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L5O (UWN). – Cosmologists at L5 Observatory reported new calculations of the fate of the universe. It turns out the end is near. Click for more.

>> Comparatively speaking. Scientific estimates of the remaining lifetime of the universe have been reduced from 260 trillion years (plus or minus 55 trillion) to a scant 82 trillion plus or minus 17 trillion. Results are based on assessment of density of dark matter in a randomly selected 0.5% of the visible universe. Professor Llongo Zawekki is senior researcher at the Equatorial Cosmographic Institute on Platform Mbelo: “New methods of quantifying the density of matter between L5 and distant bright objects allow rapid calculation of a much more accurate estimate of time remaining.” Click for more.

UpToTheMomentNews reported a few moments ago that in a European Institutes of News study published moments ago at pollsters.com 62% of respondents reported clicking “click for more” “never or rarely.” Click for more.

PanicinDetroit.com. PiD brings word of an alarming trend sweeping the globe since 14 minutes ago. Suicides up. Click for more.

Billboardsmocked.com. Ads warning that short attention spans kill are verbose, study finds.

@infrastructure world-record # of #bridges closed by jumpers. #ERcrowding worsens. #selfharm

@firstrespondernet Suicide uptick of this a.m. continues, hits hand-held users worst. Clik 4 mor.

@globalmoola Stocks tumble. Sh!t hits fan. Regulators: where were they? Clik 4 mor.

I don’t want to go in.

He’s there now, didn’t hesitate. It’s his home though he’s been away for long years. I warned him, or tried to but who listens to me?

I saw his wife in the shadows just before she stepped through the door, and in that moment she seemed a huge, swarming shape. Then she moved forward, into sunlight and she shone.

Not as beautiful as her sister, but no one is. Tall, broad-shouldered, jaw strong, forehead wide, cheekbones high. Clytemnestra is handsome rather than lovely. She moves with deceptive slowness, but there are muscles evident beneath her rich robes. She’s a warrior queen and has not let herself run to fat. Her hair, red-gold in the sun burns like liquid copper.

The smile she gives Agamemnon is frozen; she speaks soft words of welcome and he is deceived. When she looks at me she sees no Trojan princess, merely a slave, hair lank and oily, back and shoulders hunched as if deprived of wings and ashamed of their nakedness.

‘Don’t go inside,’ I whispered to my master, my owner, my thief. In spite of it all, I did not want him to walk all unawares into his fate, for his end means mine. But he gave me an annoyed glare, sick unto death of my constant warnings and plaints, of the sharp dreams that have broken my sleep (and thus his) these past months as we travelled to Argos. He has no patience. He is sick of my madness.

He took his wife’s welcome as his due and went in to the bath she had prepared for him. Clytemnestra watched me and nodded slowly before she turned and followed him. I waited, held my breath, counted the beats until I heard him scream, heard the wet sound of a great axe burying itself in muscle and flesh, releasing blood into the air. She waits inside now; another man by her side.

I have seen this for so many days. Fate cannot be avoided. I am a Trojan princess. I step down from the chariot, swallowing hard. I put my foot on the first step and mount the portico. My end lies here.

The time traveler pulled up a chair, placed her holorecorder on the table and pressed a button just in time for her ghost to appear.

Across the table, her ghost was apparently sitting on air.

“We need to talk,” said the ghost, “about some things you need to do. And not do.”

The time traveler nodded. “Go ahead,” she said.

The ghost laid out times, dates, places, people to watch out for, objects to be sure not to misplace or to avoid if they were falling from a great height.

The time traveler nodded, checking that the recorder’s green LED still glowed. She could have sworn that, under the otherworldly blur, the ghost was looking older already. That had to be a good thing.

The ghost must have talked ten minutes before she paused. “Actually,” she said, “I made it all up. I’m not your ghost exactly.”

“What?” said the time traveler. “Then who are you?”

“I’m the ghost of your clone.”

“I have a clone?”

“You will,” said the ghost, “The Rosenkrantz institute has a secret cloning project. That’s what all the samples were for. They had nothing to do with your fitness for time travel.”

The traveler held her head. The organization that had invented the time machine and recruited her to use it apparently had a deeper, perhaps more sinister agenda. “What should I do?”

“I have no idea,” said the ghost. “To be completely honest, the clone wasn’t exactly your clone, but a clone of your twin sister.”

“I don’t have a twin sister.”

“Not in this universe, you don’t…”

“Wait a minute!” The time traveler jumped up, bumping the table.

The ghost shuddered in the air; perhaps that’s what ghosts did when they were surprised.

“You’re the ghost of the clone of my twin sister from another dimension?”

“Exactly!” said the ghost. “Well, no. I made that up too.”

“Then who are you?”

“You.”

“Me?”

“You have a multiple personality disorder, and recorded this whole mad spiel as a joke on my most boring self.”

“That can’t be,” said the time traveler. “I got the recorder right before I left, in factory packaging.”

The ghost pointed to the depressed button on the recorder’s top–“PLAY” not “RECORD.”

“But how? I haven’t had time. And how would you… I… know what I was going to say?”

The ghost/hologram grinned, “Isn’t time travel great?”

Thief Bowlsalot’s girlfriend dragged him to the artsy-fart reading at the Thebes gallery. He couldn’t even wear jeans. It was for some fancy-schmancy writer lady who won the Bigwad award, and his girlfriend had read him the Bigwad o’ crap and he’d wanted to say, “So what?” but said, “Oh, baby, that was great.” The things he put up with to get down a girl’s pants. Only she thought he liked novels that rich heiresses wrote–those who never dirtied a fingernail except as snot-nosed brats slumming it with her girls at the Everyman’s Mall.

Ms. Bigwad wore a pink feather boa and was trailed by a ham-handed, bodyguarding knot-head, who looked like he was itching to pound any one of these balding scrawny sycophants, and by a waiter with a tray of black goo on crackers, which Thief found more lively than anything else in the gallery.

Ms. Bigwad read. Nothing happened to the characters, so they never had to deal with anything: no air raids, no gun-toting fourth graders, no fistfights after a night of booze and schlepping through the streets with some other guy’s girl. They never disobeyed signs: no fishing, no hunting, no shoes, no shirt, no service. Just a dentist who collects famous photographs and trades them with friends who blow their never-ending wad at Macy’s and not at the hooker’s or on a line of blow, and the characters blab, blab, blab about zip–enough to make you gouge your ears out. Somebody gets a brain aneurysm, but fuck talking about that–too interesting. Who cares about death? What did Ms. Bigwad know of ticking time bombs ready to explode in her head? Thief’s granny died of one. That meant something–to the family at least: an inheritance of quilts, several dozen balls of yarn, and thirteen feral cats.

Thief tried not to snore as the writer lady droned in a voice parched as the Sahara. Thief’s girlfriend elbowed him awake before he’d been ready to, so he left the reading. No chick’s pants were worth that much.

The rich lady’s lousy limo was blocking the alley when Thief went to kick start his motorbike. A steel bar with a large knob concrete at one end got Thief to thinking: He’d give the poor lady something to write about.

With the first stroke of luck he’d had all evening, he found a diamond as big as the Ritz on the back seat.

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