Maybe not in that order.
Also, we've missed you and can't wait to tell you so in person as we preview the rest of our bang-up 2011 season, dish about some artifacts from ours readers' past, and talk about how you can share yours.
Need more? Here are Excerpts from Our Three Readers.
1. Candice Dyer
In a move that combines burlesque with recycling, Blondie Strange crushes Budweiser empties flatter than platters between her breasts without flinching, dismounts the stage, and pulls a Sharpie from behind the bar to autograph them for the hooting frat boys, intown scenesters, and gamy night crawlers who are waving dollar bills. Most of the unconventional sirens of the Clermont Lounge strut some trademark gimmick, tic, distinguishing tattoo, or cesarean scar, but Blondie’s trick—a gesture of unbowed, Hellzapoppin’-style showmanship that yields a lasting and curious souvenir for fans—has established her as the most famous stripper in a city renowned for its adult entertainment.
“I only work with Budweiser and PBR cans,” she says, referring to the brands of choice in this sticky, threadbare Ponce de Leon landmark that adamantly refuses to pour microbrew drafts into frosted mugs. (Pity the suburbanite who orders one.)
2. Kate Sweeney
We homo sapiens like the idea of somehow endowing one’s temporary stay on this earth with permanence in death, even if that permanence means a resting place where the living person couldn’t have survived for five minutes in life, a place ten miles out to sea and 50 feet below it. And hence, we have Eternal Reefs’ artificial coral reef.
The morning of the launch, there’s this tamped-down sense of thrill in the air, that sort brought on by novelty. The hulking objects of this fascination sit crouched in a neat line, waiting to be harnessed and lifted aboard. Each artificial coral reef contains the cremated remains of one person—or, in one case today, those of a cat, a tabby named named Mistofeles. Each reef resembles a circular footrest, a footrest that is hollow and sort of bell-shaped, two to four feet tall, and just as wide. Each is peppered, swiss-cheeselike, with holes, and reminds me in appearance of nothing so much as the trick-or-treater in the Charlie Brown Halloween Special who dressed as a ghost—but cut too many eyeholes in his sheet.
3. Joseph Morgan
I began by pulling the bodies out and pushing them both up to large metal drain sinks. As I stared at these lifeless forms, with whom only a few days earlier I had been drinking beer and eating hotdogs, the door opened and in came the pathologist. I assume that my gaze and posture did not escape the notice of the pathologist who without greeting said, “Are you ready for this?” Eighteen years after the fact, I wish I had said “no I am not” and turned and ran from that place, but my feet were as heavy as boat anchors. The pathologist said, “Get some towels and cover their faces.”
This is in the days before “universal precautions” were of paramount concern. There I stood with my green scrubs on and the only barriers between me and the bodies were my gloves and a white plastic apron. As I went about my task the blood of my friends leeched onto my bare, exposed arms. Their blood speckled my face. I tasted him in my mouth. As I used my Stryker saw to open Lance’s head, the smell of the histamine the high speed saw created entered my nostrils. I wept as I breathed in the essence of my friend.
After I finished, I turned, grabbed my Marlboros and went outside to smoke and cry. Pathetically I sat on the steps of the morgue crying like a victim of a prison gang rape. Pain. In the practice of death investigation it is never a good idea to allow any of your colleagues see you get emotional; you become labeled a head case and trust evaporates.