I. The Motorcycle Crash
II. Eaten By Bear at Zoo
III. Slowly Crushed By His Collection of Sweet Lids
IV. Beaten to Death By a Loan Shark
V. Infection From Tattoo He Got With Third Wife
VI. Burned Alive During The Wicker Man-Style Ritual That Stars Hollow Performs Every Eighteen Years
8. “Do I Ever Cross Your Mind,” Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, Dolly Parton
9. “My Antonia,” Emmylou Harris (featuring Dave Matthews)
10. “Bird on a Wire,” kd lang
11. “Bird on a Wire,” Dave Van Ronk
12. “Bird on a Wire,” Jennifer Warnes
13. “Pictures of You,” The Cure
The memory grew brighter. “Professor Slughorn,” Hermione asked brightly, “What if someone wanted to split his wealth into multiple offshore accounts? Say…seven?
“Good heavens, seven?”
“Well, isn’t seven considered a magically significant number?”
“Merline’s beard, girl! Isn’t it bad enough to consider doing it once? To dodge their tax bill seven times…This is all hypothetical, isn’t it, Hermione? All academic?”
“Of course, sir,” Hermione said, smiling. “It’ll be our little secret.”
As for Thatch-Hair Sadlady the Night Hag, the three angels named her Jennifer and Anistonand declared that from that moment forth, every day one hundred of her children would perish. Every night she claims the lives of one hundred mortal children to soothe her loss. That is why to this day, new mothers clutch their babies to their chests and utter these immortal words the world over, the same words the angels used to rebuke her:
O you who fly in the darkened rooms
Be off with you this instant, screech-owl
This instant, Lilith, thief and breaker of bones,
Hag and snatcher, I abjure thee.
And for four and ten thousand years has it been ever thus, until Jennifer Aniston, whose feet are as a hawk’s talons and who carries a scorpion between her legs, found a mate and a consort, and his name was Justin and his doom was red.
“It’s not a big deal,” he said kindly, accepting the phone from her and inspecting it closely several times over to make sure there was no damage. “Not compared to, say, the war crimes of George W. Bush. Elizabeth, was it? I’m Ted. I think you can let this one slide.”
“Are you sure?” Her beautiful face, sort of a cross between Olivia Munn and the Fox News anchor he’d hate-masturbated to last week, was creased with anxiety. “Could I buy you a coffee, as an apology?”
“Sure, why not?” Ted shrugged coolly, cool not in a rude way but in the laid-back, relaxed way of a man who’s very at ease with women. “I’m a pretty liberated guy, probably not like the ones you’ve known before. I’m okay with a woman buying me things.”
Elizabeth beamed. Her body was a 9 out of 10, or it would have been if he were crude enough to use that sort of scale.
It had taken him a few tries to pick up the phone. “Call her,” Michelle had said patiently. “You never talk anymore.” He shrugged. Twisted his mouth wryly.
“I had a reason to talk to her before. We were working on a project together. It’ll sound stupid if I just call her to hang out.”
Michelle put a hand on his shoulder. “She is your friend, you know. People like you.”
He ducked. “You have to say that.”
“I get to say that. I wouldn’t say it if it wasn’t true. Remember that time she told the president of Latvia she thought you were smart and cool? And how usually with presidents, they’re either smart or cool, but not both?”
“She didn’t have to say that. She said it because she’s your friend.”
“So are you going to call her?”
“What if she doesn’t want to hang out with me?”
“She’s not going to say that.”
“I never heard from Janet Napolitano after she left. Not once. Not even on my birthday. And I gave those tins of popcorn, the ones with the three different flavors, you know, the ones with cheese and caramel and butter all in the different compartments, to everyone. And she didn’t say anything.”
“Hillary isn’t Janet.”
REPORTER: How did this all come about? How did such a young Canadian woman manage to become the creator of a relatively high-production-value television program in the UK while editing a popular ladyblog?
BENEDICT: Wymyn’s blog.
REPORTER: Yes, of course. Wymyn’s power blog.
NICOLE: Oh, it’s all a blur, really. (sips tea) Who knows how it started, at this point? Let’s just pick things up as I began shooting on the first season of Sherlock.
“How would it be,” she asked them as they left the classroom for break (Binns drifting away through the blackboard), “if I refused to lend you my notes this year?”
“We’d fail our O.W.L.s,” said Ron. “If you want that on your conscience, Hermione…”
“I’d be very sad if you failed your O.W.L.s,” Hermione said seriously. “But how could your mistakes be on my conscience?”
“Do you value me for my friendship,” she asked them, “or do you see me as someone you can get to shoulder the burdens you deem unimportant enough for you by tossing me the occasional scraps of flattery and feigned dependence?”
“We do value you,” said Ron. “We just haven’t got your brains or your memory or your concentration – you’re just cleverer than we are – is it nice to rub it in?”
“Why would suggesting that you are innately inferior convince me to do your work for you?” Hermione asked, puzzlement creasing her brow. “If I truly believed that to be the case, I would do everything in my power to assist you, but I would not injure you further by encouraging you to space out during class and fall even further behind.”
She wasn’t making $5465 a month. She hadn’t been making $5465 a month for a long time. She didn’t know how bad things were, exactly, but that was mostly because she was too afraid to find out.
She got up earlier. She took her laptop to bed with her. If it was a matter of working harder, she would work harder.
Who could she tell? They were all so proud of her, especially her nephew. “My mother’s sister gets paid over $87 per hour working from home with 2 kids at home. I never thought I’d be able to do it but she earns over 10k a month doing this and she convinced me to try. The potential with this is endless.” That’s what he told everyone. “She earns over 10K a month doing this,” he told all his friends, eyes bright with the promise of money. “That’s more than $87 per hour.”
“Bury it, and quickly,” The Eldest said. “I want that tomb closed again before my shadow grows longer. Put the spear in her hand, and do not touch the ashes if you can help it.”
Why was the flesh burned but not the rags that covered it, she wondered helplessly, madly to herself. Why would the rags not burn.
“If you say you’re taking a trip to Germany, you’d better be able to explain what specifically you’re planning to do there,” she said, “or else people will wonder why you’re not going someplace where life is beautiful. Even now, Germany insists on content over form. If the concept of coolness had existed in Kraus’s time, he might have said that Germany is uncool.”
“Wow,” he said.
“I read that in a magazine,” she said by way of explanation.
“I wrote that,” he said.
“Get out of here.”
“I did, I wrote that.”
“Where did I read that?”
“I’ve never quoted anything from a magazine in my life,” she said. “That’s amazing. Don’t you think that’s amazing?”
“Look,” he said, “It spoke to you, and that pleases me.”
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.