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like more than a friend.

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chloe: i just saw 826 is doing scrabble for cheaters on may 3rd. maybe we should get a team together.
me: oooooooooo i’m down.
chloe: we should ask anders, too. he’d be seriously brilliant.
me: that is an excellent call.
chloe: on it.

[a few minutes later]

chloe: anders is in.
me: huzzah!
chloe: who would you like to ask? i could also ask my roomie. she’s cool. she works for the atlantic wire. you’d like her.
me: i’d ask my friend amy who is vvv clever and wise (not talking about myself, i have another friend named amy).

[a few minutes later]

me: it sounds like you can only have teams of two …
chloe: oops.
me: ok i think you and anders should be a team because you will kick total f-ing ass and, to be totally honest, i’m actually really bad at scrabble : (
chloe: isn’t that the point? bad player = great cheater.
me: i guess. either way, you must beat peter dinklage!

[a few minutes later]

me: well, i’m happy to be your teammate OR root for you and anders. the choice is yours.
chloe: oh no. this is like sophie’s choice. only different. and with fewer nazis.
me: does anders know there’s a $50 registration fee per team member? does chloe know?
chloe: i think i’ve made it clear that i know the least about this event of everyone.

to be continued …

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… i do think, also, that—oh god, now this is really the stuff of shitty women’s magazines and heteronormative nightmare trend pieces—but i think that having it all can be a stumbling block for men, but it’s a stumbling block for the kinds of men you absolutely don’t want in your life. your general togetherness and attractiveness, when paired with a cautiousness and quietness upfront, is really fluffy bunny ass for a traditional man. when you show your sharp bunny claws, though, this kind of man is going to turn cold and turn tail and run. the magazines will tell you to fluff up your tail and play down your giant brain. i’m going to give you the opposite advice. if i were you, i would try flashing the bunny claws earlier, to see what you’re dealing with. is this a bunny chaser, or a guy who likes real assertive happy human women? mutter a few ribald remarks, make your opinion crystal clear, then look the guy frankly in the eye as if to say, “that’s me, buddy. like it or lump it.” many, many men with an eye for a princess will get gone real quick-like after that.

- ask polly: i’m 33 and single. what am i doing wrong?

andrew volk3
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time is tricky. you have whole months, even years, when nothing changes a speck, when you don’t go anywhere or do anything or think one new thought. and then you can get hit with a day, or an hour, or a half a second when so much happens it’s almost like you got born all over again into some brand-new person you for damn sure never expected to meet.

- e.r. frank, life is funny

happy birthday, kimball.
happy birthday, uncle mike.

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last year, march 20th came out of nowhere and hit me really hard. i had started a new job on the 18th, forgot there was anything significant about the 20th, remembered what i had forgotten on the 22nd, realized why my sister texted me she was thinking about me, excused myself for an inaugural office bathroom cry, and felt mostly fucking terrible about the whole damn week. so this year, in the spirit of leading with realness and taking better care of myself-ness and unapologetically asking for what i need-ness …

(1) i took the day off work.
(2) i texted my sister first thing in the morning that i loved her.
(3) i walked and thought and talked about him a lot.

it was sad.
it was spring.
it was real.

get this money
me: when do you take your pill?
her: morning, but i’ve always taken meds in the morning, since probably high school, so it wasn’t weird for me to learn to take a pill and keep that routine. but other people set an alarm for themselves at the same time every day which is awkward when that time is 7pm in the middle of a brooklyn brainery class, for instance.
me: i was thinking 4pm was safe. i’ll be up, i won’t be at the gym, not too late to disrupt a night out. wait … have you been in a brooklyn brainery class where someone took their birth control?
her: i have been in class with that same woman. twice.

i can't stop thinking about yesterday
i'm in love with the modern world
technatural
by silent john’s
826la 6th graders

far in the future, in the year 3050, technology is everywhere. the world is divided into four countries. what we understand as north america is now north technology. no longer do people eat real animals or vegetables. technology creates holographic food and it is all healthy, so things like obesity aren’t a problem anymore. even nature is a thing of the past. trees, plants, flowers are all physical holograms. they look like normal plants and trees but sometimes when it rains or when there are power surges, the holograms flicker, visually and physically. you can see wires inside them as they flicker, or put your hand through them.

on june 12th of 3050, it happened to be the birthday of a girl named delilah. she had brown hair but dyed it black, brown, and blonde so that it was dark at the top and lighter at the bottom. she was average height and had eyes the color of the sky. she normally wore skinny jeans and T-shirts that said things like “thanks for nothing” and “i’m the boss.” frankly, she was kind of a spoiled brat.

delilah lived in a city called techopolis, in a super rich area of town. she had hoped for a big, lavish birthday party, but her parents were so busy working for data, who was the core of the technology of the world, that they couldn’t set it up. but, she did receive a mysterious gift from her grandma, who lived in west technology. delilah was excited because her grandma normally gave her great stuff, but when she opened the package she found an ugly string of little brown dots. she was expecting a beautiful diamond necklace and was so annoyed by the present that she briefly turned into a spoiled brat version of the hulk – without ripping her designer jeans – and threw it out in her backyard.

it rained that night, and in the morning delilah was eating some tech-cakes with scrambled tech-eggs and tech-juice, when she looked out the window and saw a new tree in the backyard. her parents worked in the landscaping department so delilah assumed that they had brought it home. when she finished her breakfast, delilah went out to check it out.

it was about ten feet tall and had luscious, green leaves. she used her iphone 4000s to google what kind of tree it was and discovered that it was a maple tree, which was a type she’d never heard of.

“omt,” she said, which stood for oh my tech, “this is the weirdest tree i’ve ever seen. totally gross.”

delilah was feeling a little sad that night because she didn’t have a very good birthday. she couldn’t sleep and decided to go out in her backyard. she laid down underneath the maple tree, which was now around fourteen feet tall, and fell asleep.

she had a strange dream. the maple tree was there, and its branches tapped her on the shoulder. it pointed and delilah turned to see the past where nature covered the world and how beautiful it was. then the tree pointed in another direction and showed delilah the future, where data had used its technology to rid the world of all of its nature, replacing it with technology. things would be good for a while, but technology will fail to do nature’s job. without any plants and trees the world will fall apart.

delilah woke from her dream and looked up at the maple tree. it had grown to around twenty feet tall and its leaves were all sorts of amazing colors. delilah realized that she had to do something about technology taking over the world.

just then, the trees and plants around her began to flicker. she heard the squeaky, nasal voice of her neighbor, criscelda, say, “looks like another power surge.”

delilah rolled her eyes and saw chrsicelda looking out her window at her. she had a huge nose and looked like a bird-house come to life, with a pile of frizzy, red hair.

“what is thaaaaat?” chriscelda screeched, aiming her telescope at the maple tree. delilah turned and saw that her maple tree wasn’t flickering like the other technological trees.

that’s when delilah realized that this maple tree was real and she wondered if that necklace that her grandmother had sent her was actually a collection of those things she’d heard of – seeds!

“i’m, like, totally calling data,” chriscelda said through her megaphone.

“what do you mean? for what?” delilah said, trying to act like nothing was going on.

just then the doorbell rang, and before delilah could even move to answer the door, data appeared. since he was connected to all of the city’s technology, he transported and stood there in delilah’s backyard. e looked like a regular human but was made out of wires, metal, and glowing lights.

data pointed to the maple tree and said in a deep, robot voice, “illegal.”

“wait,” delilah said, but before she could say anything more, data raised his arms. all of a sudden there was a loud noise and the tree came out of the ground, roots and all, dirty flying everywhere. it just hovered there for a moment and then it was gone. data too.

delilah looked at the hole in her backyard and knew she had to get the tree back.

delilah got on her hoverboard 5000s (with siri) and told it to take her to her parents’ work. she tried to explain to them what had happened but they kept saying, “we’re busy.”

feeling angry that she was being ignored, delilah borrowed her dad’s security card and snuck through the office. in the basement she found a door that had a sign that said, “my room. do not enter. love, data. p.s. you shouldn’t be here anyway, so get lost.”

delilah used the card to get in through the door. she walked down a long staircase that took fifteen minutes to walk down because it was so long. when she got to the bottom she entered a dark room. delilah felt around until she found a light switch and flipped it on.

that’s when she saw hundreds of plants, trees, and flowers, all in glass cases. delilah’s jaw practically dropped to the floor. at the far end of the room she could see data putting her maple tree in its own glass case.

“what the tech is going on?” delilah said.

chriscelda popped out of delilah’s techvillage hand bag and opened her big mouth to say something obnoxious but delilah waved her away, saying, “i don’t have time for you, chriscelda.”

then data whipped his head around and saw delilah.

“what are you doing here? didn’t you see my sign?” data said and zipped over to her.

delilah was scared as data towered over her, staring with his beady, red robot eyes.

“you need to get out of here,” data said. “the extermination is about to begin.”

data zipped across the room and pressed a big, red button. a deafening beeping began.

beep beep!

“wait!” delilah screamed. data pressed a blue button and the beeping stopped.

“what?” he said.

“you can’t destroy all of these trees. the earth is going to need them,” delilah explained. she walked up to data who had his back turned to her.

“i have to,” data said. “technology rules the world now. we can’t have nature anymore.”

“but, hey, we need it,” delilah explained. she could see a sort of sad look on data’s face.

“can i tell you something?” data said.

“um, sure,” delilah replied.

“i’m scared. this nature stuff does things on its own. it does things that i can’t do.”

data’s face suddenly became very angry and he slammed his hand on the red button. the deafening beeping started again and delilah was afraid. she turned and looked at the maple tree. she thought about what would happen in the future and knew what she had to do.

she ran and grabbed a leaf from the maple tree and held it up to data’s face. a single robot tear formed in his eye. while he was distracted, delilah snuck past him and pressed the blue button. she used her techvillage hand bag to smash the button.

“look,” delilah said. “i know how you’re scared of nature, but let’s work together to replant these trees and plants all over the world. technology and nature can work together.”

data thought about it and seemed unsure.

“don’t you see my shirt?” delilah said, pointing to her t-shirt.

“it does say that you’re the boss,” data said. he took a moment to consider what delilah had said and he shrugged.

“deal?” delilah said, and put her foot out.

“uh, nah,” data said, shaking his head.

just then, delilah began to turn into the hulk – without ripping her designer jeans – and data said, “okay, okay, okay! deal.”

delilah turned back into herself. data put his foot out and they tapped their feet together. it was what people did in the future instead of handshaking.

“first things first,” delilah said. “you’re planting that maple tree back in my yard.”

the end.