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1Today is my birthday. Guess how old I am.
No? But that's no fun. Go on, guess. Here, I'll make it interesting: a crisp one-hundred dollar bill, fresh from the bank. I'll even make it easy--you don't have to be spot on, plus or minus five years, and three guesses too.
Twenty? Good God no. Higher.
Thirty? You make me laugh. Higher.
Forty? Wow, do I really look forty? I tease, of course you don't think I look forty, otherwise you would have started there. You think I look twenty, which is fair enough, since it says twenty-four on my identification.
Hold your horses, I said my identification says I'm twenty-four, but I didn't say it was right. Well, maybe it is right, but that depends on my perspective. Maybe the question you should be asking is How long has he been twenty-four. Go ahead, ask.
It's my fiftieth twenty-fourth birthday today.
Here's how: I made a deal. Not quite a selling my soul kind of thing, more of a loan. The years aren't free, you know.
Don't worry your pretty little head about how much it costs. It's enough to do this.
Go on, take it. You were half right, any way. Twenty-four indeed.
Of course I cheated. It's not supposed to be fair. If I got into a fair fight, it's because somebody made a mistake, and it's probably me. Consider it a forward for tonight's entertainment, namely, you.
See, here's the thing: what I have to do to keep this gig running is make a deposit, once a year. Every year, before midnight on New Years Eve, I have to make a payment, a purely non-financial payment. I've met some fellows who are in the same boat, and some of them wait until the very last hour to pay it off.
That's right: not I. Do you know why I love springtime?
Close enough. Yes, I love the world shaking off the shackles of winter, shucking off clothes like they're lead weights. The natural world is reproducing like crazy and all sorts of animals and people are taking unnecessary risks to get outside and take advantage of the turn of the weather.
Of course it's good for you, between the sun and the fresh cool air. That's where I found you.
I do, your outfit is stunning, reminds me of a gazelle on the Serengeti.
That's a desert in Africa.
No, Sahara is the big one, but I promise you it's totally overrated.
Back to what I was saying. Gazelles, running. Except gazelles don't wear skimpy little outfits, so maybe I should help you out of that.
Really? No tan lines? Anywhere?
Except what you're forgetting is why gazelles run.
No, not for exercise. Because they're being chased.
Wildebeast, buffalo, lions, could be any number of things. Humans even.
I don't think of myself as a lion. You might as well though, I have a mighty roar.2
See, here's the two things I've learned through the years. One: to enjoy making my deposit; and two: to get it done ahead of time, to allow for any margin of error. Then again, I haven't had a problem since 2001, but there was so much going on that year, it wasn't a big deal.
Yeah, just like that. You like that?
No, not yet.
You feel that?
Beg me for it.
MINNEAPOLIS. In the early hours of the morning, the body of a young woman was found in a musky motel room, dead. The autopsy shows high levels of adrenaline in her system, as well as vaginal penetration close to the time of her death. No defensive wounds or signs of a struggle were found. A skimpy jogging outfit and a crisp one hundred dollar bill were also found in the room. The police have released no statement at this time.