To kick off Another 37, some very short stories! These are always fun to write, but man, I’m rusty. This used to be so easy.
The Singular Shaving Company would like to categorically denounce allegations of safety violations among any of our products. We assure the public that the Singular line of electric razors deliver the smooth, frictionless shave and external follicular elimination due to a our patented sonic vibration process, as described in our published material.* Contrary to rumors, we chose the name Singular due to this unique process, and any similarity to any cosmological phenomenon is pure coincidence. The suggestion that the tragic collapse of the South Amerton Walmart in Texas was due to a containment breach in the casing of our electric razors is both ludicrous and, quite frankly, insulting, and indicative of the unfortunate and sensationalist nature of the modern media in this country. We further assure both consumers and investors that the Singular Shaving Company will continue to be dedicated to quality, innovation, and safety, and every one of our products, facilities, and business practices are in full compliance with all local ordinances, federal statutes, and laws of physics.
*See Our Ad in Parade Magazine
The Truth, On Faith
“First of all ma’am, I’d like to offer you my heartiest congratulations.”
“Thank you, sir.”
“No need to rest on formalities, here. We’re all in this together. You can call me Director.”
“Thank you, Director. I’m honored to be invited here. Only…”
“You don’t know why in the world you were asked to see the director of the National Security Agency on your first hour in office?”
“Now that you’ve been appointed Surgeon General, you need to be let in on a little secret about medical science. I’m going to shoot straight with you, here. There’s no easy way to break this to you. This is huge. As huge as it gets. Do you need a second?”
“With all due respect, Director, if I was thin skinned I’d never have made it this far. Just tell me, please.”
“Alright. Here it is. The entire field of medicine, from basic principles all the way up to the most complex biopharmaceuticals, are a lie. It’s all built on one and only one underlying method: the placebo effect.”
“Yeah. Listen, I don’t expect you to buy this right off the bat. It’s going to take a while to sink in. But if you step through this door, I’d be happy to show you the definitive proof on the matter.”
“Wait, are you…?”
“I’m not. I’m not razzing you. This isn’t some kind of high-office hazing. I am telling you the God’s honest truth.”
“Wait a minute. Chemotherapy. Spinal microsurgery. Bloody intubation, for Christ’s sake! These are proven, demonstrable techniques that show immediate, repeatable results! There’s no way they can just be placebos!”
“That’s because medical schools are designed and carefully run to screen for psychic ability. It’s amazing how powerful the placebo effect can be when juiced up by a powerful psychic.”
“Yeah. Do you need a drink?”
“You know what? I think that’s a very good idea.”
Whoever wears Balor’s Eye is supposed to be unstoppable. Who can stand against a man who can destroy an army with a single glance? All my life I have sought this artifact, and now I have it. The culmination of my ambitions, I thought. A way to make my enemies suffer, and to guide the world towards perfection under my hand, as it should be. The Eye is supposed to be cursed. I’ve never believed in curses; a man makes his own luck in world. But now that I have the Eye, now that ultimate power is in my grasp, I am not so sure.
Belgulon the Great held the Eye, and he was unconquered for almost ten years. But he was felled by a single, lucky peasant with a throwing spear. King Charles XII of Sweden used it to defeat General Winter and successfully occupy Russia, a feat long thought impossible. But still he was killed by Rasputin’s Rebellion, despite the protection of his Eye. And who can forget Emperor Billy, who united the Three Sovereign States of North America under his flag, where they still rest today? Yet the Pan-American armies were still able to take him down with a sniper shot, and his kingdom has weakened until, today, it is practically a democracy.
Where was the Eye for these supposedly great men? I always thought them weak. I always thought them flawed. The only way to lose the Eye’s protection, its power, is to remove it from your person and allow it to touch the mortal dust of the earth. How could they allow that? But now that I have penetrated the secret location of its burial place, now that I have passed the Guardians of Stone and Storm, solved the Ten Thousand Deadly Riddles, now that I have plucked Balor’s Eye itself from the Eternal Tomb and I hold it in my scarred and withered fingers, I feel I understand these men, and perhaps forgive them their folly.
After all, how are you supposed to keep a monocle from falling off of your face during a tense moment? When you get all sweaty? Perhaps I should head back to my Hidden Library and search for the Lost Glue of Pegasus. Maybe that’ll do the trick.
The Singular Shaving Company would like to categorically deny the recent rumors about the activities taking place in our production facilities. We acknowledge that the measurements of thermal spikes and tectonic activity from our Austin location have been verified and are valid. But to claim that the only possible source of these results is nuclear testing is to display a gross naivete about modern research and development techniques. That taken into account, we would like to further reassure the public by stating that we will no longer be utilizing these methods, as we have advanced the technology such that our desired results can now be achieved at much lower temperatures. In unrelated news, Singular is excited to use this moment of media exposure to announce the launch of our new product, Cool Fusion Shaving Gel.* This remarkable new gel will make our signature Frictionless Shave® even smoother than ever, and when used in conjunction with our new cordless battery-free electric razor, The Singular Complete, will ensure a complete effortless and sustainable shaving experience.
*See Our Ad in GQ
In The Rain
“Look for me in the rain.”
Those were Ty’s last works to Tamika, before he disappeared into the mist that cool summer’s day. To get his frisbee back. Such a silly, tiny thing. Except Tamika knew it wasn’t that. She was only six, and even then she knew it wasn’t that.
Her twin brother had been quiet in the days before. Contemplative. She didn’t learn the word until years later, when Ms. Tracey used it to describe a passage in The Sun Also Rises to her calls. But once Tamika learned it she knew that was Ty. He had lost himself to something very deep, thoughts like mist that rises in an otherwise clear and warm summer and swallows you up, away from your sister. Away from your life.
“Look for me in the rain.” He said it as his form dissolved in her vision. He said it with a look back at her, and a smile. “Don’t worry,” said the smile. “I’ll be with you.” She knew he was leaving. That he had to leave. That something crawled up into his skull and nestled there, and it was so important that he had to chase after it, no matter what, no matter who, he left behind.
And so she looked. Everytime it rained, she looked. Most of the time she was the wild, playful, rambunctious girl she had always been. But the rain made her quiet. It made her contemplative.
“What are you doing?” Her mother would ask.
“Looking for Ty,” said Tamika. “He told me to.”
“Who’s Ty, honey?” Mama didn’t remember. No one remembered.
The years fell by like raindrops and Tamika never stopped looking. Never stopped searching. And she thought as she looked, about deeper things. Things she never would have thought about if she never sat down, leaned on her elbow, and stared. If she never stopped moving. Things that were so important, they were worth chasing after.
Tamika was old, now. The rain made her bones ache sometimes, but she didn’t care. She didn’t stare with desperation, anymore. Nor longing. Maybe she never had. He was out there, never very far away. Just a few feet away, past where the rain clouded vision, holding his frisbee. He found it.
She was almost done, now. It could have been an unremarkable life, if she’d never thought about it. If she’d never taken the time to be quiet, or realized there were deeper things. She was almost ready to go, now. To walk into the mist herself. She would leave people behind, but she was ready. So were they. They were ready to live without her. There would be sadness. There is always sadness. But there is wonder, too, in those things you can’t quite see. She would make sure they never stopped looking.
She would tell them, “Look for me in the rain.”
The Singular Shaving Company would like to offer our condolences to all survivors of the recent calamity. In the interest of reconciliation, we officially take credit for the role that the Singular line of products has played in the devastation and assure what remains of the public that these unfortunate consequences were in large part unintended. However, at this time we will not be entertaining any motions of litigation or petitions for restitution, as no current infrastructure exists to enforce or regulate any such petitions. Anyone who objects to this position is free to lodge a complaint with our customer service division, most likely located in what remains of our central offices in Dallas. We urge those who are unsatisfied with this escalation pathway to remember are still in possession of the same technology that made Singular a product front runner, and that they are welcome to try to locate us and bring their complaints to us directly if they so choose. The Singular Shaving Company would also like to remind any potential customers or investors who may still have the technological capacity to receive this message that, as a cutting edge business leader with a background in innovation, we are well placed to assist in rebuilding or replacing those now missing societal elements that might prove mutually desirable. Thank you all for choosing Singular for all of your shaving needs.