Wednesday, August 18, 2010

August 18, 2010
Got a a news flash from the year 2035:

A spokesman for Shady Saguaro Assisted Living, just south of Cave Creek, said Harshberger and Bell died just minutes apart. He described them as in their late 80s, and said they had been buddies since their Kingman childhoods and had worked together for years at True West magazine. Initial reports from paramedics at the scene said both apparently died from natural causes.

Other Shady Saguaro residents said the two had been arguing since lunch about what one close friend later said was their 617th attempt to put the final touches on word balloons and typefaces for a graphic western novel Bell had promised True West readers as far back as 2005.

Harshberger was writhing on the floor when he just stopped moving, said Sally Jones, 90, a resident. "I could have sworn that he was trying to do the Gator," she said, referring to a vulgar dance that was popular on college campuses in the 1960s.

Bell, napping in a wheelchair, awoke to see Harshberger dead, tried to get up and then hollered the words "Mickey Free" before collapsing himself. Jones said she believed that Mickey Free was the name of the graphic novel in question.

University of New Mexico professor emeritus Paul Hutton, the writer on the project, abandoned his role in 2030, telling confidants that "there are obsessions, and then their are obsessions."

—Charlie Waters, Henderson, Nevada

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