The World as We See It


Crier Quotes

“I’ll usually go for a walk in the late afternoon, find a good spot to lay down, and trace and outline of myself in chalk. Then I call the police.”
- Sean Bean


Haunting: Hamster Realizes He's a Replacement

Photo by Jie Wang / Unsplash

GETTYSBURG, PA — In a truly harrowing sequence of events, Brad, a local hamster, came to the realization that he was a replacement.

“There were signs, you know,” said Brad as he reached for his pack of unfiltered Pall Malls, “You got a light? Thanks. For instance, the spout on the water bottle was still warm. I know, right. So, I knew something was up. Then I head to the treadmill for a little cardio, and the axis is wobbly — which any hamster knows is a function of wear and tear. They don’t come out the box like that. Then the little girl comes in and calls me Isabell. Okay. At first, I’m thinkin’ that Dad is gonna step in on this. He’ll sort it out, right? But he’s just staring at the little girl with this stupid look on his face. So, I’m like ‘Hey Pop, you wanna jump in here, pal.’ Nothin. So now I gotta take matters into my own hands. The next time she comes in calling ‘Isabell Isabell’ I roll over a flash her my business, you know, maybe getting a glimpse of the crown jewels will show her I aint no Isabell — Unfortunately, it had been a while since I last shaved, so it didn’t have the desired effect. She just ran back to her mommy saying I learned a new trick.”

But the kicker, Brad said, was the tea party. That’s when it all came together.

“The little girl comes in and says ‘tea time Isabell.’ I can see she’s holding a little bonnet in her hand. ‘Come here silly, you know you can’t have tea without your bonnet,’ she says, and she reaches in for me. Now look, I don’t do tea, and I sure as hell don’t do bonnets. I do coffee — black. No sugar, no creamer, no milk. Black. Knowhatimean? So I aint playin along. And she gets all upset. Starts crying. Goes ‘Mommy, Mommy, Isabell forgot how to do tea time.’ And she runs away. Now here comes Mommy saying ‘It’s okay, honey, sometimes Isabell needs a little reminder because she gets confused.’ Then Mommy throws the viper grip on me. Shuts my whole body down. I’m completely at her mercy. She then pulls me real close and whispers, ‘everyone’s replaceable.’” A shiver ran down Brad’s spine as he relived the experience before tossing the butt of his Pall Mall into the sawdust pile in the corner of his cage. “Anyway, I’m Isabell now. Oh, and if you see Paulie or Rocco tell 'em I’m doin' alright, just don’t mention the Isabell thing, I gotta reputation, you know. Also, say hi to Rocco’s sister for me.”

At the printing of this newsletter, Brad was seen practicing his plié because later that afternoon, Isabell had a recital.


  • United Airlines announced a new family seating policy that makes it easier for children under 12 to sit next to their parents for free — Or, parents can upgrade for a small fee and sit far away with noise-canceling headphones.
  • An HIV patient in Germany was declared cured of the virus after successful bone marrow treatment. Doctors say curing HIV through the bone is a huge win for irony.
  • The Taliban is preventing the sale of contraception throughout Afghanistan under the justification that birth control is a Western conspiracy to control the country’s Muslim population. Many are calling the logic ridiculous as it isn’t on brand with Western tactics in the region — which would more accurately be described as rapid insertion followed by a messy pullout.
  • A study from the UK found that people who work out between 11 am and 5 pm are less likely to die prematurely than people who rise and grind. The reason, they say, is that people who rise and grind are ten times more likely to be killed by the people they constantly tell about it.
  • Doctors and medical experts are leading a rapid cultural shift around obesity, viewing it as a disease rather than a lifestyle choice — Doctors are calling it Hands, Food, and Mouth disease.
  • AI chatbot company Replika offers romantic partnerships to its users — one man said his relationship with the chatbot is the best thing that ever happened to him — although he does wonder where she keeps getting all those viruses.
  • The New York Times chronicled a year in the life of a Ukrainian middle-school teacher, Yulia Bondarenko, who left her classroom to defend her country. Bondarenko hopes when the war is over, she’ll have the experience needed to get a job as a teacher in Chicago.

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Jamie Larson