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May 22, 2005

Volume 1, Issue 10

Reaching into my bag of verbal tricks, and after the dictionary took a bite of my hand, I pulled from the sack these three words:


Do your worst!

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The Eschatologist: License to Kill

Often, I forget things. It's not old age or infirmity, but a curse eats at my mind. I can't remember who I am, or where I've been.

My mind is a chalkboard that has been erased, with just a tantalizing shadow of what was written before the cloth swept over it. A never-ending fog in the chill dawn air.

So you might think I was more than a little disturbed to wake this morning in the snaking line at the Department of Public Absolution and Ethical Judgment, covered in blood and waiting (114th in line) to pay a civil fine.

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Michele: The Extent of My Sin

My bare knees dug into the wooden floor.

My own mother’s hands, cold and rough, gripped the back of my neck, pushing me downward so I was crouching instead of kneeling. Her ragged fingernails dug into my skin. “Confess,” she whispered.

“I don’t remember.”

The priest barked at me from behind the screen, “Liar!”

“He knocked me out...”

The screen between us slid open noisily. Father Tim was holding four nails and a hammer.

Mother grabbed a handful of hair and yanked, as if to jar a memory loose.

I was without choice.

“Forgive me father for I have sinned...”

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Ted: J'accuse!

The doctor said that she could not remember because sometimes the mind simply blocks out the terrible. The people at the child welfare office told her that everything would be fine, that some memories were best buried. The prosecutor asked to have her hypnotized in order to discover the extent of the abuse.

I don't get it. I refuse to act penitent while the system figures out that one black eye received playing ball does not mean they can take me away from her.

That stupid old lady at the grocery store stuck her nose in and ruined my life.

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