[You can read some of Lana Schwartz’s previously published work on The Toast here, or follow her on Twitter (if you’re into that sort of thing).]
As your mayor, there’s nothing I’d like to do more today than to wish you a Merry Christmas like the town’s page-a-day calendar says and celebrate with friends and family. However, I already did that yesterday, and the fact that Christmas is supposedly happening two days in a row is something we can no longer ignore. Sure, it being 75 degrees for a Pennsylvania Christmas should’ve tipped us off yesterday, but I don’t think any of us wanted to believe the town’s beloved calendar could be wrong and global warming was such an easy scapegoat.
Honestly, I had my first inkling of something being amiss during that week completely comprised of Tuesdays, but I thought it might have to do with a Leap Year. Earth’s orbital period around the Sun isn’t perfectly 365 days, so maybe adding a week of Tuesdays fixed all that. I see now that doesn’t make much sense, but I also receive my paycheck on Tuesdays, so my judgment was clouded. Clouded with checks.
See, it was supposed to be a word of the day calendar. We’d give it to everyone for free so the entire town’s vocabulary would improve without hiring an actual English teacher for the school system (if you can teach Gym, Math, and those other subjects, you can also teach English, Mrs. Rose). The word would change each day, but the date would obviously stick to the calendar system we know and love. Well, I guess there was a miscommunication, because the dates change bizarrely whereas the word of the day stays constant throughout the year. If we didn’t know before, I think we all now understand what a “gargoyle” is. Hey, one less word for you to worry about, Mrs. Rose.
I checked with the internet and today is actually June 2nd, so boy were we off for some time. This poses some problems for the town. Since April 15th wasn’t one of the days we learned the meaning of “gargoyle,” we’re all probably currently under investigation by the IRS for tax evasion. But, so was Al Capone, so at least we have some famous company. Also, if your child was born sometime this year, their birth certificate is obviously invalid and they are not currently legal citizens. We’ll have to work that out, but I’d say hide the kids for now in an attic or hard to reach place so they aren’t deported. The Winter Olympics also came and went, and I know the town had a few athletes slated to perform. All I can say is sorry, and that fours years isn’t that long of a wait, especially in this town where time is clearly not taken very seriously.
Have no fear, though, the town’s word of the day calendar has been reprinted and you will all receive one at the end of this meeting. I’ve thoroughly inspected each and every date to make sure they’re in the correct order and that the defined word changes daily. I told them not to include “gargoyle” again, but they still did, so consider September 3rd a day where you won’t have to learn a new word.
I expect everything will be back to normal very soon. Tomorrow will be just like any other June 3rd, well except for that June 3rd we had a few months back where we laughed at the other towns for celebrating Valentine’s Day so late. Oh, that reminds me, don’t tell out-of-towners that this happened. This will just be our little secret, like the time I gave the ceremonial key to the town to the guy who started that fire instead of the guy who put it out. It’s not like that key does anything anyways. At least not after that.
Well that’s all I have regarding the town’s calendars. Remember to place your multiple Christmas trees near the curb tomorrow so we can remove any damning evidence. Mrs. Rose will be by to pick them up so she can teach her Biology students about conifers. Won’t you, you old gargoyle?
[Keaton Patti is a writer and comedian living in New York City. You may remember him from the previous sentence.]
Good Afternoon ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, humans and extra-terrestrial overlords!
All Hail the Overlords.
I’m pleased as punch to have you all here today for the Fourth Annual Fishing Tourney at Lake Great Hope. Well, everyone except Janine Newheart. Yes, I see you Janine. We all see you, to our great displeasure.
Before we start, I just wanted to go over a couple of rules.
One, this contest is all about skill, so please do not use any more than a fishing rod and bait for the competition. You may not use your hands, spears, tentacles, or lasers to catch your fish.
Two, do not sabotage your fellow competitors by trying to mess with their rods, their bait, or their extra arm. We had an incident two years ago which caused the entire competition to lose its integrity and moral compass, and the board would much prefer that didn’t happen again. We’re looking at you, Janine.
Three, raccoons do not count as fish. We are sorry for the confusion last year.
Violating any of these rules can forfeit your bid in the competition.
And no, Janine, you do not get extra points if you are eaten by the paleolithic era water monster that roams Lake Great Hope. Remember, you must be able to physically accept your prize, and substitutions are not permitted in the tournament.
Get your shit together, Janine.
With that out of the way, let’s have a great time here at the Fourth Annual Fishing Tourney! And remember, the Overlords are watching.
They are always, always watching.
[G. Blaise Hoeler writes for BroadwayWorld.com. You can follow her on Twitter at @ghoeler]
[Kady Ruth Ashcraft is the founder of Hot Hot Phone]
“That is where you’re wrong” the girl said as she swept her cute bangs back into her eyes. “I’m exactly like other girls.”
He was confused and his furrowed brow must’ve given that away.
“Is everything alright?” she asked. “You look confused.”
“Literally everything is going great for me right now. I’m a handsome man who has steadily dated beautiful women my entire adult life that all provided me with meaningful relationships. With you in front of me right now, it looks like I’m neatly following that pattern.”
This made the girl happy to know that the man she was falling for had a history of healthy relationships and in no way would she be responsible to ‘fix’ or ‘heal’ him. She had done that before and found it to be awfully time consuming and suspected that people who hide behind the pretense of being complicated are often afraid to bare their true personality. She would take stable and perhaps bland over misunderstood and troubled any day!
“I have a feeling you’ve heard this before,” he said, interrupting her thoughts. “In fact, I have a feeling that you’re pretty aware of this, as well. But I must tell you that you are very beautiful.”
She did know this. She had been aware of beauty standards her entire life and was quite capable of arranging herself to meet them. While she appreciated the compliment, she honestly would have been shocked had he not thought her manicured and completely archetypal appearance was anything but beautiful. Surely he was raised in the same society she was and held the same basic values of what was and wasn’t beautiful. Unless, of course, he wasn’t and didn’t.
“Where are you from?” she asked him. Leaning her body closer to his body in hopes that he might put his lips on her mouth.
“Where am I not from?” he countered.
“I don’t know, Uganda?” she quipped.
She was right. That was the one place he wasn’t from. He was very impressed that she had heard of Uganda. Most women just referred to all forty-seven countries in Africa as ‘Africa.’ This girl didn’t do that. This girl must be something special to understand basic political geography. He wanted to kiss her mouth. As soon as he was about to do that she interrupted him.
“Oh my goodness, do you have any idea how late it is?”
“No. What time is it?”
“It’s 11:35. You don’t have anywhere you need to be, do you?”
“Crap, I do. I have to wake up at 6:45 tomorrow morning so I better get going. I have a full day at my office tomorrow. See ya!”
He turned to walk away and she grabbed his arm.
“But when will I ever see you again? When will we run into each other?” Tears welled in her eyes, though perhaps she had just yawned and was also tired.
“Oh, I am literally on Facebook and Gchat all day long so just hit me up whenever.”
[Kady Ruth Ashcraft founded Hot Hot Phone. Follow her on twitter @kadyrabbit]
Journal entry, 2007
I don’t have long. By now I’m sure everyone’s heard what I’ve done.
He said that it would be called Love Never Dies, and he was right about that, at least in one sense. I love musical theater, damn it, and while I live, the legacy of his contributions to the canon shall never be worn down by the sands of time or tarnished by a sequel (pretender! usurper!). I knew that his computerized grand piano, as expensive and showy a piece of stagecraft as the chandelier he sought to eclipse, could be brought crashing down only by the Phantom himself. I may be little for a Turkish van cat, but theater has taught me that I can be anyone. I became the Phantom of my master’s doomed opera. I climbed into the machine with a dancer’s grace, I erased the file, and I killed Love Never Dies.
This is my confession.
I did it for love. I did it for every sixth-grade choir teacher looking for a field trip option that would appeal to everyone. And I did it for him, even if he doesn’t understand.
I’m going to have to go away for a little while, but I’ll be all right. I’m adorable and he can’t prove that I comprehend any of this. I will remain under the couch until this blows over, and I shall remain,
In America for one day each year, all crime, including murder, is legal. This is the Purge. This is my schedule during the Purge.
12 AM – 1 AM: The Purge begins. Immediately boot up your laptop and start furiously torrenting episodes of The Wire.
1 AM – 3 AM: Ignore the pleas for help coming outside your door because you’re too busy playing a video game you just pirated.
3 AM – 12 PM: Fall asleep after ripping the stupid “Do Not Remove” tag off the mattress.
12 PM – 1 PM: Wake up. Don’t brush teeth or shower. Eat double-stuffed Oreos dunked in Nutella for breakfast.
1 PM – 2 PM: Drink wine straight out of the bottle as you break into your ex’s Facebook account using the password she really should never have told you.
2 PM – 3 PM: Your ex keeps messaging someone named Kriss, but it’s impossible to tell if Kriss is a girl or a boy. Kriss’s Facebook profile picture is a mountain range. Fucking Kriss.
3 PM – 4 PM: Drunk dial your ex and leave 300 voicemails in defiance of your restraining order.
4 PM – 5 PM: More Nutella Oreos.
5 PM – 6 PM: Watch all the beautiful explosions going on outside your window. Snag a couple pics for your Instagram with the hashtag #thepurge.
6 PM – 7 PM: Cautiously head outside. You have brought a skateboard over to a “No Loitering or Skateboarding” sign. Unfortunately, you never learned how to skateboard so you just stand on the board for a couple minutes before returning home.
7 PM – 11 PM: Drive over to the movie theater. Buy a single ticket but stick around for multiple movies. You smuggle Nutella and Oreos into the theater inside your coat pockets. Fuck you, AMC.
11 PM – 12 AM: Go home and attempt to watch the pilot of The Wire but fall asleep three minutes in.
My Schedule After The Purge: Basically the same.
[“Ben Baker is a writer living in Arlington, Virginia. Like everyone else, he is on Twitter.]