So many questions. And even more bad smells. And popping sounds that don’t always hurt, but probably should. In the silence between the questions, water drips on stone. It’s a torturous sound, not unlike the intermittent screaming and whimpering and all that incessant stretching and popping.

“Didst thou or didn’tst thou not stealeth the Prince’s potatoe?”

“There’s no E at the end of potato,” I reply.

My interrogator nods to the toothless mongrel working the crank. The mongrel’s an oafish man, bald in all the wrong places. He uses both hands as he ratchets, smiling, obviously pleased with his job.

I imagine his business card (six thousand years hence, when they’ve actually been invented)…

Lurch McDurkle, Senior Rack Operator
One Exeter Castle Way
Devon, England


The sounds subside, but not the pain. They keep asking about the Prince and his missing potatoes. But my mind is set five-and-two-thirds centuries away, to a hip little town called Atlantic City, specifically, a quaint shop on the Boardwalk and that first ever batch of delicious saltwater taffy.

When I think I’m finally dead, I hear Lurch McDurkle ask, “How did he hear the E?”

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