The Cat: A Misandrist Short Story

Ashley Burnett’s last piece for The Toast was about a superhero breakup.

My husband was too far away to hear me, but I said it anyway: “I don’t think we should knock.”

I watched him as he stumbled through the tall grass, past the gilded gates that led up to the mansion. I hurried after him, but didn’t run, and kept near the lime trees that lined the path. My nose stung with their scent.

“It’ll be fine. I’m sure this happens all the time,” Joe slurred as he made his way to the door. He ran his fingers along the parked cars in the driveway, his hands leaving oily marks, then jolted up the steps and knocked. He couldn’t keep completely still and was swaying a little, his legs just a bit folded underneath him.

My fingers found my hair and I brushed out my bangs and fixed my collar. “What’s taking them so damn long?” Joe said and pounded on the door. “Hello? Hello?”

“Stop that. It’s a big house, give them some time.”

“This isn’t a house. This is a mansion.” He said it slowly, like I couldn’t pick up the distinction.

We waited a few more minutes in silence, but Joe grew impatient and started walking back towards the car. “These damn rich people,” he yelled, kicking the trunk of one of the lime trees. I could’ve sworn a lime plopped to the ground, but perhaps I added that. “I mean, they can’t even call a truck for us?” He stuck his hand in their fountain next and started splashing the green water out onto the grass.

While he was halfway back to the car, I was still standing by the door. Something kept me on their steps, my hand poised to knock once more—maybe they’d know my knock was different from his.

Joe was sitting in the car when the door swung open. A middle-aged woman stood in its frame, her eyes heavy-lidded and fixed on me.

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Listen To A Beautiful Woman Speak Authoritatively On “Columbo”

“That’s why now, of all times, is so ripe for a Columbo Renaissance, because it’s a wonderful example of the working man going after rich sons of bitches and making them pay for their crimes.”

The stout-hearted fellows at “Just One More Thing,” A COLUMBO-THEMED PODCAST (were lovelier words ever written) invited me to join them in discussing “Étude in Black,” an early Columbo episode starring John Cassavettes, and I could not help but oblige.

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Raising the Tone: Etiquette for Gift Disasters and “I Already Ate”

Please send your etiquette-based questions to, subject line: “Ms. Proprietypants.” The archives can be found here.

Recently, I was traveling with my boyfriend in a foreign country. He decided he wanted to purchase a wedding present for two of his best friends who had very recently gotten married. We went to a lovely department store, and while I browsed in the stationery section, he spotted a beautiful set of bowls that he thought would make the perfect gift. They were green, hand-blown, cut-glass bowls that were unique, tasteful, a perfect wedding gift for dear friends in their late 30′s entering a new phase of mature domesticity, etc. etc. They were, he thought, within his budget (around $160; not inappropriate – some might even say generous – for a wedding gift, I do believe.) He asked me for my opinion, which I gave. We calculated the exchange rate together and decided the price was appropriate. He had them packed carefully. He paid with his AmEx. We flew back home, and he presented his friends with their lovely wedding gift, and all were thrilled and jubilant.

A few days after this denouement, my boyfriend was going through his accounts and realized, to his horror, that we had both miscalculated the exchange rate on those seductive cut-glass bowls. They had not cost $160, but $1,600.

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Our An Untamed State Book Club: To the END

If you’re new, you can catch up here.

I am so happy you have made it this far with us. You are now free (were you ever hampered in any way) of concerns about spoilers or getting ahead of yourself. Please feel free to talk about any aspect of the novel, but I INSIST we cover the following:

1. Lorraine. A graduate-level seminar on Lorraine. A casting session for Film Adaptati

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If you spend enough time in group therapy you gain a kind of second sense for whatever particular ailment landed you in it. It’s akin to being in a funhouse, each mirror image distinct but recognizable enough to provide you some reflection of yourself and illustrate the ways in which, through different eyes, you jut out from the world’s flat background in strange (and sometimes wonderful) ways. My rehabilitation from willfully oblivious, difficult autistic child to not-quite-there adult was long and involved much in the way of physical therapy, special education, and exposure to a revolving door of earnest but graceless psychology grad students. But the purpose of such measures was not particularly important to me as a youngster. I was not engaged with them except as means to break away from the monotony of the normal school day. It was only when placed with others like myself that I realized my peculiarity, and cognizance of such peculiarity in others.

The irony of having radar for autism when the very condition presumes obstinacy to others has not been lost on me. I’m unsure if I should be giving myself more credit for being perceptive (my spectrum case being relatively “mild”) or resolve that reading such surface-level details is less a talent one is born with than a skill to be honed. You can’t fully trust such a sense, of course. Sometimes a man who forges chain mail is just a man with a strange hobby. Sometimes a guy who doesn’t make eye contact, won’t return phone calls and owns every piece of Highlander fiction there is to own is just an asshole. These are possibilities. But when you come out of that experience of realization and refashioning, of going into the forge imperfect and coming out with the right shape but your flaws tempered instead of removed, you learn the telltale signs that differentiate your tribe from the merely eccentric.

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Link’s Romantic Options In Ocarina of Time, Ranked

Link is a fictional character from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, a video game I played often as a kid, and oftener as an adult. In my spare time I like to imagine what other fictional characters from that same game he would date. Here are some of them, in order.

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Link Roundup!



TNC on his time learning French this summer, and basically everything else:

And there were the latest developments, the likes of which I perceived faintly through the French media. I had some vague sense that King James had done something grand, that the police were killing black men over cigarette sales, that a passenger plane had been shot out the sky, and that powerful people in the world still believed that great problems could be ultimately solved with great armaments. In sum, I knew that very little had changed. And I knew this even with my feeble French eyes, which turned the news of the world into an exercise in impressionism. Everything felt distorted. I understood that things were happening out there, but their size and scope mostly eluded me.


I got the horrible sickness. I have given away my Eagles tickets for my birthday, WHICH IS TODAY. Everything is dust. I will make a game-time call about NYC later today but cannot imagine it will work.


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Your Labor Day Open Thread!

Hi, gang! We are not publishing any new content today (I am Wordpressing this on Friday morning, so by the time you read it, I will either have contracted my kid’s illness and be moaning quietly in bed, or not, and I will be reading silently in bed), but here’s a fine Open Thread for you to use for whatever purpose you deem best.

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