How To Tell If You Are In A Shirley Jackson Story -The Toast

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jackson1. Someone you have known and hated for thirty years pays you an unremarkable yet somehow sinister greeting at the only grocery store in town, which you also hate.

2. You have committed several murders, yet somehow you are also the sanest and most sympathetic person you know.

3. Every time you see your neighbors, the encounters decrease in friendliness and increase in dark foreboding.

4. You dislike washing yourself, and dogs, and noise. You like your sister Constance, and Richard Plantagenet, and Amanita phalloides, the death-cap mushroom.

5. You are being driven slowly but inexorably mad by a society determined to crush your spirit while smiling blandly as it offers you tea.

6. You care nothing for your family but are extraordinarily fond of, and protective toward, the jam jars in the basement.

7. A stranger says something unremarkable yet sinister to you on a train while you eat your lunch of bread and butter.

8. You are in Maine, and something terrible is about to happen to you.

9. Your frantic attempts to free yourself from your overbearing mother/your domineering husband/your suffocating social circle/a house that wants to kill you are useless, as you were born only to be crushed under the wheels of a Juggernaut.

10. A child in the other room is doing something monstrous, and smiling sweetly as he does it.

11. You are in Vermont, and something terrible is about to happen to you.

12. You left your apartment this morning intending to visit the dentist, but have instead found yourself in Hell.

13. Your life is a daily reminder that success and survival belong to the deeply unpleasant.

14. You are having tea with someone, and the act of keeping yourself together is crushing your heart within you. You will have tea with them again tomorrow.

15. You are in New Hampshire, and something terrible is happening to you.

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