Don't Even Think About It, by Alex Pearson

Don’t even think about it. I would not sleep with you if we were the last two people on Earth.

Don’t even think about it. While I would feign interest in sleeping with you if we were two of the exactly last three people on Earth, that is just a tactic to sleep with the other last person on Earth and nothing more.

Now, if you and I were two of the last four or more people on Earth, I would not even feign interest in sleeping with you, because in those circumstances, I could feign interest in sleeping with one of the other people as a tactic of sleeping with the remaining other person(s). This of course allows me to avoid giving you even the temporary satisfaction of my falsely demonstrated interest in sleeping with you. READ MORE


A Reasonable Man, by Christopher Mah

Everyone knows that our country is more divided than ever, even more divided than the era when colored people were not treated with the perfect equality they are afforded today. Some say the media is to blame, others point to economic disparity, and most everyone would agree that immigrants certainly aren’t helping. Whatever the case, we could heal our divisions and come together to solve our nation’s crises if only everyone would be more like me.

You see, I am a reasonable man. I am always willing to engage in thoughtful, respectful conversation with anyone who disagrees with me. But unfortunately, everyone I meet who disagrees with me is an ignorant, dickish, imbecile. It is not easy being a reasonable person surrounded by idiots. Disagreeing respectfully is a skill that requires lots of practice, which is why I take every opportunity to disagree with the people I talk to, no matter how trivial the topic, and continue disagreeing with them until I have won the conversation.

Whenever I start a debate with someone, I always speak to them in a kind voice, so kind, in fact, that it is like I’m talking to a child. But when it is their turn to talk, they always use a much louder voice, so that I have to stick my fingers in my ears and shout “I can’t hear you, la la la!” over and over again until I am asked to stop causing a scene and escorted out of the museum. READ MORE


Poker Face, by David Waghalter

She was the most unreadable player I had ever faced across a table. Whether clutching a winning hand or merely bluffing, her demeanor never changed. This is not to say that she was the stony, expressionless type – far from it. Her face was almost always stretched into an open-mouthed smile, telegraphing her glee and unbridled joie de vivre, but also allowing drool to leak out onto the table, her cards, her chips. Her constant babbling and chirping was distracting to some, strangely comforting to others. I never knew her name, but the falsetto voices emanating from the dim, smoky expanse beyond the game addressed her as "Good Girl," "Hunny Bunny Wunny Munny," and "Widdle Shnoo-Shnoo." Me, I just called her "The Baby."

But really she was more of a toddler. Based on my keen observance of the human condition, I'd put her anywhere between 18 and 22 months. Yet it seemed she'd been around forever. She could walk, haltingly, but mostly when I saw her she was at the table, strapped into her Safety 1st Grow-With-Me portable Booster Seat. She always used that seat, no matter how caked with strained peaches it became and no matter how bloated with gambling spoils her custodial savings account grew. Maybe she considered it good luck – you know how superstitious babies can be. READ MORE


Ask a High School Couple, by Ryan Krebs and Caitlin Kunkel

Note from the Editor: It is with great regret that we were forced to lay off our 20-plus year advice columnist, Ann O’Grady, last week (sorry again, Annie). To keep operating costs at a minimum, we’ve opened up our advice section to my son and his girlfriend. They will work for free and it counts as an extracurricular at Truman High. So, please welcome juniors Matt Tearson and Rachel Winkle to The Daily Star! Let’s see what sage advice they have for our readers:

Dear Matt and Rachel,

Four months ago, my husband lost his job in Human Resources and our family is now trying to survive on just my monthly income.  We are struggling to pay off $19,000 in credit card debt (his) and $29,000 in student loans (mine). We have a variable-rate home loan that will adjust in just under two years.  Currently, I still contribute the maximum amount to my IRA. We are debating suspending the IRA contribution until our heads are back above water. The debt has placed a strain on our marriage and we fear for divorce.  How will we ever be able to save enough for today, for retirement, for our sons' futures? Where do we begin, and how do we prioritize?

— Alexandra and Arthur M., Buffalo, N.Y.



Welcome to Milton Honors!, by Ryan R. Jordan

Dear Sir or Madam:

Welcome to Milton Honors! You are now a member of one of the hospitality industry’s ranked rewards programs!

As a Milton Honors member, you are entitled to several perks at our over-three Milton Hotels locations nationwide! Skip the lines, and enjoy express check-in at most of our Milton Hotels, with our flagship Phoenix location being the one exception, as we have only one person, Henry, who is trained to work the Milton Honors system, and he is often on break.

Late checkout is also available to Milton Honors members, though not exclusively, since any Milton Hotels guest may request late checkout, contingent on proper advance notification of housekeeping staff (though, as many of the housekeepers do not speak English, this can be an awkward process, and is thus offered at the discretion of Milton front-desk personnel). Still, if Henry’s working, you’ve got a shot. READ MORE


Dear Highlights Forum, by Pat Feehan

Dear Highlights Forum,

Melissa and I had been eating our snacks together during recess for two weeks. Sometimes we would share our snacks or she would trade me potato chips for some of my gummy snacks. Melissa is cute for a girl. She has pigtails and carries a Barbie and Ken lunch pail. We hadn’t done anything serious yet, only going down slides and pushing each other on the swing set. I was perfectly content with the pace of Melissa and my relationship, and I thought she was too.

When it gets really sunny outside, our kindergarten class is allowed to have an extra long recess so we don’t get too antsy. We stepped out into the beautiful sunlight and Melissa’s hair was really shiny. Then Melissa whispered in my ear that she was ready to take things to the next level. I was excited, naturally, and I thought she meant we would play house or hang upside down on the monkey bars together, something innocent like that. READ MORE


My Heroes, Daydreamt, by Daniel Moraff

ELEANOR ROOSEVELT: It's midnight at the temporary UN headquarters on Long Island. Eleanor and I are, at last, alone, straining to develop some sort of framework for a world that has flung itself to pieces. She knows my zeal for international law, my passion for human rights, but she does not know my true passion: Eleanor Roosevelt's aging body. I meet her gaze, and lean forward, determined to hide no more. "I've got it," shouts Eleanor suddenly. "Only an international declaration of human rights will ensure that the UN remains committed to the best values of its constituent peoples." She kisses me on the cheek and runs out of the room to begin drafting. I sit back, breathing heavily.

ELI WHITNEY: I am a simple patent clerk come face to face with destiny. Eli's eyes flash with brilliance, yet he has remained modest–in inventing the cotton gin he has revolutionized the South, but you'd never know it from his humility and good humor. I process his application knowing our time together is short; patent law is still in its infancy. "Gosh," I say, undoing the top button of my tunic, "I wonder what we could do with all this free time, now that cotton production is nearly twenty times more efficient." "Perhaps I shall invent a milling machine," says Eli. READ MORE


FAQs for Jocasta's Christening, by Caitlin Kunkel

Will there be alcohol at the christening?

As many of you know, it is not recommended that babies drink alcohol, even at special occasions like a christening. I know I invited some “mommies who party,” but we wouldn’t want any babies getting boozy from breast milk! For this reason, and your lack of self control, there will be no alcohol present.

What should I wear to the ceremony?

You should be able to refer back to page 3 of your invitation for this information (if you lost it, you owe me $11/each), but here it is again – we are all wearing NAVY with SANSKRIT accents for the ceremony (at the convention center), and then guests should change to MAROON with hints of BURNT UMBER for the reception and pagan naming ritual, then DUSK BLACK featuring BLACK BLACK for Jamiroquai’s after-party at the country club (so he doesn’t feel left out on Jocasta’s big day (parity!)). READ MORE


Conjoined Twins, by Alex Pearson

People are generally fascinated by the concept of conjoined twins, yet rarely do any of these people actually ever know any conjoined twins personally. I, on the other hand, actually do know conjoined twins, and while I am fascinated with them as individuals, the general concept of conjoined twins bores me. So yes, I know two conjoined twins, but no, they are not the only thing I ever want to talk about. You might ask how I came to know a pair of conjoined twins, and while I would prefer to talk about something more interesting, I would have to answer by correcting you: I never said I know a pair of conjoined twins. I said I know two conjoined twins. There is a difference.

To clarify, the two conjoined twins I know are not twins with each other, and it should go without saying that they are not conjoined to each other. As far as I know, conjoined non-twins have never happened and, by all that is holy, never will. What I am trying to say is that I know these two people who each happen to have a conjoined twin, but I only know of each of their respective conjoined twins. Or think about it like this: I know two conjoined twins. They are from two different pairs of conjoined twins. This means there are two conjoined twins from these same two pairs whom I only know of. I don’t know any two people who are conjoined twins with each other. READ MORE


Got A Minute?, by Ryan Krebs

Hi, God. Bernie Turkingham. Duh, you know that. You got a minute? Great, thanks.

I'm gonna tell it like it is: I think you're doing a bang-up job. This world's what, a few hundred years old, and you're still running a tight ship … Millions? Wow, I was way off. Point is, you've got a great business model that's working for Earth, and I salute you for that.

And that's to say nothing of Heaven. I mean, this place, just, wow. This place is amazing. They weren't lying, everything's better up here. You have an entire TV channel dedicated to old “Head of the Class” episodes! I had Boston Cream Pie for breakfast this morning! And Al-Qaeda really undershot it with those 50 virgins. When I was welcomed here by 100 gals ready for their first plucking, I was… I'll just say you're too kind, God. Way too kind.

I really don't want to take up too much of your time. You're a busy woman. But there was something I wanted to run by you quickly … Oh, yeah, I know about the cafeteria suggestion box. This is just a bit more “exclusive” to me. Um, yeah. This is difficult, so I'll just come right out and ask:

Why did I die while picking my nose? READ MORE


Wait 'Til You Taste This Next Orange Juice, by Ryan Abbott

You’ve mastered wine and you’ve cupped coffee, but have you experienced the latest craze to tantalize the taste buds of the world’s gastronomic gurus? Here’s your introduction to the rarified world of orange juice tasting.

The next orange juice we're going to taste will change the way you think about orange juice. It is handcrafted by a boutique grove a hundred miles southwest of Orlando, a family-run enterprise that has been among the top juicers for generations. The family does everything: they plant, they prune, they pick, they stab a straw into each perfect sun-kissed specimen then hand squeeze until the sweet pulpy nectar flows, filling American-made stainless steel tanks. They also do their own accounting.

Production of this particular juice is only about 1000 cases per year, most of it purchased by luxury diners and high-end bed and breakfasts within a few hundred miles of the orchard. A small amount is earmarked for premium smoothies. Each carton contains the juice of about 25 oranges, which, when you think about it, is ridiculous. The finest Vietnamese OJ has no more than 16. READ MORE


How Dare You Suggest That I've Forgotten Our Teenage Son's Name, by Sam Weiner

That's quite an accusation, Marianne! To imply that I have up and forgotten my own son's name! Well, you sure have some nerve! To think I can't remember…

…his name.

No, I'm not going to say it right now! That would only give merit to this insulting line of questioning! READ MORE


MovieZoom, by Molly Schoemann

From:  List@MovieZoom.com
Date:  Sunday, 6:54pm
Subject:  Welcome to MovieZoom!

Dear Valued MovieZoom Customer,

Thanks for trying our new service! We here at MovieZoom are excited to bring you the hottest new movies at the lowest prices. We know you’ll be pleased with our unbeatable selection and stellar customer service.

Enjoy the Ride! ™
Your Friends at MovieZoom READ MORE


Welcome to Our Dog Park, by Jonathan Millstein

Welcome to our dog park. This land is privately owned, but we open it to the public because we love dogs. Please, read and abide by the rules posted on this sign so that all may continue to enjoy our park.

Our park generates no income and does not receive government funding, so we are unable to provide custodial services. Therefore we ask those who use our park to help us keep it clean by picking up waste quickly and courteously. Note that we do not consider dogs that perish on the premises to be waste. Removing these dogs from the park is expressly forbidden.

Dogs are naturally curious, and will make playful attempts to rouse other dogs if they find them dead. This can be harmful to the dog bodies. We do what we can to maintain the park relatively free of deceased dogs, but during certain seasons, they can remain for up to forty-eight hours before we are able to collect them. So that your pet does not interfere with the retrieval process, we ask that you always keep it on a leash.  READ MORE