The Fraud of Turin

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Pausing a moment during his weekly trip to the market to sell the abbey’s wine, Brother Antwelm watched as the lights descended from the sky.
BOOM! Every bottle in the donkey cart shattered!
Then, a roaring dusty whirlwind surrounded him. When it stopped, a glowing dome appeared on the grass nearby.
With a hum, the dome split and a tall figure emerged.
Radiant… magnificent… perfect…
And on fire!
Brother Antwelm grabbed the donkey’s cloth blanket and slapped out the fire.
Sadly, the magnificent figure was crisped. But his image was fused on the blanket.
Antwelm shrugged and continued to Turin.

The Parasite

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Lighter than a feather, a buzzing mosquito follows the scent trail and lands.
It smells its surroundings, sniffing for blood.
Searching.
Searching.
The jagged proboscis digs, ripping through flesh for rich red blood. The mosquito drinks. Its belly quickly fills…SMACK!
“Goddamned parasite,” yells the news cameraman. “Suck someone else’s blood for a change.”
“You’re live in thirty seconds,” the producer buzzes in his earpiece. “Live in thirty seconds.”
The cameraman heaves the camera up on his shoulder and flicks on the power.
The thousands of exhausted survivors just sit and stare. The cameraman licks his dry lips and thinks Pulitzer.

Hiking With Grampa

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The sun went down, and night approached quickly.
Billy looked at the cheap Cracker Jack sticker and smirked.
“The toys they give out sure suck, right, Grampa?” he asked.
Grampa Fred slumped against a tree and said nothing.
“I guess I shouldn’t have let the GPS thingy batteries run down.”
Silence.
“If you still smoked, I’d have matches for a fire.”
Billy looked at the Quit Smoking gum. He rubbed two sticks of it together and tossed them away.
“If only you hadn’t run out of pills…”
Billy stopped. He looked around.
A pill! Another!
He followed the trail home.

Enjoy Your Stay

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The majestic Orbital Hilton, the “Jewel of the Sky,” also has the grim nickname of “The Suicide Space Suites.”
Individuals with incurable terminal diseases often purchase one-way tickets to the hotel, run up gigantic tabs, and then cycle out of the airlocks buck naked.
Or they will join a spacewalk hiking tour only to sever the safety tether.
Some take off their helmets, while others fire their thrusters at the earth so they burn up like shooting stars.
Because of this grim parade, hotel policy has been changed to require a substantial deposit for all guests, refundable upon return planetside.

Heavy Hangs The Ape-Crown

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Fatigued and wounded, King Kong clung to the building with his remaining strength. However, all he could muster was not enough, and his grip failed at the worst possible time.
As he fell, he realized that he should have carried the blonde in his mouth so his arms would share the strain of climbing the building.
He also decided that climbing the building was quite possibly a bad idea, too.
His nemesis told the gathered crowd that beauty killed the beast, but Kong’s final thought was that poor planning and a lack of ergonomic awareness was a major contributing factor.

Excuses

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Every July Fourth, there’s some kind of hot dog eating contest at Coney Island.
Some skinny Japanese guy always wins, which is why they think five full-sized adults can fit into one of their cars, I guess.
I can’t eat animal fats anymore due to a crash diet my doctor came up with.
This is why I buy the big Super Star Dogs at Minutemaid Park – they hold the most condiments like relish or mustard and onions.
Those vegetables are healthy right?
And I swear it’s not my fault that someone put meat in between them and the bun.

Fostering Ill Will

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Xavier was the last of the Fosters of Foster, Iowa. He owned the local mill, railway, branch of the Iowa National Bank, and pretty much everything in town.
As editor and publisher of the local paper, he sang his praises daily. When that was not enough, he appointed himself grand marshal of a parade in his honor with an open air touring car lent from his dealership.
When he fell ill, the hospital that bore his name could not revive him, and Xavier was the final piece of the Foster jigsaw in the town’s cemetery.
“Good riddance,” sighed the town.

Les Nessman and the Bandages

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There was a running gag on WKRP that Les Nessman appeared with a bandage somewhere on his body. Richard Sanders showed up one day with a bandage on, and the writers decided to keep it going throughout the series.
Sometimes, the bandage is not easy to spot.
Those are the episodes you can assume that Les had a really bad evening the night before with a crackwhore, and she (or he) wasn’t very delicate with Les’s various important appendages.
Who am I kidding? This is Les Nessman, dammit! No crackwhore will do.
Um… Bailey and Jennifer in a Les Sandwich!

Twelve Other Labors

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Cocaretzi is a Greek dish of stuffed ox intestines
It is also the name of Heracles’ cousin. He was similrarly tasked with twelve labors.
Most of them involved solving petty disputes between neighbors. One was getting a bad wine stain out of a toga.
The final labor of Cocaretzi had to do with catering a picky Greek king’s picnic. He was tired of the usual fare, so he challenged Cocaretzi to come up with something new.
Yes, this is where the ox intestines come in.
Cocaretzi was executed for the vile dish, but at least it forever bears his name.

Les Nessman vs. Satellite Radio

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With the advent of satellite radio, is there room for local news coverage of Les Nessman’s heyday?
I think so. After all, satellites are flimsy things that fly around like pinballs on a greased baking sheet. They fall and explode, too.
Radio towers are tall, sturdy things. In fact, RKO Pictures had a one on the North Pole before those damn environmentalists demanded that it be torn town.
It had something to do with those jaggy lightning bolts streaking out of the thing.
Anyway, in this era of iPods and X-radio, I yearn for the Golden Age of Les Nessman.