The city was empty. It was early Saturday morning, the sky was grey and rain fell lightly. Almost imperceptibly. This was his favourite time. It felt like the entire city belonged to him. He would wander down abandoned streets, look into windows of the closed shops, sometimes he would even sing out.

He started humming loudly as he walked. A pigeon heard him and thumped his wings and took off, landing a few feet away.

He hopped over a puddle next to the curb and sang out load. "They call me mister Pitiful, baby that's my name."

This is freedom,...

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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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"But I like green."

"You would. Green is a very you colour." She waved her hand, apparently indicating his shirt. "You look good in green."

He raised his eyebrows, surprised. "Do I?"

She ignored it, ignored her cheeks going pink - there was no point to this line of conversation, she was not going to think about it.

Except that he did look good in green, very good. Something about dark hair and dark green and those eyes -

"I just don't think green is a good colour for a rug. I don't think it'll go in the living room....

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Until now, she'd never thought of herself as pretty. After all, her parents had named her Agnes. Agnes. That was the name of some fat, frumpy girl. But she stood here at the mirror, the bell had long since rung and students had settled themselves in desks. The comb in her bag would have to do. Maybe something from the haze of hairspray left behind by the other girls would help set the ridiculously high bangs she had crafted for herself.

She threw the comb in her bag and headed out into the hall. It was empty as expected. Agnes...

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One hundred and eighty thousand pounds. Sterling. Sitting on her dresser, in tight little wads of cash. One hundred and eighty thousand pounds is a lot of money. Hell, before today, one thousand was the absolute maximum I had seen in any one place at one time, and that was in the hands of Stu, the dealer, and he was just flashing it around to show off. One hundred eighty thousand? It damn near crowded everything else off the dresser. And she was just, what, going to leave it there?

"Where's this from?" I asked.

"You know where it's from."...

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"I really don't see why your dollhouse needs to be 1:10 scale," Jose grumbled as he surveyed the wood-and-glue staircase that Sandra had erected in the middle of the garage.

"I'm thinking it needs a bit more support here," Sandra pointed to the middle stair, ignoring his complaints. "Pass me the staple gun, will you?"

"When are you going to make the dolls?" Jose wondered.

"Silly," Sandra chided him. "I'm not going to MAKE the dolls. They'll come by themselves."

"Huh?"

Sandra smiled mysteriously. "You'll see."

Jose shrugged.

"By the way, you probably shouldn't come down here at night."

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The gate closed behind them. It was too late, she knew it. How did they get here? Why did it have to end this way?
"Jamie, it's okay. They won't find us here."
She wanted to believe him. She tried to believe him. She couldn't. They corner they hid in was dark, damp, dirty. She didn't have to wait long.
As the latch opened on the outside gate, Sean starting shaking. He can't handle this, Jamie thought.
"We're going to die, aren't we?" he asked.
Jamie considered lying, but what would be the point? She put her arms around him...

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god finger-painted the sky in blue, and glued on layers of fluffed cotton for the feel of it. he carefully arranged macaroni noodles below it, forming the shapes of volcanoes, of funeral pyres. he was making a field. he imagined sun ripened workers tending his pasta land, sweating and itching, and he made it so. they did not have time to wonder who created them. god was thoughtful enough to give them mountains to look at. he was proud of that. he took his artwork home for his mother to see.

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The alien craft exploded invisible to the human eye. The inhabitants had exited over an hour ago, running amazingly fast past the animals lying lazily on the sun scorched land who barely gave them a glance, such was their speed.

Marsha's mom said a second rosary just before going to bed after the long and happy day that was Marsha's wedding. She had never believed that her plain yet loving daughter could have made such a good match. Tom was not only clever, strong and good looking but he was such a homely man, loved helping with the farm, crops...

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"Aim for the torch."

"I'm trying!"

"We're gonna miss it."

"I know! I said I'm trying!"

"Ok, forget the torch. Try to land on, uh, her shoulder or something."

"The wind's too strong."

"How about her feet? The balcony? The plaza? ...The field?"

"This isn't my fault. No matter what happens, this isn't my fault."

"We're going to end up in the ocean, aren't we?"

"Probably. No, wait! I could just... Hmm. Yep. We're gonna land in the ocean."

"I don't like the ocean. It's wet."

"Shut up and deal with it."

"Plus all the cash in my wallet is...

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