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02/01 Direct Link
"All those things you can do."

— "Yeah."

"What do you want to do next? With your powers?"

— "I don’t see me making any big changes. I got things set up pretty much the way I like."

"In your private life."

— "Yeah. Private."

"But I mean big things: like, for the world."

— "The world?"

"Do you want to help people, or…"

— "Like who should I help?"

"People in need. There’s injustice, there are wars, there’s crime. You could be a superhero."

— "Ha! Me."

"Yes!"

— "Like in tights."

"Or in something. Or…"

— "Like I’m gonna run around in tights. That’s fuckin’ hilarious!"
02/02 Direct Link
"YOU’RE A 'ROBOT.'"

— "Yeah."

"You seem pretty happy to me."

— "Happy?"

"You have a lively affect."

— "Affect has nothing to do with it."

"Well, so what do you mean?”

— "Excuse me?"

“I don’t want to pry.”

— “Cool. No worries. I just thought, based on our conversation, you’d find this interesting."

"It’s just that we were talking about real robots."

— "Right."

"So in what sense are you saying you're a robot?"

— "In the real sense. This is who I am: servos, processors, wires…"

"Oh! No, see. You’re speaking metaphorically."

— "Dude, I’m totally not. Here: I’ll show you…"

"Oh, Jesus holy fuck!"

— “Beep boop.”
02/03 Direct Link
MEANWHILE

That’ll be $6.50

WHEN SUDDENLY, NINE MILES AWAY

Shit! Whoa, whoa! Hold it! Stop! It’s not tied down!

UNBEKNOWNST TO A WOMAN IN THE SAME CITY SAYING

Size does matter.

ONE THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED LIGHT-YEARS FROM

[He was skinned for it. Please don’t follow his path.]

A YEAR SINCE

Or Phillip. Phillip’s a good name. No one picks on a Phillip.

ITSELF A BILLION YEARS SINCE

[Hiss of volcanic outgassing]

NEARBY, A BILLION EIGHT YEARS LATER

Little Philsy-Willsy! Are you gonna cry?

SETTING IN MOTION

My father was never there for me. I know I disappointed him.
02/04 Direct Link
"YOU!"

— "Surprised, Koloth?"

"I saw you destroyed! Your ship!"

— "Did you? Or did you merely see a reflection of the Exeter as projected through an inverse tachyon shell?"

"Impossible!"

— "Is it? The proof stands before you. And you’re going to pay for your crimes. Drop your weapon."

"I think not, Captain Kirk. I think it is you who—"

— "Surprised, Koloth?"

"What?"

— "Did you? Or did you merely see a reflection of the Exeter as projected through an inverse tachyon shell?"

— "You just said that, Kirk. You—"

"Is it? The proof stands before you. And you’re going to pay for your crimes. Drop your weapon."
02/05 Direct Link
“WHAT’S THAT?”

— “Where?”

“Right there! That, that...”

— “Just a starship.”

“Oh, [George]!”

— “Yes, love?”

“Do something!”

— “Leave it be, dear.”

“It’s in us! In our space! Bunching everything up!”

— “Things’ll settle.”

“I hate starships. Hate them!”

— “Reckon we don’t have to keep one, then.”

“You’re a piece of work, [George Parsons]. They carry pests!”

— “Crew. Little explorers.”

“They’re hideous. What kind are these?”

— “Let’s see... Human.”

“Oh, [George].”

— “And a Vulcan.”

“Get rid of the thing! Shoo! Shoo!”

— “Well, now.”

“What?”

— “They’re awful sick in there.”

“Oh, [George]! Kill it, please!”

— “Expect I might. They’re suffering.”

“Oh, I can’t watch.”
02/06 Direct Link
I SPENT, like, an hour recreating his jump, over and over. The climb (speedier than his; I’m not a masochist), the pause, the fall. Where he popped a chute, though, I just fell, thumped into the mild New Mexico desert.

I don’t know, seventh or eighth time I got bored, began putting more kick into falling. This meant something to Baumgartner, to his ground crew, to his sponsors and fans. This was an achievement to them. This was news. There were cheers, hugs.

That night I had steak in Dallas. Gave Al Biernat’s a try. Huge-ass salad, too. I was starving.
02/07 Direct Link
I REJOINED 100 PRIMES today. It had been nine months since my last post, “227, 229, 233, 239, 241, 251, 257, 263, 269, 271, 277, 281, 283, 293, 307, 311, 313, 317, 331, 337, 347, 349, 353, 359, 367, 373, 379, 383, 389, 397, 401, 409, 419, 421, 431, 433, 439, 443, 449, 457…” and I was so excited to return. I had a novel insight in the shower this morning about Landau's problems, specifically Goldbach's conjecture, and I was all set to share it. But when I sat down at my computer the idea just struck me as derivative.
02/08 Direct Link
“HE DOESN’T BELIEVE in time travel.”

— “So? This is why you’re leaving him?”

“I can’t be with a man like that.”

— “What kind of thinking goes into this? What are you, a… a…”

“I can’t be with a man who doesn’t appreciate time travel! On our first dates that’s all we talked about! Singularities and event horizons and wormholes!”

— “So? You were children! Now you’re grown! He’s allowed to have changed his views on… on…”

“He told me this morning, ‘It’s like the 8 on a ruler going back in space to the 3. It’s impossible.’ I thought I knew him.”
02/09 Direct Link
“DUDE, YOU CAN’T sit around waiting for another lightning bolt to come around and send you home. You gotta make a life for yourself here.”

— “I know.”

“I mean, if we’re supposed to be copies of each other? Or alternates or whatever? I gotta tell you, I wouldn’t just be sitting around if the shoe was on the other foot.”

— “Subjunctive: ‘Were.’”

“What? Dude, I hate being corrected. That’s a wack habit. I know you know what I mean. Dude, like, just jump on some pull-ups and live your life. Goddamn moper is what you are.”

— “Yeah, maybe.”

“Fuckin’ live!”
02/10 Direct Link
“Quickly: the title of your book.”

— “What book?”

“The one you want to have had written. Quickly!”

— “Uh…”

“Now! Right now! Tell me!”

— “'The… Um… Once…'”

“Is that it?”

— “No! No! Wait! What is this?”

“Five… four…”

— “Jesus! Um…”

“Three!”

— “’The Great Title of John’s Book By John Snyder!’”

“Abracadabra, alakazam, and Ellison’s lawyer! Let it be so, be it so now, and the Eagle has landed! Congratulations, you’re a definitively published author. Here is your souvenir wastebasket of crumpled false starts and here is your sheaf of prominent early rejections. Enjoy.”

— “I’m an author?”

“My advice: Ignore the reviews.”
02/11 Direct Link
BILLY
I can’t do this!

STEPHANIE
Do you therefore exercise your right, under Article 6, to engage an officer of the court in selecting one on your behalf?

BILLY
I don't want any of them! I want my life back!

STEPHANIE
You’ve exhausted your appeals. I need a number from one through ten.

BILLY
Mr. Callahan! Please!

CALLAHAN
Son…

BILLY
I didn’t mean it! I didn’t mean any of it! I can do better! I’ll pay attention! Tell her!

CALLAHAN
Well now, you’ve got terrific options. Here, pick five: a stockbroker. You’ll commute to the city and enjoy television.

BILLY
No!
02/12 Direct Link
Next.

— Hello.

Your name?

— Jeffrey Faceless.

I beg your pardon?

— Jeffrey Faceless.

That’s your name?

— Yes.

We require your actual name, sir.

— That’s it.

Your real-life actual name is Jeffrey Faceless?

— It is.

Sir, I don’t think so. Please give me your actual first and your actual last name.

— Jeffrey. Faceless.

Show me your photo ID.

— Here.

OK. OK, this says your name is Jeffrey Faceless. Is this for real? This is your real identification card?

— It is.

Well, I apologize, sir, but I have never before heard of a name like that. “Faceless,” yes, I have heard of that, but not the other.
02/13 Direct Link
Governor Rumpledump.

— Yes?

Explain to this tribunal why seven-eighths of your adult colonists have taken to wearing papier-mâché hats on Nuvo-Fridays.

— It’s… We enjoy it, your honor. The colonists do. We adopted Wack-a-Doodle Day as a local deviation, and the hats are seen system-wide as a mark of light humor tending to increased morale. And, of course, to increased productivity. I’m proud that we—

Do you wear such a hat, Governor? On Nuvo-Fridays?

— I have worn one. I have been given many over the years. They’re… in ceremony, they…

But you do not wear one. As a rule.

— No, your honor.

I see.
02/14 Direct Link
Author Cardilykoop.

— Yes, your honor?

What is this story meant to indicate? What is its message?

— Which story, your honor?

I apologize. Yesterday’s: The one that begins, “Governor Rumpledump; yes; explain to this tribunal…”

— Oh.

“…Explain to this tribunal why seven-eighths of your adult colonists have taken to wearing papier-mâché hats on…”

— Yes, your honor.

“On Nuvo-Fridays.” What is a Nuvo-Friday?

— It’s how the people in that world, on that planet, account for part of their calendar, your honor. Much as we have Celestron-Friday.

I see. So this is fiction.

— Yes, your honor.

A satire?

— No! No, your honor.

Ah.
02/15 Direct Link
Ginger Binjibet, Grishua Fontaine, Skokely Reynoldswrappe, Epsilon Robot, and 94 others like this.

— Thank you.

Force your post for vaunted prestige?

— Is it worth it?

A $50 investment could bring you 10 additional Hawt Views at target lock.

— OK.

…Calcutta Crustpaste just slipped your post to !Recommended Bomb! Daphne Swipe just lingered over your post for 3 seconds above high averagette. FeedShite just slipped you to !Poly Index!

— Nice!

Force your “Nice!” for vaunted prestige?

— Gabba go.

Calcutta Crustpaste just slipped your “Nice!” to !Papier-Mâché Aficionado! You're nailing it! You're killing it! You're hilarious!

— Ah, merci.
02/16 Direct Link
Governor Noodlebaum.

— Yes, your honor?

This… These writings of yours…

— Yes.

When do you find the time to entertain this impulse? I don’t understand. Does your attaché run the colony or do you?

— I do, your honor. I write these pieces as recreation, under hygiene.

I see.

— Is there some reason I shouldn’t post these pieces, your honor? Or write them?

You tell me.

— I…

Frankly, and I’m not a psychonomist, not by a long shot — nor do I care, frankly, to delve personally deeper into your subconscious, or unconscious, or whatever the hell engenders this collection —

— Sir…

But I don’t enjoy reading it.
02/17 Direct Link
SHATTERHORSE
Governor Troutworm.

TROUTWORM
Good morning, shapeless spiracles of the court and hale members of the Noble Resistance, gathering strength, God willing, to strike soon.

SHATTERHORSE
Governor, you are aware it’s just the four of us in here: you, me, your lawyer, and our court custodian.

TROUTWORM
It’s itchy inside!

SHATTERHORSE
Counselor, is your client fit to continue?

TURBLEIGH
I believe so, your honor.

SHATTERHORSE
It’s just that I’m concerned. What does he mean by “the Noble Resistance”?

TURBLEIGH
He liked to write, your honor. Fiction.

SHATTERHORSE
Methods, methods, methods. Governor Troutworm, hello. Does any such entity as the Noble Resistance exist in real life?

TROUTWORM
It’s all papier-mâché! Ha ha! You’ll guess perhaps.

SHATTERHORSE
Well, guilty, at any rate: Removed with time served.
02/18 Direct Link
A RECURRING NIGHTMARE I’VE NEVER HAD

I am shopping for Froot Loops in a cheery, well-lit A&P near my boyhood home. My cart is filled with snack foods, lasagna fixings, a new-in-box Atari 2600 game system, and several cool game cartridges. Rounding the aisle into exotic foods I chance upon a scene of pleasant carnal distraction and pass by with embarrassed smiles all around. I make my way to the cashier and pay for my goods. Only after I’ve rung out and popped the trunk of my car do I realize my oversight: I forgot to buy the Froot Loops.
02/19 Direct Link
This is generally where I type a ninth word.

Here is the end of the second sentence.

After the second instance of “an,” an ending.

You can precede a period with the word “stop.”

This fifth sentence doesn't terminate (except in proper punctuation).

The only capital letter in this sentence, given twice, is “T.”

I’ve never free-fallen to terminal velocity but I have just typed “impact.”

“What’s the point of my asking this question?” I wrote.

One plus one has a definite, even solution, though one times one does not.

The final words in this piece’s sentences are principally unrelated.
02/20 Direct Link
ANY THOUGHTS on turning forty-eight?

— Halfway to ninety-six.

Yep.

— Twice twenty-four: a quarter of ninety-six.

Uh huh.

— I’d rather talk about the gravitational-wave detection.

OK.

— It bothers me that no one believes me. I’ll never get credit for knowing this. For carrying, bodily, daily proof of it.

You want credit for having discovered gravitational waves?

— I feel them all the time. There. There’s another. You don’t feel it, I know. None of you does. Three more! Shit’s going on all the time. There: another. Whoa, a huge one…

I think it’s swell that you can feel these waves.

— Thank you.
02/21 Direct Link
A RECURRING NIGHTMARE I’VE NEVER HAD

I am a gymnast at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics representing a proud, productive United States. I dazzle all with a virtuoso performance of individual artistic gymnastics: club swinging, rope climbing, sidehorse vault, triathlon, and tumbling. I make the cover of Sports Illustrated and have been invited to host SNL. On my way to the studio I bump into David Letterman, who takes me aside and informs me there are no men’s gymnastics at the Winter Olympics and my events are long discontinued. He says there’s time to tell Lorne if I hurry.
02/22 Direct Link
A RECURRING NIGHTMARE I’VE NEVER HAD

I’ve answered a classified ad for a job answering classified ads. At the interview, in L.A., I am given a thick, weekend edition of Variety. “Let’s see what you can do,” prompts the interviewer. I flip through the paper, looking for the careers section, and realize I already have a job answering classified ads for the Wall Street Journal and I’m meant to be on my lunch break. My absence will surely be noted, and I’ve been talked to about taking long lunches twice already. Sure enough, the text appears: “You're nude.”
02/23 Direct Link
I “wake” five minutes before I’m due at work tabulating figures needed for the Q3 earnings report, but suddenly realize I’m stuck in traffic as a 10-year-old on my Big Wheel. Maple Street is bumper to bumper from the Phillips’ house all way up to the corner, with Big Wheels, Hippity Hops, bikes, and now, God damn it — cutting me off at the apron from the Gavigans' driveway — a stroller.

“The fuck?” I shout.

Eileen Gavigan, towering above, finishes wedging her gurgling toddler, Carole-Anne, in ahead of me and flips me the bird, backhand.

“Ya snooze, ya lose!”
02/24 Direct Link
These?

— Those are my pens and markers.

Do you ever use them?

— No.

So you don’t need them.

— I bought each because it helped ground me. I tested nearly every one at purchase and found something perfect in every mark.

Some of these have dried out, though.

— OK.

Where did you buy this one?

— I don’t remember.

This?

— Probably at The Guild in Northampton.

I thought you didn’t like it in there.

— I like art supplies. I could have been an artist.

It’s more than just liking the supplies…

— I know that. Do you think I don't know that?

This one’s dried out too.
02/25 Direct Link
I THOUGHT for sure Lew Haberhagen was going to eat every last one of those cheese sticks. I swear to you I thought that. Did you see? One after the other. And double-dipping the marinara sauce! I’m sorry, that’s not how we girls were raised. You saw it, didn’t you? Please tell me you did; tell me I didn’t make the whole thing up, that it really happened just that way.

— I don’t doubt you.

But you saw it, didn’t you? You didn’t eat even one of those cheese sticks.

— I was more interested in the cracker things.

Oh, weren’t those just delicious?
02/26 Direct Link
Detective? Here’s another one.

— All right, let’s see.

Oh…

— Easy, kid. Here, hold this back.

I’m…

— Stay with me. You’ll get used to the smell. Use your handkerchief. This your first edit?

No, I… Well… At the academy, and then with Detective Strunk…

— Yeah. OK. Well, welcome to the real world.

How could someone do this?

— Hey, keep your hand out of that.

Sorry!

— And don’t apologize! Everyone wants to make everything so goddamned personal.

Pieces everywhere…

— Yeah, and none of it makes a damn lick of sense, at least not yet. But there’s a story here…

Hurk!

— Jesus Christ, kid.

Sorry.
02/27 Direct Link
You got a visitor, your holiness.

— I am not holy. Not any more.

Yeah, yeah. I was being sarcastic, ya couldn’t tell. Come on.

— I was holy, once. I was a good, pious man. People had good reason to trust me. The Lord entrusted in me…

Yeah. Now you’re the Aquarium Killer. I know your story: bishop who used sea lions to rub out a bookie.

— I failed His test. I failed, I failed. You see, under the doctrine of—

Here ya go, Padre. Fifteen minutes. When I say time’s up, time’s up and it’s back-you-go cozy-bye in your cage.

— I understand…
02/28 Direct Link
So now you have the power of the sun in your chest.

— Well, in my whole body, really. It—

You contain a sun.

— I just wanted to clarify that is starts in my chest, yes, and I did describe it that way, but as you might expect the power radiates from there through to my every limb and corpuscle. I am a solar person.

I see.

— And it feels great.

I was going to ask.

— Yeah, really, just...

You do seem upbeat about it, but not overly much, which strikes me as unusual. I would think—

— Oh, no, I’m psyched. Definitely.
02/29 Direct Link
What is it, Jim? You seem a little off today.

— It’s nothing. I’m fine.

More coffee?

— Sure. Thanks. Or… no, I’d better not. I’m... no.

You’re sure?

— Yeah.

Dammit, Jim.

— What? What is it?

Something’s off. You’re distracted. I see it, Spock sees it, and the crew are beginning to see it. It’s not like you. Now, out with it.

— Bones…

What is it, Jim? If you can’t tell your ship’s doctor who can you tell?

— I worry, Bones. I worry that we’re… fictional.

Fictional?

— Made up.

Made up by whom? Why?

— I don’t know. And I don’t like not knowing.