Stories from that vast nothingness between the East Coast and the West Coast
Christie Dirk, 13, was shopping at Oak Crest Mall with her parents and two younger brothers on Friday afternoon when her father, Derek, noticed that there was no line to visit Santa Claus. He ordered Christie and 7-year-old twins Christopher and Nate to sit on Santa’s lap for a photo — a family tradition.
What followed is truly heartbreaking.
Christie’s mother Julie later reported that her daughter’s face lost all color and that she nearly fainted.
“She kept repeating that she was too old, too old, too old to sit on Santa’s lap,” Julie said. “She looked at me with those big brown eyes and said, Mom, what if someone sees me? I’ll totally die.”
“And I didn’t listen to her,” Julie said. “I said, get your butt over there before your father gets angry.”
After the twins told Santa what they wanted for Christmas and it was Christie’s turn, that’s when she first exhibited signs of acute turpitudinem, a condition that while simply uncomfortable for most people, can be fatal for teenagers. The 13-year-old started trembling and her pupils became dilated.
As she was sitting on Santa’s lap with a blank expression on her face, two classmates from Maxwell Dunkirk Middle School walked nearby. According to several witnesses, the two snickering boys said, “Hey Christie, is that your new boyfriend?”
Erwin Ross, 62, who dresses up as the mall’s Santa every year, say that’s when Christie looked up at him with a mix of horror and contempt.
“She whispered something about being embarrassed and then she died, right there in my arms,” Ross says. “I didn’t even have time to give her a candy cane.”
Maxwell Dunkirk Middle School principal Lorenzo Hunter says that Christie was a promising young student who excelled at math and science, and who loved playing lacrosse. In her honor, the school is naming Dec. 19 as Christie Dirk Day. Every year on that date, every student will be required to wear a shirt with the last photo of Christie on it, the one her father took moments before she died.
“We need to make a serious effort to teach young people that it’s okay to sit on Santa’s lap and tell him what you want for Christmas,” Hunter said. “Christie might have died of shame, but she did it for a good cause.”
Chris Runsup, 34, who was tasked on Saturday with making a reservation at the Blue Mesa Grill for himself and 10 friends, explained to the waitress that he takes very seriously his duty as the group’s chosen representative.
“Ma’am, I recognize that most of us have voiced a desire for one of your signature blue margaritas, and others said they wanted an ice-cold beer,” Runsup said. “However, as a Hamilton diner, I must defy the wishes of the majority, for they know not what’s in their own best interest.”
“Water for everyone,” he added.
Amid grumbles of discontent from Runsup’s friends, the reluctant waitress returned with 11 glasses of ice water.
“I know that my decision won’t be popular, but it’s not my job to do what’s popular, but rather to do what’s right,” Runsup said. “For a starter, we’ll take six orders of your vegetarian flautas with creamy queso dip.”
“And give us each a plate of your Albuquerque chicken enchiladas, with black beans instead of pinto beans,” he continued. “I’ve had them before, and I know in my heart of hearts that everybody will enjoy them.”
“They’re spicy, but not too much,” he added.
Blue Mesa Grill owner Dawn Shepherd, 54, says that customers who make reservations generally don’t order for everyone in the dining party, but the right does belong to them.
“It’s written down, right there in our customer bill of rights,” she said. “But it’s mostly to protect children, as a safeguard against them ordering something they’ll think is yucky, or that might give them a tummyache.”
Seth Keating’s amazing transformation occurred on Thursday afternoon, moments after the 27-year-old read on Upworthy that displaying the small metal item on your clothes makes you a champion for the rights of threatened minorities.
Keating found a safety pin in an office first-aid kit and attached it to his button-up shirt. He then sauntered to the kitchen to wash a mug and was met with gasps from coworkers. Two employees of the digital marketing firm Ampersand fainted while at least one intern shouted, “Speak to us, Dr. King.”
Trailed by now cheering supporters, Keating paraded to the senior manager’s office, where he proclaimed that, “No human being, regardless of race, ethnicity, or creed, should be held in such low regard as to have to produce vapid articles about integrated marketing day after day.”
News of the miracle quickly spread via social media, and within an hour thousands of members of threatened minority groups had gathered in front of the West 39th Street office building, hoping to receive Keating’s touch, which by then was said to heal almost any affliction.
Unfortunately, however, the sudden responsibility of acting as protector for so many frightened people was too great, and Keating suffered a nervous breakdown and was placed in psychiatric care.
“He just wanted to show that he was an ally — for racial minorities, members of the LGBTQ community, former Miss America contestants — for anyone who feels threatened by a Trump presidency,” said girlfriend Rachel Wood, herself a graphic designer at Ampersand. “He didn’t know a cheap gesture would turn him into the most iconic civil rights figure since Moses, and those are pretty large shoes to fill.”
Staff at Mount Sinai St. Luke’s say that Keating is recovering, but that he has not come to terms with having aged significantly, changed skin color, and become a Baptist minister. They do note, however, that he is enjoying his newly discovered talent for oratory and that he hopes to someday write speeches for Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
By Friday, a Change.org petition calling for November 17 to be dubbed National Seth Keating Day had received 394,000 digital signatures. At least one marble statue of Keating had been erected in an elementary school in Maine, and the U.S. Postal Service had announced plans to put the former online content manager on next month’s 47-cent stamp.
So inspired by the example set by her boyfriend of 14 months, Wood also began wearing a safety pin on the patchwork coat she bought on Etsy. She has consequently morphed into a cross between Rosa Parks and Harvey Milk, according to friends.
ALTOONA, Pa. — A longtime supporter of President-elect Donald Trump was said to have woken up from a post-victory slumber early Wednesday morning “extremely agitated” after realizing in a dream that an everyday ladder might be used to scale a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
“What good is a 15-foot-tall wall with Mexico if they can use a regular 16-foot ladder to climb over it,” said supermarket manager Wesley Grimm, 32, to his sleeping wife. “You just prop up the ladder against the wall, climb up, straddle the top, hoist the ladder over, scoot down to the other side, and you’re in.”
According to reports, Grimm spent the following three hours sending emails and Facebook messages to dozens of aides from the Trump 2016 campaign, imploring them urge Trump to think about building a 20-foot wall instead, which although scalable, would be more secure due to the scarcity and prohibitively high cost of 21-foot ladders.