A Blade In Our Bed, a Knife in the Night.

It’s bright and sunny this morning. The BUG and I joke and feed the cats. I’m sitting on the front porch as I type this. BOG is curled up at my feet.

It’s hard to believe that just a few hours ago, I was creeping around the back of our house in the darkness, trying-to-find/hoping-not-to-find whoever had thrown a knife at us in our home while we slept. [Ed. update: apparently only I had fallen asleep. The BUG was awake.]

It hadn’t been the most restful night anyway, up to that point. Some idiot evidently decided the whole damn neighbourhood was going to celebrate Canada Day whether we wanted to or not, and we were going to start doing it after midnight on July 2nd. That’s when the fireworks started—just a row of houses and one small cul-de-sac over, from what we could tell—and they cracked and banged and concussed and made those weird little spinny hissing noises for a solid forty minutes or so. The BUG said they were pretty spectacular, a whole level up from the usual consumer product; she could see them from the bathroom window when she went to pee.

I just lay on the bed and waited for them to stop.

They did, eventually. At around 0040. I rolled over, came in for the cuddle. Snoozed. Rolled away again when the BUG roused herself briefly to look out the window, alerted by some noise from the back garden. No big deal. We have cats, raccoons own the neighbourhood. Something furry is always bumbling around back there.

And then something whispered past my ear like a bird, and landed on the bed. Startled, I reached out.

“What was that?” Caitlin said. It was 1 a.m.

“It’s a fucking knife.

The scene of the crime. Crimey thing bottom center.

A pretty big one, too. No butter knife, here: a fucking chef’s knife, not some piece of junk you happen to pick up while prowling the ravine. (A friend of ours, a professional chef among other things, examined the weapon just an hour ago and declared it of professional quality, full-tang, and really sharp.)

The window was open a couple of inches, tops; the knife had sailed through with clearance on both sides (at least, there’d been no sound of one object grazing another). Whoever had thrown it must have stood on the patio chair against the outside wall, looked in at us while we dozed. They must have pushed that knife as much as thrown it, in order to guide it so cleanly through such a narrow gap.

It took a few moments to get my cell phone; another to switch on its flashlight, face-down on the table, then whip it up hard against the glass so we could see the yard and not just our own reflections gaping back at us.

Nothing.

I grabbed an old wooden riot baton acquired from some New Zealand law enforcement agency (long story) and headed out the back. No one there.

I came back inside, put on shorts and shoes, went out again. (In hindsight the whole clothing thing might have been better done up front, but I didn’t want to waste time. Besides, I can be reasonably intimidating when naked, depending on the angle at which I hold the flashlight.) Crept down the garden path to the big hole in the fence that used to be blocked by the shed we had demolished just yesterday; swept my light into the ravine beyond. Nothing.

Crept around the house, along the side, out front, unable to stop reminding myself that every time I shone my light ahead someone could be coming up on me from behind. No one did. I didn’t catch a face, a shadow, a flicker of motion. Not even a raccoon.

Ultimately there was nothing much to do. I retreated indoors, set the porch motion-detector to Red Alert (usually it just records video of the various beasties who wander by for later enjoyment over coffee; now it flashes lights and raises a siren in the office). Sealed the windows, blacked out the one in the bedroom. I kept my shoes and shorts on, left the baton within easy reach, dug out an old LED headlamp from my field-biology days so that next time I could engage with my hands free.

The motion detector went off every fifteen minutes for the next hour. Raccoons every time. Finally I just threw them some kibble and disabled the siren.

By the time I finally dozed off, my brain was trying to make sense in the most nonsensical ways—because really, why would someone part with a perfectly good (and reasonably expensive) chef’s knife just to scare the shit out of a couple of strangers? They could’ve thrown any old shit through the window and we would have been just as freaked out. The nature of the weapon almost implied premeditation rather than impulse; nobody just found that particular implement, they rummaged through their kitchen and selected it before heading into the night. Was it targeted? Do I have enemies whose initiative actually extends beyond twitter rage? Does the BUG have a jealous boytoy I don’t know about? Nothing really makes sense…

Maybe that was really our knife all along? Maybe it was just, I don’t know, stuck in one of the headboard bins or something and one of the cats…no, that doesn’t make sense…

And then the sun was up and all was right with the world and the first thing Caitlin said when she rolled over was “It almost seems like a dream…”

But it wasn’t a dream. Someone stood just the other side of our bedroom window, watching us sleep. Someone very carefully threw an expensive and very sharp knife at us while we lay in bed. If it was just some random joker out to scare strangers, I don’t know why they invested so much in the prop. If it’s some sort of radical marketing strategy for Ginsu knives, I can only say they’ve misjudged their focus group.

On the upside, we now have a very high-quality knife in our possession, sharpened unto perfection. So if you happen to be the perpetrator, and you’ve any kind of mind to make a habit of this, take note: we could use a nice serrated paring knife with a ceramic blade…



This entry was posted on Friday, July 2nd, 2021 at 9:26 am and is filed under misc. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

44 Responses to “A Blade In Our Bed, a Knife in the Night.”

  1. Jason

    Really aggressive alarm system marketing.

    Is this one of those situations in which it’s best to not attribute rational(?) motives and stick with complex interacting systems doing what systems do? Or do we go cultural/societal? Maybe semi-repressive societies with young cultures, displaced people, poor education, poor mental health monitoring, people with no guidance, left to sort out the crazy in their heads with nowhere to turn? Or maybe probabilistic? With this many people…

    Similar things happen here, people wearing gloves, masks, and hoods, carrying weapons, creeping around at night looking through people’s windows, get caught on doorbell cameras and the like sometimes. But most windows that can be opened have bug screens over them here. Cheap-ish nocturnal-knife-thrower countermeasure?

    I think being naked was a good tactic. How would you feel being chased by a tall naked man at night? “He pursues me fearless and naked while I hide” sort of thing.

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  2. Damn Daniel

    You know the secret of a good memory?
    You know what really kicks the hippocampus into overdrive, burns tracks into your brain faster and deeper than anything this side of direct neuroinduction?

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  3. Fatman

    Weird. Hope you didn’t leave your fingerprints on the knife.

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  4. Ken

    Yikes. Glad you’re both alright. It’s most likely a random event.

    I hope you reported the incident to the police. At the very least, get a record of what happened in case you need to lawyer up due to a repeat offense and/or subsequent capture of the perp. The cops could dust that knife for prints. Seems old fashioned, but in this case it’s the right thing to do. You have no idea if this knife was used in the commission of a crime and the thug threw it away randomly into your window while on the run.

    Moving forward, it’s time to wire up some security cameras. There are a few reasonably priced DIY options out there you can look at. Plus, you have the technical chops to connect them to you network as needed.

    Consider spreading old newspapers, or corn flakes, or some crunchy material outside your bedroom window. It’s an old gumshoe technique, but you’ll hear someone approach. If appropriate, maybe plant a thorny rose bush or something similar beneath that window to deter close approach.

    Finally, if this happens again, don’t EVER go out there looking for trouble. What were you going to do if you found the person? Are you prepared to beat them with that nightstick? You have no idea what you’re stepping into in these situations and the nightstick may not be enough to deter the person – or it would make them angrier and escalate their response.

    Anyway, you see my point. Please call the police next time.

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  5. Bonnie McDaniel

    Holy crap, Peter.

    I’m glad you and Caitlin are okay.

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  6. AH

    Ugh. Glad you’re OK. My guess is that this was someone on a consciousness- and mind-altering drug. AKA drunk people do the weirdest things…

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  7. Nestor

    Those raccoons need to be weaponized as part of your house defences.

    Glad to hear you’re both well. I’m not sure this is the work of the mentally ill as many commenters on FB seem to think – you had a mentally ill person sleeping in the ravine and he never did you any harm. A bizarre prank or someone on intoxicants, perhaps.

    Guess the magic bungalow is now the house of flying knives!

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  8. Peter Watts

    Jason:
    Really aggressive alarm system marketing.

    !! Remember The Far Side? “Bricks through your window? Call Al’s Glass…”

    Is this one of those situations in which it’s best to not attribute rational(?) motives and stick with complex interacting systems doing what systems do?

    Which is pretty much the default Human condition…

    I think being naked was a good tactic. How would you feel being chased by a tall naked man at night? “He pursues me fearless and naked while I hide” sort of thing.

    I was—uh, yeah. That’s exactly what I was doing.

    Let’s go with that.

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  9. Peter Watts

    Damn Daniel: You know the secret of a good memory?

    That’s right. Mock me with my own words in my hour of fear.

    I suppose I’ve only got myself to blame. My stuff is so upbeat it’s pretty hard not to mine it for silver linings.

    Fatman:
    Weird. Hope you didn’t leave your fingerprints on the knife.

    Oops.

    Ken: Moving forward, it’s time to wire up some security cameras.

    Yeah, we’ve got one at the front and a spare on hand. Just never got around to installing the second because the place is generally pretty safe: even the porch device was basically just cooncam that let us gaze fondly at the previous night’s furry visitors over coffee in the morning.

    But yeah, the backyard camera goes up today. Plus we’ve already swapped out the backyard security lights (they’d been burned out for years— again, there just didn’t seem to be any need…)

    Finally, if this happens again, don’t EVER go out there looking for trouble. What were you going to do if you found the person? Are you prepared to beat them with that nightstick?

    Of course. Striding naked into the night to Do Battle makes me more attractive to extant and potential mates. A shortened lifespan is a small price to pay for heightened reproductive fitness.

    AH:
    Ugh.Glad you’re OK.My guess is that this was someone on a consciousness- and mind-altering drug.AKA drunk people do the weirdest things…

    I don’t think I buy the drunk/tripping model. There was a lot of stuff scattered around under our window: dismembered shed parts, rakes, fence-hole diggers (we’re getting work done in the back yard). Whoever did this had to navigate those obstacles, then climb onto a chair that was just off to the side of the window proper, then lean to make the shot. Anyone stumbling around impaired would have been their own percussion section back there, but all the BUG heard was some quiet rustling that might just as easily have been a raccoon.

    Nestor: Guess the magic bungalow is now the house of flying knives!

    It’ll have to go to a vote. But I’ll definitely bring it up.

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  10. Anonymous

    Uh, well… fuck. And I thought I was having a bad day.

    Glad to hear everything’s okay, all things considered, and here’s hoping it was a one-off.

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  11. Jolly Good

    I should think at where you’ve made it by now, you’ve seen more than your fair share of propelled knives. First time I ever heard of you and searched your name, Google pointed me to an article titled Peter Watts is a Jerk :D. Guess it’s really not my place to tell you how infinitely easier it is for someone’s human brain to premeditate your worried state than to emulate the understanding of things you state (clumsiness intended). Gotta save that glucose (not the kitchen tools, though).

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  12. Peter Watts

    Jolly Good: First time I ever heard of you and searched your name, Google pointed me to an article titled Peter Watts is a Jerk

    I remember that. He got enough blowback from it that he ended up dropping a twenty into my legal defence fund.

    Did you know he wrote a followup just last year, taking it all back? “Michael A. Charles is a Jerk“, he calls it. I guess it had been preying on his mind for a solid decade.

    I’m not entirely sure why. “Jerk” is one of the kinder things the Internet has called me.

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  13. Carbonman

    Sudden frightening events make people respond impulsively, especially when they’re wakened abruptly. It’s good to have a straightforward plan for anything seriously upsetting and potentially criminal.
    Don’t touch anything that you don’t have to move; think “evidence that it actually happened”.
    Call police immediately; the perpetrator may still be nearby (& cops love a good takedown).
    On a plain sheet of paper, make a written note of:
    1) The current day and date.
    2) Time of incident or event.
    3) Name of the person writing the account.
    4) Who – identify the persons involved and witnesses to the incident.
    5) What – briefly describe the facts of the incident.
    6) When – note the time the report was created.
    7) Where – accurately describe the location(s) of the incident and whether the location changed before the incident concluded.
    8)Why – describe the cause of the incident, if known.
    You’re basically a reporter and creating a legally admissible record of what occurred if it ever results in criminal or civil proceedings.

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  14. has

    Forget it, Jake. It’s Peter’s House. Where even the Tooth Fairy comes packing.

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  15. Jack

    Maybe the attacker didn’t like your last book. A knife attack is a harsh review.

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  16. SomeHistoryGuy

    Glad you’re okay. Sounds like a real nutjob? Unless Canada is home to some gourmand ninja clan nobody has ever heard of, throwing expensive cooking knives at sleeping people has to be a sign of something going wrong in a person’s head, right?

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  17. Jolly Good

    Peter Watts,

    I know it doesn’t surprise me that someone would eventually regret saying such things, but maybe Michael A. Charles’s case could be a lesson for some others. I can only hope that one day we’ll hear about a note that flew through your window, admitting to how not exactly smart and necessary that earlier circus trick really was.

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  18. Jack

    Peter,

    Is the picture to the right a photo of a black faced lemur?

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  19. Troutwaxer

    STEP TWO: Sue Peter Watts for stealing the valuable knife.

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  20. Anonymous

    On a non-knife-throwing note, this came to my attention today:

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertkidd/2018/08/24/how-virtual-advertising-is-helping-brands-reach-international-soccer-fans/?sh=346f023f6b7f

    Next up, weaponized yoghurt?

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  21. Andrew

    Could be a deranged fan.

    Stephen King once had an anecdote of a guy who broke into his house in the middle of the night with a box full of nails and rubber bands who then declared “Stephen King stole my idea for Carrie and I’m going to blow up your house.”

    It’s just such a weird incident that it could be an equally weird explanation. I feel like your work could totally resonate with some fucked up individuals, unfortunately.

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  22. BTW

    Damn, and I thought GRRM fans need to be worried about the next book getting published.

    In all seriousness though: that’s messed up.

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  23. Jeff Bonkers

    Glad you and Caitlin are okay, Pete. That’s really messed up and I hope the bastard gets caught and you get to include your take on it in a future story. Fingers crossed.

    I sympathize, too, because when I lived in Russia years ago, I experienced something marginally similar when someone fired a gun from across the prospekt (street) that struck the wall just above my sleeping head. Woke me and my girlfriend up, but we just crawled under the bed. Never found out what happened.

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  24. vodkaferret

    Man, that’s fucked up. Not least the fact that I thought you were smarter than the horror movie fodder who say “well that’s strange, let me go out on my own into the dark and check it out!!”

    Although if Jennifer Love Hewitt had done it naked it would have been a much better movie, whichever of those movies it was;)

    Glad you guys are ok. And next time (? hope not!) – don’t be such such a dumbass!!!

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  25. Phil

    Man you have some weird stuff happen. After encounters with harmless sounding things like border services and fasciitis, I find it ironic the large honed flying knife is the one that caused no physical damage. Glad it didn’t.

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  26. Greg M.

    Peter Watts,

    If you hve to compromise, try Bungalow of Flying Knives. It retains some of the present, and has that nice homey ring to it.

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  27. Peter Watts

    Jack:
    Maybe the attacker didn’t like your last book. A knife attack is a harsh review.

    I’ve had worse.

    SomeHistoryGuy: throwing expensive cooking knives at sleeping people has to be a sign of something going wrong in a person’s head, right?

    Yeah, but you could say the same thing about destroying your own life support system, or talking to an invisible friend in the hopes it sends you to Space Disneyland after you die, but most people are just fine with that…

    Jack: Is the picture to the right a photo of a black faced lemur?

    Dude. That’s Lenie Clarke:
    Betamax

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  28. Peter Watts

    Anonymous: On a non-knife-throwing note, this came to my attention today:

    I think this has been going on for some time, actually.

    Jeff Bonkers: I experienced something marginally similar when someone fired a gun from across the prospekt (street) that struck the wall just above my sleeping head.

    That too is fucked. We should start a club.

    vodkaferret: Man, that’s fucked up. Not least the fact that I thought you were smarter than the horror movie fodder who say “well that’s strange, let me go out on my own into the dark and check it out!!”

    Dude, no. I’ve seen those movies. It’s basements and attics you’re not supposed to check out alone (or tractor hangers, if you’re on the Nostromo). Outside is totally fine, as long as you’re not a slutty co-ed.

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  29. Jack

    Peter Watts,

    Peter Watts,

    Skating on thin ice buddy – don’t be surprised if you hear from the Slutty Co-Ed Self Advocacy Group of Greater Metro Toronto. Note to all concerned parties, as an exceedingly rare and obscure commentator of this blog I state categorically and unequivocally that I hold Slutty Co-Ed’s in the highest possible esteem and support their life style choices in all their polymorphous manifestations. Down with the patriarchy! Slutty Co-Ed’s unite!

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  30. Peter Watts

    Jack: Skating on thin ice buddy – don’t be surprised if you hear from the Slutty Co-Ed Self Advocacy Group of Greater Metro Toronto.

    I’m hoping the Slutty Co-Ed contingent will realize that I’m actually taking a shot at slasher-movie cliches and not them personally. Personally I’m all for slutty co-eds. If I’d met a few more of them I might not be a virgin today.

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  31. Jan S

    Peter Watts: I’m hoping the Slutty Co-Ed contingent will realize that I’m actually taking a shot at slasher-movie cliches and not them personally. Personally I’m all for slutty co-eds. If I’d met a few more of them I might not be a virgin today.

    Wait, what?!?

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  32. Troutwaxer

    I think he’s joking. (I hope he’s joking, anyway.)

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  33. Daniel Böttger

    Dear Peter, I would love your comment on the new John Oliver video about Octopuses.

    https://youtu.be/aSZ-hogD8mg

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  34. Peter Watts

    Troutwaxer:
    I think he’s joking. (I hope he’s joking, anyway.)

    No comment. Other than, maybe, Does oral count?

    Daniel Böttger: Dear Peter, I would love your comment on the new John Oliver video about Octopuses.

    I admit it. I squeed. If you’ve followed Oliver you knew he had a soft spot for octopuses because at least one of his trademark digressionary comments in a past episode was about Octopuses are great!, but it was nice to see him open up the throttle.

    Don’t know if I agree with him about kicking cats off the internet throne, though. Although granted, cats have certainly received their share of glory. And unlike octopuses, they benefit from Furry Mammal Privilege. Octopuses are definitely the marginalized group in that respect.

    Maybe it’s time for Affirmative Action for Cephalopods.

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  35. Anonymous

    Peter Watts,

    Anyone else notice the similarity between Marty Feldman and the Cock Eyed Squid?

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  36. Konstantin

    Hi! There’s no easy way to buy full Sunflower series on internet. Amazon has only Freeze Frame Revolution. Can someone please advise, how to get full Sunflower series in electronic format?

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  37. Konstantin

    Also, on effects of Covid on reproduction.

    I guess you can fairly easy make the case that, on average, every additional person born in “golden billion” strata has overall positive effect on all important ecological metrics, while uncontrolled reproduction of uneducated Third World countries is a problem.

    Covid has zero effect on Sub-Saharan Africa etc reproduction rate, and at the same time it inhibits precisely educated classes in developed countries, the only social strata capable on doing organized ecological initiatives on a meaningful scale.

    Thus, it’s not positive but negative factor, all things considered

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  38. Peter Watts

    Anonymous:
    Peter Watts,

    Anyone else notice the similarity between Marty Feldman and the Cock Eyed Squid?

    Maybe if the squid squeezed all her chromatophores down so the skin became pasty white.

    Konstantin: Can someone please advise, how to get full Sunflower series in electronic format?

    The full series does not exist yet. I’m still writing it.

    You can get the extant stories on the backlist page of this very website, though.

    Konstantin: I guess you can fairly easy make the case that, on average, every additional person born in “golden billion” strata has overall positive effect on all important ecological metrics, while uncontrolled reproduction of uneducated Third World countries is a problem.

    It might be easy, but it would also be completely ass-backwards wrong. The golden billion have such a huge carbon footprint per capita that they add to the problem out of all proportion to their numbers. As of 2015, the richest 10% of the population were responsible for 49% of emissions.

    Hell, you could buy us some serious time just by taking out the one percent.

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  39. G M
  40. Tran Script

    I’m surprised you actually went out with a scuffed melee weapon and a flash light. Like on one hand, yeah you can see things clearly when you shine the light on them, but on the other hand you’re dimming your nightvision by a lot and broadcasting your location for all to see.

    This might just be a one time event of some prankster taking it too far, or it might be the first step in a deranged maniac building up courage to do something more violent. I wouldn’t go out there.

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  41. Jack

    Peter Watts,

    There is a Bond line in “Octopussy” that would have been perfect for Lenie.

    Khan “You seem to have a nasty habit or surviving”
    James Bond “Well, you know what they say about the fittest”

    Seems like something you’d say Peter.

    Also, this caught my eye when I was researching Magda’s tattoo

    Bond “What’s that?” looking at her back
    Magda “That’s my little octopussy”

    a tiny, deadly Blue-ringed octopus

    Excerpt from – Follow the Lemur …while I was musing on potentially perverse definitions of the word “octopussy” I realised that, in fact, the octopus is the most interesting thing about this film. Incidentally, I was not brave enough to put “octopussy” into google without the SafeSearch on.

    https://followthelemur.wordpress.com/2012/01/25/the-schiensh-of-bond-octopussy/

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  42. Anonymous

    Peter Watts,

    Hell, you could buy us some serious time just by taking out the one percent.

    Are the rich still tasty and good with ketchup?

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  43. Fatman

    Anonymous: Are the rich still tasty and good with ketchup?

    Crass, bland, and tasteless, for the most part. Although the ketchup does help.

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  44. Jack

    To the Curious Incident of the Knife in the Bed.

    Any leads Dr. Wattson?

    I have a theory. The raccoons got sick of the cheap kibble you were feeding them and decided to get your attention. Intelligent animals. Dexterous hands. I’ve seen them work cooperatively together. I’m pretty sure they’re plotting to take over the planet.

    Old NZ riot baton? Do tell.

    And remember THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE

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