The remaining members of the Zombie House of Preservatives have voted to impeach Zombie President Brayne for a second time. Accusing Brayne of “formenting a buffet” by urging his zombie supporters to eat members of the Zombie Congress, the measure passed 50.5-49, which was enough to carry the House after 338 members were devoured by rabid Brayne supporters last Wednesday. It was technically a bipartisan measure, as the upper half of Mortician Party Representative Pons joined with the 50 surviving Necrotic Party members in passing the articles of impeachment. The remaining 49 members of the Mortician party, which includes the torsos of 6 members and the lower halves of a further 4, opposed the measure.

Mortician Party representatives gave a wide variety of excuses for voting to support Brayne. “We, really, deserved to be eaten,” said one party member. “It’s our own fault.” Another Mortician Party representative claimed that the pro-Brayne horde had been a “false flag attack” of living humans disguised as Brayne supporters. The most common response to questions about the vote from Mortician Party members, however, was “shut up.”

The impeachment now moved to the Zombie Senotaph, where a 2/3 vote among the remaining Senotaphers is required to remove Brayne and bar him from running for reelection in 4 years. Given that same body’s acquittal of Brayne one year ago, after he was captured on tape eating a world leader, a conviction seems unlikely. Despite the attack, Brayne’s opponent, “Dully” Oblongata, proclaimed that he still intended to take power even if he was exercising it from “within the stomach of the opposition.” At press time, Brayne had not formally responded due to the confiscation of his tongue by the Zombie Security Advisor, but had made a number of what anonymous sources call “angry noises.”

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“The name’s José Donzerly, and I’m a national hero,” he said, thrusting his chest out.

“Oh?” said the Prylzakian border guard, looking bored. “You don’t say.”

“I’m mentioned in the American national anthem, even.”

The Prylzakian looked up. “You’re joking.”

“José can you see, by the Donzerly light?”

A pause. “Welcome to the Republic of Prylzakia, Mr. Donzerly.”

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Uri Savashadam, the top Israeli assassin, stared across the table as the joke hung in the air.

“Did…did you just make a joke about how drinking only almond milk would be just nuts?” the client said.

“Yeah,” Savashadam said, downing a tall glass of the stuff. “Is that a problem?”

“Well, I’m just not used to it.”

“You’re used to assassins with sticks up their ass, eh?” Savashadam laughed. “Well, I like to make jokes, so deal with it. Murder can be fun, so why not enjoy life while making a killing, eh?”

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Chris ran a hand over the book, feeling the raised print under finger and palm. It was glossy, like a well-loved leather binding, even as it looked utterly new and unread, its leaves parchment-brown and ragged as if they had just been cut. On the title, embossed into the center of a sunburst, was Chris’s name.

“What is it?”

The oracle regarded Chris through the featureless expanse of its mask. “It is your book,” it said. “Your tome. Every story in your life, that has happened or will happen. Written at the time of your creation by the same hand.”

“What if I change something in it?” Chris said.

“Many have,” replied the oracle, evenly. “People have traveled here through fire and death, through their own private purgatories and worse, to set hands upon their tome. You may tear leaves out, alter them, or add new ones.” The oracle gestured to an inkstone and calligraphy pen at its side with a robed limb.

Chris opened the book to the section indicated by a fine ribbon bookmark. Glancing at the page, it seemed to be about the encounter with and questions asked of the oracle.

“The bookmark represents where you are,” said the oracle. “Changing the leaves that have gone before will alter memory. Changing the ones yet to come will alter reality.”

“Why would someone want to tear out their memory?”

“It is by far the most common action among the lucky few that have made it here,” the oracle said. “But the choice is yours. Alter memory, alter reality, or leave the book as it lies and return to your waking life.”

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After urging his followers to break into the Senotaph chambers and devour all the Senators there preparing to certify his opponent Medulla “Dully” Oblongata’s victory, Zombie President Brayne walked back his remarks in an early evening speech.

“I love the way you, my fellow zombies, are breaking into the Senotaph and devouring my opponents, tearing them limb from limb,” Brayne said. “But if you could do it quietly, peacefully, respectfully, that would be nice.”

Despite the fact that they were literally being attacked and in many cases devoured by Brayne’s rabid followers, 3/5 of the Mortician Party’s members in the Senotaph objected to Zombie Vice President Mortis’s certification of the results. This was not enough to overturn the results of the election, however, as the Senotaph and Mortis voted to uphold the results before they were torn to shreds.

In response, the surviving members of the Mortician Party admitted that Brayne “could have handled the situation better” but dismissed any talk of removing, impeaching, censuring, or talking to the Zombie President in any way would be “premature” and “an overreaction.” In contrast, the Necrotic Party, which is set to take over both the Senotaph and the Blight House in a few days, confirmed to news outlets that it had composed a “polite but firm letter” that it was passing to Brayne’s underlings, with the hope that they would “give him the jist of it.”

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“That’s Vigorish Sleesh,” said TCG-80. “Some folks know him as the new Andromeda Fats, but not me.”

“Tiny” Bucca frowned. “He just looks like a slug in a fancy suit to me. Andromeda Fats was more than just a tub of lard, he was the best Tarazed Hold-Em player in the Fifty Systems.”

“Ah, but Mr. Sleesh has a secret weapon,” TCG-80 replied. “He has a tumor in his probability gland, you see. Quite inoperable, but also rather benign.”

“Aldebaran bareaks have probability glands?” Bucca said.

“So do you, yours is just so small that it hardly makes a difference. But Sleesh? He will always have the least statistically likely set of cards in any given game. Most of the time that’s a winning hand, but not always. He loses just enough bad beats to keep him coming back.”

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Noxapater. They say it means “little bullets” in Choctaw, but I bet they’ve never asked an actual Choctaw to be sure. All that matters is that Noxapater himself chose it as his name for that reason, I guess, since he wasn’t the sort to argue or bandy words.

Not that he was the sort of psychopath who’d kill you just for disagreeing with him. Those people didn’t last long in the guild. No, Noxapater was the sort of assassin who was wound tighter than a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs, and taking a life unsprung that tension for him. He always took a vacation afterwards, someplace real nice on the guild’s dime, and he’d show up with a bit of a tan and ready for work once his psychoses had rewound themselves.

He wasn’t like Ellerbee, who would talk your ear off as a cover for slight-of-hand, or even like Sones, who was on a monosyllable-only basis with everyone who wasn’t his mama. No, Noxapater was the sort who would listen, maybe with a nod or a “yep,” until the topic was something that interested him, and then you’d find yourself doing the nodding and the yepping.

I remember, back when I was real new with the guild, I mentioned a funny little pistol that a contract had used in self defense. Noxapater had been listening like a stone up until that point, but he perked right up at that, and soon I was in the middle of a twenty-minute lecture on the virtues of a silenced Astra 3000 pistol for wetwork, the intricacies of the Basque firearms industry, and why .32 ACP was not to be taken lightly when fired from a simple, reliable pistol.

You could say he practiced what he preached, since the next contract I heard about through the informal guild grapevine was that Noxapater had killed a philandering stockbroker in Buenos Aires with just such a pistol. Followed, of course, by a six-week vacation to Iguazu Falls.

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They said the world is hard
So best harden your heart
Taking their advice, with lard
In the end was not smart

Quite the I rebel I was
Never took orders well
My cells didn’t either
And from tumors I fell

They said smoking kills
And I didn’t pay heed
I’m sorry for the bills
For helping me breathe

A big thinker I was
Deep thoughts, had a lot
The last one gave me pause
Being mostly a clot

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Japanese Mandrake
Spruce up your garden with these hardy tubers, which grow to the size of human infants and help with soil retention and erosion control. Unlike most mandrakes, its scream only kills people who speak Japanese, so be sure to Poll Before You Pull™.

Cyrenaican Laserwort
Love is in the air with this magnificent giant fennel, one thought extinct! Useful in love potions, abortifacients, and simple painkillers, you’ll agree that laserwort hits the target. Warning: will not grow from seeds.

Rapa Nui Palm Nuts
No need to be stonefaced about these gorgeous nuts! The largest palm nuts in the world, with trunks that make excellent rollers for moving heavy objects and edible palm hearts to boot. Grows to fruit-bearing size in 15-20 years.

Romanian Vampire Pumpkins (Vampumpkins)
These pumpkins go around houses and gardens at night, all by themselves, and feast on blood. But since they have no teeth, they are rarely successful. They make great watchfruits, and if you are able to water one with blood, it can grow to a prodigious size and psychic power!

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January: Astronomers Reveal That, Due to Error, 2020 Extended by One Month

February: 31st Day Discovered in Most Dismal Month, Scientists Confirm

March: Citizens Should Beware Every Day in March, Not Just the Ides

April: April Showers to Merge Into Global Warming, Ice Cap Meltdown

May: Mayflowers Bearing Colonists Arrive From Alpha Centauri

June: Murder Hornets, Godzilla Sign Non-Aggression Pact

July: Dread Lord Cthulhu Announces Candidacy

August: Global Warming Upgraded to Global Boiling

September: Cover Fee Instituted for Labor Day

October: Pumpkin Shortage Leads to Gourd Pirates

November: Mutant Zombie Turkeys No Cause For Concern, CDC Says

December:Astronomers Reveal That, Due to Error, 2020 Extended by One Year

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