Postmodern Love, by Erin Somers

The writer Erin Somers sits down to write a "Modern Love" column1. The subject is the truncated, never-realized dalliance between herself and D.2 The convention of masking identities in essayistic, first person writing with a single initial serves the dual purposes of protecting the privacy of the party under discussion and lending an illusion of truth to the narrative. Behold: a story so painful, so juicy, so heartrendingly true that the author feels uneasy disclosing real names. That the author feels driven by basic human decency to shield the individual (whom she has rendered in maybe not-so-flattering prose, but for whom she still maintains lingering affection) from potential violence on the part of her readership who may get mad, who may—who knows?—show up at the residence of the individual in question with battering rams, truncheons, pole axes, and so on, demanding comeuppance.

The writer Erin Somers begins:

And lo! They met online. Erin Somers created a profile and was instantly matched with the aforementioned D, who fulfilled nine out of ten criteria as outlined by the site’s “Enchantment Rubric.” Quotation marks are employed here to signify 1) That the enclosed phrase is poached directly from the website’s copy and 2) That the author is aware that the enclosed phrase is more than a little silly, thus aligning herself with the reader, who is no doubt absorbing this with a highly developed sense of irony. READ MORE


Jane Austen Responds to Spam, by Daniel Hurwitz

From: David david@freeipad.org
To: Jane Austen

Hi Friend!

OH MY GOSH! I know I shouldn't talk about this here, but I thought I would message you from my new APPLE iPad that I just got for free. Don't tell anyone but there is a website sending out a free iPad to anyone that signs up, www.freeipad.info. That is where I got mine btw follow these steps exactly to get one for yourself, go to www.freeipad.info enter you email, enter your shipping address and wait 3-5 business days to receive your it in the mail! it works!!


From: Jane Austen
To: David david@freeipad.org

My dearest David,

I thank you for this letter which brings joy on a dreary Monday morning spent in reflection and rumination. I have taken to many words to show my appreciation. READ MORE


Congratulations on Purchasing a Katana, by Spencer Ham

Your sword was personally forged by Akio Taguchi in the village of Tobishima. Enclosed you will find the certificate of authenticity. Now that you own a katana, there are certain traditions you must upkeep. Below is a list of the rules you are required to follow:

• You must have a ponytail. “But what if I’m balding in the front?” Especially if you’re balding in the front.

• You must display your katana on top of a leaning bookshelf located next to a glow-in-the-dark dragon poster.

• You must have a pre-approved katana-owner name. Please refer to the attached list of accepted names, which includes, but is not limited to, Rick, Brent, and Ty-Joe.

• You must film yourself opening the katana and then upload it onto YouTube. There are specific guidelines for this video: 1.) It must be over 18 minutes long. 2.) Your stepmother must film it. 3.) You must get agitated, with your frustration boiling into a full-on man-boy tantrum. 4.) You must wield the katana in a manner that will cause commenters to write things like “This guy be a retarded Highlander” and “STFU use that sword 2 kill yourself.”

• You must drive a PT Cruiser. READ MORE


Mattress World Commercial, by Blythe Roberson

When you walk into a conventional mattress store, it’s really not about you. It’s about, here are our mattresses, would you like to buy one?

At our store, it’s all about you. What is your favorite book? Who is your celebrity crush? Put your iPod on shuffle: What are the first six songs that come up?

Don’t look at our mattresses yet!  You’ve had a rough day, you need to de-stress. Sit down for a massage. Wow, those hands are magic! Is that a masseuse? No, it’s Gary, the guy who delivers our mattresses.

Are you hungry? Here’s some celery and some chocolate. No, don’t eat the celery. We just read all these studies that said chocolate is super-healthy; it has antioxidants or something. So eat as much chocolate as you want.

What do you value most highly about yourself—intelligence? Well, we think you’re really smart. You’re like the smartest person we’ve ever met. God, we wish we were half as smart as you. READ MORE


A Note From the Principal About the Myths of Santa Claus and Democracy, by Ben Godar

Dear Teachers and Staff,

It's that time of year when students begin asking questions about Santa Claus. Some are believers, some are doubters, and when they come together…watch out! My suggestion is to treat the idea of Santa much like you would the idea of our democracy—a pleasing notion that some take comfort in (even if it's not real!).

Students will bring in all kinds of legends from their families.  Some will believe Santa carries a magic key that unlocks any door. Others will believe elections represent the will of the people. It's important not to question these obviously fraudulent ideas and let their parents decide when they are ready to learn the truth.

Be prepared for challenging questions like, "How can Santa visit all the children of the world in a single night?" Imagine that same student asking, “How can we have a representative democracy when districts are drawn for purely political reasons?” What the student needs to understand is that sometimes we simply choose to believe in things even when we can't understand how they work. READ MORE


Welcome to My Football Party, by Patrick Walczy

Hey, Jeff! Come on in! You’re just in time, man, the game’s about to start. By the way, how do we know when the game’s about to start? I’m messing with you, bro. I know it’s when that little guy makes the kickoff. So glad the wives suggested this while they do their Sunday shopping. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Sunday shopping, but bro time is important too, and that’s according to a recent study at Princeton’s Behavioral Science Institute. Looks like you could use a cold one. Here you go. It’s a kale smoothie with four scoops of protein powder. Gameday? More like Gamewhey, mother farmer. Whoo! Let’s head to the sitting room, everybody’s in there.

Hey guys, look who’s here. Oh! Let’s do a quick icebreaker. How about "Bake, Sauté, or Pan Sear"? I’ll go first. Someone give me one. No, Keith, "shut the hell up so I can watch the game" isn’t a food so it doesn’t work. Anybody? Okay, maybe at the halftime. Hey, Keith, could you do me a favor and slide over on the chaise lounge so Jeff here can sit down? Don’t give me that look, Mr. Funny Man. I’ve got enough throw pillows for everyone. READ MORE


Foolproof 'Missed Connections' Posts, by Jesse Porter

You: early '30s, driving a blue Civic, failing to notice the light turn green at 4th and Main this morning and consequently being honked at by a black BMW. Me: the guy behind you, driving a really sweet black BMW. Sorry about the tailgating, the yelling, and the repeated flashing of the optional HID xenon headlamps. My trip to work had been super annoying up to that point (I was in a text fight with my ex, and I’d just spilled my beer), but my mood improved the moment I accelerated past you and noticed how gorgeous you are. You’ve got beautiful eyes, beautiful hair, even beautiful fingers—an assumption I’m basing solely on the one that you showed me. I'd love to take you out for a spin in my car (which is way nicer than yours, in case you don't know anything about cars), and maybe a round of drinks either afterward or during.


This is a message for Laura (or maybe Lauren? I can’t remember), the 40-something account executive who I laid off yesterday. Apologies for the brevity of our conversation—it was a hell of a merger, as you know, and I had a number of other appointments that afternoon. I’ve found myself unable to stop thinking about you, however, and I’d love to continue the conversation you were trying to have with me about your mortgage, or your epileptic kid’s medical expenses, or whatever; it all kind of blends together when you’ve been doing this for as long as I have. Anyway, let’s meet up, now that you’ve got all this free time. READ MORE


Nancy Drew and the Case of the Cooperstown Slut, by Liz Arcury

“Fifteen dollars? Come on, Nance, there are dozens of other stores in the mall that sell candles. Don’t settle on this one just yet,” Bess Marvin assured Nancy Drew, as they, along with George Fayne, Bess’s cousin, strolled through the River Heights Mall. The three teenage friends were out for a shopping day to relieve some stress. Their academic and work lives were fine, but Nancy insisted that they take a day to decompress after a run-in with that outright whore from Cooperstown at Ned Nickerson’s party last Friday night.

The girl, Carmen, was around their age and also a total slut. Nancy had learned from past cases to not jump at an investigation too quickly. The Secret of Shadow Ranch had taught her that in spades. She had also learned, however, to listen to her instincts, and her instincts were telling her that this Carmen thinks-she’s-so-hot needed to be taken care of. READ MORE


The Apple Orchard Kids, by Caitlin Kean

I tried to tell them that we were too old to go apple-picking, but did they listen? No. They made me pack up that Sunday and head out to old Whitmore Farm like we were in one of those subway ads for ZipCar featuring all of those beautiful, multi-ethnic friends. And did I complain when the weather dramatically changed the second we got there and a bunch of ominous clouds rolled in? You bet I did. And I rolled my eyes at the “prize-winning” pumpkin patch, barely stifled a yawn at the cider press, and washed my hands disdainfully after the petting zoo.

Oh what, was that free apple doughnut supposed to be some kind of consolation prize? Because as a matter of fact, it was delicious and I was just starting to think that maybe this orchard excursion wasn’t the worst idea when the group decided it was time to actually start picking the apples.

Would you believe that they expected me to get on a hayride and travel 25 minutes just to get to the actual orchard? Because that’s where we met Ephraim, our prepubescent wagon driver, and I made sure to tell everyone in the group how creepy I thought he was. I mean, was I not supposed to notice that he was dressed like one of those kids from Breaking Amish and that a cold wind rustled through the corn stalks every time he spoke? Because, uh, yeah, I noticed. “Welcome, Outlanders, prepare thyselves, for if we do not make haste, there will nary be enough daylight to execute the picking.” READ MORE


Comments That a Professor Wrote in the Margins of One of My Essays, by Ryan Max Riley

• History is a construct, an invention of scholars really, so here I’d put instead of history: events in the so-called past.

• I think it’s fairly certain that primitive people were scared of the sun. You can go ahead and state this boldly.

• By the way, are you dating Jennifer, from class? Remember that the emergence of monogamy was a medieval legal convenience.

• This passage seems to have been written by a smarter person. This is not intended as criticism.

• This reminds me of the mapping of 17th-century Tokyo. READ MORE


A Bit of Clarification on Your 'Bad Dudes' Mission, by Ben Godar

We want to clarify the mission we laid out in our first transmission, which consisted only of:

“The President has been kidnapped by ninjas. Are you a Bad enough Dude to rescue the President?”

In hindsight, that probably raised more questions than it answered. But as you might imagine, things are pretty intense around here, what with The President having been kidnapped by ninjas and all. Let me provide more details and hopefully clarify the operation you are about to undertake.

Your mission will consist of walking in a straight line from left to right, defeating any enemies you encounter along the way. Satellite surveillance suggests that often you will also be able to jump up to a higher level as you proceed. But always maintain that left-to-right direction. We cannot stress that enough. We are getting scattered reports that you may also need to traverse some moving objects, such as a freight train and a moving truck. READ MORE


Derek For Boyfriend, 2013: Test Slogans, by Grant Catton

This November, when you go to the polls, vote Derek Ferguson for Boyfriend. Derek is a young man who…

Knows the local IPAs.

Agrees that big weddings are outdated.

Always has cutting-edge facial hair.

Will go to brunch with you and all your friends…even when he’s super hungover.

Owns and often uses a typewriter…to write actual letters.

Reads all the right pop-culture blogs…but not before you do. READ MORE


21st Century Orson Welles (1985-2013), by Joel Straley

On the timeline of an alternate Universe much like our own, Orson Welles did not die on October 10, 1985, but was in fact born for the first time. After a suburban childhood, Welles left to travel Europe. His father’s death left him an inheritance that allowed him to become another trust fund millennial taking up all the good spots in the hostels.

Once returning to the United States, he made a home in a five-bedroom loft in New York City, technically Bushwick. Europe had given him a love a theatre, so as soon as he could he joined a short-form improv group. They specialized in performing Shakespeare but with celebrity suggestions taken from the audience such as Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan. Their performances garnered some attention with one night’s version of Macbeth being declared "racist" by several blogs. READ MORE


A FASTidious Credit Report, by Jake Tuck

Dear Landlord,

We at FASTidious Credit Reporting have reviewed the credit history of your prospective tenant, Glen Hodge, and offer this prompt report. First, we should say that Mr. Hodge has an ostensibly stellar credit history. By the standard scoring method, he received an “excellent” score of 830. He pays all his credit cards and bills on time, save one instance when he was hospitalized after attempting to save an elderly man from a burning house. So his credit is, on the surface, largely immaculate. However, we at FASTidious do not like surface impressions, such as that of the sun in a calm lake; underneath, the lake may contain violent fish. Anyway, we dove into the lake of Mr. Hodge’s credit and found a mess of broken promises. Also, a child’s boot, which was rather macabre, but irrelevant. Thus, we recommend that you decline his application. READ MORE