Worth Writing About (abridged version)
By Mitch Lavender
How can I describe what it is like?
Imagine putting a plastic bag over your head and binding it closed around your neck. Then, punch a pinhole in the bag where your mouth is and try to breathe. Try to do that for two weeks straight, with a lump of stew you ate days ago sitting in your stomach. With sub-zero wind constantly buffeting you; so cold, you don’t dare expose naked flesh to it for fear of extreme frostbite. Wind so loud, you can barely hear what a person is saying, even if they stand right next to you and shout in your ear. If you can imagine this, then multiply that by ten and you will get an idea of what it is like at Base Camp 4 of Mount Everest.
As I highlighted the paragraph of my beloved story, I imagined placing my hand on the chopping block, fingers splayed. I raised the cleaver. Let it begin. I brought the cleaver down swiftly on my pinkie finger. Chop. Delete.
My carefully crafted paragraph erased, I cleaned up the extra line and read through the piece again. Holding up my hand, I saw blood spurting with every heartbeat. Now the piece is imbalanced, as the following paragraph built upon the one I had deleted. It’s got to go as well. Chop. Delete. Blood spurted from both hands.
By Mitch Lavender
I took the card from him and shoved it in my pocket without looking at it. At an event like this, people handed out business cards like they were throwing confetti. I’m nobody to these people but they don’t know that. Because I’m so disinterested, they assume that I’m important. That’s my bad. They used to call it socializing. Now, it’s networking. Now, it’s opportunity. Now, it’s as good as it gets.
His name was Dale Staire. Something in the way the incandescent light reflected off his name tag made me think of the EKG machine flat-lining in my father’s hospital room when I was twelve. I decided to look him in the eye. It was twenty minutes later that I broke free from the conversation with Dale Staire. It turns out Dale was a makeup artist (or the way he would say it, ‘artiste.’) I broke away by dominating the conversation with things I knew from the research I have documented. Things so horrible, Dale Staire was too shocked to respond. He could hardly wait to leave my company.
Darren was the first to wake. Duct-taped together with the two other unconscious men, he groggily struggled against the restraints. His angry, dilated pupils wandered up and tried to focus on me.
“This won’t stop me,” was all he said. Then his head fell back to his chest.
Was he right? Maybe none of them would stop and what I’d done wouldn’t make any difference. Maybe Darren was full of it. Maybe I didn’t care anymore. I was reminded of Josh and how things ended up for him. It wasn’t a comforting thought.
Asshat Backstabbery. Two words that are universally understood despite the fact that they do not exist in any legitimate dictionary, anywhere. I’m listing five board games that feature deception and cutthroat strategy as a key way of getting a leg up (or a knee on the throat) of your opponents. These are games where being mean and pitiless are expected but more than that, you can benefit from capitalizing on an opponent’s weakness. Lifelong friendships are ruined, families divided, and marriages crumble.