Things are hard all over, but especially in Europe.
In Rome, taxis have been replaced by rickshaws pulled by starving pensioners.
You can’t walk in London without tripping over three people shining your shoes.
Have problems folding a map in Berlin? Not any more – every petrol station features map-folders for hire.
It’s easy to mistake the purse-snatchers of Paris for the porters and bearers.
But of all the fallen, pity Prague the most. The poor are stripped, painted like statuary, tangled in vines and daisies, and displayed in eight hour shifts.
Sad beasts, lining the grand avenues of yesterday.
Nigel tapped Middle C again.
He lifted the green piano’s lid and checked the striker and the wire. Everything worked fine.
But he didn’t hear anything when he hit Middle C.
B played. D played. Every other note played.
But not Middle C.
Nigel blew out the candelabra and hit Middle C again.
Of course it wasn’t that, he thought. That would have been silly.
Nigel tried another piano. Middle C worked just fine.
He went back to the green piano, lifted the lid, and plucked Middle C.
He hit the key again.
Nothing at all.
She once had legs, but over time she let herself go. Varicose veins, a deep hacking cough, and stints in rehab for a heroin problem finished off her partying days.
The dream guy she hooked with the help of ZZ Top’s gang of gals had long slipped the line and swam back for deeper waters.
Rags filled her closets.
Still, she kept the car in the driveway. The paint faded, the tires rotted, the engine seized up, and rust spread like brown cancer and covered everything.
Sometimes, she’d go out front and snap her nicotine-stained fingers, wave the keys.
“When you see the color red, you will experience so much hate that you will kill the Senator. It is your destiny.”
Arthur heard this phrase six hundred and forty-eight thousand, seven hundred and nine times before they stopped the recording and wiped the drool from his chin.
It used to be that you had to loop a recording with a razor and cellophane tape. Now you just hit “REPEAT” on an MP3.
They gave him a gun and a bus ticket. Two days later, he shot four seals at the Boston Zoo.
Hey, nobody said this stuff was perfect.
I work in a call center and the company owner is really cheap.
Of all the awful things here, the chairs here are the worst. They are old, worn-out, and cause frequent painful injuries.
One guy was speared with a spring and lost a kidney. Another broke a wrist and an ankle when a wheel just completely let go. A third rolled out of a window, never to be seen again.
Bob got it the worst. One day, he’s typing away, and we hear a loud CRACK!
He’s in a wheelchair now. Can’t feel anything below his neck.
“If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?” asked Abraham.
The crowd laughed, and Abraham took the opportunity to scurry back to his private quarters.
“Let me out!” shouted a familiar voice from the desk drawer. “Let me out of here, you ugly bastard!”
“Never!” shouted Abraham back. “I will not unleash your evil upon the world ever again!”
“Evil?” said the voice. “But isn’t war always a bad thing? Sure, millions must remain slaves to avoid confrontation, mind you…”
Later that night, Abe encased his beautiful face in concrete and sunk it in the White House well.
Schultz shook the dice, praying for snake eyes.
The rest of the company looked on.
Why can’t we just draw straws? thought Schultz. Or draw cards, or slips of paper from a helmet.
There was a lot of work to do.
And avoid, if possible.
“Hurry up!” yelled a corporal.
The dice sailed down the dirt path and into the few stubborn blades of grass that still grew in this ashen hellscape, landing in a stack of ragged, scorched clothes.
“That cinches it,” said Lieutenant Waldheim. “You’re on Burial Detail.”
Schultz grabbed a shovel and cursed.