He'd spent hours in the living room, with a stack of tapes and the home theatre system, recording, rerecording, and generally keeping the neighbors awake. "It's sort of loud in here," I said to him.

He spent hours scrambling around the house searching for the sharpie to label his mixtape. "This will be perfect, if I can only finish it," he said to himself.

Unable to find a sharpie, he ran out the back door, grabbed his bike and churned off into the night.

I hopped in the car and followed behind at a safe distance. He stopped off at...

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"So, did your dog eat your homework?"
"No... You won't believe me so it doesn't matter anyway."
"You always have had a vivid imagination. Which I take pains to appreciate. Go ahead. Why weren't you able to prepare for the test?"
"I had been studying for thirty minutes - which is why I aced the radicands portion - when all the sudden there was a rumbling groaning sound from next door. I couldn't focus. I looked outside my window and across the alleyway was a huge green bass flopping about screaming."
"Uh?"

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Once, in Beijing, a young girl in a red gown huddled in a doorway.

After a carefully judged amount of time she stood up and retied the bow at her waist.

"Sure, you stood me up at prom, Adam," she said, "but THIS is for calling my dissertation 'feeble-minded and a stunning waste of recycled pulp' in front of my advisor."

She retrieved her bike and stuck a hardbound volume titled "AN OPTIMIZED PROGRAMMABLE BINARY ARCHITECTURE FOR A SCALABLE DIGITAL THEOREM ITERATOR" into the handlebar basket.

Then, whistling, she hiked up her skirts, straddled the seat, and biked off into...

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Daring to be noticed for the first time in her life, she pushed her chair back and stood up. Channeling Renee Zelwegger in Jerry Maguire she said "I'm with you."
Nobody heard her mouselike voice. Clearing her throat, she repeated herself. "I'm with you."
James looked at her, "Oh um...anyone else?" he scanned the office hopefully. Everyone remained seated. "Oh um, great then. Thank you...who are you?"
"Sarah." she prompted, ignoring the disapointment on his face.
"Yes, Sarah. That's it you're in accounts, right?"
"Actually I'm one of the PAs." she was starting to feel a little disgruntled. She was...

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Away.

He'd escaped.

And not in the usual way.

Home from school at 7:30pm, another long day of detention for crimes uncommitted (who ever did anything really deserving detention – and when has detention been worse than the alternative. Questions he wrestled with with his head on his desk) – home long after sunset, he pressed his head against his pillow and cried.

The tears awoke the empathy of the waters in the room. His fishbowl grew stormy. A glass of water shuddered with tsunami. The poster of the ship on the wall erupted in gale and he could feel the lash...

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"Now, tell me again," said the attractive blond in the black-rimmed glasses, "why do you think you're a super villain?"

Her patient sighed. He was draped across her leather couch, one hand hanging limp over its side, grazing the lush carpet as though it was soft grass.

The therapist chewed on her pencil and waited.

"How many times do I have to tell you?" he said. "I'm a scientist. I come from a long line of super villainy, and it's up to me to keep up the family reputation." He turned on his side to gaze at her. "Have I...

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The drop all went wrong. I told Marsha not to get the police involved but she was too scared to think straight. Joshua had been a special baby after five failed IVF attempts. It wasn't his fault that his parents were so rich or stupid as to allow a nanny to look after him without checking up on her properly. She seemed so nice when they met in the park, soothing the baby during his bouts of excessive screaming. Autism. She seemed to instantly recognise the shrill pitch. Told us it ran in her family. He wasn't really a baby...

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Midnight on the Roof. That's where he'll be. I know Santa Claus is real. I know that because he's my Dad.

It was small things at first. I made a list:
1) A wistful smile on Mum's lips each Christmas Eve. 
2) The way she hummed "I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus" without noticing.
3) The fact we ALWAYS put out cookies and beer for him before Christmas Day. And a carrot for Rudolf.
4) My last real memory of him dressed in his large red gown and hat with white fur trim telling Mum he had to go. His...

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You had me at 'Ox Bow Lake'" I sighed. Temporal Repair 202, the practical. "So we have this rift, right? And you're saying it's like God was dealing out the cards in a Cosmic Bridge Game, when this stupid 21st century chronoterrorist (I hate Chrono's) interrupted his deal."

My instructor nodded, pleased at least one of us had listened and remembered his tortuous analogies. He cleared his throat, "So, how does God carry on dealing so everyone still gets the cards they were 'meant' to get?"

We all looked at one another round the card table. We were stumped. Not...

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From the edge of a hole in the ground, lying on his side in a pool of his own blood, Jim looked around for his arm.

Eventually his glazed eyes drifted down the side of the pit, down to the bottom, where a mess of body parts mixed together like a good gumbo.

"Is that my arm?" Jim thought about thinking.

His ears rang, buzzed, sounded like being tumbled in a wave, with the adrenaline rush of wondering if you'll break the surface or if this is it.

He looked to the tree nearby, to wear a squirrel was peeking...

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