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March 10, 2009


This is the special tour.

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Michele: Travels

She wanted to see America. Rent a Winnebago, travel the country, see all the landmarks. We’d done Europe and South America, but never our own country.

“How many states do you think we can get in before I die?” she asked.

“All of them, love.” She knew it was wishful thinking. I knew it, too.

Our tour of the country lasted one day; from Statue of Liberty to the emergency room. Her last words were “49 to go, Dan.”

After the funeral, I put her urn on the passenger seat of the Winnebago and we set off to see America.

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Ted: It Takes Longer to Get There, When You're Lost From the Start

The crow, the frog, and Jack all piled into the car. "So, where are we going, bird?"

"Please call me Ed, the little guy is Prince. I will tell you when to turn, for now, just turn left out of the lot and keep going."

Jack wasn't concerned in the least that a talking crow was riding shotgun. He wasn't even surprised that a crow could talk. It just seemed like that was the way it was supposed to be. What bothered Jack was that Ed was such a lousy navigator.

"We're going in circles, bird."

"Cro-o-o-o-o-ak!" the frog laughed.

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Jim: The Gig

The band laboriously climbed onto the stage. They were gaunt with age; arthritic joints and deep wrinkles attesting to decades of hard living, mostly through drugs and debauchery.

Sneering roadies handed guitars to Chopper and Kryss while Stix settled behind his drums and surveyed the crowd. Thousands of hungry eyes filled the cavernous room - a good turnout! It really didn’t matter, though. The band would play despite the attendance. They played every evening.

Stix pounded the rhythm for their first number, wondering how many they could finish this time before the demons rushed the stage and tore them apart.

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Dave: Richness of Embarrassments

“On your left,” the guide pointed out, “you’ll see your senior year high school prom.”

“Oh, God,” Carter said, trying not to look, failing.

“Out of fashion tux, check. Large pimple on nose, check. And, yes, those were her feet. Again.”

Carter had thought himself beyond still blushing, but was not.

“Next, the parking lot you chose for a post-prom tête-à-tête. Classy. And here we see Jennifer discussing the evening with her friends. Ah, mirth and merriment.”

Carter tore his gaze away, only to see --

“Ah. Now on our right, we have your first day at college …”

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Stacy: All You Can Eat Buffet

“Younglings, these are called hu-mans.”

Comnard Vertnor extended a tentacle towards the viewscreen currently displaying a feed from the My-Ami Beech monitoring station. The younglings waved their eyestalks curiously. These hu-mans were varying shades of brown and red, dotted here and there with brightly colored pieces of Clo Thing.

The Comnard continued, “See how the light from the system primary colors their skins? This is known as ‘caramelization.’ This results in a much finer flavor, and a more crunchy texture in the aged ones.”

The younglings twittered in anticipation. Meal Preparation Class field trips that included lunch were most salutary.

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Jeff R.: Prep Work

Lise looked over her spiral-bound notebook, through flat-lensed glasses whenever the tour guide finished describing each precolonial craftwork exhibit. She scanned the room, saw where the group was going, and shuffled after, making shorthand notes while walking.

A couple of men tried flirting with her. She waved them off, displaying the cubic zirconium on her finger.

When the tour ended, she had what she needed: detailed notes on the security measures in the east wing. Next week, when the tribal kitsch was replaced with material on loan from West Africa (including one million-dollar emerald), she hoped she'd have a plan...

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LJ: The New Becomes Old, or Vice Versa

I grew bored of the skeletons of creatures long dead, so I shuffled along toward the back of the group.

In time, though, I was noticed. A man who identified himself as the night janitor waved me away, toward a door marked "Employees Only."

I stepped through... and nearly got my head bitten off by a live Tyrannosaurus.

I gaped in wonder. "Has this been here the whole time?"

The fellow nodded. "The whole time. Let me tell you, stripping off one of those beasts' meat is quite a chore. To say nothing of aging the bones once I'm done."

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