Neighborhood Witch

They say a witch lives over on Elm, right on the corner in an old house that’s sort of fallen down between two towering oak trees. They say her lawn’s green and lush because of deals she’s made with the chattering squirrels that bound along its expanse with no fear of the blackbirds perched on her home’s roof. They say the rhododendron bushes flanking the house’s front steps will laugh and twitch and watch if you try to knock on her door. They say there’s a growling thing in the attic and it’ll leap out to snatch you if you’re walking by late at night.

But they also say she’s got long hair down to her knees and a kind, lined face that reminds them of their grandmothers. They say she’ll weave small charms from bird bones she’s got on hand and hair that you bring her, if you live in fear of shadows underneath your bedroom door (of your parents and their long miles of scotch.) They say she knows strange ways of walking and can keep you from running late when you’ve been told This is the last time, young man.

They say a witch lives over on Elm and Susan is shivering in front of the woman’s house, backlit by the afternoon sun and feeling none the warmer for it. She still sways in place, eyes darting from the black canvas of her shoes to the lengthening shadows on the lawn. They say a witch lives in the house Susan’s been staring at for long minutes (minutes in which a voice in her head keeps asking what are you doing, girl, what are you after,) and she’s chewed her bottom lip bloody with worry.

“Hey, what are you doing?” The voice is outside her head now and Susan screams, sharp and loud, sending a pair of crows wheeling off into the sky from their rooftop vigils. It’s her, it’s the woman they say can still your blood with a harsh bark of laughter and take the hair from your head with a twitch of her lips. It’s the – “Oh, for – hey, calm down.”

Susan stills, if only for fear, and registers the hands on her shoulders. The kind face is staring at her, lines running deep with concern and long, greying hair (God, it goes just past her knees, they weren’t lying, they weren’t,) caught by the wind, turned to shimmering ocean waves. They say this woman’s been alive longer than trees in her yard and Susan believes it, looking at the dark eyes boring into her own.

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Things Terry Richardson Looks Like

Just earlier this year, a former model came forward to claim that during a shoot, Richardson ‘licked her ass, had her squeeze his balls, and even ejaculated into her eye — making sure his assistant captured everything on film.’”

  • Syndrome from Disney’s The Incredibles but with on a nine-day juice fast
  • Heroin Opie from the darkest timeline of Andy Griffith
  • Ginger Skeletor
  • Every villain in the “Are You Afraid of the Dark” carnival episode
  • like a living Jack-O-Lantern that has fucked the Cryptkeeper
  • Morgan Spurlock after he’s been kept in a basement for fourteen years on a subsistence diet of gruel
  • Starving Matthew McConaughey crossed with all the melting dudes at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark
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Dirtbag Encyclopedia Brown

This edition of the Dirtbag Series is brought to you by Jason.

[SALLY KIMBALL rushes into ENCYCLOPEDIA'S office in the garage. ENCYCLOPEDIA is leaning back in a chair, feet on his father's squad car, eyes closed, smoking a cigarette]
SALLY: Oh, Encyclopedia, I think I’ve solved the mystery of the missing umpire! The umpire was a fraud — no real umpire ever dusts off the plates with his back to the c–
[ENCYCLOPEDIA holds up his hand]
you know what would be really helpful to me right now
is if you could find out where my dad keeps the key to the liquor cabinet
SALLY: you mean — like another mystery?
SALLY: I don’t see what that has to do with the umpire
it does
so go solve that mystery


[CHIEF BROWN and ENCYCLOPEDIA BROWN are sitting together at the dinner table. CHIEF BROWN pulls an ENVELOPE out of his pocket]
CHIEF BROWN: Oh, before I forget, Encyclopedia, this letter came to the station for you this afternoon. It’s enclosed with 25 cents. They want you to meet them at Mr. Dunning’s gas station tomorrow morning at sunrise.
[ENCYCLOPEDIA leans back in his chair and closes his eyes]
ENCYCLOPEDIA: I’m not getting up at sunrise to go to a gas station unless someone sucks my dick when I get there
[CHIEF BROWN begins to choke]
ENCYCLOPEDIA: so I’m sure as fuck not going for twenty-five fucking cents

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Only You Can Help: A Duck Scam

Marissa Maciel’s previous work for The Toast can be found here.

Dear Miss Brown Shoes,

Hello! You were so kind to stop by and greet us the other day, and our leadership committee felt that we should contact you formally to share our story with you.

We have spent many years reaching out to people we believe will be sympathetic to our plea. As someone who frequents the Bonny Lake Park, and as an animal lover, we know you can help us.

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“His Career Will Be Absolutely Fine”: On Telling People About Being Molested

My father molested me. He wasn’t the worst molester in the world, or even a particularly dedicated one (his other interests – choir, hiking, his compost heap – got in the way), but he did it and two years ago I told the police.

I learned a lot that year. For example, did you know that a sex offender isn’t necessarily charged according to the most current Sexual Offences Act? They’re charged according to the act that was around when they doing that particular molesting, “Otherwise,” the lady police officer explained to me, “It would be unfair on the molester.”

I learned that public sector staff tilt their heads to one side when you tell them about child sex abuse and I learned that police officers are easily charmed by paedophiles despite the stereotype of the paedophiles that easily charm police officers that haunts late night paedophilia specials.

Other Things I Learned

Your mother will try to turn the conversation from Dad’s A Paedophile to You’re A Bisexual.

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Choose Your Own Adventure: Most of Human History

Previously: Choose Your Own P.G. Wodehouse Adventure.

You are born. If you cry, turn to page 61. If you fall asleep, turn to page 14.

You have made it through your first year of life. If you take a step away from your mother, turn to page 23. If you decide to crawl, turn to page 39.

You have made it to the age of four! If you decide to follow your brothers down to the river, turn to page 8. If you decide to stay at home, turn to page 67.

You have made it to the age of fifteen. Turn to page 11.

It is daytime. Turn to page 19.

You are invited to go on a ship and travel. If you decide to go, turn to page 44. If you decide not to go, turn to page 57.

You have a child of your own. If you are a woman, turn to page 30. If you are a man, turn to page 51.

Page 8: A mild scratch from a thorn bush turns into a raging fever and a pus-ridden infection within 24 hours. You die horribly distended and red from the heat.

Page 11: You have died in childbirth.

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This Is Your Scandal Thread

Nothing will be held back. All will be discussed. No stone shall be left unturned. Fitz sux.

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Link Roundup!

Anne Helen Petersen on Sunday’s episode of Mad Men, and fathers and daughters:

In real life, teenagers don’t have the emotional vocabulary to have intense and therapeutic heart-to-hearts with their parents. The acknowledgment thereof — the very refusal to make reconciliation into a dramatic set-piece — is part of what Mad Men gets so right about Sally.


Kate McKinnon talks about the origin of “Dyke and Fats”:

“We were both really tired one night,” McKinnon explains, “and I just said to Aidy, ‘Man, dyke is tired,’ and Aidy said, ‘Fats is tired, too.’”


Roxane Gay on the trouble with “women you should be reading now”:

There are, for example, no African-American women on the list. There are no Latinas or South-Asian writers. And at what point do we stop using Amy Tan and Louise Erdrich as the sole beacons of literary light for people who look like them? To be clear, these women (along with Zadie Smith, Chimamanda Adichie, Edwidge Danticat, and the rest of the women on the list) are writers you should be reading, but they are not the only ones and they shouldn’t be the only writers of color represented when these lists come out year after year.


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