Reflected in a rippling pool of gutter water a metal hawk razored across the midday sky, belching a long trailing shriek as she crossed zenith and descended talons-first into her nearby nest on the horizon. The prophet Austin's shined black loafer described a high arc over the pool and onto the waydrive of a one-story dwelling. Close behind followed his brother in Christ, Chad, though his loafer did crash into the pool-water and split the image of the metal bird asunder.
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Gareth Miller grabbed the beer first, then the hotdog, because if there's one thing you don't want to be caught dead without at these sorts of events it's beer. The hotdog was strictly for show, a prop, a way of blending in. Burst of static in his right ear: 'G-man, you read me? What's yo' twenty, dawg?' Gareth departed the concession stand, stopped, looked down at his hands, and tossed the hotdog into the first trash receptacle he saw. Raising his wrist to his mouth, he spoke into the cuff of his long-sleeved tee. 'Concession stand, Section B. Over.' Allowing his hand to linger by his chin, he gingerly scratched his cheek as if he had meant to do it all along. The same voice: 'Yo, I'm in position. Ready when you is.' Gareth cringed while crossing the wide concourse, checking both directions. The giant hallway was the main drag of a ghost town, its only residents a solitary custodian sweeping debris into a portable waste bin and the concession crew to his rear.
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On a nightstand in a teenager's room, a glass vase filled with violets leans precariously against a wall. The only thing saving the vase from a thousand-piece death on the hardwood floor is the groove in the nightstand's surface that catches the bottom of vase, and of course the wall itself. The violets, nearly a week old, droop in the light of a waning gibbous moon. Wrinkled petals are already piling up on the floor between the nightstand and the wall, and a girl only six days sixteen stares at the dying bouquet from her bed.
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Standing there, peering around his room, Pete realized something that should have dawned on him years ago: Science really did suck. (Russell was right.) There just wasn't any point to it. Sure, in its most altruistic distillation, science saved lives-but when had it ever made those lives worth living? The cold machine called science's sole purpose, and Pete knew it now, was to drain the wonder out of things, to sap the imagination of its juices, to rob possibilities from dreamers. Science explained without ever getting to the crux of the matter, locking us all into a single paradigm of thought: that all we are is randomly accumulated stardust hanging out on a larger clump of randomly accumulated stardust that is spiraling out and away from other chunks of randomly accumulated stardust, on a collision course with an empty infinity.
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