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All the important decisions made in your life have been made by drunk people. From your conception to the day you will perish– both days marked by a blood alcohol level far above anything anyone would recommend– you or others will decide the course of your life in a stupor. You stayed sober for 5 years to avoid it but then she got fed up with you, and she got drunk, and she did something stupid. Now you’re alone, so that plan clearly backfired. (She was still drunk when she made the phonecall to tell you.) You cannot escape this.
Larry woke one day to 53 missed calls and one new voicemail message. They were all from the same number, a strange one. As it turned out, his ex-girlfriends had all combined into one single, terrifying ex-girlfriend and this conglomeration had the courtesy to warn him before paying him a visit.
He put his glasses on and counted his sins. His door exploded and he tried to put on some trousers at least– of course he didn’t have enough time.
She stood in front of him, tall enough to have to crouch a bit inside his bachelor’s lair. She growled.
Janice Fukeley fell apart too. The caterpillars that made up her hair scattered, the fat bugs of her eyeballs scampered away with their tiny eyelash legs. Her tongueel, devoid of the purpose it had previously felt, flopped along with the lungfish, and the grasshoppers that made up her joints hopped away. The spell broke for the two heartbeetles, a ruby-red fist-sized insect couple whose manylegs were snaked around each other. Somewhere Janice’s soul was, more than the sum of her gone parts, but it wasn’t here. The handcrabs wandered off together but longer down the road they had a fight.
The earthbeast yawned, swallowing the village and draining the lakes. A thousand little gauntfish met their doom. Daktu had been a peaceful, relatively new village. Some of the old oaks around were older than the village itself, and the earthbeast had last moved millenniae ago, it only existed in the most antique of mythologies, the kind of stories that lack structure like panic does, the kind of books that ends in the middle of sentences. Every single Daktuling was taken by the darkness.
The earthbeast, slowest and dullest and largest of the godmonsters, closed its mouth and fell asleep again.
Cosmos channeled eyes toward Charles, who started sweating more than usual. Any time now, he would have a fate-day. He didn’t have one scheduled, because there were sentient errors in the machinery and Cosmos spoke through them. So people started misdialing to Charles’ phone: Miss Nugart who was looking for her lost son and actually thought she’d found him for twenty whole seconds, Jetarsqua who was looking for coke, etc. At first it was funny, then worrying, then annoying. Then Ms. Jones called, speaking for fifty seconds about the Belgrade situation and Charles played along and his number was traceable.
Suddenly Jonas didn’t have arms. No bones in his arms. He fell down a lot that day. The next day Jonas had arms again, everybody was very confused. He learnt to not trust his sense of proprioception, to always check with his eyes that he still had his arms and legs so he would notice it as soon as they disappeared. Thus, Jonas became a very withdrawn man, one who didn’t make much eye contact and never married. He thought about adopting but his object permanence had weakened too much for that to be okay. He died armful, with regrets.
Aaron Coche did not like sunlight. It made his skin itch and his hair shed. He suspected he had a mild form of vampirism, for he also could not stand garlic. That is to say, he could tolerate it, but it tasted simply awful. Garlic bread, he stated, was like crispy ash.
The natural next step, Aaron felt, was to sharpen his teeth and suck someone’s blood. He put up ads, and eventually someone replied. The emergency services found Aaron’s emaciated, bone-dry body the next day.
Parasites often have a three-step life cycle. We don’t know where he got infected.
A dark and sullen creature crawled into little Vera’s room; by morning it was nowhere to be seen. At first she thought it must have gotten bored and left; by nightfall she waited for it to return. But it was already there, in the room, just like she: it had been with Vera all day, and would be all night. At twelve, as bells clanged, the creature had been scared. It crawled inside her chest– Vera slept through the whole thing. Now it’s eaten up her lungs, and functions just as they did, but one day it’ll get scared again.
Andy was a used dreams-salesman who made 3 sales a week and never took any vacation. I fell in love with him out of desperation and nothing else.
“Well,” he said to me the first time we met, “you can’t just call everything asocial you do a ‘coping strategy’, that’s not how it should work.”
I stared at him blankly, he was polished but not beautiful.
He didn’t want to sell me a dream, he wanted to give one away to me. He sold zero dreams that week, met me on a Monday.
Next Monday he was back to normal.
Johan was the guy who had a full beard at 15 and was therefore delegated with the position of alcoholic beverages summoner. This made him cool. There could not be a party without him, and he never had to pay for his own booze.
Suddenly (well, suddenly for Johan; Matilda had planned it quite meticulously) he found himself sans beard and thus no longer cool. In fact, no-one recognized him. He was kicked out of the boozerie. His little sister took a pause to wonder who he was.
He grew another beard and glued it to Matilda’s face as revenge.
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