Bad Seed

They find it in a crater ringed by burning corn. A polypy thing with tentacles, but they take it home. Always wanted to be parents. When it eats a girl named Lana, the Kents figure it’s just having trouble adjusting. Cover it up. Tell each other he’ll grow to do great things.

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The Situation Is Fluid

Water blunts radiation. There’s a zone in the spent fuel rod pool of a nuclear reactor where you get less of it than you would under a night sky.

Particularly tonight.

My oxygen’s low. Above and below are death.

Water blunts radiation, but it’s damned hard to breathe.

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A Student-Centered Approach to Improving Performance in Cognitive and Affective Domains

While hiding from bullies behind a school-ground bush, Evie found the old ball. Dusty and abandoned, one of those early smart models, the annoying talky kind. Soon she was huddled with the thing, whispering, all hours. We considered confiscation—no toys allowed—but having a friend seemed to improve her test scores.

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Browsing

Three-hundred years ago, when the pictured book wheel was in full use, a book open on each of the seven planks of its wheel, the following dialogue was recorded by an archivist, the record of which was uncovered in a chapel dig yesterday:

“Wow, look at how many browser tabs Abernathy has open.”
“Yeah, he’s got another one just behind it.”
“He’s doing the dual-monitor thing? What a weirdo.”
“You don’t think it’ll catch on?”
“Never in a million years.”

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Boxing Day

Her boys play outside with an old Nerf ball. As she leads him to the broken furnace, he sees her tiny house has a cross, but no gifts, no tree. He sympathizes; he’s had a rough year, too.

She sees him glancing and is grateful they have nothing to steal.

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