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BY Keat

10/01 Direct Link
I knew we were in trouble when we walked into the Mexican restaurant and the mariachi band was playing "Bingo." They followed that with the authentic Mexican folk songs "Old MacDonald," "Margaritaville," and "Freebird." At least they were having fun. The highlight of the meal occurred when they came over to our table. I wanted to ask for "La Cucaracha" but was too timid, so they played "Brown Eyed Girl" in honor of my daughter. She was ready to slide under the table by the end. I'm sure that that song will take on a new significance for her now.
10/02 Direct Link
The little girl in the wheelchair moved around on stage, trying to make sure she didn't roll over any of the other dancers' feet. Her eyes darted back and forth, making sure she was in sync with everyone else. I thought: who would do such a cruel thing to a little girl? To make her get up on stage with the other children who never have any problem doing what they want to do? But then I thought: maybe she likes this. Maybe that stage is exactly where she wants to be. I couldn't tell from looking at her face.
10/03 Direct Link
Cell phone fascination – I have been noticing everyone else's cell phones these days, which are invariably cooler than mine. Last night I watched a kid playing with his cell phone, flipping it open and shut, making it play all kinds of sounds and probably logging onto the Internet too. My first thought was: why does this kid have a better cell phone than I do? Then: how much do his parents spend on that phone? The truth is, I could have one of those cell phones that does everything but wipe your nose, but I'm too cheap to buy one.
10/04 Direct Link
You walk into a library and your neurons begin firing immediately, in sympathy with all the brain waves emitting from all the portable brains on the shelves. A book is the closest thing to a brain transplant that I know, and the library is a museum of possible brains that you can choose for immediate transplantation; you take it home and your favorite reading chair becomes an operating table where the transplant takes place. The best part is, you don't have a bill at the end of the process, and you don't need insurance to help pay for it either.
10/05 Direct Link
The missionaries came to our village again today. They come here before the rainy season. They cannot stand the rains like our people can. They bring us medicines and good food to eat, but only if we let them tell us about their god Jesus and sing the funny-sounding songs. Jesus is a strange sort of god who was killed on a tree and now lives inside their chests. That is where they point when they talk about him. I will not let him inside my chest, although I will listen to their stories for the sake of the medicine.
10/06 Direct Link
Fortune cookie say: "Your path is arduous but will be amply rewarding."

Finally! Justification for my existence! It's just too freaking bad that it comes on a cheaply-printed slip of white paper folded up in a half-burnt, 50-calorie excuse for an American-conceived pseudo-Chinese dessert. Other than that, I'm really fine with it.

And let's just define "amply," shall we? Or "rewarding," or any of the other concepts in this 9-word snippet of faux-Chinese fortunetelling.

I'm really not bitter about it.

Or should we just engage in the sophomoric exercise of adding "in bed" to any fortune cookie fortune we read?

10/07 Direct Link
His memory wasn't as good as it used to be. He forgot little things, like whether or not he had fed the dogs (and of course, those lying cheating dogs would tell you they hadn't been fed, every time) or whether or not he had taken his medicine. Then, he progressed to forgetting what day of the week it was; one week he went through four Thursdays before he realized it, and he had to go look at the Weather Channel finally to figure out the correct day. But then he couldn't remember what channel the Weather Channel was on.
10/08 Direct Link
We get paragons of courage thrown in our faces every day now, I suppose to give us courage and spur us on to great deeds. But it backfires with me every time. I end up hating the person instead. What's so great about what they did, anyway? Is it any different than what any other normal person would do in the same situation? Probably not. So don't make me feel less of a person than I am, than I already do, because you're trying to hold this person up to me as an example - it just won't work. Dammit.
10/09 Direct Link
I had a brief encounter with Death. He was late for his appointment with Emily Dickinson, so he couldn't chitchat too long. He and I sat on the front porch. He sipped sweet tea through the gaping chasm that is his mouth and told of his latest conquests: the young lieutenant who wailed like a baby because he thought Death had come thirty years too soon; the aging starlet who threw saucers at him in her rage because she thought he was thirty years too late. "It's a bitch," he croaked, "when everybody you meet thinks you can't tell time."
10/10 Direct Link
At the stroke of a pen I both create and destroy worlds. With the scratch of a graphite pencil point I create elation and despair in people who never drew breath. With the click of a typewriter key I begin and end civilizations, and dash into pieces the fondest dreams of a million despotic emperors. By the blinking cursor on my flickering computer screen, I can save poor little Timmy from the deep, dark well, or damn his immortal soul to the eternal, white-hot flames of hell.

So why can't I make my stupid dog quit crapping on the floor?

10/11 Direct Link
The Society of Annoying People met last night, and there was a good turnout. The man who lives down the street from you was there, the one who practically begs his dog to crap in your yard. The old lady who drove 20 miles an hour in front of you this morning and made you 15 minutes late for your job interview was there; she was sitting on the front row, and how she laughed when she described the redness of your face and the size of your bulging neck veins! Your brother is president of the society, of course.
10/12 Direct Link
Any kind of glee or hope that I have when I think that Kerry might win the election is tempered by the thought that if the Republicans don't win, then the next four years will be almost unbearable with their machinations to undermine Kerry as they try to win back the White House; on the other hand, if they do win, it will be unbearable anyway because we will get four more years of the ineptitude and lies and shadowy government that we already have. It really is a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" kind of situation.
10/13 Direct Link
I'm really sorry to have to tell you this, but I was just voted in as ruler of the universe. It was a really close race. You were leading in the polls for a long time, especially because of your universal peace and brotherhood promises, but then I came from behind when I started talking about free tacos for everybody on the second Thursday of every month. So I hope you're not too disappointed. Tell you what – just to show there's no hard feelings, I'll let you have free tacos on the second and the fourth Thursday of every month.
10/14 Direct Link
It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye. Actually, it's fun and games even then. There's hide and seek as you try to find the cordless phone so you can call 911. Then there's the 50-yard dash to the neighbor's house so you can use his phone. However, he lost his job and doesn't have a phone any more. Thus, it's on to the next event: the demolition derby! Have thrills and chills as you weave in and out of rush hour traffic, and narrowly miss little old ladies as you drive at breakneck speed to the hospital.
10/15 Direct Link
The security guard sat in his shack and contemplated the buttons on his shirt. It was really the most exciting thing he had to do tonight. That, and deciding where he wanted to go on his supper break. He could just go across the street to the all-night diner like he usually did, he supposed, but this was Thursday and they always served broccoli on Thursdays – it stunk up the place so bad he could hardly bear to be in there even one minute. Other people felt the same way, he imagined, because the place was never crowded on Thursdays.
10/16 Direct Link
I had joked about it for some time, not really thinking that it would happen. But deep down I must have been convinced that it was just a matter of time, because when it finally did happen, I wasn't surprised. And I immediately started trying to figure out who was responsible. There's no way I'll ever know, probably, which makes it all the more frustrating – there's no option for retaliation or vengeance that way. Not that I am the sort of person that would retaliate; most days I make Walter Mitty look like a blood-stained warrior with balls of steel.
10/17 Direct Link
I got a lot of things from my mother: my quick temper, my love of a turn of phrase, my readiness to catastrophize at the drop of a hat, my love/hate relationship with God. I got other things from my father: my mannerisms, my laugh. My sense of humor I got from both of my parents equally. This whole business of who you get what from becomes especially terrifying, however, when you realize that you are slowly turning into your parents, and you can no more stop it than the man in the moon (as my mother used to say).
10/18 Direct Link
I am in perfect control. There is no other determinant of what happens in my life than me. Even things that seem to be beyond my control are actually still in my control, because I control how I react to them; therefore, that means I am still essentially in control no matter what happens. I make my reality. (Of course, I don't believe one stinking word of anything I've written here, but every once in a while I find it especially vital to release my barbaric yawp against the universe – it makes me feel better for a few milliseconds, anyway.)
10/19 Direct Link
One of these days I'm going to get over being concerned about what other people think about me. I'm not talking about people I actually care about; I'm talking about people I don't even know. I go to McDonalds and splurge with a Big Mac and fries. But instead of ordering a diet Coke (which would save a significant number of calories at this point), I order a regular Coke. Large. I'm afraid the order taker will think I'm weird if I order diet Coke – kind of like a person that drinks a diet Coke while eating a Snickers bar.
10/20 Direct Link
I will praise my cup of coffee as long as I have breath. It is my constant friend in the morning, my ally in the afternoon, and my solace in the evening. For much of my life I was not aware of the charms of coffee, however. I tried to like tea as my liquid stimulant of choice. I do like tea, but for some reason I take it by spells. Coffee is much simpler to prepare and it has proved to have much better staying power with me. I suppose that's because it wires the hell out of me.
10/21 Direct Link
My god of writing, John Steinbeck, once said, "I truly believe that people call their lives to them the way you'd whistle up a dog." The minute I read this, the truth of it hit me like a 500-pound linebacker. We would love to believe that much of our lives comes not only from our own actions, but through the actions of other independent agents or through fate or luck. But how do these other aspects of our lives show up? Perhaps through where we decided to go or what to do, or even what we foolishly chose to say.
10/22 Direct Link
We've had perfect October weather lately. (I know, I know, it's so incredibly boring for someone to write about the weather, but this is my 100 words, so too bad.) Mornings and evenings have been nicely foggy, and the moon has been progressing towards fullness (I'm sure there's a scientific term for it but I don't know what it is.) Looks like it should be full near Halloween. Now if we could only have some coolness in the air, it really would be perfect. Either that, or maybe some nice, gory zombies staggering across one of those foggy, dank fields.
10/23 Direct Link
I love to be scared, but on my own terms. For example, I love scary movies and books -- can't get enough of Stephen King. But I do not want to go to a haunted house or any type of place where something or someone might actually be able to get to me. I am the same way about rollercoasters. I love the idea of a rollercoaster, love to see innovative new ones and love the sheer beauty of their engineering. I especially love rollercoaster simulation programs on the computer. But I don't really care that much about riding one.
10/24 Direct Link
Every part of my body has a little globule of super glue on it to stick me to everything I touch. My brain, however, is leaping like a young doe over green hills on a summer morning. It wants to soar like a bird on soft feathery updrafts, to float gently over snow-covered peaks in the slanting beams of golden sunset. I really think that my body and mind are like a teenaged boy and girl at their first dance. They want to dance together, they even know the same steps, but they simply can't make it all work together.
10/25 Direct Link
This is the criminal's philosophy:

Never get caught.

Deny everything if you do.

Get a kick-ass lawyer no matter what.

Remember that you left your last real friends behind in second grade (just before you stole their lunch money).

Make sure that the guy driving the getaway car can actually drive. Fast.

Remember that all that glitters is not gold. If you forget this tidbit, Eddie the fence will gladly remind you.

And most importantly, no matter how many houses or banks you rob, and no matter how many people you murder in cold blood, your mama always loves you.

10/26 Direct Link
Oprah, thanks for asking about my new book, Fundamental Knowledge. It's jam-packed with all kinds of useful information: ten little-known ways to defy the Second Law of Thermodynamics that will put the pizzazz back into any party; nine foolproof ways to disrupt planetary motion (you can try out each one on a different planet!); and lots more. Ordinarily I would be charging full retail price (which is more than the combined GDP of all known civilizations) for information this valuable, but as a special offer to your viewers, I'm going to sell it for the ridiculously ridiculous price of $19.95.
10/27 Direct Link
He never met a man he didn't hate. But he does an excellent job of hiding it. He's known by most people as the soul of kindness, until he stabs them in the back. Then he's off to his next quarry, his next soul to be crushed. That was before he met me and tried to pulverize my dreams. I turned the tables on him, and, before the end came, made him wish that he had stayed back in his hometown, sacking groceries in the Winn-Dixie and secretly reading the Playboys stashed under the green bean crates during his break.
10/28 Direct Link
All her lifetime she had been contrary. If everyone wanted Chinese for supper, she wanted pepperoni pizza. If everyone else in the room was hot, she was freezing to death and forgot her sweater. The ultrasound said she was supposed to have a girl, but out popped a boy. The doctor said she should have no problem making a full and rapid recovery from her bout of pneumonia, but she promptly died, just for spite. And then when her son repeatedly tried to communicate with her through séances and Ouija boards, she simply refused to come. She was just contrary.
10/29 Direct Link
The hitchhiker hadn't had a good day. After being stranded miles from the nearest town (he had been riding with some freak that wanted him to be a little more appreciative for the ride than he was prepared to be), he had to sleep under the stars. Ordinarily he wouldn't mind, but last night there was some rain mixed in with them, and he got drenched. Then he discovered that he had accidentally slept on his last breakfast bar. Now his carbohydrate-deprived brain had to think up something to say to the state trooper pulling up in front of him.
10/30 Direct Link
The dead now begin to walk. Their bony hands claw at the earth as they struggle out of their graves. Their tattered shrouds hang from their bones like Spanish moss off a gnarled oak tree. They begin the journey toward the village just as the lights in the last house blink out. A deathly stillness settles over the valley, and the only sound that can be heard is their shuffling shoes. A lone owl hoots at their approach; one of the corpses fixes it with a stare from a rotting eye socket, and the owl topples lifeless from its perch.
10/31 Direct Link
The first hundred years I was in the ground weren't too bad. I listened to the sounds of the earth: the scratching sounds of worms and bugs as they sought access to my coffin, in search of the meal that was me. Thunderstorms especially delighted me; when the thunder rolled, it set off reverberations in the earth that made my bones rattle orgasmically. I even thought I could hear voices from time to time, but I decided they must be passersby. My family worked so hard to do away with me; surely they wouldn't now be spending time visiting me.