“Untimely,” by Eric Thurschwell

Dec 20th, 2007 | By | Category: Prose

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (AP) –’ July 15’ — Stan Fredericks, a resident of the affluent Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia,’ was eaten alive yesterday when an 1100-pound hammer head shark was mistakenly delivered to his home swimming pool. Police investigators said that the accidental transposition of two numbers in a 16-digit UPS address code caused the fish to be sent to Fredericks’ house instead of the Adventure Aquarium in Camden, New Jersey. Donna Acoli, a spokeswoman for UPS, said, “United Parcel Service greatly regrets this mix-up and will not charge Mr. Fredericks’ estate for the delivery.”

Janet Zane, president of the National Aquarium in Baltimore, which shipped the shark, said that her organization would immediately stop using UPS until new quality-control procedures were implemented. In 2003 a similar mishap by UPS involving a killer whale shipment resulted in the slaughter of a Camden YMCA “seven and under” age-group swim team.

KLEVEKTERSCHANZEN, Switzerland (Reuters) –’ September 12 — Nineteen American participants in a yodeling contest in this remote Alpine village were buried on Thursday under tons of freshly fallen snow and are presumed dead, according to search and rescue workers. Johan Schausten, the director of the local Red Cross chapter, said such tragedies occur regularly. “It is the tourists, especially the ones with Swiss ancestors,” explained Schausten. “We tell them to not come in avalanche season, but they all want to get back to their roots. It’s even worse with the Sound of Music re-enacters.”

SANTA MONICA, California (Reuters) — December’ 1 — A 35 year old woman accidentally strangled herself with her own legs while maintaining an advanced pose in a yoga class on Monday. Amanda Cohen choked to death while in the “twisted vine” position, according to Diane Velsky, the instructor for Cohen’s class at the Swammivishnu Ashram. “Amanda was one of our finest students,” said Velsky. “This is a terrible tragedy. She was an extremely talented and spiritually balanced member of the ashram community.”

Barbara Ingles, a student in Cohen’s class, had a different perspective. “She had the physical talent, that’s for sure,” said Ingles. “But I’m not so sure about the spiritual balance. She told me she was feeling pretty down. I don’t want to insinuate anything, but leaving a note and using a gun is kind of bad karma, know what I mean?”

ELLESVILLE, Massachusetts (AP) — December’ 26 — Phillip Chang, a retired Xerox repairman, succumbed to third degree burns on Sunday after his attempt to convert a laser printer into a land-based missile defense system apparently went awry. Chang’s body was found in his home office by fire investigators who traced the path of a narrow hole burned through the 74 houses immediately to the north of his duplex.

“It’s a miracle no one else was hurt,” said Norm Bester, the fire chief of Ellesville. Bester said that the incident appeared to be an accident.

Chang, 61, was remembered fondly by his southern neighbors. “Phil was quite the tinkerer,” recalled Ann Lonnol. “After my home was broke into, he rigged up a burglar alarm for me, and I ain’t had no troubles since. He was generous, too — wouldn’t take a’ cent for it, and all them electric eyes and motion sensors and swivel-mounted AK47’s must have cost him a pretty penny.”

“Patriotic, that’s the first word I think of when I think of Phil,” said a distraught Jason Green, who also lived on Chang’s block and described himself as a friend of Chang. “He was very concerned about nuclear terrorism from Iran or North Korea or those other Arab countries. A patriotic visionary, that’s what he was. He was kind of the Steve Jobs of patriotism.”

Green’s wife Sandra agreed. “He gave his life for his country. I still can’t believe it. You know, you hear about this sort of thing all the time, but you never think it will happen to someone you know.”‘


Eric Thurschwell is still unemployed and living resentfully with his parents in Wynnewood, PA.

Tags: , , ,

Comments are closed.