lost time incident 37 – skeleton war photojournalist


lost time incident 37
Halloween is just around the corner so this week we have a spooky story about responsible parenting. If you are pregnant, or prone to seizures, or are “spook-averse”, please consider coming back next week, unless you have consulted your doctor and asked your doctor to subscribe to this newsletter as well. (We don’t have much representation in the medical field in our subscriber base and this is the perfect chance to address it.)

For the rest of you: Are you ready? Braced?

Okay, let’s go!


100 children
Their parents were part of the quiverfull movement, which meant they made a full time job out of making babies, plus there were some adoptions, and honestly some of them might be kids from the neighborhood or from the hobo camp down by the river. But the last time anyone counted, there were about 100 of them.

And when the parents went missing, they had to go somewhere.

Rumors of where the parents went, ranked by popularity among the children:

  • Got locked inside tanning beds, turned into human jerky, bodies hidden by the salon owners who are also now missing
  • Now living somewhere in Europe, starting their second 100 child family in a country with a social safety net
  • Car accident, probably
  • Bringing 100 souls into the world (directly or indirectly) was a task set upon them by a malevolent spirit and now their curse is lifted and they’re in Heaven
  • They’re still around, but they walk on their knees and wear kids clothes and have blended in with the 100 children, always standing in the back, keeping quiet
  • Mexico

Luckily, they had a rich uncle they knew as Uncle Earwort. Unbeknownst to him, he was listed as next of kin and on October 1st, all 100 children dismounted county buses that had transported them and their worldly possessions to his clifftop mansion. Three of the children were lost somewhere in the garden maze on the way to the front door. Eight of them remembered, rather abruptly, that they were old enough to manage their own finances, and they left to find an apartment to rent on their own.

A social worker knocked on Earwort’s front door, on behalf of the remaining 89 children. After a clipboard exchange, some signing and initialling, the social worker re-entered the garden maze and probably made it home. Who can say.

The 89 children explored the mansion, claiming rooms and cupboards, corners and cabinets for their new sleeping space. Four of them found the secret second basement beneath the first basement, but unfortunately it was never completed and was without an exit.

After a family meeting and a speech about the importance of education, 23 children were told to pack up again as they were off to an exclusive boarding school in Bestonia (tourist slogan: The BEST of the -Onias!) where they would learn diplomacy, fencing, bird mastery, and forest-dwelling.

Soon, it was Halloween. 28 children didn’t come back from Trick-or-Treating. They may have eaten so much sugar that they’d gone feral, living in the town’s central park, their costumes patched up as they fell into disrepair with leaves, feathers and mud layered over rubber masks. That was Uncle Earwort’s theory, but as he never visited the central park, but this theory is not regarded as terribly likely by those investigating the absence.

“I find it more interesting that 34 made it back,” Earwort has been known to say. “Obviously, as that’s a majority, I must be doing something right.”

Two of them ran away from home. Two of them went to find the two that ran away from home. Eight were seduced by strangers in online chat rooms, but it worked out, and they’re all married now and living in Kansas.

“True love wins,” Uncle Earwort was quoted as saying. “How many of you are left?” he was often known to ask. “And do you all still have separate names?”

Thirteen of the remaining children got into politics, which lead to seven of them getting deported. (Turns out their original adoption lacked some important paperwork.) Of the remaining 15, 14 went on to endure lives of quiet desperation.


Oh man, Halloween season, am I right?

Seriously, though. Please take good care of this orphan.


twitter stuff




hand o’ glory courtesy of Amanda Summers


ending theme song

Thanks for joining us again this week, or for failing to notice the unsubscribe button at the bottom of this email. Or reading it as part of the Facebook page I set up to provide a forum for feedback, or to share behind the scenes info.

Whatever got you here, thanks for being the reason I’ve stuck to giving up swathes of Sundays to knock this project out.

—Michael Van Vleet