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I may eventually put something worthwhile here. Then again, perhaps I won't.


A little bit of treason

Hillier looked at the wafer-thin USB drive before scooping it up and placing it in a pocket. His contact within DoD had come through, copying the design of plans for the next-generation of nuclear missile technology from an insufficiently-secured laptop and leaving the USB memory stick at the designated drop point. Hillier just needed to verify the contents of the stick before passing it to his buyer. He didn’t think of it as betraying his country. It was just a way of making a living.

Once in his apartment, Hillier placed the USB drive into his own laptop. He double-clicked on the icon. But instead of seeing a schematic of a new missile, the drive launched a video of Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up.” Rickrolled by some Defense Department geek.




“It was night.”

No, you need the opening to be punchier, more suspenseful. Give it another try.

“It was a dark and stormy night.”

Better, but maybe ratchet up the suspense even a little more.

“It was a really, really dark and especially stormy night.”

That’s not exactly what I...

“As soon as it got dark, the frustrated author killed the annoying editor with his pen.”

Better, better. How about changing “killed” to “stabbed” - or even “slaughtered”? Wait, we can talk this over... “killed” is just fine... what are you -“ [Scream]



At the track

Alan leaned over the rail, urging his horse to victory. The horse finished dead last, and Alan tore his betting ticket in two. So much for the great tip he had gotten from the old guy who looked as though he spent his days at the track, studying each race with great intensity. This was the fifth race in a row the old guy had whispered a name to Alan, and the fifth race in a row where that name had finished out of the money. A Magic 8 Ball would have been just as helpful.

A second old man materialized at the rail, next to Alan. “Let me guess,” Alan said, “you have a tip for me.”

“Yeah,” the old man said, “I do. Don’t take betting advice from strangers.“



Look on the bright side of life

“Why do you have to be so grumpy all the time?” Susan asked her husband.

“I’m not grumpy, I’m just particular in my likes and dislikes,” Mark replied.

She rolled her eyes. “Just this morning you complained about the toast being burned, how Junior parked his car too close to yours, and how the neighbors started mowing too early. Is there anything you feel happy about?”

He thought for a while. “I suppose I’m happy nothing bad has happened to the house this week. Oh, and that I still have a job.”

Susan smiled. “Good. For a while I was concerned you had nothing. Well, keep those things in mind. We have a meeting with Junior’s guidance counselor in fifteen minutes. And I changed the chores list so that you’ll be making breakfast from now on. And I convinced the Smiths that eight a.m. was too early to start mowing, so he agreed to do it after dark.”

Susan took secret pleasure at the scowl on Mark’s face that stayed in place the rest of the day.




The past few weeks had been very stressful for me. An internal audit and the loss of a big client had left me edgy and irritable. My friend Mack, sensing my tension, proposed a weekend trip to go fly fishing. “Trust me, you’ll never have been so relaxed in your life.”

That’s how I found myself in a freezing stream at 6 a.m., casting a rod adorned with colorful plastic into the water. Three hours later I was in the same spot with nothing to show for it beyond my increasing frustration and perhaps some frostbite. I snapped my rod in two, did the same with Mack’s, and threw our gear into the stream. “You’re right,” said, “this *is* relaxing. I should have done this hours ago.”