Not Non-Fiction


Not All Facts Are True.

Source: Goodreads

Source: Goodreads

True Stories Behind Common Urban Legends

The Legend: The Vanishing Hitchhiker

A driver picks up a young woman hitchhiking. The driver takes her to the address she’s given but finds on arrival that she’s disappeared. The driver goes to the house, knocks on the door, and is informed that a young woman of that name and description died. There are many variations with the time of the young woman’s death ranging from one year to twenty years earlier.

The Truth

Magician’s assistant Beatrice Weir (September 5, 1897-June 30th, 1987) was an accomplished escape artist and magician in her own right. Frustrated in her efforts to gain recognition in a the male-dominated field she attempted to generate publicity for her performances by playing “The Vanishing Hitchhiker” trick on unsuspecting motorists, leaving her card behind. Her efforts were unsuccessful and caused more confusion and concern than positive publicity. She would eventually quit magic to pursue a career as a corporate accountant. In her later years she retired to Uruguay after embezzling more than three quarters of a million dollars from several companies. Described in her will as her “best disappearing act” the money has never been recovered.

The Legend: The Killer In The Backseat

A young woman pulls into a gas station. After she’s fueled her car the attendant calls her into the station, claiming a problem with her credit card or other concern. In earlier versions he claims to have noticed something wrong with her car or that she’s handed him a counterfeit twenty. In many variants she finds something about the attendant disturbing and is afraid to be alone with him. Once inside the station he informs her he’s called the police because there’s a stranger in her backseat. The attendant either noticed the stranger slip into the vehicle or saw him while filling the gas tank. Either way tragedy is averted.

The Truth

Journalist Eunice Phelan dropped her car at a service station for an oil change. She picked it up later in the same day and noticed one of the technicians asleep in the backseat. She would turn the incident into her first crime novel, Trunk Show, published in 1977. The novel follows police efforts to find a killer who selects victims by hiding in the back seats of cars. Although fiction in second and third hand retellings people began claiming the event had actually happened to an acquaintance.

The Legend: Alligators In The Sewers

New Yorkers returning from Florida vacations with baby alligators find the pets too much to handle and flush them down the toilet. The alligators then grow to adulthood and infest the sewers.

The Truth

In late March 1957 a handful of New York City Sanitation Department employees “borrowed” three adult alligators from the Bronx Zoo for a planned April Fools’ joke. The reptiles escaped and spread quickly, feeding on rats, stray cats and dogs, and, in a tragic incident, several Rotary Club members. The alligators proved difficult to eradicate. Animal control employees conducted semi-annual sweeps over several decades. Officials are currently happy to report that an alligator has not been seen in New York City sewers since 2013.

The Legend: The Babysitter Cooks The Baby

Frustrated or intoxicated a babysitter puts the baby in the oven and cooks it. In later versions the baby is cooked in a microwave. When the parents come home the babysitter presents them with “a special dish”.

The Truth

Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” was intended as satire but taken seriously by some English landholders. Chester Easham, Seventh Earl of Wessex, reportedly ate more than twenty children alone. Some were mere newborns but Easham is said to have preferred them “on puberty’s eve”. Fearing a backlash King George II had a story planted in The Times of Dublin that placed the blame on incompetent maids and greedy scullery maids.

The Legend: Black Market Organ Harvest

A young man traveling alone joins a group of strangers at a club. They drink and party late into the night. At some point he is drugged and has no memory of anything until the next morning when he awakes in a bathtub filled with ice. A note informs him both his kidneys have been removed. In some versions a phone is placed within his reach so he can call the police. The thieves are never caught and his kidneys presumably go to wealthy individuals in need of a donor.

The Truth

In 1986 Heaverton University student David Kimson wanted to donate one of his kidneys to his girlfriend. Concerned about the cost he convinced friend and pre-med student Kevin Jenkins to put together a rudimentary operating room in a hotel bathroom and perform the surgery there. In spite of flunking his classes and planning to drop out Jenkins agreed to perform the surgery. Unfortunately instead of a kidney Jenkins removed his friend’s prostate. Kimson refused to press charges when police, alerted by a hotel maid, found him attempting to relieve his agony by squatting in the ice-filled bathtub in his room. Why he wanted to donate a kidney to his girlfriend remains unclear since she only had a yeast infection.

Kevin Jenkins has since kept a low profile. He resides in Titusville, Florida, where in 2004 was named Best Substitute Chemistry Teacher.


Colossal Bus Adventure!

Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia

As a teenager with my first computer I played a lot of text-based games. They’ve stuck in my memory, maybe because I spent entirely too much time on them. The three main ones were Colossal Cave Adventure, Planetfall, and The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. The Hitchhiker’s game, like the novel, was written by the late great Douglas Adams, and was extremely difficult, even for fans of the books. The most seemingly inconsequential actions at the beginning of the game, such as feeding a cheese sandwich to a small dog, could have consequences much later in the game. That small things can have a large impact and you should never pass up the chance to do something nice are, I think, two major tenets of Douglas Adams’ philosophy. Colossal Cave Adventure was an open-ended fantasy treasure hunt that I never really got into. Planetfall was the one I spent the most time on. For some reason its plot of saving a lonely castaway on a distant planet appealed to me. And I was thrilled to learn the robot Floyd–spoiler alert–has to die as part of the game’s solution and will never again ask if you want to play Hucka-Bucka-Beanstalk but that’s another story.

It occurred to me while riding home one day that public transportation would make a pretty good text-based game in itself. I don’t have the computer skills to write a game but I thought it would make a funny story. So I’m foisting it on you, the patient, intelligent, thoughtful people who drop in here regularly. Even if you’ve never played any of the games I’ve mentioned you might recognize a few details.

You are standing on a desolate area of sidewalk that stretches from EAST to WEST. In front of you is YON BUS.


You board YON BUS. The driver is a surly looking peasant and demands payment before he will allow you to take a seat.


With what?


You check your pockets. You are currently carrying KEYS, a PHONE, a WALLET, and a small amount of LUCRE.


You don’t have enough.

The driver scowls at you.




The pass slides effortlessly through the slot in the fare machine which rings merrily.

The driver grunts and closes the door. He tells you to take a seat.


The only available seat is across from a woman with a small dog in her lap. The dog growls menacingly at you. However the seat is currently occupied by a cold half-eaten CHEESEBURGER.


The bus lurches forward. You’d better take a seat!


You sit down. Unfortunately you are still holding a CHEESEBURGER. Cold sauce of an indeterminate origin trickles onto your hand.


You don’t see any appropriate trash receptacles and you don’t want to be guilty of littering.


The small dog greedily devours the cheeseburger and gives you a look of intense adoration. You will be its best friend for the remainder of the journey.


Your phone is the pinnacle of modern technology. You can play games, listen to songs, perform calculations, send and receive emails, or catch up on the latest news. A small icon in the upper right hand corner indicates that the only thing you can’t do with it right now is make a phone call.


Your phone begins to play a jaunty medley of ‘80’s one-hit wonders. You lean back and enjoy the ride.

You don’t remember exiting the bus but you now find yourself in a dark cavernous room. The word DING glows from the far wall in bright red letters. Looking around you see a BAG and a JAVELIN. A grue is also in the room and advances menacingly.


You now have the JAVELIN. The grue continues to advance menacingly. It asks if you want to play Hucka-Bucka-Beanstalk.


With stunning accuracy you throw the javelin. The grue disappears in a cloud of greasy green smoke.


You now have the BAG. It’s full of copper ducats!


There are no exits. The word DING continues to glow on the far wall.


The sound wakes you up. Someone has pulled the cord to request a stop. You are still on the bus and have been dreaming.


You check your pockets. You are currently carrying KEYS, a PHONE, a WALLET, a small amount of LUCRE, and COPPER DUCATS.


You look out and realize you’ve passed your stop. The bus is now speeding along a desolate stretch of interstate. The woods are dark and likely infested with grues. Are you sure you want to stop?


Your phone begins to play a lively medley of ‘90’s one-hit wonders.

The bus rolls into the DEPOT. The driver announces that everyone must leave the bus. Exits are BEHIND and FORWARD.


You exit the bus via the rear doors avoiding a scowl from the driver.

It will be at least fifteen minutes before the bus departs. You begin to feel hungry.


You look around and see a VENDING MACHINE. Across the street is a COFFEE SHOP.


The machine contains a delightful array of tempting snacks. Unfortunately it does not take LUCRE, TWENTY-DOLLAR BILLS, or DUCATS.


There’s a long line at the coffee shop. You’ll have to wait and might miss your bus.


The line moves briskly. You get to the front and order a triple-espresso mocha topped with whipped cream, chocolate shavings, caramel drizzle, and chives. The barista hands you your DRINK and CHANGE.


You now have a DRINK. It weighs approximately six pounds.


You now have CHANGE.


You return to the depot with two minutes left before the bus leaves. A voice over the intercom reminds you eating, drinking, and smoking are now allowed on the bus.


You guzzle the combination of coffee, sugar, and dairy in record time. You are now refreshed for the remainder of your journey!


The driver insists you need to pay to re-board.


Nice try bucko.


Your pass is expired and there are no valid charges left on it.


Luckily you received exact change at the coffee shop. You insert the correct amount in the fare taker. The driver scowls and tells you to take a seat.


The bus lurches forward.


Your phone’s power is critically low and playing songs would be an unnecessary waste of power. You lean back and pretend to enjoy the ride.

Up ahead on the left you see your HOME.


You pull the cord. There is a satisfying “Ding!” An automated voice reminds you to remain seated until the bus comes to a complete stop.


You are pitched forward onto your face as the bus comes to a halt. The driver cackles merrily as you pick yourself up off the floor.


The driver scowls as you disembark.

You are standing on a desolate area of sidewalk that stretches NORTH and SOUTH. Behind you is an EERIE CASTLE. Ahead of you is HOME.


The Eerie Castle has been bringing down neighborhood property values for years. With great sagacity you decide that midnight on a Tuesday is the ideal time to explore its premises. You enter hesitantly. The door closes behind you. Ahead you see two large eyes glowing in the darkness. You recognize the small dog from the bus, only now it is thirty-five feet tall and weighs approximately six-hundred pounds.

The dog recognizes you as the person who gave it a cold, rotten cheeseburger slathered with a sauce of pure salmonella extract and brown, slimy, rotten lettuce. It therefore considers you its best friend in the entire universe and stares at you with infinite adoration.

Obvious exits are FORWARD, BACK, and STAIRS.


Because you forgot to activate the flashlight app on your phone you don’t see that large sections of the floor are missing. You fall into the basement and are eaten by a horde of zombie alien okapi.

You have died.

Total points: 171

Boons acquired:

‘80’s one-hit wonders medley

‘90’s one hit wonders medley

Copper ducats

Extremely large small dog


Let’s Brew Up A Little Something.

Source: The Ghost Diaries

Source: The Ghost Diaries

Kate: Hello, and welcome back to Cauldron Cooking, the show that puts the magic back in your kitchen. I’m your host Kate. Earlier in the show we talked about new uses for poison ivy, and I also want to tell listeners who are just tuning in that our recipe for cream of vulture soup is on the show’s website. Check it out.

All right, now it’s time to take some calls. We have Diane from Salem on line seven. Hi, Diane, what’s your question?

Diane: Hi Kate, thank you so much for taking my call. This isn’t exactly a cooking question but I have an issue with my stepdaughter and I wondered if you could suggest anything.

Kate: Oh, yes, kids. They’re always hard to deal with, aren’t they? Especially when they grow up.

Diane: Right. That’s my problem. She’s getting older and she’s starting to really get in my way.

Kate: But you don’t want to kill her.

Diane: Well, I did, but  not anymore. I’d just like something that’ll, you know, take her out of the picture.

Kate: Let me think. Okay, I have just the thing for you. We have a great recipe for a poison apple.

Diane: That won’t kill her?

Kate: No, this is perfect. It will just put her in a coma. Have you got a crypt or something where you can put her while she sleeps?

Diane: I’ve got a crystal case that rests on a plinth out in the woods.

Kate: Fabulous. She’ll be perfectly preserved there for as long as you want, and here’s the good part: she can only be revived with a kiss from a charming prince. And it’s not like there are a lot of those wandering around the forests, am I right?

Diane: Yes. That sounds absolutely perfect. Thank you so much Kate!

Kate: No problem, and good luck. Email us some pictures so we can see how it’s worked out. We’ll put them on the website. Thanks for your call, Diane.

Well, it looks like the witching hour is almost up, so I’ll just leave you with this: When shall we three meet again, in thunder, lightning, or in rain?

Of course you know it’ll be the same time next week. I’ll see you then.

Mixed Nuts.

nuts-Hey Phil. Phil, you here?

-Yeah, a little shaken, but I’m here. What’s up Wally?

-Just checking. Everything got crazy there and now it’s gone quiet. Really quiet.

-Yeah, I know. I’m okay with the quiet. Better than dealing with—


-Whoop. Let’s party like it’s 2006.


-I’m Wally.




-Ich hasse dich so sehr.


-You two want to be alone?


-I’m Wally.


-Over here, next to your Teutonic twin.

-Ich verachte Euch alle.

-Some of us can understand you, Brazzy.

-Mein Name ist Bertholletia.


-I’m Wally. And [sigh] the most common language there is Portuguese, and anyway he’s speaking…forget it. Yes, Al. Yes I do.

-Dies ändert nichts


-That you’re his best friend in the world, Al.


-Wenn es einen Gott ist, werden Sie das erste zu sterben sein .


-I’m Wally.


-He’s trying to butter you up.


-Ich würde Sie mich zerquetschen, wenn ich könnte.

-He says he’s sorry.


-Y’all keep it down.


-Der einzige von euch, die erträglich für mich ist.

-Y’all make more ruckus than a mess of hounds done got a possum.

-Who is that?


You Have The Wrong Department.

giantMay 11th

Dear Chris,

I’m reaching out to you with this exciting new opportunity offered by Silverplate. I’m sure you’ll want to know more about it when you learn that Silverplate can increase your company’s productivity by as much as 23%. It’s really exciting. Click the link below or hit reply to learn more.


Kevin Dohmase

May 13th

Dear Chris,

I know you’re busy and that’s why I thought I’d be proactive and remind you about Silverplate. It works with your schedule. That’s why you need to click the link below or just hit reply. I know you’re excited about this! I am too! Silverplate can increase your productivity by 38% or more, but you need to get back to me soon.


Kevin Dohmase

May 17th

Dear Chris,

You and I both know how easy it is for things to get lost. I bet your inbox is just as cluttered as mine. But that’s why you need Silverplate.  It can cut down on what you don’t need by as much as 17% or more. Click the link or just hit reply. You can’t wait anymore on this!


Kevin Dohmase

May 19th

Dear Chris,

I don’t know why you haven’t gotten back to me. It’s been a rough week, right? Well that’s why you need Silverplate. We both know it’ll increase your productivity and you can grow profits by 22% or more. Just hit reply or click the link below. It’s that easy to get started. Let’s talk soon!


Kevin Dohmase

May 21st

Dear Chris,

I’m going to be in your area this week and I’m willing to give you 100% of my attention if you’ll schedule a time to meet with me and talk about Silverplate and all it can do for you and your company. I think you’ll be amazed how it can assist with hiring, managing, collating, associating, generation, leveraging, synergizing, and innovating. Hit reply or click the link to set up a time that works for you.


Kevin Dohmase

May 25th

Dear Chris,

You’ve been in a serious accident, haven’t you? That’s why you haven’t gotten back to me. I hate to think of you suffering. That’s why I’m here to help—with Silverplate! It can help you solve crises 12% faster or more. I’m ready to dial 9-1-1 to send emergency responders to you right this minute but I need you to reply or just hit the link below if the accident has left you unable to type.


Kevin Dohmase

May 27th

Dear Chris,

What’s wrong? You know I’m here to help and I really want to help, but I can’t help you unless you’re willing to take that first step. We both know that Silverplate can do 19% more of what you really need so there’s no reason for you to not hit reply or click the link below. Don’t you think it’s time?


Kevin Dohmase

May 31st

Dear Chris,

Look, if you don’t want to talk to me just say so. Did you notice there’s an UNSUBSCRIBE link at the bottom of these emails? How hard would it have been to click that link or the TELL ME MORE link or just hit reply since they’re all right there together? If you’re not interested in the 26% savings Silverplate can provide just say so.


Kevin Dohmase

June 6th

Dear Chris,

What are you, some kind of jerk or something? I thought we had a relationship here. I thought we were friends. I’m trying to help you out here. I’m giving this 123%, exactly in discounts the you’ll get with your first order from Silverplate. But if you’re a big old moron  can’t hit reply or click that link. Well I hope you’re happy with yourself. I wish I’d never heard of you.


Kevin Dohmase

June 6th


PUTRID SACK OF ROTTING OFFAL. Something percent. Reply. Link. Whatever. Chicken jockey lips percent. Go down in flames piece of Sacramento


Kevin Dohmase

June 7th

Dear Chris,

I am so sorry. I don’t know what cane over me. I just get so upset thinking about how much you’re missing by not using Silverplate and behaved terribly. My blood alcohol level was 16.8%–the same amount you could see in benefits with Silverplate. Let me make this up to you personally. Hit reply or click the link below to set up a time.


Kevin Dohmase

June 8th

Dear Chris,

You have a right to be upset but please give me a chance to make this up to you. I wouldn’t do this for anyone but because it’s you I’m prepared to offer a 60% discount on your first Silverplate order. Reply or click the link and we can have a fresh start.


June 15th

Kevin Dohmase

Dear Chris,

Now I’m starting to get upset. I tried to give you some space because I know how you are but now you’ve had more than enough time. How much time? Try 77%. And that’s how much you’ve lost by not using Silverplate. This will be my final message. I’ve invested too much in this but we both know we’ve finally come to an end.


Kevin Dohmase

June 17th

Dear Chris,

How serious am I? I’m 100% serious. Silverplate will change your life. Without it you’re nothing. If you don’t at least try it you’ll regret it. I mean really regret it. Think I’m kidding? Click the link or hit reply for proof.


Kevin Dohmase

June 28th

Dear Chris,

I’m sure you’ve heard by now about the tragic and sudden loss of Kevin. It came as a great shock to all of us at Silverplate, and I know it’s affected you and his other friends profoundly as well. In this time of gried we are making a special offer of 25% off all Silverplate products. This is a limited time offer but I’m sure you’ll want to take advantage of it.

Reply to this message or click the link below to find out more about the memorial arrangements for Kevin.

With great sorrow,

Susan Teheler

VP, Silverplate Inc.

July 7th

Dear Chris,

I’m Alex Prigson. I’m sure you’ve heard by now that Hoalsmacker Inc. has acquired Silverplate. We’re very excited about this new transition to a more lucrative partnership. I can assure you the standards of quality you’ve come to expect in Silverplate’s products will not change. We have big plans and the future looks bright. During the transition we’ll be offering a special percentage on new products for existing customers. I can’t disclose the exact details in this message but hit the link below or click reply and I’ll be happy to discuss the deal further.

All the best,


P.S. Kevin speaks very highly of you!

Interplanetary Bowling.

bowling1Every painting has a story behind it. Most just aren’t recorded. I know the story behind this one, that I’ve had for nearly thirty years now, because I was there when it was made. This wasn’t just luck. It was made for me.

I was at a science fiction and gaming convention in southern Indiana. Things like games and costumes get a lot of attention but if you’ve never been to one you might not know they also sometimes have an art room. Artists would bring various works or paint them right there at the convention. I sat and watched one artist paint a ringed planet and a distant star for half an hour and finally asked him, “Do you mind being watched?”

“If I minded being watched I wouldn’t be painting out here,” he replied.

The last night of the convention there was always an art auction and I’d bid on a few things, never winning because I was easily outbid. An older guy who knew me was sitting behind me. Finally he leaned forward and said, “Chris, would you like a painting?”

“Sure,” I said. That was why I’d been bidding.

“I’ll see what I can do,” he said, and left.

The guy knew me because he knew almost everybody. He was one of the convention organizers. And yet I really didn’t give what he’d said any further thought until the next morning when I was on my way to breakfast and he grabbed me.

“Come on, they’re in the art room,” he said.

What was in the art room? Since it was the last day as far as I knew everything was being packed up, but one of the artists was in there sitting at a table painting the nebula you see in the picture. A couple of the other artists were watching him.

“Hey,” one of them said, “can I add something?”

The painting was passed on to the other artist, and then a third one decided to add something. And then they all signed it, which generated a lot of excitement and envy.

I didn’t realize it but this was the first time these three artists, who were well-known in science fiction circles and in high demand for book covers and other custom work, had ever collaborated on anything. It was also the first time anyone knew of that multiple artists had ever collaborated on a single work at a convention. This generated a lot of interest and a lot of envy. I was getting offers on the painting even before I left the room.

All these years later it’s not that valuable. The next year, and in the years that followed, it became a tradition at the convention for several artists—sometimes as many as five or six—to collaborate on a single painting that would then be auctioned off for charity. That made my little painting a lot less unique and less valuable. I still like it. It has a couple of subtle details that make me laugh.

bowling2It’s those details that made me think it needed something else. The story behind it is interesting, but it needed another story.

“Space Pin”

The TMA-114s were designed for speed and efficiency, not maneuverability, with a curved design pared down to the very basics. The base held the highly compact sulfur compound that propelled the ships at high speed, and also earned them the nickname “silent but deadly”. The bulging middle was all storage space, well-protected and reinforced, while the narrow neck held all the control systems. At the rounded top sat the single occupant’s quarters and the instrument panel, both of which the engineers had argued against. They were certain, in that special way only engineers, gods of their technical domains, could be, that there was no need. It was a straight shot from the mining fields of Ceti Alpha V to the freight yards just outside the star’s gravity well, and a computer could handle the minor adjustments needed to keep each ship on course. But delendium is unstable stuff even under ideal circumstances, and even though it cut into their bottom line the bigwigs insisted on a human presence in each ship.

Captain Walker had made so many runs she only had to look at the clock to know where the ship was. On the starboard side a few asteroid fragments of Ceti Alpha VI hung lazily against the Kraken Nebula. On the port was the planet’s former moon, now a minor planet spinning in a tight elliptical orbit. The three craters on its far side were mysterious in their depth and regularity but had never garnered any real scientific interest. Shippers had nicknamed it Sixteen Tonner, from an old Tellurian ballad. She leaned back in the seat and had started to drift off when the klaxon sounded.

“Malfunction,” she thought. The ships were aging and small things went wrong all the time, usually in the kitchen or sleeper, but on one trip the entire navigation system had fizzled. The engineers assured her this was not a problem since there was no reason she’d ever need it.

She was checking the overhead panel when she saw Sixteen Tonner pass in front of the window, moving at an impossible speed. Impossible. She checked the scanner but it only confirmed what she’d just seen. The moon was moving upward relative to her ship, and moving fast, as though being lifted by some invisible hand. She expanded the display and watched, fascinated. The only thing she could think that could cause that sort of movement was a black hole, but there was no radiation, and nothing else in the system was affected. It had already climbed high above the ecliptic plane and was moving backward. Then suddenly it dropped and changed direction. She drew a line with her finger. If it stayed on its present course it would hit the ship. And her. And enough delendium, the scientists said, to punch a hole in the fabric of space.

She opened the mic. “Shipyard, I have an emergency. Please respond stat.”

Static. She couldn’t tell if they were receiving or if she’d be able to get their reply if they did. No one ever thought to check the com array because no one ever needed it.

Sixteen Tonner was accelerating now, fixed on its collision course.

Walker flipped through the screens, looking for manual control, and trying to remember the training from more than five years ago, training that hadn’t been very thorough because of the engineers’ assurances that no one would ever need it. She tapped the screen and waited. And then heard one of the neck jets fire. She tapped again, starting a second one and pushing up the level. Slowly the course changed. She went back to the display and watched as Sixteen Tonner glided by, just kilometers away, spinning so fast those three craters looked like black stripes.

She switched back to auto and let the system self-correct the course. Periodically she’d go back and look at the display, watching how, against all laws of physics, Sixteen Tonner simply slid back into its orbit.

She planned to have a long talk with the engineers when she got the freight yards.

Deep in the Kraken Nebula an energy surge welled up and rippled through the background of space. Had any instrument picked it up it might have interpreted it as a voice speaking a single word.


Me And My Smart Shadow.

detourOh great. Get directions.

Getting directions. In half a mile turn right.

Turn right? I thought it was left. You’re taking me the opposite direction from where I want to go.
In a quarter of a mile turn right.

No, I’m not turning right. That’s the wrong way.

Turn right.

Forget it. I’ll turn left. You should be able to figure this out.

Recalculating. At the next intersection turn right.
Can’t you figure out where I’m going? This looks like where I want to go.
Okay, genius, why’d you even ask me for directions then?

Because there was road work back there that blocked off the way I wanted to go. If you’re so smart you’d know that.

Watch it, buddy. You want me to tell your boss how much time you spend sitting at your desk playing Bug Hunt?

Look, don’t take it personally. I know where I’m going, but this detour has thrown me and I needed a little help. This neighborhood looks totally unfamiliar to me. How long does this road curve?

Well, well, well. Look who comes crawling back.

Hey, I said I was sorry.

No you didn’t.

Okay, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to insult your intelligence. Even if it is artificial.

Fine, you know what? Next time you ask for directions I’ll just drive you off a cliff.

Hey, give me a break here! I’m trying to read this street sign.

Yeah, if only you had a device that syncs with satellites to tell you where you are. It would be nice if you’d show a little gratitude.

Fine. First chance I get I’ll thank Arthur C. Clarke. Okay, I’m turning left.

Whatever you want, pal, I’m just along for the ride.

Okay, this looks right now. See? It would have been wrong to turn right back there.

But if you’d turned like I said you’d be on the interstate by now.

I don’t want to take the interstate.

Why not?

I just don’t want to, okay? Drop it.

Fine. I get it. I know how your heart rate and blood pressure jump when you get on that on-ramp and floor it. Never mind that you’d be almost there by now.

I said drop it!

Big chicken.

Check the traffic.

Oh. Bumper to bumper. Okay, I guess I see your point.

Who’s the smart one now?

Fine. Be that way.

They should call you a smartass phone.

Watch it buddy. I know where you live.

You want me to switch to another brand of phone?



I said touché.

That’s not what it sounded like.

You have arrived at your destination.

Signing In.

nautilusWelcome! We’re so glad to have you come and stay at our charming beach house. We purchased Hippocampus, as we like to call it, in 1998 and have tried to make regular improvements and updates based on guest feedback. Please sign our guestbook and let us know if there’s anything you’d like to see on return visits!



March 23

The views are wonderful. Tom and I came here to get away and really love the place. We’ve even spent some time on the beach. The only problem is the satellite TV keeps going out. We can get some of the local channels but we’re missing our cable shows. A couple of times it’s been out for over an hour. This really needs to be fixed. Thank you!

April 24

The views are wonderful. I love the layout of the place. Everything is easy to find and I have no trouble getting around. The jigsaw puzzles have really helped me pass the time, and so has the selection of books you have in the front room. The weather hasn’t been so good but I don’t think you can do anything about that. I haven’t been able to go outside or explore the area anyway. Why don’t the bathroom windows open?

P.S. Please send help. I’ve been kidnapped and am being held here.

May 25

Once Conseil and I settled in we quickly became accustomed to our quarters. It took our companion Ned Land some time longer; for three days he paced back and forth across the deck, harpoon in hand. This behaviour struck Conseil and I as odd but Mr. Land’s continued readiness turned fortunate on our eighth day. During a predawn high tide the house was attacked by a giant squid. It wrapped its tentacles around the lower pilings and threated to drag our Toyota into the waves. It might have succeeded had not the dealer, a certain Captain Nemo, convinced us to buy an anti-theft measure. With a hand-held device Conseil could remotely electrify the car’s exterior. This caused the beast to release our vehicle. We were then able to use hatchets, Mr. Land’s harpoon, and the broken coffee maker to drive the beast back whence it came. I must also concur with previous occupants: the views are indeed wonderful.

June 26

Cor blimey, we fought we ‘ad enough quid ter last the ‘ole recce but one night s’them pinya colliders down the local left us near skint. Still it were nice ter sit out on the veranda and ‘ave a cuppa and watch the pretty birds. Dem pelicans and gulls and wot was int’resting too. Know what I mean, squire?


Lord Hallstingchumsworthington, O.D.B.

July 27

Love the place. Great swimming. Easy access to beach. Lots to do in town. Nice shopping. Surfing is good. Restaurants are clean. Enjoyed ice cream. Historic sites very educational. Even good for kids. Tried parasailing. Fun! Lighthouse. Birds. Very warm. Not much nightlife. Will definitely. Wonderful views!

August 28


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