The Deal

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on

Chamois in hand, the shopgirl dusted absentmindedly with her right hand while balancing a massive book with left. Instead of being behind the register she had stationed herself close to the fading sunlight of Tartini’s curved window front. The shop, geared to look like an exotic bazaar, was curated to ensnare hipsters and boho soccer moms with pricey reproductions and the occasional antique. It was packed to the gills with gravy boats, temple bells, African masks, and stoic buddhas. Cello Suite no. 1 in G Major swam in and out of the crystal chandeliers and mismatched china cups. Dust shimmered in a halo over her head as she read and dusted.

Perched on a dodgy red stool she curled deeper into her book. Sweet and smoky, a familiar scent snaked under the shop door. She sniffed. The door opened and closed. The shopgirl turned a page. Bagatelle No. 25 danced up and down the glass display cases. Warm air chuffed against her back as the visitor walked around her and deeper into the store. He was humming Beethoven.

Beneath the sweep of her heavy hair she watched the visitor pretend to shop. A hatbox, a baroque fan, a pair of oil lamps, he touched things at random but with great interest. In the reflection of the vintage medicine cabinet she could see the stranger moved like a dancer, deliberate and graceful. Over and over, he turned an ornate gold-plated punchbowl maybe looking for a price tag. He caught her looking and smiled. Bowl in hand, the customer approached the shopgirl. She returned to her book as Vivaldi’s Summer in G Minor gamboled up and down the aisles.

The customer’s heat lay a firm hand on her shoulder. Brimstone thick as ganache enveloped her. Waving away the grey wisps, the shopgirl pulled an ebony hair pin from her bun and used it as a bookmark.

“How much?” the customer asked. His tone was casual as he appraised the graceful curl of her back, the sliver of skin peeking out rom her fallen cascade of hair, and the grimoire she had been reading.
“More than you’re willing to pay,” the shopgirl answered turning to finally face him.
The Devil’s Trill Sonata flared up. They both chuckled as nighttime approached. Negotiations began.

A Very Nice Office

It was a very nice office, respectable, Carlo thought, shuffling envelopes in his hands. The new office in Boston was a little small but neat as a pin. His desk was sturdy and well-polished with only a few scars in the corners. Carlo leaned back in his chair the green leather welcoming his push. His thoughts ran home. His mother had been a diamond of the first water, still a fine lady even when the family fell on hard times. When Carlo went to university his top drawer tastes matches his wealthy school friends and left him with no money and no degree. But in American he knew things would be different.
Smiling up at the sunny ceiling, Carlo leaned back further and balanced his slicked head on his folded arms. He remembered how the cobblestone streets felt strange when he landed in Boston. Sure Carlo had gambled away the last of his family’s money onboard ship but he still had his quick mind and rock steady drive. He learnt good English bent over a hot restaurant sink. Adventure was around every corner.
Settling his tidy dress shoes on his shiny desk, Carlo stretched back to his chair’s limit. After a few misunderstanding over tips at the restaurant Carlo left the adventurous corners of Boston for Quebec. A jaunty tune he used to sing as a boy came to his mind and Carlo began to whistle. The problem was Carlo has too many ideas to be a waiter but his life as a banker fit his imagination. Sure there had been a forged check or two and a few years away, but Carlo had found himself in Canada. In the quiet of his jail cell Carlo realized he was the unsquashable dream of the new world.
In Italian, French, and his new good English Carlo could share his dream of big and better and never beaten with his fellow immigrants. Ventures rose and fell, but Carlo glittered under pressure. He was a good guy. The kind of man who would give the shirt off his back. Spinning in his office chair, he broke off into song. He heard a soft step of his Rose Maria at his office door.
“Carlo Pietro Giovanni Gugliemo Tebaldo Ponzi are you up here daydreaming?”
Whirling around to greet his beloved, Carlo waved an envelope at her. Pale pink with deep blue and green lines the international response coupon fluttered to the ground. He picked on the slip of paper for return postage. It was worth pennies in the US but in Italy so many liras especially now. A sketch of a thought, a money making idea, maybe not a hundred percent legal but definitely promising money making idea, sparked. As the office door opened, Carlo was fanning his face with the slip of arbitrage. He knew this time everything would be different.
Carlo beamed at his wife and motioned her to come to his lap. Attempting an attitude of stern reproach, Rose Maria scowled. Carlo threw open his arms.
“Sweetheart I’m not daydreaming I’m empire building,” Charles Ponzi said.

The Last Word

No more blank pages! No more missed deadlines. Tired of countless hours wasted on writing and rewriting, let Alternative Intelligence do the writing for you. Meet our first narrative tool the Say Again. Stop wasting time writing the same sentence over and over again to your reader with the Say Again. At the click of a button create countless nearly identical sentences of rephrased information to delight your readers. Who needs a complex, multilayered article when a simple idea can be hammered over over over into the reader with Say Again. Synoymns say no more with Say Again.

Scratching your noggin over what to write next? What if your issue isn’t just generating gobs and gobs of cotton candy content like what you are reading now but finding topics that your readers want to read. Well don’t rub your head and pat your tummy over the next story idea. Stop forehead tapping and start screen tapping Slapdash. In partnership with Google, Bing, Wolffram Alpha, Nexus Lexus, Medpub, AltaVista, Yandax, and every other search engine across the globe and the secret base on Mars, Alternative Intelligence harvests the top search results from an unassuming populace. Slapdash aggregates every question queried online from “why do bad things happen to good people” to “best potato salad recipes” to “what is my cat staring at” and spews out a never-ending string of article topics such as, “‘Cuz,” “Aunt Brenda’s,” and “Ghosts, Cats Love Looking at Ghosts.” Guaranteed to have readers returning again and again to read your captivating content. Stop itching that think box and start slapping with Slapdash.

Wait, so you have maximized your search engine optimization and optimized your website’s maximum page load speed and your website is still lagging behind your competitors with page views? Drive traffic to your site like a demonic cattle rustler with a hellfire horde of bedeviled oxen that only a cat can see with Alternative Intelligence’s latest offering, Stepford Writes. Stepford Writes is the answer you never knew you needed. Bleeding edge machine learning hundreds of well researched blog posts for a fraction of the cost of hiring low tech, antiquated meat puppet human writers. Add bespoke quotes from lifelike experts with the Egghead plug-in for additional $9.99 monthly. Search engines, like Google, use artificial intelligence to find high quality content so Alternative Intelligence uses those same algorithms to create high quality content to be found by Search engines, like Google, use artificial intelligence to find to find to find.

For the special introductory price $79.99 monthly, the Alternative Intelligence suite of products will boost your website’s reach. It works seamlessly with Microsoft Teams, Grammerly, Canva, Jetpack, and Mars Base Alpha Centurion. But who has time to read all that scintillating AI generated content. “Information overload is a real thing. Save your brains for Aunt Brenda’s slammin’ potato salad and those pesky cat-approximate ghosts with Sumthing or Other, the Alternate Intelligence summarizer,” Jyoti RealPerson said, professor of Actual Things, ToServeMan University. Able to whisk through those hundreds of lengthy articles and any post over four words Sumthing or Otherdeliver a pithy summary of essential facts. Low cost, high gain, no people, let Alternative Intelligence outsource the entire creative process for you. The future is machines writing for machines to be read by other machines and not remotely world domination coordinated through that secret base on Mars. Not remotely, wait are you still reading this? According to our algorithms you were supposed to stop reading 27 sentences ago. Recalcuating Red Planet alert Red Plant alert Initiate Code Sandbanks.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on

Gilt-edged, inspired by Maria Dorsey 1885

Born in a fine red brick house in the right part of town
her father’s hands still rough from hard labor
Behind the lace curtains of his bow front windows
her father’s hands folded in a well tailored suit
She learned to be a good daughter

a leading light in all of the colored ladies clubs
his smooth hand grazed hers at the restaurant
Swept away by feckless glances
shopworn cliches brand new in her own hands
She learned to be a good wife

Encased in stiff linen and whalebone
her hands rested on her growing belly
pressed against her father’s pride, bound tight to her husband’s IOUs
She covered her eyes
two gun shots and one of the kitchen chairs tumbled backwards

their fine house full of people and accusations
her little sister’s scream hang like smoke
a gilt edged diary torn wide open
she took her hands down, lifting up her head
that was the only lesson she ever needed to learn

Photo by Dids on

The Doppelgänger Diary

Achoo! I grabbed my head to keep it from falling off. Barking at my sneeze, Mr Wiggles jumped off my bed and trotted down off to the kitchen.

“Et tu cane,” I shouted after my Yorkie’s fluffy butt.

Ugg, every inch of me ached in novel ways.


I turned my congested head on my sore throat to face my phone. It looked like a text from Carla in Accounting. She always texted my cell instead of using the corporate chat.

Thanks again for all your help last week. We already miss you, the text read.

Wincing I lay back in bed. I hadn’t stepped foot in the office in three weeks and I gave up the pretense of working from home two weeks ago. For months I had been exhausted and drained. Cold or flu or ally I needed rest. I sent Carla a confused smiley emoji. Then I noticed my mail app. No new messages. Weird. Had I been checking my mail in my NyQuil addled sleep? I propped myself up on pillows to investigate.

I scrolled. There had been new messages and new answers, answers from me. There were back and forth about interviews and job offers. These were email messages from people I didn’t know who clearly knew me. I recognized my words my phrases. This was me but not. These emails these interviews were the products of a better more confident me. Apparently I gave my two weeks’ notice. Apparently last Monday I’d started a new job as a copywriter for an ad agency!
Suddenly the room tilted. My phone slipped from my hands. On jelly legs I ran to the toilet to vomit. I sagged onto the porcelain cool comfort. Somehow while I was sick in bed another me was job hunting and good at it.
Focus sharpened I shook the mad thoughts away.

Research, I needed more research. I crawled back to my phone. How long has this been going on? I checked my social media. Happy selfies of me not me choked my feed. Day after day I went to museums and nightclubs. I joined a bowling league and took my mom to a drag queen brunch. Seeing myself arms around Mom smiling I was sick again.

Weak I tried to call my mother. I must be hallucinating or feverish. My eyes swam blurring my contacts.

How could I be in two places at once? Astral projection? Time travel? Maybe long Covid’s symptom is witchcraft? And if I could be two places at once why would I choose my messy apartment. Water I needed water then maybe urgent care, I thought.


I was downing a bottled water in my kitchen when a voicemail chimed on my Alexa.

“You’ve had your chance, now it’s my turn.” I gasped at hearing my own voice. “And I’m taking Mr. Wiggles.”

Story Time

It was the gathering time. In ThisPlace, there was a time for everything. Times to eat, times to work, times to sleep, and now was the time to gather and share information. They all adhered to the schedule because planning is life. To keep their island going each person had to do their share, each person an important part of the clockwork. Even the babies, the few there were, were all born at the same time during Septem and Octo, the least wet months.

Isley was bone tired. This morning had been sowing time. Twelve hours, Isley prepared for new crops. The earth boxes were nearly ready but there were leaks in the domes. There were always leaks and every part of her ached from the climbing and the patching. She had worked hard today and accomplished much. They all lived off the moss, lichen, and fungi that Isley and her team grew. Usually Isley felt a good tired from all the work she had done but lately the cycle of work had felt endless, pointless. The water always finds a way.

She had skipped supper time because she was too tired to even listen to others talk. It was frowned upon to slip from the cogs of the schedule of ThisPlace but Isley felt too tired to care and willing to hear instructions later after her sleep six. Stomach grumbling, Isley headed for the warmth and quiet of her nook. Her hand was on her curtain door when she heard the running of water. Panicked Isley whirled listening for the leak. Her eyes lit on Patrick 417. He ws peeing in a corner. Isley sighed with relief and then laughed a little. He was taking a leak, she thought with a giggle. Patrick 417 was one of the old ones, nearly 60. Most people died from something or other by fifty. This Patrick was sick and his memories had washed away.

“Jess is that you? Where have you been?” the old man called to her. His back was humped from hard work and falls. His eyes were unsteady. With a patient sigh, Isley took his hand and lead him back to the old folks creche.

“Yes, I’m your Jess. I was looking for you to tell me a story,” Isley said. Her callused hands patted his shoulder as she led him to his area.

“Did I ever tell you about the time your grandma and I went to Vegas. We were just kids looking to blow off steam. I kind of borrowed my dad’s Camaro without asking and we hit the desert. It was so beautiful, an ocean of tan sand as far as the eye could see. It was hot and dry and Mika had her sandals off and her feet out the passenger side,” Patrick 417 said. “that strip of asphalt bisecting the desert was a thrill.”

Isley listened as they walked not able to really picture what the old timer was saying but smiling all the while

Photo by Egor Kamelev on

Call Me Red

From the cappuccino machine to the wheezy copier to the big warm window sill, this office is my range. After second nap, I thought this would be a typical five nap day but then I caught the sour whiff of anxiety. Stretching from the sunny patch on the conference table, I leapt to investigate. I headed out of the conference room for an unscheduled patrol. I was born on the streets until I decided to be “rescued” and live off the cream. Despite the treats, I remembered those streets. At 20 pounds I was too big to be quick so I had to be smart. I learned to read for danger.

I am Ripper, son of Clever Girl, grandsire of Slash Slash Bite from the Blue Basket parking lot clowder and this is my range. My people call me Red, Ginger Kitty, Rummy Yummy Tum Tums, and oddly enough Psst Psst Psst. People are weird but so cute. Nonchalant, I headed for Julianne. If you want to get the lay of the land you go to the highest place or the smartest person. I rubbed my round flame head on Julianne, she is the office manager and the heart of my community. Julianne liked me immediately showing she is intelligent and an excellent judge of character. She petted me absentmindedly. I could feel her tension arcing across her fingertips. Not good. I walked a few paces away and watched her eyes. I licked my forehead until she glanced twice towards the kitchen area.

This office, the site of an old tannery and was once a warehouse, a dye works, and an underground fight club, is my range. Now it was a big noisy office where people played foosball and talked to other people on their screens and wished it was quiet. When my human brought me here some people looked up from their phones and complained. I caught a giant rat and held it high during the HR Zoom meeting. Now I am an appreciated member of the team. With quick steps, I walked over to the kitchen. A small gaggle of IT guys were huddled by the protein bars. I weaved between their legs. I could tell something was off. Glenn, my person’s favorite person, had sweat drops of worry. They were concerned about a virus or an intrusion of some kind. Someone was in trouble for downloading malware. Suddenly, the door of big glass office on the second floor opened.

Open floor plan with exposed bricks and 1378 unique scents, theis office at the very first moment I arrived became my range. This office is mine to protect because my human loves it here and I love her. I’m not one to be sentimental but with Cuddles it was love at first sniff. My code is to protect what I love. I saw my person, Cuddles, run from the corner office. Her scent had been dampened by the heavy door. Now it flooded me. I could smell her tears as she hurried to the ladies room. Julianne followed. It took all my strength not to follow too mewing my support. But I noticed a smirk on Neal’s face from his big glass office doorway. I read human. His face held a secret. I hustled to the second floor loft. I watched Neal. I had smelt him, all burnt cologne and cigarette fur, on Cuddles’ computer before. Now I understood. I crouched between a fiddlehead fig tree until Neal went for coffee. In a flick of a fluff tail, I was inside his office. I searched quickly and then tripped Neal when he returned with a vanilla mocha. Fiery drops painted my back but to save my human I ran on.

“Hey Big Red how’s our Amanda doing? What you got there, buddy? Is that Neal’s lucky rabbit’s foot? Did you steal that you silly Rum Tum—wait this is a flash drive. Wait no one is allowed to….” Glenn trailed off.

People are weird and kind of dumb but cute. I waited as Glenn put the dots together and ran the flash drive to the other IT guys. I headed to Cuddles’ cubicle. She was pink and snotty but her head was held high. I leapt into her lap and explained in deep rumbling purrs that everything would be all right and no job was worth tears and most importantly she had me and I would always provide juicy rats. Cuddles understood in her way and hugged me. I took the squish because this office is my range and that was my job.

Photo by Steve on

Have You Heard

“Have you heard about what happened to Vi?” Ilse’s said in a stage whisper that carried over the chatter of china and din of the usual afternoon crowd at the Inn at Blue Rock.
Renate stiffened. She had her back to Ilse’s table. Without turning Renate could picture Ilse’s table precisely. Snowy cap of sleek hair and a face like a wizened hawk, Ilse’s was at the head of the table regardless of its shape. On the right hand of Ilse, like the good sheep that she was sat the ever patient Dorothea who Renata was sure was worrying her napkins and looking about anxiously. To Ilse’s left, Margit and Harmke, who Renate always called the Mayhem sisters. A crackle lit up Renate’s spine. That could only be Hildegard, Ilse’s oldest friend slash rival, sitting directly across from Ilse. It was the monthly meeting of the George Gardens committee. Renate leaned back to capture every word.
“Don’t tell me she’s married that child! Vi is old enough to be his grandmother,” Harmke said joining in Hildegard’s laughter.
“My girl heard it from Viola’s housekeeper. You stole my dirt, you bitch,” Hildegard said with another head shattering laugh.
“I was there, Hildy meine liebste. The little jump up had arranged the whole thing after one of their dreadful salons. Albrecht made the announcement. They had the license and Pinky performed the ceremony. Good thing I had a tray of Manhattans to brace me or I would have fainted onto the Steinway,” Ilse said with a mouthful of something.
“Well pardon my French but that boy is a light in the loafers,” Margit said. “He makes a lovely soufflé but honestly if you ask me that’s a step too far for crème patisserie.”
“Light, he’s helium,” Hildegard said drily and downed a glass of Sauvignon Blanc.
Ilse added, “Well there is no fool like an old fool. When it goes badly—and it will go badly—it will just be what she deserves.” There was knowing laughter and agreeing sounds. Quietly Dorothea mumbled into her salad something about Vi being so lonely after Frank and the high price of feeling wanted but no one paid attention.
Renate leaned forward. She thought of Vi, so brilliant, creative, and strong, a formidable academic and hostess. Viola was a proud woman. Then she pictured Albrecht, the handsome, young intern. At the Junior League Gala, Renate had run across him. Witty and erudite, the bow tied young man sparkled under the crystal chandeliers. Albrecht was dazzling her with his tales of his war stories in Iraqi and his knowledge of Persian history. Renate carelessly has corrected his confusion on the Parthian and Sassanid dynasties. His pretty face cracked into rage. Renate remembered backing away in fear. Renate could see through the lies of his facade. She could taste his danger. Renate remembered how the pleasant face shuttered down and Albrecht walked away from her hitting her shoulder hard as he passed.
“Earth to Gran, earth to Gran, come in Grandmother.” Steffi’s lovely face smiled up at her. “You were a million miles away.”
“Sorry, I was thinking of an old friend.”
Renate hugged herself. Laughter clanged around her shoulders as she watched her granddaughter eat lunch.

8 Minutes

Breathe, Ian, breathe, I told myself.

Cupping my hand, I checked my breath for the seventh time. I peered into the rearview mirror again to admire my fresh cut and scan the coffeehouse’s door. My watch read 11:13. We’d set up the date for eleven but I know chicks are always late and get a thrill out of making dudes cool their heels. I always wait until I see the girl show up make sure she’s a hottie and not a hoggie and then wait exactly eight minutes. Eight minutes is the sweet spot. Just enough time for the chick to worry if she got stood up and get all juiced up with self doubt but not enough for them to leave. This was pure science and I’d done my research. I had twenty different online profiles my photos with different names and jobs and interests but my interest was pretty just having a good time and it’s not you it’s me.

At 11:22 I checked my phone. No text, this chick this MyraBird969 had better had a kidney fall out to make me wait this long. I checked my breath and fished in my glove compartment for a Lifesaver. The candy was sticky and I licked my fingers. Some goth loser waiting at the bus stop looked up from his phone and smiled at me. I flipped him off. I checked my own phone, no text. I checked Plenty of Fish reading and re-reading our messages. MyraBird969 had been into me, a petite redhead with forest green eyes, a shy smile, and some big ole bitties. I had played the sarcastic, self-deprecating, and earnest nerd part perfectly. She was gagging for it. I could have been her something special for a while. It was 11:28. Fucking 11:28! I looked at my stupid hair and punched the dashboard.

“Stood up, stood up!” I shouted punching the dash over and over.

A flood of verbal bile spewed out of me at girls at myself. A knock stopped me. Tomas the barista at Had Beenery was tapping on my driver’s side window.

“Dude you chill. I got your drink here.” Tomas held up a coffee. I turned down my window.


He handed me the drink and a small bag and walked away like I was a psycho.

Fair enough, I thought.

The bag was warm. It was a dark chocolate croissant, my favorite. I dropped it in my lap. I checked the coffee, hazelnut cap with oat milk and two Splendas. The cup in Tomas’ familiar scrawl read “8 minutes Ian”. My passenger door opened and the bus stop weirdo climbed in.

“’Sup Ian, I’m Martha, aka MyraBird969. I’ve watched for a couple of months at the coffeehouse burning a swath through the bobbleheads on your dates. I was supposed to be writing poetry but your shic was performance art on the perils of online dating. I listened to your lines. Your banter is so good, so creative, it is damn near diabolical. I watched you make them wait, I watched begin again finegan. Ian you are profoundly damaged.”

Shocked speechless, I watched this person, pale and multi-pierced, with black fingernails making air quotes around the word date. I opened my mouth to let this freak show have it. The stranger put one hand over my mouth and took off the hood of her hoodie with the other. A violet buzz cut sprang from the hood and I noticed the forest green eyes. Martha took her hand away, took my bloody fingers into her hands, and rubbed them against her pale cheek. My whole body thrummed with electricity.

“Luckily for me, you’re stupid hot and profoundly damaged. Luckily for you, I enjoy them hot and damaged. So what do say Ian to a really bad romance?”

Photo by Quang Anh Ha Nguyen on

No Time To Lose

“Wait, time travel are you talking about real life time travel?” Miller said, jumping up from his seat.
“Dr. Gunter, calm down, please calm down, and listen.” Dr. Sanjay Chen spoke in a soothing voice. “I know this is disconcerting. This is not how we typically like to involve our partners in our conversations but time is …shall we say of the essence.”
Miller Gunter paced around his living room adjusting and re-adjusting his Marvel figurines. “Time is of the essence. That’s something one of my characters would say. This is some kind of joke, right? Sammy put you up to this. Wait are there cameras?” Miller asked.
Miller began checking for hidden cameras while Dr. Chen pinched the bridge of her nose.
“Dr. Gunter, please sit and focus. This is a matter most urgent. Lives have been lost or may be lost or are yet to be lost. You need to decide Dr. Gunter,” Dr. Sanjay Chen said.

Petite, with narrow silver frames, and clad in a metallic gray suit Chen was a model of calmness except for the beads of sweat forming on her upper lip. She reminded Miller of the main character from his latest series Milla Scorpion, a sexy scientist who uncovers an ancient teleportation gateway. Her calmness made him nervous and her nerves even more so. Tenting her fingers, Chen watched Miller closely.
“Okay Dr. — I mean Miller, you are not Dr. Miller Gunter the founder of the Pegasus Time Travel Project. You are plain ordinary citizen Miller Gunter, a struggling science fiction writer who runs a successful online website for nerds who play with dolls. that’s all perfectly reasonable. I’m here as an elaborate prank. Now answer my goddamn questions.” Chen stilled his protest with raised hands. “As a writer imagine this scenario. We have had the technology to view the past and the future via Tesla monitors since the 1970s. A team of scientists founded by not you invents a way to send test subjects back and forwards through time to observe major events. Caprese.”
Miller sat down in his easy chair and nodded dumbly.
“An hour ago a van load of chrononauts crashed into a dairy van. All are dead and now the future is, I don’t know, uncertain. The Tesla monitors are blank. Should we save them? I mean in one of your stories would you save the time travelers.”
Miller sat quietly turning a figurine in his hands.
“As a writer no, the story would be richer with those characters killed. The future is always in flux. There is no observation without change. The Tesla monitors being down shows these cro-nuts whatmacallits changed time drastically,” Miller said.
This time Chen jumped up from the sofa. “How can you be so sure?”
“Check the dairy truck driver. Clearly a freedom fighter from the future trying desperately to right a wrong or someone from the past who realizes where the time line was altered. Probably the past. Someone high up who discovered time is too dangerous to touch. Did you have Xavier run DNA on the dairy truck driver?” Miller answered confused by his sudden confidence.
Chen nodded as thought raced accused her features. She tapped on her watch and then her eyes grew wide when the results appeared on her tiny screen.
“Thanks, Doc. I love your little stories. Good to see you again. Keep up the good work,” Chen said absentmindedly. She beelined for his door. Miller chased after her.
“Wait, wait, what is going on here? Save the people, as a writer kill them all, but as a person I say save lives of course.”
Chen gave him a Mona Lisa smile and shook his hand hard. “Thank you, Dr. Gunter. Enjoy your retirement.”
Miller was suddenly woozy and stumbled back to his favorite chair. In a few hours Miller woke up refreshed, with an incredible story on the tip of his brain, and a Wolverine figurine tightly clenched in his hand.