Life is a Puzzle

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Rebecca closed her laptop and uttered a guttural moan.

“Problem?” asked Magnus.

“I spent that last two hours watching TED talks,” said Rebecca.

Magnus didn’t respond. Instead, he returned to a jigsaw puzzle he’d spent the last week assembling.

“It blew my mind,” added Rebecca.

“Okay, then,” mumbled Magnus.

“Do you know why I hate them?”

“Because you now have little bits of your brain all over the living room?”

“They make me realize how pathetic my life is,” said Rebecca.

“That’s too bad,” said Magnus. He set another piece of the puzzle in place.

“I’m not a visionary. I haven’t accomplished anything. I’m sitting in my house watching videos made by amazing people who are changing the world,” sighed Rebecca.

Magnus sorted through random pieces. “That’s too bad,” he said.

“Are you listening to me? I’m having an existential crisis here,” demanded Rebecca.

Magnus stopped what he was doing. “Do you want me to feel bad for you or tell you what to do?” he asked.

“Is there a third option?”

“I tried ignoring you, but it didn’t work,” said Magnus.

Rebecca crossed her arms in a huff. “Thanks for the love.”

“That’s how I roll when faced with spoiled people who have the ability to do something, but instead chose to complain,” said Magnus.

A tear fell from Rebecca’s crimson face. “You really don’t know anything about me.”

“That’s what you take away from that? Wow.”

“How should I take it?”

Magnus noticed a piece of the puzzle he needed and set it in place. “If love is truth and truth is harsh, then love is an ass-kicking.”

“That’s the stupidest thing I ever heard,” complained Rebecca.

Magnus thought for a second. “Maybe,” he said, “but at least I’m doing what I want.”

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Christmas Hint

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“What are you planning to get Megan for Christmas this year?” Graham whispered to his son-in-law.

“I have no idea,” replied Craig.

“Especially after last year. Getting her a puppy was a stroke of brilliance,” admitted Graham.

Craig looked over at his father-in-law between plays of the game on TV. “I’m open to suggestions.”

“Have you heard of these new chocolate diamonds? Commercials for the stuff are everywhere,” suggested Graham.

Craig hesitated. “I’m not sure that’s a good idea. It sounds like a real scam. Chocolate diamonds? More like crappy diamonds wrapped in the package of clever marketing.”

Graham chuckled to himself. “You know,” he said, “it doesn’t matter what you think. It’s what Megan thinks that matters.”

“She’s not much into jewelry, anyway,” added Craig.

“That’s not what I remember about her growing up,” said Graham. “She used to love that romantic sort of thing.”

Craig curled his upper lip. “Nah. She’s not like that any more. She’s a lot more practical. I’ll figure something out. Thanks anyway.”

Graham watched Craig move to the kitchen, then turned to the hallway.

Megan stuck her head from around the corner. “How did it go?”

Graham sighed. “He’s not completely hopeless, but it’s close.”

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Thanksgiving Credit

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“Ugh. I ate so much I could burst,” said Matt. “That was an amazing meal, dear.”

Alison smiled. It was her first time making Thanksgiving dinner for the family.

“I agree,” added Alison’s dad. “It was wonderful.”

Her mom, smiled meekly. “The turkey was a tad dry, but not bad for a first attempt.”

The smile dropped from Alison’s face. Matt and Alison’s father exchanged uncomfortable glances.

“Well, I thought it was just great. The gravy was amazing,” added Scarlett, Alison’s sister.

“It certainly made up for the dry turkey,” said her mother.

There was a lingering doom in the air as everyone waited for Alison’s response.

Matt broke the tension. “Need help clearing the table?”

“I’ll help,” added Scarlett.

“Cowards,” whispered her father. He stood up and left the room. “I’ll be in the bathroom.”

Alison sat across the table, glaring at her mother.

“What?” asked her mother.

“Really? Everyone says something nice and all you can do is criticize?”

“There’s no sense coddling you. How will you learn if I don’t tell you the truth?” said her mother.

“Mom,” said Alison, shaking her head, “I swear, it’d kill you to actually give someone a compliment.”

Alison’s mom recoiled. “I can do that.”

“Dead, face first in the mashed potatoes, right now,” said Alison.

“Are you challenging me?”

“You chickening out?”

“Well, your chicken wouldn’t be as dry,” said Alison’s mother.

“Seriously?”

Her mother rolled her eyes. “I suppose, the gravy was acceptable.”

“It’s homemade.”

“I believe you.”

“Not out of a can or some package. It’s the real deal.”

“I said I believe you.”

“Then give me a compliment,” said Alison.

There was a long pause.

“Well?” asked Alison.

“I guess the apple doesn’t fall that far from the tree,” said her mother, reluctantly.

Alison’s jaw dropped. “That’s what you could come up with? A backhanded compliment for yourself?”

Alison’s mother smiled. “Remember when you were a teenager and you blamed me for ruining your life?”

“What’s that got to do with anything?”

“If I’m responsible for all the bad in your life, then I’m taking credit for the good.”

Alison’s eyes narrowed. “Well played, mother. Well played.”

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Canine Affection

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Jocelyn and Martin sat on the couch when Riley, their sheltie, sauntered into the room. She slowly sniffed around Martin before licking his hand dangling off the armrest.

“Don’t let him do that,” said Jocelyn.

“Why not?”

“It’s disgusting. You know she licks her butt, right?”

“I read that dog saliva is cleaner than human’s. Besides, she’s just showing affection,” said Martin.

“It’s still weird,” scoffed Jocelyn.

Martin gently poked Jocelyn, who jumped in her seat. “You’re just jealous she likes me more than you.”

“Stop that!” squealed Jocelyn. “All that means is, when the apocalypse happens, you’re the first one she’s gonna eat.”

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Magnetic Fishing

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As soon as Brenda entered her parents house, her mom announced, “You need to speak to your father.”

“Why, is he gardening in the backyard in his underwear again?” replied Brenda.

“He’s taken up a new hobby,” said her mother.

“Is it like the time he tried squirrel rustling?”

“Not quite. He’s taken up magnetic fishing.”

Brenda ponder this a moment. “Can you catch fish with magnets?”

“Of course not. He’s throwing magnets in the river to catch anything metal,” scoffed Brenda’s mother.

“Okay, that’s odd. Why would he do this?”

“He claims it’s no different than using a metal detector on a beach, except it’s under water.”

“What does he find?”

“What do you think? Rusty metal.”

Brenda shrugged and shook her head. “It sounds innocent enough.”

“Oh no. Not you too. He videos himself doing it and puts it on the internet. He’s got followers,” said Brenda’s mother.

“At least he’s not under your feet all the time.”

That gave Brenda’s mother pause. “I guess that’s true.”

“And they say that people who don’t have a hobby when they retire tend to waste away,” reasoned Brenda.

Brenda’s mother sat at the kitchen table with a sinister expression and took a sit of her tea. “It gives us more mother daughter time, too.”

Brenda eyes widened. “Then again, you two really don’t spend enough time together.”

“Better go talk to him,” said Brenda’s mother with a sly grin.

Brenda turned for the door. “I’ll go talk to him.”

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An Apocryphal History of Curling in America

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It’s common knowledge among curling enthusiasts that the primary tool of the trade for many years was the corn broom. Since corn is indigenous to North America, the corn broom can properly described as a uniquely western addition to the Scottish past time.

Another popular user of corn brooms? Witches. In fact, the corn broom proved to be a useful aid in the immunity of their lifestyle. Suspicious villagers who spied on the small bands were surprised to witness random acts of curling practiced in the nearby forests and glades.

One unfortunate group of witches once forgot to bring curling stones to complement their ruse, resulting in an unfortunate incident in Massachusetts. Other witch bands learned from their mistake and began to actually play the game before growing crowds of enthusiastic villagers.

This was how curling made it’s earliest inroads in the American colonies. Or perhaps not. Who’s to say, really? Walk with purpose, write with authority and someone will believe you.

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Four Seasons

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Ainsley was at the door, ready to leave, when Butler called out from the down the hall.

“It’s cold today. Only going up to minus 4,” he said.

The statement made Ainsley sigh. “I know, I heard. I hate this weather. Most people don’t live like this you know.”

“Like how?”

“Most people live in hot weather,” said Ainsley.

“I like having four seasons,” said Butler.

“It’s not normal to freeze yourself like this.” complained Ainsley.

“What’s normal? It’s all about what you’re used to,” said Butler.

“Well then, I want to be used to a warm, sunny beach, twelve months of the year.”

“I bet people who live like that wish they could see snow,” suggested Butler.

“Are you nuts? Who’d want that?”

“People who’ve never experienced it before. For them it’d be new and exciting,” said Butler.

“They can have it. Better yet, if that’s what they want, we can trade places,” said Ainsley.

“You’d miss the snow,” said Butler.

“Not bloody likely.”

“Well, you’d miss me, because I’m not doing that. I like each season as it comes,” said Butler.

“Then you better make sure I stay warm.”

Butler wrapped his arms around Ainsley and held her tight. “Absolutely,” he said. “That’s the best part of winter.”

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