lost time incident 73 – the best shelf in the library

lost time incident 73 header image

lost time incident 73
Greetings, dark travelers! Thanks for joining me here in these darkened woods, which used to be better lit, remember? But Gary— that’s him over there in the red cloak— he didn’t pay his club dues last month and we were counting on that money to pay the electric bill for our haunted forest hideout, Gary.

Yes, indeed, it is I, your host, Michael, seeing how many clauses, or whatever you call them, I can put in this single sentence, separated by commas. Quite a few, it turns out!

I cheated a bit. At least one of those sections is more of an interruption and should have been demarcated with em-dashes. We’re only three paragraphs in and I feel like I’ve failed you.


A-ha, didn’t expect the ol’ emotional switcheroo, did you?

Let’s try this again: Welcome! We’ve gathered together a bumper crop of very short things you can read! You’ve already read this far… why not read more?


why did you even rsvp?
Everybody talks a big game about storming the Master’s castle with torches dipped in pitch, holding whatever crude weapons we can gather, but come the day it’s nothing but: “I’d love to go, but the Master’s dark flying minions have already plucked away my family for parts unknown and now I’m busy mourning them and clawing at the dirt floor of my home hoping it will swallow me” or “I’m all out of torches right now, sorry… I thought I had at least one left, but I just looked and… nope”.



things I said right before I got blown out the airlock

  1. There’s no way you’re going to blow me out this airlock.
  2. You know all this air goes with me, right? You won’t get it back.
  3. Why do they call it an airlock when it’s the doors that are locked?


witches of the world: their biomes and technologies (excerpt from the introduction)
Everyone knows the bog witches and their damp cauldrons, positioned over smoky peat fires, and their potions that go down thick with a mossy tickle in the back of the throat.

But what of the desert witches, with their cauldrons that resemble enormous sandboxes, large enough for a full-grown adult human to recline in, and bury one’s self under a sand dune to hide from the unblinking sun? When wandering the sandy expanses they call home, an unwary traveler may come across a stray peaked hat on the ground and not even realize that it’s a sign there could be a submerged witch there, awaiting nightfall to rise again.

Or ponder the arctic witches with their… snow… and stuff. Okay, we couldn’t be bothered to visit them, it’s too cold. That chapter’s really short.


ending theme song
I don’t know what to tell you, kid. There’s no such thing as a refund for time spent reading a newsletter full of microfiction nonsense. That time you spent? Gone. I spent it as soon as I got it. All the attention I got from subscribers, I poured into a kiddy pool and splashed around in it. I got time deep in my pores. Even got some up my nose ’cause I wanted to see how long I could hold my breath, sticking my head in all the time you lost reading this.

You’re all suckers and you should tell your friends and neighbors they should subscribe as well. Misery loves company. Heck, sign up for ’em. Sure, there’s a confirmation email, but maybe they’ll see it and assume they signed up themselves in the middle of the night, hopped up on Ambien, and they’ll click to confirm anyway. Or you could hack their email and accept for them. Hack all of your neighbors’ emails. Find out what coupons they get from online stores they shopped from once in 2011.

With that kind of neighbor knowledge, you could live like a monarch in your town! Might as well order your crown and scepter now, Your Majesty! 2-day free delivery! WITH A NEIGHBOR’S COUPON!

—Michael Van Vleet

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