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May 25, 2005

Volume 1, Issue 13

Hey, little girl

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Find your inner demons and let them loose.

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Stacy: Smile

"Come on, honey, smile for the camera."

She scuffed her feet in the dirt, looked down, didn't feel like smiling.

"Come on," he said again, in that disgusting wheedling voice he always used. The one that made her want to throw up, gave her nightmares.

Katie said she knew where her Pa kept a knife. Katie said she could get it, easy. Katie was her best friend, her only friend.

She would do it. He would dare come to her room again one night, and she would cut him until he died. Screaming, she hoped.

She looked up, and smiled.

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Ted: Headed for K.C.

"Mister, hey Mister?"

I turned around, already knowing what I would see.


"My momma says you didn't pay her enough."

They always say that. They somehow think their pride has value, is worth more than I am willing to pay.

"Honey, go tell your momma that if she didn't have such a lead ass, I would have paid more."

"Will you wait here while I go, so I don't have to run too far to catch you after?"

"Sure honey."

I waited for ten burning minutes while the Oklahoma dust seeped into my clothes.

"Ready to go now?"


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The Eschatologist: Someone To Watch Over Me

The summer wind and dust bit at her ragged clothes, but she managed to keep up with the procession.

"S'all right, Annie." She dabbed her sweaty brow with a sleeve, managing a wry smile for the toy.

"Momma went to be with Daddy, but I'm still here. Uncle Abe said he'd take care of us."

Dust flew up and she lost the cart in the swirling winds. The two caskets disappeared into a thick film of remembrance.

Abe stepped out of the maelstrom and laid a hand softly on her cheek.

"Don't worry, darlin. You can call me daddy now."

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Michele: Doll Parts

They came in dusty wagons from all over to see the miracle doll. Martha held on tight to that thing, letting the throngs of believers see the face, but never touch it. Sometimes she held the doll up to the crowd and they dropped to their knees in praise. She liked to toy with them like that, to hear the rise and fall of their excitement as she allowed them brief glimpses of the Virgin Mary’s face.

Eventually, Martha got bored and sold the doll to Pete at the Golden Saloon for fifty cents and a bottle of root beer.

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