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Among the many things I’ve found to be precious in life, the little quiet times that appear when things go fantastically wrong always seem the most precious of all. But an excess of quiet times is an excess of standing still, an act just as bad as its opposite. The stories this month are about an excess of quiet times, whether those times are too much time alone or too much time left to thinking. In a roundabout way, they are a celebration of our own quiet times, like the time it takes to read this or any other piece on this site. Whether the moment we’ve stolen is a pleasure worth the effort or a pleasure taken for granted, I hope as always that you do take pleasure in our features here at Gothic.net, and that you’ll always be able to find a quiet moment alone when you best need it.

We start this month with a sultry tale about a man and his photocopier. Never get in the way of a man and his machinery. Doing so could leave you spouseless, jobless and dead on your office floor. And to prove it, we have “Agnes, a Love Story” by David Hayes, our story for the week of February 2.

There was a documentary I watched once about a researcher who went to Borneo looking for the last surviving headhunters. Borneo, for the unaware, is a large island shared by Indonesia and my home country, Malaysia. More than half its land mass is lush tropical rainforest, best known for its biodiversity and tribal inhabitants rumored to eat…well…other tribal inhabitants. Trekking through humid, bug-infested jungle is no fun. Gastronomically-inclined readers won’t have to look any further than February 9, when we publish Brendan Connell’s “Notes on a Modern Epicure”, with complimentary results.

Of course, no quiet time is complete without a ghost story, because uncommon wisdom states that hauntings won’t happen when you don’t sit down long enough to notice them. Justin Stanchfield’s ghost is “Jim Marble”, stumbling drunk to a magazine near you. You can be dead and have your cake too.

Finally, because our readers are supposed to be eclectic, eccentric and typically possessed of more than two brain cells to rub together, I’ll give you a story I’m reading that comes out different every time. That’s right. It’s time for an experiment. Read Mike O’Driscoll’s “We Will Not Be Here Yesterday”, and if it doesn’t screw around too much with your sense of what is, comment something nice. We can compare notes.

Now quit chortling.

Schedule for February 2004:

February 2 - Agnes, a Love Story, David Hayes
February 9 - Notes on a Modern Epicure, Brendan Connell
February 16 - Jim Marble, Justin Stanchfield
February 23 - We Will Not Be Here Yesterday, Mike O'Driscoll

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