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December '05 -- guest edited by Christopher Monks

New York Times Exclusive
  by Greg Ames

The Writer's Life
  by Tom Barlow

Let the Reader Beware
  by Richard Grayson

Use Your Indoor Voice
  by David Gianatasio

I am so sorry that my homing device was chafing your ankle
  by John Jodzio

The Six Times I Tried Smoking
  by Nathaniel Missildine

mailing list?

Dearest Josie,

Given the perspective that 38 minutes apart usually gives, I think we can agree that this homing device business was a big mistake. I don't know for sure if it was the biggest mistake I ever made in our relationship, just another one that gave you a hellish rash.

So come back home, baby, come back right now. I can tell you that things have already changed for the better. I mean, if you saw me now, compared to the person I was those 38 long minutes ago, I bet you'd even hardly recognize me. Really. I had an epiphany. Three of them. Back to back to back.

For one, I've had time to really rethink things. I sketched out some schematics that I'd love to show you, but try these improvements on for size -- no more exposed gears, lower levels of lead poisoning and a quieter beeping sound coming from your pants. To good to be true, right? Well, as an added bonus, I also promise that I won't be swayed by that hot salesgirl at Home Depot to go with the cut-rate brushed aluminum when what a woman like you really deserves is gold (plating).

Number two realization. Yes, okay, I admit it, I smothered you. Wanting to know where you were AT ALL TIMES was probably somewhat intrusive. From now on -- we can work out the exact schedule later, but I was thinking something like Tuesday mornings from 5:30-6:00am -- you can just tell me where you were going to be and I'll just trust you. That will be one of the new rules. I don't have any other new rules worked out yet, but I think that this new one really speaks to the kind of guy I've become in the last 38 minutes, conscientious, able to control my emotions, even-keel. The old me needed to know where you were at 24-7, but the new me only needs to know, longitudinally and latitudinally down to the millimeter, exactly where you are for the 167 hours and 30 minutes of each week.

Jo-Jo baby, I understand when you come back if you want to take it slow. Perfectly okay. Totally understandable. I am waiting here for you whenever you choose to come home from wherever it is you are (looks like you are just crossing into Kansas). I mean, I can come; find you if I need to (just outside Topeka is what the computer is saying), but I can certainly give you some space (I'll be on the road in about five more minutes time if I don't see your car turn around) and see what happens.

So come back home. I love you. We'll just file this in our "learning experience" folder and go out to eat at El Torito. While we are there, I'll tell you how sexy your new gold (plated) homing device looks and how I can hardly even hear it beeping over the courageous ballads of their 18 piece mariachi band.



John Jodzio is a writer living in Minneapolis. Recent fiction of his has appeared in McSweeney's Internet Concern,, In Posse and Bullfight Review. He has a new story coming out shortly in Opium Print #2 where a large barnacle becomes mysteriously attached to one of his character's butt cheeks.