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The Squeak

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I had this squeak in my shoe that really drove me insane.

At first, I didn't notice it much. Maybe I'd be walking down an echoing hallway or passing though some quiet area. Suddenly, I'd become aware of the squeak. It was a squelching, squishy sort of squeak, not overly loud, but subtly invasive. On carpet, it sometimes sounded as if the rug’s fabric was soaked through with some viscous or unclean liquid, making me want to see if I needed to clean the bottom of my shoe.

After the first few months, I began to notice the squeak more and more frequently.

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The Guns

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Ted decided to jump ahead one month at a time, reporting back after each mission. Up through July, six months from when he was assigned to the project, things on Earth looked pretty normal, even boring. On Ted’s seventh trip, to August, he noticed a strange whining sound as soon as the time machine started up. He ignored it and set a beach in Australia as the machine’s destination. He’d never been to Australia before.

A bright flash in the sky caught his attention. Ted frowned and squinted upward until he picked out a strange light in the sky. The light resolved itself into three lights. Then five. Then fifteen. Forty. He lost count.

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Back Taxes

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When I opened my eyes on the operating table, I knew I'd been away a real long while, and not just knocked out, not unconscious or comatose. I felt like I'd fallen down a well so deep you couldn't see the bottom, landed in soft sludge. Stayed there so long that dark and time were just concepts randomly combined. A nurse took my vitals and I asked questions, but she just tucked a plastic card in the pocket of my shirt.

The card displayed words when I squeezed it, like an e-reader, but most looked like Chinese and half the English ones were gibberish. Had we lost a goddamn war? That's when the "sedan" pulled up, a car-sized Roomba painted black. Its gullwing door opened.

I didn't know where I was, what year it was, or how long it would be before I started craving brains, so I got in the damn car. Then my old boss appeared, Jacob Mason. Jake to his friends. We were never friends.

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Treasured

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A high-pitched shriek echoed off the canyon walls.

“Relax, honey. It’s just a spider.” John brushed the offending creature off his wife’s neck. “Must have dropped down from the trees.” He laughed at her, and she hit him in the arm.

“It’s not funny!” When he continued to laugh, Andrea stepped from under the overhanging branches and onto the sunny dirt path, dumping her backpack on the ground. “I want to stop,” she said. “I’m starving.”

“Just a couple more miles to the--” He intercepted her glare. “Me too,” he corrected himself. “Starving.”

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Downloading Brunch

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"Hi this is Lydia at PrintzFirst Tech Support. What seems to be the problem?"

"What's the problem?" shrieked the man at the other end of the line. "I'll tell you the problem. My printer won't stop making goddamned brunch."

"You mean it just keeps printing in an infinite loop?"

"The muffins, the frittatas, they're everywhere! They're taking over my entire house room by room. They're getting crumbs all over my beautiful marble floor. And my cats, they're freaking out. I can't even see the poor dears anymore. And the spinach quiche - don't even get me started on the quiche!"

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