Hire Steve

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Steven Miller asked me to write this letter recommending him as a middle school English teacher, so here it is. I have known Steve since high school. We sat next to each other in Jim Freeman’s European History class and I made wise cracks and Steve laughed at them. Steve had an enormous head and looked a lot like Dave Letterman to me. Others disputed the resemblance, but they disputed nearly everything. They had what you might call a perverse contrarian streak. Of course, this is a matter you will be able to judge at the interview, provided you know who David Letterman is.

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War of My World

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Pieces of earth turned into a cloud of dirt. Another blast quickly followed in its footsteps. The sky was thick with smoke, raining down tears of mud. Voices were lost in all the confusion. The world continued to vibrate and shake as two men ran for cover.

“How the hell did we walk into this?” “We just did, Sam.” The soldier looked over his shoulder as another explosion rocked the earth. “We just did.” All he could see were giant holes laid out before him. There was no sign of life except for him and his friend.

“They definitely caught us off-guard, John.” The other soldier slid into a foxhole and started to reload his rifle.

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The Quiet Room

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August 21, 2050. 5 p.m. They brought her in. She was bloody, disoriented, and hysterical. She mumbled incoherent sentences as they pulled her past me. Like a doll, she was thrown inside, and then the white wall came crashing down, cutting her out from this world. A handprint pressed against the panel. Infinite, which was strange for the ones brought here mostlylasted anywhere from a day to a few years. There was one who was of different circumstances, who remained behind the white wall for over ten years. Was she the same?

I knew better than to ask questions. I received their paperwork, and without a word, they left.

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Sombrero Loco

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SANTA BARBARA, California (AP) Students here are still in shock the day after a shooting rampage by one of their own left three dead and two gravely injured, one of whom was just taken off life-support by their relatives because they are Christian Scientists, though a nurse at the hospital plugged the life support machine back in while the parents weren’t looking. The patient remains stable but whether she will ever wake up is currently unknown.

“I’d put that at an unlikely,” said the Chief Bullet Removal Surgeon at Our Lady of the Drive By.

The suspect is thought to be dead after 100 state troopers witnessed the car he was alleged to have been driving flying off what a spokesman described as a “200-foot” cliff and into the Pacific Ocean.

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The World Is Not Black and White

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The roads were quiet. Even the cars were afraid to make noise. The windows were tinted. Nobody wanted to know nobody. They just drove on, hoping to get from A to B. Only a few like me refused to disappear and walk these broken streets.

The billboards were washed white. Strangers walked by in a hurry. Black hoodies covered their faces. Hands shoved into pockets. Warning glances daggered out. Stay Away. Nobody wanted to know nobody, and I avoided eye contact. Unlike them, my face was not covered.

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The Parachute Kids

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Bright sunlight penetrated my eyes. The bed felt familiar underneath me. The room looked familiar. It took me a long moment to realize that I was back home. I had no memory of where I was before or how I had even arrived here, but I felt safe. Something inside whispered that was all I needed to know. For now.

The house was quiet. As usual, the stairs creaked as I walked down them. More sunlight. A smell of breakfast rumbled my stomach, but they had already eaten. They did not wait for me. Did they not want to wake me?

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The Hole

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Angie could recall every detail of the burial of her father. It was the kind of perfect, balmy day that occasionally happens in late fall in New England. The sky sharp and blue, the air warm, even the gentle winds were summer like. The grass still thick and green, swaying with the wind. Only the bare trees gave away the season. It was a beautiful day. Except they were burying her father. Her father, whom she adored, and had been alive and well when she left for school Monday and dead when she got home. A heart attack they told her, out of the blue. There was crying and grown-ups hugging her, telling her to be brave. Telling her how much her father loved her.

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UnderGround

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“Are you sure about this?”
“I’m sure.”
“Stop scratching.”
“I’m sorry. It itches.”
“I know it itches, but I’m prepping your head. You’re lucky I went to med school.”
“Virtual med school.”
“Sit still. Okay. This might still sting.”
“Did they catch the other guy?”
“You know they did. They’ll catch you too. Facial Recognition.”

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The Language Barrier

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On his way back from the office, Donald Davenport called his wife Martha at home from the phone booth that stood outside The Small Theatre off Franklyn Street. Next Tuesday, there would be a performance of The Clock in the Sky, a new play that had recently been written up in a reliable newspaper. After speaking to Martha, Donald hung up and entered though the old revolving doors of the theatre. The familiar rustic interior, the smoke stained walls displaying posters of up-and-coming shows, the gleaming marble floor, and the usual staff whom Donald knew well were inside. Shaking off the dampness from the late evening drizzle, Donald made his way over to the ticket office. Jane the ticket attendant smiled from over her typewriter as Donald approached.

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