DISCLAIMER: The story below uses the names of real celebrities. If you think any of the events portrayed even vaguely resemble real events, please contact me—I have a magic lamp to sell you.

Eventually they found me. The media. I figured they would sooner or later, what with everything that had been going on. So I explained to them about the lamp, and about the genie and the three wishes. And I explained about how my first impulse had been to wish for the general selfish things that everyone thinks of, but then how I’d thought about it a bit and done what I think most people would really do if they’d been in that situation.

First I wished for lasting world peace.

Second, I wished for the eradication of all diseases and ailments.

“What about the third wish?” asked Dan Rather, who seemed to be the ringleader.

“I haven’t decided what to do with it yet,” I said. Which was true.

Things got rather ugly after that.

Matt Lauer started smashing my stuff with a baseball bat he’d brought. Crash. Crash. Crash.

“You better wish it back, you bastard!” Keith Olberman shouted.

Bill O’Reilly was sobbing into his hands, just repeating “I’m doing pet detective segments,” over and over.

“Wish it back!” They took up the chant, started advancing on me. “Wish it back!”

“You have any idea what you’ve done to my ratings?” Larry King had a knife.

In retrospect, of course, I should have turned them all into chickens or something, made them feel inner peace. I don’t know exactly, something. But I panicked. Katie Couric had a very vicious looking cleaver and kept letting out short yelps. And, yeah, I panicked. And I put it all back.

So that’s how that all went down, and how things all got messed up so bad again. Of course, nobody in the news is letting me get my story out, which is why I’m putting it here. I guess I just wanted to say I’m sorry. I guess I wanted someone to know.

Imagine your brain has been transplanted into the body of a genetically engineered bird. Imagine that your family (Sean, Merope, little lame Emilie) have been archived digitally. Imagine further that you have been told, if you complete this mission, they will be allowed to join you. Let’s be honest. You know where this is going, you watched “Dune” and 1000 other vids with the same plot device. So when you fly over the cluster of thatched huts nestled under the trees, you don’t drop that which you carry. Your family is lost to you, always was (surely), but you will not destroy the rebel village. You are free, free to develop your own new life. Free to soar on the wind, a solitary aerial monarch. One who has escaped the tyrants.

One who has no idea of how to survive, alone and avian. Maybe the villagers will accept you, feed you, shelter you. You spiral down towards the trees that shelter your possible new home.

Imagine you are a genetically engineered bird who, for a time, dreamed she was something else.


A well-constructed young woman barged into my office Monday morning, breathing hard after running up two flights of stairs. When she regained her composure she told me her great aunt had “drifted away from her moorings.” Some time Sunday morning the old lady had started devouring livestock, not just raw, but still living. By day’s end she was dead.
“What do you want me to do, Miss Clarendon?”
“Oh, Mr. Deadbolt,” she replied, “Why did she eat those critters? The great aunt Sylvia I knew would never do such a thing. She might have been murdered. Maybe by a hypnotist.”
“I’m sure you know why I have gathered you together,” I began. “You are the relatives of the late Sylvia Clarendon. I was asked to investigate her death, to find out whether foul play was involved. I’ve checked into all of you carefully, as well as anyone who had business or social dealings with the deceased. I turned up nothing. Ms. Clarendon was universally liked, and was far from wealthy.
“I did partially solve the mystery. She really did take a double dose of several powerful prescription drugs last Friday night as she went to bed. Sunday morning she swallowed a common housefly, and then a spider in hopes that it would trap the fly. Because of the limited opportunities for web construction within her digestive tract, she chose a jumping spider, but of a perfectly respectable species. When the spider failed to return, Ms. Clarendon swallowed a small bird. Its mission was to retrieve the spider, but by 0900 hrs it had failed to do so. Her choice of a house sparrow, a seed eater, may have been part of the problem. There followed in rapid succession the following commandos: a rat, a cat, and a dog, all with rather obvious goals. Her motives of the afternoon are less certain. About 1320 she swallowed a goat, which might have been a bad choice considering the size of the dog it was supposed to subdue. Be that as it may, around 1500 hrs a cow followed the goat. This was a highly reliable operative named Bessie who had successfully completed similar missions in the past. At 1545 a cleaner named Dobbins was sent in, with what tragic results you all know.
“I have, as I said, worked out most of the details of the weekend’s tragedy. However, one thing still puzzles me about the whole affair. I don’t know why she swallowed the fly.”
The end

Barbie knew she had enemies–that creepy clown doll, the sadly plain-looking ballerina, even (though this was more of a bitchy rivalry) Skipper. But it wasn’t until she stepped on the brakes of her hot pink sports car and got nothing but a dull clunking noise that she realized someone was trying to kill her.

She wasn’t helpless. Barbie had learned something from dating more than a few action figures in her time–G.I. Joe still sent her whiny Facebook messages. She dove out of the car, rolled, and came up in a crouch. The hot pink sports car smashed into a bedpost at a speed that would have pretzeled her. The room was silent. After a few watchful moments, she crept away.

Three days and two spa treatments later, Barbie had nearly forgotten the incident. She was having tea with Malibu Ken, who was as gay as a songbird.

“Did I tell you her brother has a new set of X-Men figures?” Ken said. “Hello, Wolverine!” There were more emotionally developed gay dolls in the room, but Ken was the most fun and the best dressed of them.

Barbie shook her head and lifted her teacup to her little plastic lips. Suddenly Ken squealed, lurched across the table, and swatted the cup away.

“I’m so sorry,” Ken said. “I forgot and put sugar in it! You could’ve gotten fat!”

The teacup’s contents spattered over a pop diva dress Barbie had been wearing earlier. The tea ate through it with a hissing noise.

“Oh. My. God,” Barbie said.

“Oh Barbie!” Ken said in despair. “And that dress was fabulous on you!”

Barbie wasn’t listening: she’d caught a glimpse of blonde hair disappearing under the bed sham and she dove after it. In the darkness under the bed, she grabbed hold of someone or something.

It was a rough fight: there was scratching, biting, and shrieking. Hair was mussed. Ken ran away, screaming for the weeble policeman. When they finally rolled into the light, covered with dust bunnies, Barbie was able to identify her attacker.

It was another Barbie–but from a fashion nightmare. Her hair had been “styled” into a page boy-meets-weed-whacker cut, and her face was grotesquely made up with magic marker. She looked old–her plastic scratched, her breasts distinctly 1990′s-shaped. Clearly this was Barbie’s predecessor, who had been handed down to the little sister. Barbie thought she would rather die than look like that.

Fashion nightmare Barbie just looked at her, tears streaming down her disfigured face, and nodded.

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