June 2022


Dr. Janos Srko, DVM: I see we have a young sasquatch here.

Patient: Yes, I just don’t understand what’s gotten into Biggie. He used to be so spunky and cute, but now he’s lashing out and attacking the neighbors! He ate my neighbor’s cat yesterday and I’m worried they might press charges.

Dr. Janos Srko, DVM: Of course he is! He’s a sasquatch, a social animal, and you’re trying to keep him as a pet.

Patient: But he was fine before.

Dr. Janos Srko, DVM: He was a little kid before, a baby! Now he’s going through puberty. He’s been trying to communicate with you, but humans can’t pick up on sasquatch social cues.

Patient: What should I do?

Dr. Janos Srko, DVM: It should be illegal for you to keep a pet Sasquatch. But until the state legislature catches onto that, you have only two options. You can either give him up to a sasquatch sanctuary, or you can take him home with the knowledge that sooner or later he’ll become so dangerous that he’ll have to be euthanized.

Patient: I need to think about this.

Dr. Janos Srko, DVM: (to camera) The real tragedy here is that this poor sasquatch wasn’t properly socialized among his own kind, so he’ll never be able to live in the wild. Life in the sanctuary with other rescued saaquatches is his best choice at a decent life.

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The island of Zalagi had been one of many taken by Japan from Germany during the First World War, but other than performing coastal surveys it was largely left to its own devices, having negligible strategic value. The Japanese governor-general would send supplies by boat, and occasionally by air, once per month. This was necessary as the civilian population of nearby Vutagu had been expelled to Zalagi to make way for the construction of a seaplane base and submarine pen.

During the course of Operation Boilermaker in 1943-44, Zalagi and Vutagu were cut off by the Allied “island hopping” campaign and left to wither on the vine. Around this time, the islanders on Zalagi received a radio message informing them that supply deliveries would continue. They assumed that the message was from Col. Kenji Hashimoto on Vutagu, commander of the small Japanese garrison there, and true to its word supplies continued to arrive. They were not delivered by boat or by air, but simply left on the beach, and were generally in the form of fish or native fruits. Nevertheless, it was enough for the islanders to avoid starvation.

It was only after Allied troops arrived in autumn 1945 that the islanders on Zalagi learned that Col. Hashimoto had died in 1942, and that the Vutagu garrison had endured intense starvation, with a third of the men there dying and the remainder surviving extreme deprivation with accusations of cannibalism. There was no way that the message could have come from Vutagu, no supplies on Vutagu to spare, and the officer responsible was already dead.

Analysis of the radio set used by the islanders, a pre-war Nippon Broadcasting Company model 221-b, showed that it had been damaged and incorrectly repaired following the impact of Typhoon Hera in late 1942. The outgoing signal was so weak that it would have taken a transceiver of [Redacted] power to receive any transmission, and incoming transmissions would have been impossible to receive unless they originated from a 12º arc in the sky formed by the constellation [Redacted].

Further analysis of the remaining cocoanut husks and fish bones left over from the supplies were also inconclusive. While both were native to Zalagi, the cocoanuts recovered were of a variety only found on [Redacted], while the fish were a subspecies found only in the [Redacted] Sea. It would have been impossible for either to have reached Zalagi without a major logistical effort, one which Japan in 1943-44 was incapable of providing to its own troops, much less the islanders of Zalagi.

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Sun and its sibling Moon created the world together, but as siblings are wont to do they fell to squabbling over their creation. Sun desired its creations to be brightly colored and to sleep during the night, while Moon wanted muted colors and daytime sleep. Both sought to sway the animals to their side with gifts, as they had all been created with the will to do what they would.

For instance, Sun offered the vain cardinal a brought red hue in exchange for it singing during the day, while Moon offered it jet-black feathers for a nighttime song. Cardinal chose the red, and so they sing during the day. But owl took Moon’s offer of silent wings for hunting over Sun’s offer of a loud hunting cry.

When it was time for crow to be courted by Sun and Moon, it approached them separately. Sun offered bright plumage, while Moon offered dark. Crow refused both offers, noting that there were many birds of both dark and light. Sun responded by offering crow the gift of being able to eat anything, while Moon tempted crow with cleverness and curiosity. Crow decided to play both sides.

Crow went to Moon and accepted Moon’s offer, promising to take on dark plumage. Then, later, Crow went to Sun and accepted its offer as well, promising to sleep during the night. Only when Sun and Moon bestowed both their gifts did they realize that they had both been tricked, and that Crow had played them against one another.

Begrudgingly, both kept their word: crow kept the ability to eat anything and the cleverness and curiosity which it had been promised. But in a rare moment of agreement both Sun and Moon punished crow for its hubris by taking its song. Little did either realize that crow did not care to sing anyway; this is why crow does not sing, and has the colors of a night bird in the day, and more gifts than the other birds.

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It has come to our attention that some in this state have been complaining that guns have more rights than women in this state. This is, clearly, an absurd state of affairs. Therefore, the state legislature majority caucus has authorized and passed SLB 117, also known as the “Firearms Right to Life Bill.”

This important bill, the first of its kind nationwide and hopefully the first of many, rules that guns are legally classified as living beings and that bullets are legally classified as children. Therefore, it is now illegal in this state to unload a loaded gun, which would be tantamount to an abortion, or to destroy and existing gun, which is now legally equivalent to murder. Guns and ammunition may, of course, still be freely manufactured.

What does this mean for you, the gun owners of this state? First of all, take care of your guns. If you are found to have destroyed or improperly cared for a firearm, you will be liable for stiff penalties including mandatory fines and jail time. Second, all bullets must be fired, birthed into the world as God intended. Unloading is tantamount to murder and will be subject to the same harsh fines and jail time. Both will be enforced by tip lines, bounty hunters, and handsome cash rewards from the state coffers for those who report any such crimes.

I have been asked whether firing a gun into a steel or paper target, or a dirt berm, constitutes a crime under this new law. The answer: absolutely. God intended bullets to be fired into and pierce living flesh, and we are but His humble servants. Therfore any firing of a gun that does not result in a wound will be tantamount to masturbation, which the Lord also frowns upon. The penalty will be the same, though smaller bounties are authorized for its reportage. We have given the firing ranges and gun clubs of the state 30 days to convert to live targets, after which they will be raided and closed. In a seperate, unrelated, decision, we are pleased to report that inmates of state correctional facilities are now available to rent as targets.

The legislature’s majority caucus thanks you for your continued support via intensive gerrymandering, and urges you to go forth and birth as many bullet babies into the world as you can.

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In a stunning decision that flies in the face of 50 years of zombie precedent, the justices of the Supreme Corpse voted 6-4 in favor of ending the federal protection for brains, overturning the landmark Sarah v. Bellum ruling. This means that it is now up to individual zombie state legislatures to decide whether, and how, it is acceptable for zombies to legally slay the living and consume their brains.

The decision was not wholly unanticipated, as the full text of the decision had been leaked a month prior. In addition, former Zombie President Brayne had championed the repeal of Sarah V. Bellum, and due to legal manuvering, assassination, and devouring, he had been able to appoint a record seven justices to the Supreme Corpse in his four-year term. His successor and bitter rival, Medulla “Dully” Oblongata, has only managed to appoint one-half of a justice despite his party controlling both houses of Zombie Congress. Zombie President Oblongata’s half-nominee voted against the measure, as did the only half-nominee of Brayne’s predecessor, President Amygdala.

Previously, under Sarah v. Bellum, the right to posess a brain and the right to not have it eaten without consent was a controversial cornerstone of zombie jurisprudence. While many credit it with ending the zombie wars of the 1960s and making it possible for the undead to live and prosper alongside the living in a parallel modern nation-state, many conservative zombies have long opposed it. Since the 1980s, a repeal of the right to one’s brains has been their top priority.

While Zombie President Oblongata has signed an executive order enforcing a right to one’s brains on federal zombie lands, it is feared that his party will lose control of the Zombie Congress in the next election, making the gesture moot.

At press time, roving gangs of zombies had already begun slaying the living and consuming their brains in states with so-called “brainstem laws.” Those laws stated that, if Sarah v. Bellum was ever overturned, they would immediately legalize the right to slay the living and consume their brains. A member of the Zombie Legislature of Mississippi, reached for comment as he snacked noisily on the brain of an innocent, insisted that the repeal was a matter of “states’ rights” and that he was intent on making his a “pro-death” state.

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From an early age, Hammond Ruddock Jr. knew that the secret to making a decent living was to find what people wanted and then sell it to them. As a schoolboy, he’d done well on door to door sales for the school. In college, he’d traded in textbooks and contraband. But when Hammond Ruddock Sr. had fallen stone dead from an aneurysm, leaving his son the shell of a building that was paid off and connections with the county apparatus, well…it didn’t take a rocket scientist to see what the locals wanted and would pay for.

Ruddock’s was the preeminent bar in the local area for a few reasons. First and foremost, Hammond Ruddock kept the place clean and served a good array of local favorites. He even took requests, buying bottles on the house so long as patrons paid by the glass. With the occasional life music, video poker, and well-maintained pool tables and dartboards, Ruddock’s was often the only place where there was anything to do. The free wi-fi didn’t hurt either–that day’s password came with your first purchase.

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Lexington “Lex” Pickens had big dreams of musical stardom that were just large enough to sustain him on the ragged edge in the city, from gig to gig, surviving but not thriving. When he returned home, seeking more of the latter than the former, he kept his hand in and regularly plays and sings and tours locally. It helps that he owns his own equipment, everything from a guitar to a bass to a drum set and full mic setup, that he meticulously accumulated from scraps and castoffs during his time in the city.

Even though he might be moonlighting as a part of half a dozen local bands as a hired gun, that income isn’t enough even in Lex’s rural home. He supplements it with music lessons and a steady(ish) bartending gig, with Lex jokingly saying that he is good at mixing no matter the medium. He’s not though. Lex is a talented musician but a mediocre bartender, and his willingness to work odd hours and his ability to find substitutes for shifts when he is on (local) tours is what keeps him solvent.

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Ebenezer Goodman took the Hebrew meaning of his name, “stone of help,” quite literally and felt called to the ministry early in life. After completing a series of increasingly rigorous theological degrees on scholarship, he became the lead preacher at the Ebenezer Church–a coincidence that he found compelling and suggestive of divine intervention. However, many assumed that he had named the church after himself in a fit of pique, a notion that persisted even after he paid for a large stone to sit out in front of the building with the name of the church and the Hebrew meaning of Ebenezer engraved thereupon.

Despite his intense faith and impeccable credentials, Rev. Goodman is not a popular figure, as he is seen as being fussy, intolerant, and irritable even by his own parishioners. He routinely picks fights with people that he believes are enemies of the church, from Flora Canton’s adjoining–and overgrown–estate to local bars that feature live music and video poker. The people appreciate his passion, and he garnered 42% of the vote in a failed bid for local office, but that doesn’t mean they like him personally.

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Flora Canton had been named for a beautiful field of flowers her mother saw on the way to the hospital, but Flora herself preferred to call herself “seedy.” With the old Canton farm on 76 as her inheritance, she sought to return the area to its natural state, religiously rooting out invasives while cultivating and selling native plants on the side. It wasn’t much of a living, so she made ends meet by substitute teaching, pet sitting, pet grooming, and human grooming. Even so, if Great-Grandpappy Canton hadn’t managed to pay off the mortgage, there was no way Flora could have afforded even her modest lifestyle.

She was continually in conflict with people around 76 who saw her property as an overgrown eyesore, so much so that a lot of her business is actually conducted through intermediaries, like the Audubon Center native plant sale.

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Named after Carmelita “Una” Dos Santos, who had ranched the land for many years, a dispute over the land after her death kept it in legal limbo for decades. Her second husband, Philip McKean, claimed the prairie along with the rest of the ranch, while Una’s son from her first marriage, Ernesto Smith, claimed that it had been left to him as a future homestead. Legal wrangling didn’t end with the deaths of Smith or McKean, either, with both men’s families pushing the issue as a matter of family honor. In the meantime, the prairie gradually returned to its natural and wild state as a sort of unintentional preserve. Starting in the 1940s, the state ag school’s extension service began to do surveys of the land, and it was identified as a biodiversity hotspot, becoming popular with eco-tourists and birdwatchers. But that was before the last descendants of both Smith and McKean came to an agreement for a buyout, with the full legal title to the land finally being settled, before promptly announcing that the prairie would be bulldozed and converted into a cattle pasture.

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