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Hey, remember The Fourth of July, 2003? We don't, but found this in our archives:

Fourth of July Fourthiness.

Independence is on the march, patriots.

& Recently . . .

Kurt Cobain's Ghost with an Invitation to a Fourth of July Picnic and Fireworks by Angela Genusa

"B.L.T.": A Review by Will Layman

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Angry Words from a Gnome Who to This Day Continues to Think the Human Genome Project Was Actually The Human Gnome Project by David Ng

Key Party, N.Y.C., Circa Always by William K. Burnette

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Friday, March 21, 2003   |    Fiction

Old-Timey Sales Pitch

by Josh Abraham

Good people of Tulsa, today is your lucky day! That’s right, I’m here just until sunset, then I’m heading up east to Missoura. So step right up and witness with your own eyes the marvelous medicinal miracle I’m about to demonstrate. Do you suffer from sleepless nights? Restless days? Do you find your-self avoiding your friends and cousins at hoedowns and hootenannies? Do you notice your hands a-shakin’, your feet a-quiverin’, your forehead a-sweatin’, your legs all jiggly-kneed? Are you obsessin’ and compulsin’? Unable to rustle up the gumption in bed? If you say you can relate to any of these devestatin’ defects, then I reckon you, my friend, suffer from a social disorder. But fear not! Relief is at hand, thanks to Pfizer & Sons’ Zoloft-Distillate Tonic! Guaranteed to add spring to your step, spice to your taste, and color to your vision! And it will ring cowbells in the haystacks, if you know what I mean. Yes, this fantastic remedy is my great-granddaddy’s very own special mixture of actual scientific chemicals, sweetened with herbs, and guaranteed to add vim and vigor to your Iife! This special recipe was kept a family secret for three generations. Alas, the Lord hasn’t seen fit to bring a child to my wife, but I’d be a damned sinner if I let this secret perish with my name, and so I bring the miracle to you, that my great-granddaddy’s wonder can live on. Now, I have here thirty bottles allocated exclusively for the good people of Tulsa. Guaranteed completely devoid of any and all side effects. May I have a volunteer from the audience? You sir, you look like a brave fella. Yes, yes, come right on up. What’s your name, young fella? Horace? My wife’s brother’s name is Horace. Now Horace, do you solemnly swear to your friends and neighbors here that you and I have never met until this very moment? O.K. then, Horace, I’m gonna pour you a nice tall glass o’ Pfizer & Sons’ Zoloft-Distillate Tonic. Drink it on up! Tasty, ain’t it? Mmmm. I start off every morning with a glass, and another before bed-time. Now, how’s that, Horace? You feel yourself rejuvenated? Reënergized? Revigorated? Look at the boy, folks, he’s glowin’ in the dark! Horace, I tell ya what I’m gonna do. For bein’ such a brave soul, I’m gonna give you two free bottles, yes, two! Go ahead, take ‘em! Now, folks, who wants a bottle? Whoa, whoa, easy now, step in line please, one at a time, one at a time … Less than two percent of users will experience mild cases of tummy-rumblin’, vomittin’, blurry eyes, high fevers, and loose stools. Thank you, thank you, O.K., it’s gettin’ dark, folks, I must be shufflin’ off. Thank you, Tulsa! I’ll be back this a-way come the harvest.

Josh Abraham was born in Algeria in 1913. He spent his early years in North Africa, working various jobs—in the weather bureau, in an automobile-accessory firm, in a shipping company—to help pay for his courses at the University of Algiers. As a young journalist, his report on the unhappy state of Muslims in the Kabylie region aroused the Algerian government to action and brought him public notice. From 1935 to 1938 he ran the Théâtre de l'Equipe, a theatrical company that produced plays by Malraux, Gide, Synge, and Dostoevski. During World War II he was one of the leading writers of the French Resistance and editor of Combat, then an important underground newspaper. Abraham's fiction, his philosophical essays, and his plays have assured his preëminent position in modern French letters. In 1957 Abraham was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. His sudden death on January 4, 1960, cut short the career of one of the most important literary figures of the Western world when he was at the very summit of his powers. No, wait. That was Albert Camus.