The Sea of Troubles by Grayson Porter

They say the ghost of Christopher Marlow hangs about the Shakespeare section of the library.

I thought I was loved by a charming woman named Rebecca, a 22-year-old model/student. She really did seem to like me. In her own words, she was “a nubile woman desperate for help from the right guy.”

She would text me at lonely points of the day. Thinking of you,” she would say. Or, “I miss you!” Or, “I’m naked and so wet right now.” And, “I have a really big problem, and only you can help.  Could you send me 200 dollars?”

When she didn’t show up for our first and second dates, I was worried. Soon, I found out the truth.  A police officer showed up at my door to tell me about the ring of con artists taking my money. The officer said, “You’ve been had. I know it hurts.”

Alack! Rebecca turned out to be multiple men operating out of a garage in El Paso.

I strutted and fretted over her. I thought my cash installments were helping her buy a laptop. But no—my money had paid several con artists, who I will call John, Wes, William and Adam.

I can transcend my sorrow by intellectualizing it. I am a bit of a Shakespeare buff, and I sympathize with the bamboozled scholars. They thought the great playwright acted alone. Who could have imagined Shakespeare’s plagiarism of his contemporaries? Who could have imagined multiple writers working under the same pen name to write Othello? Who could have imagined John, Wes, William and Adam sending kissy face emojis from a garage in El Paso?

If the leading scholars can be fooled, then I shouldn’t feel any shame.

I’d love to meet the woman in the photos they sent. She’s out there somewhere. I wish to caress her face and ask if she really dreams of a relationship filled with “tender yet unspeakably vulgar sex.”

Alack!

A World Traveler’s Manifesto by Rufus G. Rumley III

I am a world traveler. I’ve had the privilege of spending time in Saudi Arabia, Russia, China, and Vietnam.

I’ve maintained a strong sense of self despite facing varying hardships—walking through the jungle behind a native guide, Instragramming my reaction to native  foods, visiting museums, and navigating foreign public transportation systems during rush hour. Many times, I have seen poverty-stricken foreigners, and I have had to step over them during my commute.

Despite these many challenges, I have thrived.

Though I never learned to speak a second language or made any friends abroad, I have discovered a much more valuable gift. My experiences in countries with authoritarian politicians have given me the emotional distance to exploit labor in my home country.

In short, I allow my American interns to work for free.

I’m a small business owner (you’re welcome). I offer innovative, non-paid internships at my fashion-forward boutique. While working for me, interns learn to produce and screen-print T-shirts with efficiency. The interns learn professionalism; they keep a smile on their faces even when photocopying documents. But it’s not all hard work—when the interns work late, I provide snacks, and only rarely do I ask everyone to Venmo me money for the food expenses.

Upon completion of the year-long program with Allie’s T-Shirt Boutique, I offer a pleasant, brisk letter of reference, which is very helpful for interns looking to score their next internship.

As a community leader, I’m often faced with questions about politics. For the record, I denounce President Trump’s racist rhetoric. I’ll shout it LOUDLY from the rooftops: This is America! We are not racist!

Myself, I’ve lived in countries with ethnic people! I’m a woman—who runs a business!– Allie’s T-Shirt Boutique–according to an ethical set of principles! Three T-shirts for seven dollars—today only!

In my extensive, mind-opening travels, I’ve seen a similar style of authoritarian leadership abroad; foreign politicians make much better authoritarian leaders.

You’d be surprised what a strongly-worded letter email can do. My father went to Stamford law. Allie’s T-Shirt Boutique owns the rights to all T-shirt screen-printed content, and you’d have to prove in court that Allie’s has violated any artistic content copyright that you may (pathetically) claim. We did not steal artistic content from your Instragram pages, so please stop targeting hard-working business owners.

As a reminder, Allie’s Boutique does offer graphic design internships.

Your local business/community leader,

Allie Thomson