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05/01 Direct Link
“HOW’D IT go?”

“See for yourself.”

“...He looks like shit.”

“Thanks.”

“You do good work, McGinty.”

“My other fifty?”

“Here. With your next job.”

“Who’s this?”

“Name’s Snyder. John Snyder. Here’s the address.”

“Cold?”

“Yeah. Head cold. We want him sneezing and woozy by Wednesday. Slight fever’d be nice.”

“I can do that.”

“Clammy, too. You know.”

“Yeah, I know. Big guy, though. Happy-go-lucky, looks like.”

“That a problem?”

“No. I got a virus’ll do the job tout de suite.”

“For the usual money.”

“Yeah, yeah, sure. One thing though...”

“What?”

“He’s gonna have a headache, too.”

“Fine.”
05/02 Direct Link
“LIKE TO SEE you try. Come on, den. You gone find it a tough uphill.”

This was Clestus, one of the burlies from the Nightal Falls arrest. Took a split lip, a busted nose, a broke drum, three cracked ribs, a side-blown knee, and a goddamn lightning strike, in that order, but he went down.

I pressed my button. While he was out we booked him, scrubbed him, administered Miranda care, and froze him. In three weeks he’d be wearing a blue paper suit and answering to charges in courtroom two.

Also, while he was out, we implanted the wire.
05/03 Direct Link
Tickets still available for 4th Annual Crab Shuck and Sand Throw

WEST CRITTERSBACK — Tickets are still available for the 4th Annual Crab Shuck and Sand Throw set for Saturday, May 11, at the Eighty County Fairgrounds off Windy Canyon Ridge. The event is midnight to 6 a.m., with a fireworks spectacular set for 5:30. Live music by Lester Busch and His Open Mic Singers. Vendors, games of chance, bookmobile, 4H Club, and talent competition said likely. Tickets $5 general admission for babies and the elderly; $4 everyone else. Purchase tickets at Florentine Fred’s Good Bait and Seafood.
05/04 Direct Link
41st ANNUAL ELDERPATCH PINBALL BENEFIT SEELS VOLUNTEER PEDAL PUSHERS

WHISKERSVILLE — Organizers of the 41st Annual Elderpatch Home Pinball Benefit and Pancake Raffle seek potent peddlers to people-power a bank of 501 vintage pinball machines.

The event is Friday, May 10, from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Elderpatch, 732 South Cotton Ball St.

Volunteers must be able to crank out 275 Watts for 30 to 60 minutes. Those 45 and older must sign a durable power of attorney. A limited amount of iced tea and crackers provided.

To volunteer, write Elderpatch Development Director Marge Lumpkin at M_Lump58@Eldptch4haphaphappyelders.com.
05/05 Direct Link
ANONYMOUS DONOR HELPS PUSHBERRY THEATRE REUPHOLSTER SEATS

CRITTERSBY HEIGHTS — Two odd-numbered seats in the main auditorium of the venerable Pushberry Theatre will soon have new straw padding and supple Leatherette upholstery, thanks to an anonymous benefactor.

According to Pushberry General Manager Strife Strummerpuss, the $73.60 donation, all in sheets of 2013 USPS first-class “Forever” stamps, is from a party who requested anonymity.

“This helps. Odd-numbered seats needs it worst,” Strummerpuss said.

Strummerpuss said he expects work to be completed in time for the screening, Saturday, July 6, of this year’s movie, “Orca” (1977), starring Bo Derek.
05/06 Direct Link
BAG’N DRAG’N CELEBRATES 25 YEARS WITH RECEPTION

TURTLERUMP — How time flies. When luggage cleaner Bob Glass first opened for business, in May 1988, then-Mayor Dean Igneola was five weeks from being indicted, a Gussie’s large pizza with ham topping cost $8.50, and America was at war with crickets.

At 6 p.m. on Friday, May 17, Glass is hosting a 25th anniversary reception at Bag’n Drag’n, the Sagamore Building, eighth floor.

There is a cash bar. No children, please.

Bag’n Drag’n cleans most natural or synthetic suitcases, valises, and rucksacks using only KingWipe® and Pik-Free® products.
05/07 Direct Link
PUT ‘ER THERE, HOSS!

Yeah, yeah.

AIN’TCHA GLAD TO SEE ME? WE BEEN —

Yeah.

WELL YOU DON’T LOOK GLAD. WHAT, IS, UH...

I’m good. Sorry. Yeah. You’re looking well.

YOU’RE GODDAMNED RIGHT I AM! C’MERE, LOOKIT THIS; FEEL THAT.

I’m not gonna feel your... arm.

GO AHEAD. LOOK; LOOK AT THESE TRAPS. LOOK, HERE, LEMME...

Jesus.

YOU EVER SEEN A BACK LIKE THIS?

No. Come on. I don’t wanna see that.

WHAT’RE YOU THINKING? WAIT, I BET I KNOW: ‘IT’S ALL UPPER BODY.’ AM I RIGHT? IS THAT WHAT YOU’RE THINKING?

No.

WELL WHAT THEN, YOU MOODY BASTID?

Story’s over.
05/08 Direct Link
THIS WAY, please. Mind your head. Careful. Watch out for this... There’s a low beam here... Down this way... Tut-tut-tut-tut-tut... You’ll want to carry this. Hold it in front of you. Careful... There’s a step here... Do you see that? I’ve told them about that... This way. Keeping up? OK, through here... Hold the rail. We’re going down. You’ll feel a chill... Please do be careful with that! Round this way. Sorry about the mess... Through here. Two more like this... To your left, dear. I’ll follow you now; you’ve got the torch... Here we are.
05/09 Direct Link
“I LIKE IT. I DO. But you’re not thinking ‘monster’ enough.”

“This is a monster.”

“It’s good. It’s a good start. I like the teeth, the tentacles.”

“Thanks.”

“But it’s not... It’s not monstrous, if you take my meaning.”

“This is what we proposed.”

“I know.”

“This is what my team has been working on for six months.”

“Does it scream?”

“It screams, it rages, it terrifies.”

“I’m...”

“Look, here: Here’s what you said, uh, January 18: ‘Love the creature.’”

“Kevin...”

“What is it, specifically, that you object to?”

“The height, maybe? It’s a millimeter tall.”

“Yeah? So?”

“Eh.”

— “Grr...”
05/10 Direct Link
“Put it in the...”

“The whaddayacallit.”

“...What?”

“You were sayin’ about...”

“Something.”

“What?”

“Are we... going somewhere?”

“I’m...”

“Ha ha!”

— “ENGAGE BRAVO, NINER POINT ZERO, FROM SIX-FOUR PERCENT.”

“I feel...”

“Doobie doobie doobie...”

— “RESONANCE CONFIRMED. SAY BOTH PLASMIDS. ROJ.”

“If...”

“Momma?”

— “PING ME AT 1.225 kg/m³. WE GOT IT? LOCK THE RED. CYCLE, SCRUB, AND VENT. COPY.”

“Ggggg.”

“Puh puh.”

— “O2 NOMINAL. GO FOR ALPHA. GO FOR BRAVO. HOLD. SAY STATUS... SAY AGAIN? ROJ. MARK IT AT... 15:12:42; AND STORY, FLIGHT, WE ARE GO.”

“...Angelica, you look simply smashing tonight.”

“Ah, Reginald. Good to see you.”
05/11 Direct Link
SOMEWHERE on this jungle island, gentlemen, I have secreted your object: a common American one-cent piece, series D, minted 1988, and steel-stamped on the obverse with a marking known only to me. You have all seen pennies, yes? This is precisely that. And if you haven’t seen pennies before, rest assured you soon shall. For to make the game more amusing, and a bit of a livelier challenge, I have as well salted in one trillion similar pennies, though without the stamp, yes? Here’s one at my feet.

One week, gentlemen. Good luck. And beware the penny weasel.
05/12 Direct Link
“I DON’T like it, James. It’s a cruel game.”

“You offend me, love. It’s neither cruel nor a game. It’s sport.”

“It’s blood sport.”

“Yes. And all of the men knew this going in. They’re hardy competitors, each up to the task.”

“Did you tell them about the quicksand?”

“I did.”

“And the asps?”

“I alluded to asps.”

“And the skulking little men with poison-tipped blow darts?”

“The very first thing I advised them of when they reached shore.”

“And the penny weasels?”

“Helen, leave this to me. This is what I do.”

“You started as a poet, James!”
05/13 Direct Link
“Well, Nazaré, how fare our penny seekers?”

“Three down to asps, Mr. Underhill: Barnaby, Hayes, and Shen.”

“Yes?”

“Quicksand took three more: Balboa, Rodríguez, and Parson.”

“Parsonnet.”

“Yes.”

“We strive evermore toward clarity, Mr. Nazaré.”

“Yes.”

“Please continue.”

“The Aborigines have killed Zanford, and imprisoned Manchester and Young.”

“Young is wily. Don’t count him out.”

“Hu’ut likes Young for his daughter’s hand.”

“Damn. Still...”

“Shall I continue?”

“Please do; I’m riveted!”

“We lost Sparrow and Walsh in the caves.”

“Really...”

“Finally—”

“You lost them in the caves, or they eluded you? Or were killed?”

“They fell to their deaths.”

“Clarity!”
05/14 Direct Link
“Underhill!”

“Phipps, you scoundrel. What are you doing on my island?”

“Ha ha!”

“No, no, leave it; the boy has it; come. God damned contraption. This way!”

“Will you—”

“What?”

“I say, will you—”

“Wait, wait, let him take off. God damned noise! This way, anyway. Come, come!”

“Jolly good to see you, Underhill.”

“I’m tempted to say the same. Get in.”

“Still in the madman business?”

“Ha ha! And jolly well thriving at it. And you’re still pushing a pram, are you?”

“Headmaster, Bullgreaves, old boy.”

“Yes? This is meant as correction?”

“Oh dear God, you drive worse than he piloted.”

05/15 Direct Link
“What am I meant to be looking at, Underhill?”

“You’ve found the peak?”

“Yes, of course I’ve found the peak; it’s quite naturally prominent.”

“Due south.”

“Yes?”

“That glint.”

“That’s Mattheson?”

“Yes.”

“Why’s he... circling there?”

“He’s...”

“Oh dear Lord. Is he firing into the brush? What’s he turning up?”

“Well, more accurately, it’s Nazaré firing into the brush. Be sure of your facts, Phippsie.”

“What’s his target? Lord, the calibre!”

“Port?”

“What?”

“I’ve just offered you port.”

“At this hour? I’ll thank you instead for a gin and tonic: Spanish, dear boy. And then...”

“Yes?”

“Bloody madman’s island.”

“Guilty.”
05/16 Direct Link
“This is good. This is good stuff.”

“Yeah?”

“Holy shit.”

“Go, man.”

“Oh ho ho; I can’t believe how this is flowing!”

“Right on.”

“Hand me an italic, um... ‘as if.’”

“A what?”

“One of the ‘as ifs,’ but the italicized ones.”

“I don’t see any.”

“Hold up, hold up. This is solid gold.”

“Cool.”

“...OK. Ready.”

“For what?”

“Can you reach? They’re in the thing.”

“I don’t see any italics here. I looked. I’m looking.”

“What?”

“Yeah. Just roman. Bunch of bold...”

“Lemme see.”

“Here.”

“...Where’s all the italics?”

“I ‘unno. Somebody use them all?”

“Fuck. Fuck!”

“Sorry.”
05/17 Direct Link
IMAGINED FRAGMENTS; IMAGINARY CO-OP

“...guess so, but, like...”

“...he will; he will...”

“Mary Ellen’s sister has, I think. You should ask her.”

“Ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha! Really! Ha ha ha!”

“I told you to put that back. Put it back. Put. That. Back.”

“It took a one-quarter turn.”

“I will! Oh God, I swear!”

“...suspect nothing. Soon their cities will burn...”

“Parking’s gonna be a zoo. A goddamned nightmare. Why do you want to go?”

“It was the special.”

“Two percent?”

“Yeah.”

“Twelve twenty-four... Need your receipt?”

“No, thanks...”

“Hi.”

“Hi.”

“Just these.”
05/18 Direct Link
FORM
Complete both sides

NAME: John Snyder

AGE: 45

ADDRESS: 30243543 Ares Boulevard, Q3, L19, Asteroid Belt

OCCUPATION: Ponderer

INSURANCE: Willard Mitt “Milton Whippoorwill” Necktie Whifflespoon Mittengrip Six Sick Chicks Romney, son of the man himself.

SNACKS EATEN IN THE PAST 12 HOURS (USE EXTRA PAPER IF NECESSARY): Brownie, potato chips, extra paper.

NUMBER OF HOURS SPENT IN THE PAST DAY STEEPING IN MEMORY OF LAYOUT AND "MOOD" OF CHILDHOOD HOME: Five.

TELL US SOMETHING UNSUBSTANTIATED: Hal Linden has told interviewers that he is still occasionally called "Captain" by working police officers.

BILE TYPE: Ub-positive.

SOMETHING PEOPLE DO WITH THEIR CLOTHES OFF: Laundry.
05/19 Direct Link
"How do you know?"

"I read it in Starlog."

"Which issue?"

"The new one, June."

"I haven’t seen it yet."

"OK, well, it’s in there."

"Who else is in it?"

"I’m not telling you. Read it."

"You’re not telling me?"

"No."

"Why not?"

"I had to wait; nobody told me. So."

"Well..."

"Sorry."

"But you know!"

"Yeah! Because I read it!"

"You’re..."

"Sorry."

"What a dick!"

"Sorry."

"I loaned you money for a drink."

"Yeah?"

"So—"

"I paid you back."

"You didn’t pay me back."

"I did! I loaned you money for Asteroids!"

"That’s not paying me back! That’s, like..."

"Sorry."
05/20 Direct Link
It’s a pencil eraser, just an ordinary gift-shop blue jet fighter airplane pencil eraser. Right? And it just sits here, or goes here and pulls up to the terminal to wait for a little alien passenger, or no, the pilot, an Air Force colonel whose name I don’t know because he’s wearing his helmet and visor and respirator and I can’t see his face. Steve Austin, maybe? And now he’s taking off, flying nice and low, no one can even see him in the fog, and no one even —

— “What? Um. An... adverbial phrase?”

I love my blue airplane.
05/21 Direct Link
"Helen..."

"Yes, George?"

"Forgive me, pet; I find this most perplexing."

"What perplexes you, love?"

"Well, just this: You say you met with the major general on Tuesday last, yet you told me just last night with some conviction that you’d never been to Aberdeen. And that’s where the major general lives."

"I told you that?"

"Yes."

"Well, I’ll have you know that I have been to Aberdeen, and what’s more I adore Aberdeen, and wish to live there. Oh, Aberdeen, fair Aberdeen! Let’s do live there, George: you, me, and the major general."

"The three of us!"

"Say we can!"
05/22 Direct Link
“Hallo. I am here aboot ze lawn mooer you heff advertised in the Recorder?”

“I’m sorry, I sold it an hour ago.”

“I see. Well, it is a nice day to mow ze lawn.”

“Yes. It is nice to get out after such a long winter.”

“Quite so. I do not miss the plow, or ze rock salt.”

“Did you say rock salt?”

“I did.”

“Come in, come in.”

“Thank you. You are Dreyfuss?”

“I am. Did you bring the envelope?”

“Here. Ah! Do you haff ze key?”

“Here it is.”

“Excellent.”

“Well, that’s that.”

“Might I use... your commode?”
05/23 Direct Link
"My God."

"Something, huh?"

"This isn’t what I expected."

"Well, it is what it is."

"The Year 5000."

"Yup."

"Look at that!"

"Yup!"

"Are we safe here? Is the thing safe?"

"Yeah, no one’s gonna mess with it."

"Wow. My God, look at those!"

"Something, huh?"

"Can we go out and..."

"Sure. Lead on."

"No, after you."

"Oh, please, I insist."

"Well, if you insist."

"I do."

"How many times have you been here?"

"To this decade?"

"Yeah, or whatever."

"This is my third time."

"You must like it."

"I guess."

"What’s that smell?"

"...I think someone’s cooking something."

"Cool."
05/24 Direct Link
“WHAT’S THE FARTHEST you’ve been out?”

“Ten thousand.”

“Yeah? It’s nice?”

“It’s different. Cold.”

“I like the cold.”

“Well, you’d like it there.”

“They got people?”

“People?”

“Yeah, you know...”

“There are people in 10,000, yes.”

“Well, like, a civilization, or...”

“Yes, a civilization.”

“Okay. I don’t know these things. That’s why I’m asking.”

“They have people and families and friends and neighbors and enemies and leaders and followers and criminals and law and order.”

“Okay.”

“Just like us.”

“Well...”

“What is it you’re asking me? What do you want to know?”

“Nothing. Jesus Christ. Why so touchy?”

“...Jesus who?”
05/25 Direct Link
"Great set, John, great show!"

"God damn, I’m tired."

"Here. Here. Take a sip. Okay? Get the hell back out there! They love you!"

"God damn."

"You packed the arena, you beautiful sonuvabitch!"

"More."

"Here, here. What’ve you got for an encore?"

"Fingers’re bleeding."

"Get the hell back out! Go! Go! Yeah!"

— "He looks good."

"You’re goddamned right. He’s back, baby!"

— "I got the limo ready."

"Call Rolling Stone. I want to know why they sent over a reporter who’s as high as a goddamned kite. They want access? This is it for them. I’m vetting that goddamned copy."

— "Right."
05/26 Direct Link
“Pitcher for the table! Snyder here made his six months!”

— “Hey, congratulations!”

“Thanks.”

“You in this for the long haul?”

“Could be. We’ll see.”

“If you can handle the fumes, the filth, the noise, and New Yorkers, and you can live on what we pay you, you got a job for fuckin’ life at the Turnpike Authority.”

“Looking forward to it.”

“What else you do? This can’t be it.”

“I write.”

“Oh yeah? You’re a poet but you don’t know it! Or in your case you do know it. What do you write about?”

“People.”

“People? Fuck, I got stories.”
05/27 Direct Link
MYSTERIES!

• Count a frisky alligator’s scales in Hard Luck, Florida, and roughly five times out of 10 you’ll come up with an even number. No one knows why. Also, run!

• If you get lost in Roundabout, Utah, just take your first right, go straight a mile, take your second left — and you’ll be home. Just works out that way somehow.

• Babies born on New Year’s Day in Heyou, Oregon, usually grow up to be pretty good whistlers.

• The absolute worst apples ever are grown in Apple Chore, Connecticut. Apples there start out green and only turn greener. Do not drink the cider.
05/28 Direct Link
LESS-POPULAR SUPERHEROES

Captain Avuncular
The Corkboard
Kid Crustacean
The Amazing Spider
Staredown

PROBABLY PRETTY GOOD VILLAINS

The Mosquitomen
God Almighty
Punch and Judy
Lightning Lead Paint
The Ringworm

MY SECRET POWERS

Flight
Invulnerability*
Good at math
Snyder-Sense
Fast runner

THINGS NAMED AFTER ME IN THE FUTURE

John Snyder Boulevard
Snyder’s Pretzels Minis
The Dead Snyders (punk band)
Low-Orbit Freedom Railgun John Snyder
The John D. Snyder Memorial Crater

FOES AGAINST WHOM I’LL HAVE SAVED THE EARTH

The Magilla Gorillas
The Neutronium Menace and Son
Astronauts from the Planet Mercury
General Zod's Cousin Todd
Nhoj Redyns

* Exposure to antimatter-self excepted.
05/29 Direct Link
ALSO BY JOHN SNYDER

There Shits a Sparrow
Three Men Who Changed Nothing
A Wednesday’s Worth of Soups
I Dare You to Buy This Book and Throw it Away
The Gentleman’s Post-Coital Crosswords Challenge

WITH GARY SPRHUSSE

Max Braxton Case FIle Sampler
The Max Braxton Mysteries
On the Case with Max Braxton
Max Braxton, Cyber Sleuther
Filed Under B, for Braxton, Max

WRITING AS A SQUID

The Crazy Night of Warm Currents
Grasp and Set to Scraping. Feel Hunger!
Make Away From the Shadow — But Flicker-Flicker Strike!
Girl, Your Beak is All That
Humans! Humans! Into the Rocks! Hide!
05/30 Direct Link
FROM MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY, “MOMMA USED A RECTAL,” FORTHCOMING FROM A PILE OF NAPKINS

The Sun. Have you ever gazed at it? Probably not. You’re not supposed to: They say it drives men mad.

They’ve gazed: the sun-spotted men, the wild-eyed street preachers, the grocery store baggers greyed and stooped to the task. (Never thank these men; shamefully, they will not say you’re welcome.)

And yet the Sun is bountiful. It caresses babies in their strollers; it bakes the sand at our feet; it screams, "Repent!" at the sinful, savage jungle lands, slithering with reptiles.

My story begins here.
05/31 Direct Link
SUB-LIEGE SLI’ILITH
(Clacking his leading claw pairs anxiously)

Intersecting regular space, commander. Five seconds.

LIEGE LU-LU'A'SLISHILLE

Fine...

[Moments of metallic groaning and rending, with dizziness. TECHNICIAN BIX triples over, vomiting. The material disappears into the industrial grating that is the floor. Embarrassed, BIX returns to his duties]

SUB-LIEGE SLI’ILITH
(Unsettled)

Earth, Liege.

LIEGE LU-LU'A'SLISHILLE
[Studying viewer, which shows Earth, dayside, Western Hemisphere]

I see it. Very good. Thank you.

[A beat]

Bix, is it?

TECHNICIAN BIX
(Worried)

B-Bix? Yes, Liege. Bix, yes. Are you addressing me? I was —

LIEGE LU-LU'A'SLISHILLE
(Pleased)

Invader Bix.