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The family-friendly, feel-good book of the summer. A real page turner, even though no one falls in love or receives an unexpected windfall. Reading this book is guaranteed not to tax your brain, nor result in suicidal impulses! This tome contains the distilled essence of centuries of human experience, yet retails for less than a dollar! Download today!

THE RULES OF THIS PLACE

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There’s absolutely nothing to be afraid of here. This place is as safe as anywhere on the planet. You will be allowed maximum freedom, but you won’t be coddled. No one will take care of you, or make your path an easy one. To do so would be to insult you, depriving you of your dignity.

Here, you are free to change your mind, make mistakes, accomplish absolutely nothing for days at a time. You are free to reap just what you sow. If you are easily bored, you will be even more bored than usual. If you can entertain yourself, your time here will be well spent. A few small challenges will keep you busily occupied. Solving problems builds character.

There are others here who will be like you. If you are especially active, or popular, they will see you as a threat. They will strive to cut you down to size. Others will try to inspire pity in you, to entangle you in their chronic problems. If you are wise, you will avoid them. Do not give advice. Do not take anyone under your wing. You have no wings.

You’re simply an inmate like everyone else here. Accept that fact and your life will be easy. Fight to achieve distinction and your life will become a living hell.

Just Around The Corner

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I’m waiting for the phone call that will change my life. The one that comes from an entirely unexpected person, the one that will finally make most of my problems disappear. That one.

OK, it could be an email message, or arrive on Facebook messenger. It will be surprising and it will change everything. All the issues I’ve been mulling over, worrying and fretting about will suddenly be moot.

Can’t pretend to know when this will happen. I’ve already been waiting for years, so it might be a bit longer. Every morning I arise and think “maybe today is the day they’ll call!”

Will the caller be a man or a woman? Young or old? Hip or square? Will I recognize it as important and life-changing when it happens, or will I find it just another irritating invasion of my privacy?

THE PHONE JUST RANG! But I missed answering it before the ringing stopped. They left no message. Maybe they’ll call back. Or maybe it was a mistake. Living in a foreign country, it’s a common occurrence. I answer the phone in English and I hear someone mutter something in another language and then hang up.

There’s a strange scent in the air, it smells like burning wires. People riding bicycles pass by the front of our house. Often they are whistling as they ride, and the tune they whistle sounds menacing, at least to my ears.

At night I see red laser beams scan the neighborhood. Are these coming from assassin rifles? Sometimes I hear the squawk of a walkie-talkie coming from the bushes. Are these real, or simply a neighbor’s television show. My hearing is not so good anymore.

When the good news arrives I will finally be able to relax. The world will no longer seem as sinister. It’s just a matter of time. Just around the next corner.

Surrender While You Can

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You might want to surrender now while you have the chance. Eventually, they won’t be so nice about it. They’ll just kill you and say you gave them no choice. So if there was ever a time to lay down your arms and assume a prone position, this is it.

Sure, they might kill you anyway. Even if cameras are rolling, they can claim to have been in fear for their lives. It was either you or them. You resisted their lawful commands. You left them no choice.

Chances are, however, that if you act soon to stop resisting, you’ll be alive at this same time tomorrow. As I said, time is of the essence. They only have so much patience, and it’s rapidly wearing thin.

Once they are sure of your intentions, they can set about the task of rehabilitating you. That might take some time. If you still think your cause is just and theirs isn’t, then I don’t have much hope that you will be able to successfully join their ranks. At best, you will always be an outsider, looking in, nursing a grudge in your rebel heart.

Nothing More

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By now you’re probably wondering what I really do for a living. Surely not this. You’re right, this is a hobby, a diversion, something to fill the time while I wait for death. I want for nothing. Any whims and desires that float in one ear and out the other can be easily ignored, or acknowledged with a cheerful “thanks for stopping by!”

I know full well what many only suspect. If you’re not full of gratitude, you’re toying with insanity. You’re making yourself miserable. You’re driving yourself crazy.

Even as the pandemic oozes about us, striking down a steady five percent of all whom it visits, there’s still plenty of cause to rejoice. We aren’t dead yet! What more can be expected or demanded from this life? Did we choose to be born when we were, into the family and nation of our birth? Of course not!

Clearly we are but the victims or beneficiaries of Fate. None of this is our doing. We are along for the ride and nothing more.

Someday I will rise to fulfill whatever promise was made by my very creation. Then I will be free to fade into obscurity. Until that moment, I must pay attention and listen for my cue. Only at the right time will this actor part the curtains and enter the stage. Only then will I deliver my lines, the ones I have been memorizing all my life.

Nobody Said It Would Be Easy

You just need a little guidance. Your youth and inexperience are holding you back. I can help. Within a few hours this world of ours will begin to disintegrate. You have a choice. You can stay here and turn into a vampire, a werewolf, or a zombie or some kind of weirdo that nobody wants to have around, or you can simply go with the flow. You can fall into that lake of molten fire. The one over there. It’s actually liquid sulfur. That’s why it smells so bad.

Don’t let the smell upset you. You won’t be alive long enough to smell much because sulfur melts at two hundred forty degrees. Your blood will boil, your brain will fry inside your skull and all the meat on your bones will be “well done” within minutes.

So it’s up to you. You can change or you can cease to exist. Neither will be as easy as you would like, but then nobody asked your opinion about the severity of the choice. This is the nature of the world we’ve inherited.

Images of a loving God providing guidance and refuge have long since fallen out of favor. Now, if people worship anything, they worship health and longevity. After most people died of Covid-22, the mutation that kept on mutating, nobody expected things to ever improve. Nobody even dared hope for things to return to the way they were.

The fact is that everybody has problems. Nobody has it easy. If you’re a zombie, you’ve got to find brains to eat. A vampire has to drink blood. A werewolf…well, he has more options than the other two, but they mostly involve ripping people to shreds and howling at the moon.

The main hurdle most of us face is finding someone with whom we have enough in common to build a life together. Of course, most of us can do this for a short while and then become bored and tear the life out my the roots and throw it by the side of the road. If we can refrain from doing this we’re soon ahead of the game. We can realize opportunities, we can know relative freedom and partial contentment.

Until we decide that’s not enough. It would be easier to simply acknowledge our part in this instead of blaming circumstances and others, but that doesn’t come easily to most people. We think “if only I had married that other person…” Or “look at his house, his car…why does he have it so good?” And so we build a tangled web of confusion, and find ourselves trapped inside it. Our frustration and self-pity skyrocket.