STORIES : Phone Excerpt:

Excerpt from conversation between Mark and Robin over the phone:



“Robin, it’s Mark. Just calling to check up on you. How are you feeling now?”

“I’m fine, I guess. Huh-hashSHEEeeww!”

“Whoa, bless you!”

“Thanks *sniff*.”

“Must be some cold you’ve got, huh?”

“Yeah…but I’m feeling much better now, Mark. Just sneezing my head off right now, but that’s about…ah-ASHEWW! about it *sniff*.”

“Bless you again.”


“Guess you weren’t kidding about sneezing your head off, were you? He he.”

“Very funny, Mark. ASHOO! ASHEWWW! Huh-huh-ASSHEEEEWWW!”

“Yeah, I know, I’m a fucking comedian, huh?”

“HARRASHHOOO! Christ, I swear to God, Mark, I just cannot for the life of me stop sneezing!”

“Yeah, Robin, I can see that.”

“Seriously, the whole day I spent sneezing my head off. Otherwise, my cold’s getting better. I don’t have much of a sore throat anymore, and I’m not coughing nearly as much, nor does my head hurt, but the sneezes…they just keep…huh-ASHOOO! They just keep coming!”

“Hey, don’t look at me, Robin. I’m a desk jockey for the NSA, not a doctor.”

“No shit, Mark, I work in the same division as you, silly *giggle*.”

“And we work quite well together, don’t we?”

“Yes, we do…ASHOOO! When we’re both nice and healthy, that is.”

“Ha-ha! Bless you, Robin.”

“Thank you. You wouldn’t believe how much I’ve been sneezing. Just used up my second box of Kleenex, been blowing my nose so much because of all this sneezing.”

“I can stop at the store and get you some more, if you want. And even some Nyquil to help you sleep.”

“That’s sweet of you, Mark, but don’t worry about it. I’ll be fine.”

“Suit yourself.”

“Just wish I could stop sneezing, Mark. I was watching ASHOOO! HEH-SHEWWW! Excuse me.”

“Bless you.”

“Anyway, I was watching these stupid paid advertisements – nothing better to do, I guess – and I could barely pay attention to what the people were saying, I was sneezing so much; my head thrusting forward as I sat on that couch, my hair flopping in my face as I sneezed each sneeze. And…and…huh-HAASHHEWWW! Yeesh! Anyway, *sniff* not only am I sneezing all the time, but everything seems to make me sneeze. I can’t go NEAR the pepper…or any spice for that matter…and a sudden chill will send me into the worst fit of sneezes you could possibly imagine!”

“Wow! Now that’s an awful lot of sneezing!”

“Yeah, I’d be a fetishist’s dream come true.”

“Come again?”

“A sneeze fetishist.”

“A sneeze fetishist?”

“Yeah, a sneeze fetishist.”

“You mean there are actually people who are sexually aroused by sneezing?”

“Yeah, I know it sounds pretty strange, Mark. I mean, I had no idea that such a thing as a sneezing fetish existed either until today.”

“Well, how’d you find out about it?”

“The Internet.”

“The Internet? Robin…are you sure it wasn’t joke site?”

“Yeah, Mark, there were a whole bunch of them. Message boards, websites, the whole deal, containing a wide assortment of wavs and stories about people sneezing. AAAHHHSSSHOOO! Excuse me. They all seemed pretty serious to me.”

“Well I’ll be damned.”

“Yeah…I was sneezing a whole bunch of…huh-huh…a whole bunch of…huh-HARRASHOOO! A whole bunch of times, so I figured that it’d be as good a key word in the search engine as any. I expected to find a bunch of sites on allergies and colds and stuff like that, and that was mostly what I got. ASHEEEWW! But then *sniff* I found a few fetishist sites and decided, out of morbid curiosity, I guess, to see what was on it. Yeah, I know it may be a bit out of the ordinary, but hey, whatever makes ya happy, right?”

“Yeah, you’re right about that, Robin. As long as they aren’t raping women or molesting little children, I couldn’t give a shit.”

“Anyway, I thought of posting a little ‘self-observation’ of how I was sneezing so much in one of the forums – this one called Blondie’s Storyboard…or Bondi’s Storyboard…whatever, I don’t know. I’d do it as an anonymous posting, just to be nice and ‘share’ but then decided I just didn’t feel like it.”

“I see.”

“Anyway, I just want to thank you for getting everything straightened out for me at work. That was very sweet of you, Mark, you’re a lifesaver. HACHEEEWW!”

“Hey, don’t mention it. I mean, what’re friends for, right?”

“Yeah, I guess. But still, I really appreciate it, Mark, thank you.”

“Besides, Robin, you did the same for me when I had Necrotizing Faescitis last year and had to get it surgically removed before it ate away at my whole fucking arm.”

“HASHOOO! Yeah, good thing they caught that early, huh?”


“I mean, you definitely don’t *sniff* wanna mess around with the flesh-eating bacteria!”

“Yeah, no shit!”


“Bless you a hundred times, Robin.”

“And a hundred thank-you’s to you, Mark.”

“And then there was that time I had that case of food poisoning a while ago, too, that you did everything in your power to take care of things for me at work.”

“Hey, what’re friends for, right, Mark?”

“Yup. Anyway, I’m almost at my flat now. Sure you don’t want me to pick anything up for you, Robin?”

“Yeah, I’m fine. *Sniff*”

“Well…okay. Feel better soon, Robin.”

“I will, thanks, Mark.”

“No problem. Bye.”

“Bye Mark.”