December 2016


This Christmas Eve, the Amarillo Armadillo Smokehouse and Steakery invites you to join us for our latest taste treat: a pound and a half of beef tenderloin, smothered in blueberries. We call it the Smurf ‘n’ Turf, and we think it’s just the thing for the winter blues.

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Q: Did you ever hear about my editor who obsessed over punctuation?

A: My writing gets a routine semicolon-oscopy.

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“What are you?”

The giant raven’s head perched atop the being’s shoulders turned. “What sort of question is that?” it said in a surprisingly normal voice.

“You’ve got a raven for a head.”

“And you’ve wax with a bit of hair poked in. What of it?”

“I mean…” I said, “How did you get that way?”

“Oh, I don’t know,” said the raven. “Maybe it was a curse, maybe a choice, or maybe, just maybe…it’s none of your business.”

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MELINDA DOE: So, judges, what do you have to say about Chef Spottiswoode’s dish?

ULGATHK THE EVER-LIVING: I found the agony and misery of the 30-minute time limit to be beautifully suffused into every bite. Chef Spottiswoode made great use of the daemon heart from the basket as well. But the long pork veal was overcooked and stringy, and what should have been a course in delicious suffering was more like a hissy fit.

TOM HICKS: That’s right, Ulgathk. A daemon heart is like a 50-yard touchdown: difficult to pull off and likely as not to cripple you for life. Buf if you’re going to go for it, you’ve got to go for it. And I feel like Chef Spottiswoode didn’t quite make it to the endzone. The long pork veal was quite juicy, but the presentation was very off-sides.

DOWAGER EMPRESS CNHYN HALLUD: We all have Daemon hearts, don’t we my children? Long pork is just like short, int hat it must be sweet, and we must sing sweetly to it in our stomachs. But with modesty and moderation, gluten-free, and free-range.

MELINDA DOE: Have you reached a verdict?

ULGATHK THE EVER-LIVING: We have. Chef Spottiswoode, your daemon hearts were tasty but your long pork wasn’t up to snuff. And for this reason, we have to guillotine you.

MELINDA DOE: Chef Spottiswoode, I’m afraid you have been guillotined. Your headless body will become the secret ingredient for Round 2.

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“We head for Fort Awesome at once,” said Corporal Dunham.

“Really?” laughed Blythe. “Fort Awesome? Who came up with that name, a teenage boy with a head full of adventure stories?”

“Fort Awesome is named after Lieutenant Jeremy Awesome, who was killed by Comanches in the Battle of Skewered Pines,” said Dunham with a sour expression. “He left behind a wife and three children. Do you still think it’s funny?”

Blythe snickered. “Yes. I’m sorry. He must have been teased mericlessly about his name.”

“Jeremy Awesome was one of the finest men I ever knew, and he was serious to a fault,” Dunham snapped. “It’s a name from the French, you know, the village of Aix-en-Somme. The meaning in English is just a coincidence!”

Blythe just laughed harder.

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Shadowbluff Apartments is a modern housing complex designed specifically for today’s monster-on-the-go. Fully adhering to the International Masquerade and SUN Resolution 66/983, Shadowbluff Apartments offers amenities and peace of mind unavailable in other local areas:

– By special arrangement with the Tecumseh County Blood Bank, nightly deliveries of plasma with weekly packets of serum and hematocrit to mix for our vampire, ghoul, lich, and nosferatu tenants. Bat pet doors are also avalable as an option for a small monthly fee.

– Reinforced and auto-locking safe rooms for lycanthropic and therianthropic tenants. For a modest security deposit, auto-locking through HowlSafe™ and cleanup by Braxton & Brewer Crime Scene Cleanup are available.

– Refrigerated suites for the living-impaired. Interested tenants can arrange for deliveries of offal and brains through Braxton & Brewer for a modest fee.

– Rental to possessed mortals offered on a monthly, yearly, decade, or century basis. Summoning circles and seals are available for succubi and other pro-infernal renters who wish to move about in their native daemonic forms.

Sign up today!

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The Great Ruckus of 1712 began in Hartfordshire, where a rowdy bar song began on St. Swithun’s Day and became a bar fight, which spilled out onto the town square in a general melee of roughousing and cacophony. Constables summoned to attend to the disturbance became part of it, and by nightfall the anarchy had spread as far as London.

While there is no record of Queen Anne punching her husband and his chamberlain, as is often claimed in legend, large parts of the old city were consumed by ruckus for the better part of 48 hours. Troops were eventually called in to quell the disorder, but no inroads could be made until soldiers who couldn’t speak fluent English were located.

The incident was little commented upon at the time, except in bawdy ballads and the like, but the Great Ruckus of 1712 is now regarded as an early example of mass hysteria. It shares this distinction with the Terrible Row of 1757, the Godawful Noise of 1691, and of course the Infernal Racket of 1802.

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