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Random Gifts

I woke up and stumbled to the front door to check for packages. I wasn't really expecting one, but you can never be too sure. To my surprise there was a small brown box waiting on the doorstep for me. What had I ordered? I couldn't remember. I walked back inside and tore the package open.

Inside was a book and a board game. Not just any book and board game, though - they were abominations thrust in in front of my virgin eyes. The game was called A Hot Affair and the book was Penthouse: Naughty by Nature: Female Readers' Sexy Letters to Penthouse. Confused, I check the shipping address. Sure enough they weren't meant for me.

They were my neighbor's.

Keeping Death In Mind

On SEBASTIAN MARSHALL

March 10, 2010. Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Late morning.

I pulled on my swim trunks, trainers, and a tank top and walked out of my little guesthouse room, sliding through the cramped restaurant strewn with tables, and out into the hot, dusty air of Phnom Penh. It's a hot day. It'll be good to swim after lifting weights.

I said, "No no, thank you" to the tuk-tuk drivers offering to take me somewhere in the city, pushed through the little crowd, and out onto the street. The streets in Cambodia more resemble alleyways than streets, and I navigate around people and vehicles.

I went down to the end of the street, turned left, and skirted along close to the local restaurants, half-tent half-storefront type places to get food. I stepped into the crosswalk, the Hotel Cambodiana rising in front of me. I check right and then left, and I watch left as I cross, watching for oncoming traffic.

A loud scream rings out. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

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