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Sometimes We Go Bad

Sun Valley Grocery wasn't far from the local mall. The name of this mall is unimportant. It was home to more than three dozen retail businesses, not counting the built-in carousel, the massage stands, and the various food and antique vendors who hosted their shows there. The businesses dropped and swapped out on a regular basis, though there were some mainstays that had been there for generations. Among these was a clothing store by the name of Harpin's. It was a family place, run by the Harpins since before the First World War. The family was even still involved with the business, unlike a lot of families who once founded such enterprises. They had about the same distance from the store's operation as a producer has from the movies they work on, but they did cameo now and again to see how things were going.
People treated it with the dignity a small business deserved, though the growth of the great apathy disease had its impact there, too. What matters is that they were …
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Memories

When our childhoods come back, the natural problems of memory distort the image to make it wrong. Think of how many nostalgic memories you have that you know, deep down, didn't happen the way you remember. Maybe it's one lie you told yourself. Maybe three or four. Maybe the whole thing is made up. I don't blame you. I had a good childhood but if all that people have of your own is a fantasy then all I can offer is a hope that your abuser, whether they're a person or a system, dies and burns in Hell.
I have lived my life so focused on nostalgia that my day-to-day living has become full of holes in the present, just as there are holes all throughout my past. The future, that sea of infinite possible timelines, is probably nothing more than a Sea of Holes.
And here we have the first personal node—Yellow Submarine was the movie I watched the most growing up. I had an LSD-soaked childhood and it braced me for a similar adulthood. The hippies who were the first audience o…

Horriblis vs. Ab-Horriblis

She didn't make it. On the road trip, that was to say. She sighed and thought about her next chance.
Midori wasn't the self-pitying kind. She grieved her lost vacation—again—and got ready to go back up over the top.
One day she'd get a chance to relax and solve mysteries. For now, she had to get to keeping the books. She'd been promoted—quite against her will—and now she ran coupons and drawers in the back office. She never got to see this place in any detail before, but now she could see she wasn't missing much. A dry and dusty room, this was—and little else.
She reached up to where they kept the SOP manuals. Ugh—that was dusty too. Too dusty, in fact—she hoped this would be up-to-date with their tech.
Huh. This wasn't an SOP manual. Unless “Horriblis” had something to do with Sun Valley. She'd never heard of a product by that name, in any case. Nor did she recognize the author. There was no “Angelo” here.
Oh well. She set it aside and got ready to get ba…

Krissy's Second Visit

Youthful footsteps echoed throughout the store's frozen section.
It is not often a challenge to determine one's age from footsteps. The slow, stumbling walk of an old man, and the tap of his walker or cane, gives him away immediately. A hop and a skip might reveal that one is a child. But in the ages between 12 and 60, there is a singular type of step, one which is not easily linked to age due to the variance in height and weight of the teenage and adult population. In the cold of the frozen section, this uniformity was slimmed even further, because nothing leeches strength from the heart and legs like cold. But in the footsteps of the confident young girl who wore a Sun Valley uniform, one could sense her youthfulness. The cold didn't touch her and she wasn't afraid of it or hateful of it. And so perhaps it was the youthfulness of her step that revealed to the mysterious figure known as the Blue Phantom who it was who came to visit him, in his hidden lair behind the …

Morley and Me

They were originally called Sun Valleys. That was back in the '30s, though, so there ain't too many folk left alive who can remember that. That's for certain.
I think there musta been a guy named Morley who got the brand renamed in his honor. I don't think they named it for me, but I've been wrong before. It's rare, but sometimes it happens. But hey, sometimes Lee van Cleef and Clint Eastwood gotta be wrong, too. A stopped clock is right twice a day, and sometimes I'm right less than that. It would a little weird if'n they saw baby me and thought to name a whole brand of gold-leaf slim cigarettes after that. So I'm gonna presume that there's a bigger story there, which they just didn't tell me about. Morley has its secrets, just as the Sun Valley Cigarette Co. did when they were around. I left that all behind me. Nowadays I'm out where I belong—I'm out West, the real West, and not just an ad set. It's a little funny, because the…

Richards

It was him or Tavvy. And Tavvy deserved to live. He deserved to live too but she had had enough. If his last act on this Earth was to spare her a little suffering he would die honorably. Kevin Claude was a good man and he wanted to end his life good. And giving up his life for another was pretty damn good.
It was Mrs. Richards. She was infamous at this point. The rookies heard about her early on, speaking in hushed whispers, like she was a ghost or something. In fact, there was a theory, one which Kevin had believed for a time, that she was a ghost—a ghost who could write checks. She came in regularly—once a week, usually on a Saturday—and her appearance never changed. Same clothes, same hair. She followed the same routine every time when it came to collecting her groceries. (Checkout was always a little different each time.) That was what ghosts did, wasn't it? Played out the same events over and over? It made Kevin wondered if he was a ghost.
He could take the repetition, thoug…