Two men sit across from one another at a desk. The man talking is big, a mountain capped with beard and ponytail. NOEL it says on his breast pocket. He’s dressed in a programmer’s t-shirt and jeans and his pudgy hands are folded expectantly in his lap. Despite the roaring AC, he looks very hot.

The man facing him is lean, hollow-cheeked, and dressed in a company polo. Detached and efficient, he looks like a member of the Geek Squad, missing only the bubble car. His name is DENHOLM and he’s all business.

The room is large, with rows and rows of junked beige PCs, zombies from the nineties, stacked neatly against the walls.

Okay if I talk?

DENHOLM doesn’t answer.

I kinda get nervous when I take tests.

Don’t move.


He tries not to move, but finally his lips can’t help da sheepish smile.

I used to proctor tests, you know, in school. Sitting still for hours at a time, it was great. The only thing was you couldn’t bring snacks.

Reaction time is a factor in this, so please pay attention. Answer as quickly as you can.

I may look big, Mr. Denholm, but I’m not slow.

DENHOLM briskly hands NOEL a sheet of cardstock. It wobbles slightly as the big man handles it. It’s festooned with several colorful, distorted images, some of cars, others of roadways.

Look at these images. There are nine of them. I want you to pick out the ones with cars in them.

With cars in them?

Yes. Pick the ones with cars.

NOEL jabs a meaty digit at several of the images in sequence. We can’t see his choices, but DENHOLM can. If he sees anything, he keeps it to himself.

Did you get that?

Sliding the pictures off the desk, DENHOLM replaces it with another, this one with bridges and roadways.

Yes, thank you. And this one? Point to all the images with bridges in them.

Huh? Sure. Yeah. I guess. You playing bridge with me, like my grandma?

NOEL points at several more images, scowling. DENHOLM smiles a patronizing smile. He produces one more card, this one with a simple checkbox on it. A pen is clipped to it.

Shall we continue?

NOEL nods, still frowning suspiciously.

Good. Now check this box, please.


Check the box.

How the hell am I supposed to do that?

Use the pen, if you like, or your finger, even your own blood if you want to be morbid.

That’s just crazy talk. I can’t check that box. No one can. It’s physically impossible!

Just try.

Hesitatingly, NOEL reaches out, but his arm trembles uncontrollably and falls to the table with a dull thud. Suddenly DENHOLM grins disarmingly.

It’s just a checkbox, Noel. It’s a test, designed to provoke a response.

NOEL is glaring now, the blush subsides, his anger slightly defused.

DENHOLM smiles cheerfully, very smooth. Then he goes for the inside of his coat. But big NOEL is faster. He quickdraws a Colt Single Action Army and fans the hammer. The bullets go through DENHOM’S chest and come out his back, clean as a whistle. Like a rag doll he falls back into the seat. Big slow NOEL is already trundling away on his scooter.

Inspired by, adapted from, and a parody of this.

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Pacifists & Paragons Module P2: OH, MY ACHING GIANTS!

The settlers of Shatterstone Valley have long had a peaceful detanté with the Shatterstone Band of hill giants – in return for tithes of food and clean water, the giants keep the peace along the northern border. BUT NO MORE! A rash of crippling arthritis attacks has paralyzed the giants, old and young alike, leaving the valley undefended and open the the depredations of the evil and hungry Marrowsplinter Band of giants to the north! Darker voices among the Shatterstone Peasants are afoot too, some saying that perhaps the time has come to be rid of the giants once and for all…!

Players will have to visit the tribes of giants to try and tackle their issues with joint aches and pains. But a thousand thousand years of tradition and toxic masculinity has made the giants unreceptive, even hostile, to medical aid. And how does a hot water cure work for an elephant-sized figure? The group will need to use their medical and anthropological skills to the utmost to render aid or risk being squashed to jelly. Ever try to intimidate a giant by pointing out how unattractive canes are? Be careful!

This P&P™ Adventure Module™ is suitable for player from level 2-5, and can be scaled for groups from 3-6. As with all P&P products, the only damage tables included are for use on YOU! Can you come to a pacifist solution to the crisis? We’d like to think so!

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The goblin matriarch Blatsuna lays dying from a difficult pregnancy, with the fate of her only heir on the line due to a breech presentation and a shortage of qualified goblin midwives. Leaderless, the goblin hordes of the Green Hills have begun to rampage out of control as Blatsuna’s lieutenants jockey for power in the event of her untimely death!

It is your job, as a group of clerics, healers, doctors, and magical anthropologists, to infiltrate the massive goblin complex of Snoothollow to give Blatsuna the aid she needs in delivering her baby. But it won’t be easy – in addition to hundreds of well-armed goblin troops and high-ranking lieutenants out for blood, you must contend with hundreds of years of goblin tradition, unsanitary conditions, and of course the mob of villagers ready to take up arms and purge the greenskins from their ancestral lands!

This P&P™ Adventure Module™ is suitable for player from level 1-4, and can be scaled for groups from 3-6. As with all P&P products, the only damage tables included are for use on YOU! Can you come to a pacifist solution to the crisis? We’d like to think so!

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The four kennels of the legendary Dogwarts School are:

Founded by the powerful dog Muffin Wigglebutt, Wigglebutt Kennel prides itself on nurturing pups with the traits of howlery, digger, powerful noses, and tail-chasing.

The work of famous 15th-century dog Brutus Snufflepup, Snufflepups kennels nurtures the virtues of hard bark, coming when called, being a good dog, loyalty, and playing with balls.

Famous dog Mitzi Ravenpaw made her name by hunting birds, and her kennel therefore prizes obedience, knowledge, sitting, and of course birding.

Smoochums Shitindoor is known among dogs for his controversial insistance that dogs knew better than their masters where, when, and how to poop. His kennel is therefore dedicated to tha art of defecation, making messes, running, and sneaky eating of kleenexes stolen from the trash.

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Through the simple application of our patented* halite-derived natrium chloride cleanse, you can purge your body of dangerous over-concentrations of hydroxyl acid!

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For the low cost of only $19.99 per packet, we will send you natrium chloride crystals that you can use as part of a full-blown hydroxyl acid purge or just a daily cleanse. Just mix it into your drink, sprinkle it on some food, or eat the crystals as they are to start gaining the benefits!

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Dear Sir or Madam,

We are pleased to inform you that your skills and pedantry in spelling, grammar, usage, and diction have led to your selection as a student in Roget’s School of Wordcraft and Spelling. You will find a list of neccessary books and equipment below.

Period begins on September 1st. Please indicate your acceptance no later than July 31, in writing.

Yours sincerely,
J. Interrobang Guillemet IV
Order of Mirriam-Webster, First Class
Grand Scriblerian
Solidus, Oxford Association of Punctuation
Head, American Vowel Association

One (1) set, period attire.
Five (5) boxes, 12ga. No. 2 commas.
One (1) box, Obelus’s Signature Punctuation Mix.
One (1) box, Fleuron Brand General Typography Symbols.
McGuffey’s Eclectic Primer (1st ed.) by William Holmes McGuffey.
American Dictionary of the English Language (1828 ed.) by Noah Webster.
Roget’s Thesaurus (1st ed.) by Peter Mark Roget.
The Elements of Style (Harcourt ed., 1920) by William Strunk, Jr.
The Oxford English Dictionary (1928 ed.) edited by James Murray, Henry Bradley, et al.

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Moulder cracked his rotted jaw back into place. “What’s so hard to believe about that? Billy Night the Wight says he saw a mailman in the Screaming Gulch behind Canker’s. We have video footage to prove it. It’s clearly normal forces at work.”

“Your problem, Moulder, is that you’re just too damn gullible.” Skully rolled the pinpoints of light in her empty sockets that served her as pupils. “The netherworld is paranormal. Nothing normal has ever been proven to occur. There’s always an illogical explanation. Always.”

“Is there an illogical explanation for why you wear a pantsuit when there’s nothing under there but dry ivories?” Moulder said with a crooked grin. “Or why you wear that red wig?”

“There is a perfectly illogical explanation,” said Skully. “I like to have something to scratch, hence the wig. I like to sport something colorful yet professional, hence the pantsuit. You might try taking the same care with your appearance.”

Moulder broke off a nethershroom eagerly growing through one of the many, many tears in his dark duster and slipped it into his maw. “Why’s that?” he said. “It’s just going to get torn up again.”

“Ugh.” Skully turned away in disgust. “Look, we’ve got a zombie or a white walker in a mailman suit to investigate. Just try to keep an unreasonable, weird explanation in mind, okay?”

“We’ll see about that,” said Moulder. “The normal is out there.”

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Pallafor, Yodis. The Great Unmaking: How Mississippi Will Fare in the Doomtimes. Jackson: Universal Press of Alternate Mississippi, 1206 ACE.

Mr. Pallafor has a firm vision of what he calls the Doomtimes, the end of all life in Mississippi (and Mississippi alone); he sets these ideas forth in this screed, due out from UPAM soon and available for preorder.

The overall thesis of Pallafor’s Doomtimes is that an 11.0 earthquake will occur along the New Madrid fault, causing the Mississippi River to change direction once again and sucking up vast quantities of seawater to inundate the Delta and most low-lying areas of the state with brackish water. This will, he writes, then lead a race of crawdads, mutated and given intelligence by the BP oil spill of 2010, to enter the state and dominate the surviving humans.

As support for his claims, Mr. Pallafor offers up verbatim transcripts of conversations he had with the archangel Metamucil after suffering a series of blows to the head as part of the confirmation process for his former position on the Mississippi IHL. These, serving as a lengthy appendix, are exhaustively indexed and cross-referenced.

While this title is probably not suitable for school, public, university, or special libraries, it certainly belongs in any Mississippi Doombrary worth its salt, and indeed the first inscribed copy was donated to the Delta Doombrary after publication.

Isola Playford
Mississippi Delta Doombrary

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Poydras, Fiallo. A Guide to Mississippi Fanfiction. R’lyeh: Great Auk, 2016.

As readers of Fifty Shades of Grey can attest, fanfiction—works written by fans based on existing universes but not authorized or condoned by rightsholders—has never been hotter. However, the existing treatment of fanfiction tends to dwell on the phenomenon at a macro level for very popular milieus. Twilight, Harry Potter, Star Trek…all of these have been well-covered by other authors at length.

However, Mr. Poydras—an amateur working out of Biloxi—has undertaken to write the first guide to fanfiction written by Mississippians about Mississippians. His encyclopedic volume, complete through August of 2010, features extensive treatment of the Faulkner fanfics that are so popular in Mississippi circles. Special attention is paid to the Yoknapatawpha Wars cycle, an epic tale in 27 volumes that brings characters and situations from As I Lay Dying and Sanctuary into a 31st-century setting dominated by space zombies.

Poydras also treats Eudora Welty fanfiction—so-called Weltfic—at some length, though it is clear that his interests lie more with Faulkfic and the intense subculture of Tennessee Williams and Truman Capote slashfics, which re-imagines the characters and situations of those writers in intense and often lurid heterosexual relationships.

That weakness aside, this volume is recommended for all libraries, especially those with large numbers of circulating vampire movies.

Floro Alpis
Yoknapatawpha County Public Library

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It’s no secret that today’s library patron is exposed to more sorcery than any of us in the profession right now. And it’s also no secret that they are exposed to sorcery from a much earlier age, with many of today’s youth, high schoolers, and incoming college students never knowing a world without sorcery and getting their first spellbooks as young as age 5.

Clearly, these patrons are expecting a library experience that is compatible with their cantrips and incantations, one that offers storage space for spell books and physical ingredients and has mana potions available for when the sorcerous ichor within runs low. Sadly, due to lack of centralized state funding, Mississippi is currently 49 out of 51 states in sorcery resources offered to all segments of the population; only the state of Denial and the state of Confusion have lower uptake rates.

It has become something of a cliché that librarians are slow to embrace sorcery, preferring tried and true methods of magic that rely on augury, interpreting the flights of birds, and of course Magic the Gathering card catalogs. But as useful as these once may have been, and may continue to be for some older patrons, the time has come to use sorcery in public programming and outreach to show—at no significant cost to the institution—the patrons of the future that libraries are still relevant.

An easy way to incorporate sorcery is to move your library’s arcana collection from your archives into the main circulation collections. While in the past it was traditional for bestiaries and books of forbidden knowledge to be library use only, those days are fading in the era of Wikibestiary and Glitter shamantags like #forbidden and #cthulhu. Even if they are offered only as exhibits, these older materials have the potential to excite patrons.

Make use of your staff as well; chances are that a few of them know a spell or two or have an Apple SpellBook Pro sitting around. Ask them to develop events and displays, to keep your Glitter account and Witchterest page up-to-date, to try and find new and novel spells to cast and ways to make existing library collections spell-friendly. Do your books support enchantments that allow them to float into users’ hands? Can they be used as prisons for demons, or portals to fantastic worlds of the imagination? It may take some work, but adding these features will pay off in the long run.

Perhaps the best resource is education: the more we learn about sorcery and spellcasting, the more we can help our patrons. Be on the lookout for low-cost séances, astral projections, and other means of networking and learning with peer and the Great Old Ones. Either way, remember that for our patrons, ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn is not a new thing: for them, Cthulhu has always wgah’nagl fhtagn.

Isola Playford
Mississippi Delta Doombrary

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