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By Benjamin Epstein

I’ve seen six different murders in my life, and they were all at Starbucks. After the fourth one, I decided never to set foot in a Starbucks ever again. Six weeks later I got attacked by a feral goose, and I ran for cover in the nearest place I could find. It was in that Starbucks where I saw someone get shot by a man dressed up as Santa.

I decided that I couldn’t ever let myself go near a Starbucks. So, I moved to Scotland, because there aren't any Starbucks there. I got a job working as a panda tender in Edinburgh. The Edinburgh Zoo has 6 pandas, and they’re the only pandas in Scotland. It was a very special job. Apparently, the only reason why they gave it to me was because I’m an American. I don’t know why they thought that Americans were good at taking care of pandas, but I was excellent at my job.

I made sure that the pandas looked absolutely fantastic, and they were always in the best condition. The zoo people got me a special red coat that said “Panda Tender” on it. Everyone greeted me when they saw me in the street. I would strut around town with a beard, a top hat, a tiny pair of glasses, and a diamond encrusted cane.

Soon, I became a completely different person. I bought a house and a cow. The cow came with the house. I didn’t really want the cow, but the cow was actually pretty self sufficient and kept to herself. She didn’t even need to be milked. I don’t know who or what was milking her, but I was fine with that. The only problem was she snored loudly, but I was also fine with that.

Things were going great for me, I had a steady job, a house, and a great beard. Truly the pickle of existence.

But then, one of the pandas got addicted to crack. He left the zoo to join a ska band, and all of the blame was placed on me. I was hanged from the gallows and fired. In that order.

My heart stopped for 3 days, but then I woke up in a moratorium.

I was physically okay, but mentally, I was in shambles. I snuck out of the moratorium and then out of Scotland. A plane took me back to America. I searched for a job. However, for some reason, no one wanted to hire me. I was on my last legs and last tub of ramen when I finally got a job.

It was at Starbucks.

I didn’t want to do it, no life was worth me having a job. And yet… I decided to risk it. Maybe the other five times were just a coincidence.

On my first day at work, I walked in, did my job, and everything went fine. Not a single person was murdered. Then, I came in again. A few weeks passed. I soon stopped worrying.

But then…

It was a cold day. Business was slow. I was wiping the counter when I heard a person clear his throat. It was Patton Oswalt, his small, innocent eyes looking up at me. He was like an otter, only with human skin and human hair.

“Hello,” he said, “I would like a tall vegan grande macchiato creamless short mocha latte with no cream and a dash of espresso venti with no cream and a squirt of blueberry caffeine please, no whipped cream, and make it a grande- with no whipped cream.”

“Okay,” I said “Would you like whipped cream on that?”

Patton Oswalt was about to respond, but he never got the chance to. Suddenly, a knife appeared in his back. I screamed as he fell to the ground.

“Oh no!” I said. “Patton Oswalt! Someone threw a knife into your back!”

“Oh no,” he grimaced. “My back, it’s not supposed to have knives in it…”

“No, Patton Oswalt, don’t go…”

“I’m sorry… it…it shouldn’t have ended like this… I had so many more stories to tell… I was going to- I was going to make a remake of… the Apartment, but it was gonna be gender swapped… I was going to be… Shirley Mcclaines character…”

“No,” I said, tears in my eyes. “No… that would never work.”

“Please… tell my pet penguins that I…” Patton Oswalt leaned in close to me and whispered in my ear “Tell them, ‘eat fish for me, eat fish for my health… I can’t eat fish any…more’…” and with that, he died.

“Nooo!” I screamed “NOOOOOOO!!!”

Well, I then had to run away, because I was a suspect in his murder. I now travel around the country, selling black market fish tanks. Hopefully, I can earn enough money to buy a machine that can bring Patton Oswalt back to life.


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