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“Jen Michalski’s second novel is an intense emotional commitment, but a worthwhile one.” – Ploughshares


“Jen is an astonishingly sensitive writer.” – HTML Giant


“Jen Michalski excels in subtlety that is made possible by her nuanced understanding of voice.” – The Rumpus


“Jen is a writerly heavyweight.” – Nate Brown, American Short Fiction


“We’re lucky to have Michalski before the rest of the world discovers her. But they will.” – Baltimore City Paper

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From the Not-So-Funny Pages

I love reading the crime beat section of The Baltimore Guide, our free weekly. Not because I think the city is a cesspool or anything, but for the humor. Don't get me wrong; after reading how many houses had doors kicked in and windows broken, I want to install bars and super-duper deadbolts on every nook and cranny of the house the missus and I are buying. However, there's such a dryness and lack of irony in crime beat reporting that begs one to dig deeper into those simple, declarative sentences.

My favorites this week:

"Someone entered a house through an unlocked door and stole a laptop, 40 DVDs, and a Bible." On a side note, I'm always amazed at how many people leave their doors unlocked, as well as their cars (while displaying a laptop on the front seat). But that's not as intriguing as the last item: a Bible. Really? Did the burglar perhaps need clarification on the Ten Commandments? If he or she had only had the Bible beforehand, perhaps they would have not stolen the items or, to quote George Constanza, "I didn't realize that was frowned upon here." I'm glad they'll at least have this guidance next time out.

We'd probably reject this story at jmww, but the premise is intriguing: "A couple argued and threw various and assorted glassware at each other." I'm a little confused about whether the glassware, in addition to already being assorted, was also various.

Here's a great reason why you shouldn't litter: "A man told police that he was waiting for a bus at XXX and XXX, finished his coffee, and walked into an alley to throw the cup away. He was confronted by two men who..."

But here's my absolute favorite. A heart-breaker: "Some stole a beer keg from a back yard." To quote Nancy Kerrigan, "Whhhhy?? Whhyy??"

I'd better pray the rosary like madness tonight to withstand the onslaught of karma turning not in my favor.