"Wait, so he hit you?"

We had been over the story several times by now, as Carl sat down bringing a fresh round of amber colored liquid in pint glasses.

I ignored his question as I tried to figure out if this was another IPA or something different.

"Yes," I said, snapping back to reality.

"Damn dude, that fucking sucks," Carl said taking a sip of his beer.

I shook my head in agreement. Took a sip. It was the IPA. Damn that is a good beer.

"Yeah, he just snapped after I told him he was being an asshole...

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His dive, performed in front of the small, half-drunk dinner party, was perfect in his mind. He'd had a few martinis at dinner, his wife looking at him strangely over her chardonnay. But he was on a roll that night. And Joyce had come with that husband of hers, Jerry, and had shot him her own looks as he went on about this and that. Sometimes the words came spilling out in a beautiful procession. Tonight, he was on.

Then the whole group wandered out to the backyard after he had told them he was going to perform the dive...

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his father painted the top of the lighthouse himself. with the last concise stroke of the red paintbrush, his father had a concise stroke of his own, and slid off the roof to his death, colliding headlong into the rocky ground, and tumbling into the choppy water. his body was never found, though toby often imagine a blue man, with nibbles taken out from fish schools, and skin as loose as kelp on his bones. with equal sincerity, toby imagined that his father had not died at all, and was merely hiding in the system of caves eroding into the...

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I couldn't sleep with her next to me. The smell was making me crazy. She dead to the world, breathing her breath, rustling the covers, each movement sent her smell across the bed. Sour. Sick.

For weeks she wasted away in front of me. Now she didn't eat and her body was starting to draw on what little reserves we left. All fat gone, now her muscle. I was afraid to touch her. Afraid to look too closely. Afraid to see her slow wasting death.

But we still shared this bed. She and I, as always. The only difference now...

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I remember the smell of wet snow on a blinding morning. Squinting through glare and steam. Battleship twigs wobble in a frozen puddle. The neighbor's bell-bottoms dark blue to the knees. She sank in a soft mountain of snow, but extracted herself with the confident strength of the Bionic Woman.

The crows were flying silhouettes, Japanese ink on a rice paper landscape. The country was preparing for our spectacle. There would be battleships in the harbor, fireworks from the torch, old songs that would not die.

But on this day, in the insulation of a winter morning, we weren't thinking...

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If your parents are going to name you after a song, there are a few things they should think about.

For a start, it needs to be a good song. Actually, no, it needs to be an actual name. Nobody wants a kid called "You know what they do to guys like us in prison."

But it still needs to be a good song. A really good one. Not some one-hit-wonder.

And it should be subtle. I mean, "Penny Lane" - that's obvious. "Layla"? Not so much.

Maybe I'll change my name to Layla, when the forms come through. Or...

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I jumped. I blacked out. When I awoke, head ringing and eyes spotted with colours, he turned round slowly.

"You ever heard of an Ox Bow Lake?"

"nuhuh" I said. Mind you, the gag would have rendered the same result as a Shakespeare soliloquy. 

"sahwiwochee" Hell, it was different. Maybe if you were a dentist, this conversation would be less one sided. I eyed the man who had broken in to the lab, wondering if he'd had orthodontist training. He knew his way round a physics lab alright, but fiddling with the quantum accelerator probably wasn't the best idea. That...

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Peasants. That's what I thought when I looked out the window. Nothing but peasants on the street below. Uneducated people. I watched as one of them gave birth. Immediately, she put her baby in a tree. There was a bees' nest there and the bees stung the baby. Even from up here I could hear the baby scream. The baby fell out of the tree. I think it broke a leg because it didn't move after that. The baby just cried and screamed and ate fig newtons. It bled too. A lot.

Slowly, I ate my Almond Joy bar.


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The pistol was cocked, ready to go. It was a bit overwhelming for me, having the power to just end a life. One pull of the trigger, and the poor sap in front of me had slipped from the mortal coil. Such great power.

The man in front of me slid down the wall, the blood trailing from the back of his head creating a noticable streak across the brickwork. Someone had to have noticed the noise, because sirens started blaring and spinning red lights activated.

I ran and jumped out of the window, crashing through the glass. I could...

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I'm dead. It wasn't part of the plan, but I'm really dead. The plan involved Scotch tape, 10-gauge wire, and a grey kitten. It ended me, though. And I guess that means the plan didn't work. Because me being dead wasn't part of the plan.
I'm dead and it's no one's fault but my own. The bridge was a last minute addition to the plan. So was the kite. It was one of those kites from the drugstore--cheap plastic, make in China or Poland or somewhere. There were thin wooden dowels. Not quite strong enough.
I'm dead and I think...

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