All this is prosthetic. George, I’m showing her the damage.

“That’s okay. He’s resting.”

“No, he’s up. He’s fine. He likes the attention. Don’t you, George? See that? He’s smiling."

“I -- I.”

“He took some needles, is what happened. All the skin held together, at least. Her name’s Nancy, George. She came to write about us. Not bad, huh?

“I -- I.”

“You can tab his particulars from the reader. He doesn’t mind. Loves the attention.”

“Is... is there...”

“You feelin’ okay, miss?”
03/19 Direct Link
“YOU TOOK a spill, miss. I’m sorry I couldn’t have caught you. I tried.”

“I’m fine. I’m sorry.”

“Are you okay?”

“I am. I’m fine.”

“There’s supposed to be one of the attendants. Jasper’s on. You met Jasper inside. Why don’t we go and get you some water? Your papers, miss.”

“I’m terribly embarrassed.”

“Hey, it happens.”

“Good -- goodbye, George. It was nice to meet you. Happy Thanksgiving.”

George, she’s saying goodbye. Aw. He’s asleep. He saw you go down, so I’ll let him know you’re okay.”

“And that I said goodbye.”

“Yes, and Happy Thanksgiving.”

“Thank you.”

“This way.”
03/20 Direct Link
Our tickets. Two thin, stiff rectangles. I finally had them.

“Come on, Mouse,” I said, and dived into the Grand Concourse’s bustle of stupid, groping businessmen, foreigners who hadn’t bathed in God knows how long, and fat middle-American tourists with their broods, gawkers all.

God, a kid picking his nose.

Was Mouse behind me? He was. He was keeping up. I’d told him not to pack so much, but to his credit he wheeled Dad’s black upright without complaint, even with the graphic novels in his Ninja Turtles backpack weighing him down.

There. The Hudson Line. We’d have three minutes.

“Mouse?”
03/21 Direct Link
From the files of
JOHN SNYDER, PRIVATE EYE

“Then answer me this, Princess, and make it stick: If Jansen sold Plessig the goods, how did your name end up on the bill of lading?”

“I don’t know, Johnny. I got no idea. Like I said, I never met Plessig. I... I got no interest in that type of merchandise!”

“No?”

“No, Johnny.”

“Oh. Okay. I thought I had that figured out. I thought maybe...”

“What, handsome?”

“Aw, it’s a crazy idea. I thought maybe you offed the professor, switched appointment books with Carlotta, and tricked Jansen into delivering you the emeralds.”

“Me?”

“Yeah. Took a shot, kid. Sorry.”
03/22 Direct Link
From the files of
JOHN SNYDER, COLOR COMMENTATOR

Okay, we’re gonna take another break for station identification, and when we return it’s Bangladesh or bust for your hometown Century City Centurions, eight under nine against the Iscariot Buccaneers; and I’ll be joined in the booth by Jenny Lummox, Bruegel Calderón, and my good friend and old housemate from broadcast college Doug Roth, who assures me his cough is not contagious. Game day coverage is brought to you by Dannemora Granulated Yee-Ha: blocks of sugar steeped in purple fluid, guaranteed sweet every bite, guaranteed to keep you in the game where you do your best work. Don’t go away.
03/23 Direct Link
From the files of
JOHN SNYDER, INVENTOR OF A SPECIFIC PONTOON

“This your dad’s office?”

“Yeah.”

“He’s got a lot of cool stuff.”

“Yeah. That’s his trophy.”

“What’s it for?”

“It’s his first place award. He got it for his invention, this special pontoon.”

“What’s a pontoon?”

“It’s a special thing that helps a boat float. Have you ever seen a catamaran?”

“No.”

“You can have a catamaran with two pontoons, or a trimaran with three. Dad invented a pontoon that’s only three inches in diameter.”

“Is that his record player?”

“Yeah, but don’t touch it.”

“My uncle has a record player.”

“Okay.”

“So I know all about them.”

“Let’s just go.”
03/24 Direct Link
TRIVIAL PURSUIT: John Snyder Edition

(G) John Snyder posed in flagrante delicto for what magazine’s cover in 1987?

(E) Which Regal Beagle regular claimed to be John Snyder’s cousin to get dates?

(H) A clay tablet unearthed at Giza in 1968 led scientists to seek what?

(AL) Which Snyder-penned strip did newspapers yank the week of March 5, 1979?

(SN) What did John Snyder launch into orbit in 1976 using telekinesis?

(SL) What did Snyder unleash to kayo Tyson at the Sands?

---

(G) Byte

(E) Larry

(H) John Snyder’s blood sample

(AL) The Real Doonesbury

(SN) Dodge Dart

(SL) Telekinetic squint
03/25 Direct Link
From the files of JOHN SNYDER
who accidentally erased himself and mochas
from the timeline

YEAH, HI. UM... What do I feel like today... A mocha, please, and a chocolate chip cookie. Well, wait: skip the cookie. Sorry, no, I will get one, but to go. So, a mocha and a cookie, but the cookie to go. Mocha. Pardon? Café mocha? Are you serious? You’ve never heard of a café mocha? It’s basically a hot chocolate with a shot of espresso. How can you not know what a mocha is?

Wait, why are you guys armed? What is all this?
03/26 Direct Link
FROM THE FILES OF JOHN SNYDER, WHO REMEMBERS EVERY GRAPE HE'S EATEN, AND LITTLE ELSE

— Grapes on the table. Big green ones on a bunch. I was too little. I was toddling. Couldn’t reach. Wanted the grapes! Papa was there. He cut a grape in half, and now I had two.

— A day camp, I think. People out. Sunlight kisses someone’s grapes: 33 Golden Muscats bursting from a Ziploc bag. Gary? Kevin? Who the hell knows? He takes the sucker’s trade: a coffee cake his way; a full side stem to me.

— A divorce? What? The lawyer bogarts his Valencias.
03/27 Direct Link
MOREOVER, IN HARMONY:

Perhaps after sending the kids to school we would have our time together with coffee and papers, then clean the dishes and walk the dog. One might work from home, and the other would drive to a local library, sit in a comfortable chair at a sunny table, spend a few hours adding to the novel, then go get lunch, take it to a local nature center or park, sit by a tree and write more and eat and listen to birds, or maybe a café with people, then bring the kids home and play, with stories.
03/28 Direct Link
AGENDA

“Next we have an offer from a resident, John Snyder, to be our town’s 'sworn protector.' A super hero. Now, we all know of his abilities. They’re certainly incredible, and I know we’re all grateful for what he did for us during Irene.”

“What is he asking us to do?”

“He wants to be duly recognized and essentially deputized so that we can extend insurance protection to him under our carrier. He wants to be held harmless in the event of claims arising from property damage, personal injury...”

“We don’t even have that.”

“He also wants a crime lab.”
03/29 Direct Link
“Hey, that’s you!”

“Yeah, they built me a statue in that timeline. I’d died defending Franklin County from evil incarnate.”

“You’d died? You’re gonna die? You seem... Aren’t you worried?”

“Nah. I fixed it. The evil turned out to be this guy Gary who’d been tinkering with mystical runes. I helped him translate them properly, so we nipped that in the bud.”

“But then how’d you get to this future with the statue? Why would these future people build it?”

“I guarantee if I go to that day, leave right now, there’ll be no statue.”

“But...”

“‘Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.’”
03/30 Direct Link
“Ahead warp factor five, Mr. Kirk.”

Kirk shared a sidelong glance with Chekov, who quickly looked away.

“It’s the blue button, isn’t it Mr. Chekov?” Kirk said.

“Yes, Keptin. The blue one.”

“Thank you. Just checking. Warp factor five, aye, Mr. Sulu,” Kirk said, and tapped Commit.

And nothing happened.

“Is there a problem, Mr. Kirk?” said Sulu.

Kirk tapped the button again. And the view screen lit up with a giant picture of a grinning Finnegan. A recorded voiceover: “I do believe ye’ve got it, Jimmy boy!”

The ship gathered her skirts and bounded for home, laughing.

THE END
03/31 Direct Link
Naiad, Thalassa, Despina, Galatea, Larissa, and Proteus.

Let me get over here...

Triton, Nereid, Halimede, Sao, Laomedeia, Neso, and Psamathe. And me.

That’s us. That’s the crew. That’s me mates, right?

I don’t know which is which, honestly. I’m only guessing that’s Sao.

Triton, of course. You can’t miss Triton. Reassuringly large, and that defiant orbit.

“John,” you might say. “How long are you gonna futz around out there? What do we have to do to bring you back? Everybody misses you.”

I’ll be all right. I’ll be fine. Just taking some personal time, some down time. One more day.