Online Shopping Review Guru

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“People say online shopping is more convenient,” noted Evelyn. She dropped her tablet in her lap in disgust. “But I say its way more stressful.”

 

Theresa looked up from her phone.

 

“How do I know if these things are any good? I mean, you can’t even trust the reviews. Half of them are paid for by the seller,” complained Evelyn.

 

“Are they rated out of five stars?” asked Theresa.

 

“Isn’t everything?”

 

“Then read the three star reviews first. Since they’re in the middle, they’ll say good things and bad things. They’re probably the most honest reviews you can find. Then read the two and four star reviews. The two, because the review doesn’t completely hate it, and the four because they don’t completely love it. I never read the ones and fives. They’re just a waste of time,” explained Theresa.

 

Evelyn look at Theresa in awe. “That makes total sense. You’re like an online shopping review guru.”

 

Theresa smiled. “I prefer to think of myself as the Guiding Light for First World Pilgrims.”

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Out of His League

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There is nothing quite as disconcerting as the sound of a mouse chewing. You know its out there, but you can’t figure out where. Then there is the nagging idea that you wouldn’t what to do if your ever had to confront one. Those are the emotions Eric felt when he heard that sound one night as he entered his dark kitchen just after midnight.

 

He knew the problem of finding the intrusive rodent rested squarely on his shoulders. Everyone else in his family would simply run away screaming.

 

Eric flicked on the light and the chewing stopped. It was like a game. Man versus mouse. He checked the traps he set after the last encounter. Empty. It felt emasculating, losing to a mouse. As much as he didn’t want this problem, the enemy was certainly in his territory.

 

Somehow, he needed to think like a mouse. Eric strategized. All living things need food, water and shelter. The food appeared undisturbed. So was any water source. Eric racked his brain. Surely, he could outwit a witless, tiny creature.

 

He remained still for so long, the chewing resumed. Every sense in his brain heightened as the triangulated the location. It came from the fridge. As if in slow motion, Eric crept to the source of the sound. There was nothing he could see hiding behind it. He dropped to the floor and checked under the fridge.

 

As soon as his cheek touched the floor, a tiny field mouse bolted from his hiding spot. It crashed into Eric’s nose and deflected off his lips before making a sharp turn back to safety.

 

Eric’s heart leapt. A high-pitched squeal escaped his lips. He scrambled backward, knocking over the dog’s water dish. Brittany arrived in the kitchen just in time to see Eric writhe all over the floor, soaked with water.

 

“What happened to you?” she demanded.

 

“I saw the mouse. It almost ran into my mouth,” panted Eric as he aggressively wiped his mouth.

 

“It jumped at your face?”

 

“Like it was possessed or something,” he replied.

 

Brittany smiled.

 

“What?” demanded Eric.

 

“I want you to remember this,” she said, “the next time the girls ask for a cat.”

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Polka Radio

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Emily and Gabe were walking through the mall when they bumped into Istvan, an old friend from high school.

 

“How are you? You look great,” exclaimed Emily.

 

“Couldn’t be better. How ‘bout you guys?” replied Istvan.

 

“Can’t complain,” answered Gabe.

 

“What are you doin’ now?” asked Emily.

 

“Funny you should ask. I work full-time warming up weddings.”

 

Emily and Gabe shared a confused glance. Istvan noticed it and laughed.

 

“Weddings are always notoriously late, and after a few minutes things get awkward. I’m hired to entertain the crowd and keep them warm for when the wedding starts,” explained Istvan.

 

“How does one even get into that?” asked Emily.

 

Istvan shrugged. “I got the idea, so I went to a wedding chapel and asked. They said they’d add it as an option to their list of services. All I needed was one shot,” said Istvan.

 

“Unbelievable,” muttered Emily.

 

“Haven’t look back since,” added Istvan.

 

“Good for you, I guess,” said Gabe.

 

“Thanks. Any who, I gotta run. It was good to see you guys,” said Istvan.

 

“You too,” replied Gabe.

 

Once Istvan was out of earshot, Emily turned to Gabe.

 

“Did that just happen?” she asked.

 

Gabe shook his head. “Remember, this is the same guy who broke into the school radio station and blasted three hours of polka music during exams.”

 

“I forgot about that,” admitted Emily.

 

“That guy’s so crazy,” concluded Gabe, “he’s one incident away from becoming an urban legend.”

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Overheard in a College Cafeteria

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“You know, I don’t really feel like I’m an adult. Its like I’ve physically grown older, but my brain hasn’t caught up.”

 

“I’ve got a sure way to know if you’ve grown up.”

 

“What?”

 

“You know you’ve crossed over into adulthood when nap time is one of your favorite times of day.”

 

“I love naps.”

 

“Did you love them as a kid?”

 

“Of course not. Who did?”

 

“Exactly. You love naps, ergo, you’re an adult.”

 

“Huh. That actually makes sense.”

 

“Well, I am a genius.”

 

“I’d argue with that, but I’ll let it slide this time.”

 

“You are a wise woman.”

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Intrinsic Motivation

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When Dylan arrived at work, he was immediately accosted by Shawn.

 

“Check it out,” said Shawn. He shoved his phone in Dylan’s face.

 

“Whoa,” recoiled Dylan. “What are you doin’?”

 

Shawn checked his phone, just to make sure it was still on. “It’s a screen shot. I got 100% on the Wonderlic. See?”

 

Dylan rolled his eyes. “You are living, breathing proof that even a blind squirrel gets a nut every now and then.”

 

“No.” Shawn pointed at Dylan. “You’re not gonna ruin this for me. Its awesome and you know it, even if you won’t admit it.”

 

Dylan’s face softened. “Okay, I admit it. What made you take it in the first place?”

 

“I found it online and figured, why not?”

 

“Did you register for it?” asked Dylan.

 

“No.”

 

“Then its not official. You can’t use it for anything. For all I know, you’re making it up,” scoffed Dylan.

 

Shawn’s face grew red, and Dylan thought he noticed tears form in his eyes. “Its real to me. Even if nobody believes me, I know.”

 

“What good is that?”

 

“Have you ever wondered if you were capable of more that you already are?”

 

Dylan frowned. “Not really.”

 

“I do. I wondered if this was all I could look forward to. Like, I’ve reached my peak This test proves otherwise.” Shawn had a wild look in his eyes.

 

“I guess you could look at it that way.”

 

“Well, I do.”

 

“What do you plan to do with this little epiphany?” asked Dylan.

 

“I’m going back to school. I’m gonna become a doctor,” said Shawn. A smile spread across his lips.

 

Dylan dropped a pen. “Have you gone mad? You’ve come to this after one good, self-inflicted internet exam?”

 

“If nothing else, it’s shown me the sky’s the limit.”

 

“And the return trip to earth will be one epic fail,” said Dylan.

 

Shawn scowled. “Maybe, but it’ll be one amazing ride.”

 

“Whatever, man,” shrugged Dylan.

 

Shawn went over to his cubicle, picked up a box of personal items and returned to Dylan.

 

“What’re you doin’?” asked Dylan.

 

“I quit. I told you, I’m gonna be a doctor,” explained Shawn.

 

Dylan sighed and rubbed his face. “Wow.”

 

“See ya,” said Shawn.

 

“On the way back down,” quipped Dylan.

 

“Maybe,” said Shawn, “but it beats going nowhere.”

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Loser

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The FWIP! of the serve came simultaneously with the roar of the crowd. Wyatt stood stone still as his opponent dropped to his knees in celebration.

 

Wyatt had been up a full set, then helplessly watched as it slipped away. It was as though he was a spectator in his own tennis match. The final ace was the exclamation point to Wyatt’s epic collapse.

 

Almost robotically, Wyatt applauded the victor. The crowd seemed to appreciate the gesture, because they let out another cheer. It made Wyatt feel sick. He came so close to being champion, but here he stood.

 

A loser.

 

His body remained rigid as his rival leaped over the net to give him a hug. Wyatt wanted to run off the court, but his body betrayed him.

 

“You’re a great player. Don’t let this get you down. Next time you’ll be on top. I just know it,” the rival whispered in Wyatt’s ear. If felt like a slap in the face.

 

He fought off a tear to no avail. He wiped it away, hoping no one would notice. When he looked to his supporters in the crowd, the welled up tears obscured his view. From the corner of his eye, he saw someone approach.

 

“Congratulations on a hard fought match,” said the official. “Would you come this way, please? We need to set up for the ceremony.”

 

Wyatt’s shoulders dropped as the official led him off the court. He collected his bag, and keeping his head low, skulked to the locker room.

 

The room was empty. Wyatt sat on a bench and draped a towel over his head. He was numb, wondering what went so wrong.

 

Two legs appeared, but Wyatt didn’t look up. He didn’t need to.

 

“Are you here to cheer me up?” Wyatt asked his dad.

 

“Nope.”

 

“Are you gonna share some valuable lesson about life?” quipped Wyatt.

 

His dad shrugged. “I don’t have any.”

 

Wyatt gave his dad a quizzical look. “Do you see what just happened? I had it in the palm of my hand. Then, POOF! Gone.”

 

“It was something to see,” noted Wyatt’s dad.

 

“Gee, thanks,” griped Wyatt. “What do I do now? Where do I go from here?”

 

“I don’t know,” admitted Wyatt’s dad. “What I do know is, what happens next will reveal who you really are.”

 

“What if I really am a just a loser?” asked Wyatt.

 

His dad thought for a second, then smiled. “If that’s true, then at least you know you’re already successful.”

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A Break From the Routine

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“I dunno, man. Its like I do the same things, day after day. I go to the same places, drink the same lousy coffee, and nothing ever changes. I’m caught in a rut,” lamented Kevin.

 

Eric responded by reaching across the table and punching Kevin in the face, knocking Kevin back in his chair. Kevin caught himself, then retaliated with a right cross against Eric’s jaw. The coffee in Eric’s hand splashed over three tables, soaking several coffee house patrons. Eric rolled on the ground laughing. Kevin couldn’t believe he’d think this was so funny.

 

“What did you do that for?” demanded Kevin.

 

Before Eric could respond, the manager of the coffee shop rushed over. “If you two have a problem, take it outside,” he warned.

 

A woman three tables over wiped herself off as her friend made a call on her cell phone. “I’m calling the police,” she said.

 

Since the coffee shop was a local favorite, the police response was virtually instantaneous. Before he could process what was happening, Kevin was in handcuffs, leaning against a police car. He spotted Eric in a similar position a few cars over.

 

“At least its not routine, eh?” said Eric.

 

Kevin yelled back, “I was just trying tell you I was getting a puppy.”

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