Chapter 8

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Chëpter Ieeght (Chapter Eight)

CHEESIKA BURGER sighed as she went through the paperwork on her desk. "Well, we've recovered from the fiasco of Marty Stu's libel scandal, but we're still struggling right now. Advertisers are pulling out of the magazine. We're losing sponsors. I suspect that Weinerstorm is behind it."

The creative director of Centennium and co-owner of the magazine, Christmas Bomb, nodded. "I suspect that as well. In fact, I suspect that one of our staff members is secretly working for Weinerstorm. I think we should feed him false information to throw him off. Oh, I'm gay, by the way."

"Yes, I know." Cheesika threw up her hands. "Ugh, this is all so pointless."

"Why, what do you mean?

"Do you ever get the feeling that you don't matter at all? Like, you don't have any purpose in life?"

Bomb frowned. "Well, yes, as a matter of fact. I have been thinking that lately. It's like the only time I feel like I matter is when Marty Stu is around."

"Exactly. I mean, this is all so boring. Who cares if we're losing advertisers or trying to publish a financial expose? If this was a novel, it would feel like it was either unnecessary information or just padding out the story."

Cheesika stood up and sighed. "I wish this was somehow related to his mystery. Now that's interesting stuff."

"I agree. Way more interesting than this crap."

Cheesika picked up her scarf and wrapped it around her neck. "I think I'll take a trip down to Headcasetad and have sex with Marty Stu again. I just need to clear it with my husband, but he should be fine with it."

Bomb made a face. "You know, the relationship you have with your husband and Marty Stu is kind of, um, odd."

"No, it's very progressive and enlightened. We've moved beyond mere jealousy."

"Yeah. I suppose. But the fact that your husband doesn't mind you sleeping regularly with another man is kind of creepy."

Cheesika shook her head. "I don't understand why people have such a problem with a married woman getting permission to sleep with and spend all their time with a single man. Anyway, I'll see you later."

Bomb shook his head. "No, you won't. My part as a sounding board for your conversations is pretty much over."

"You're right. Bye."

* * *

Elzbeth Salamander woke up to a knock on the door. She groaned and looked at the clock. "Who could be knocking on my door at this ungodly hour of two o'clock in the afternoon?"

She got up, took off her pajamas, and took a quick shower before getting dressed and shuffling to the door.

She opened it to find a man she immediately recognized as Marty Stu Bonkvist at her front door. He held a bag of sandwiches and coffee, and smiled.

"Hello," Marty Stu said.

Elzbeth gasped. "What are you doing here? How did you find me?"

"It wasn't hard. I just looked you up on Facebook."

She snapped her fingers. "Dang it, I knew I shouldn't have put my home address and phone number on my profile, but they gave me extra lives in Candy Crush. Or as we call it in Sweden, Kuündy Kroösh."

Marty Stu walked into her dirty and smelly apartment. "So you're the hacker who got all my information."

She gasped again. "How did you – oh, never mind. It really is obvious, isn't it?"

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