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No. 105:

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Recited from memory by: Leon Arnott

The author writes:

"In 1945, a young girl named Katu Lata Kulu came to America from Africa in a grey boat. A mysterious man killed her by cutting the words LATUALATUKA into her back. Now that you have read this message, she will come to your house on a full moon and steal your soul unless you do the following:"

Have you ever had the misfortune to read a passage such as the above? Especially when the reciter of the passage prefaces it with the words "Please don't read this!" or "I know it's stupid but just bear with me OK!?"

The comic above extols my views on this phenomenon, but let's think about this from the point of view of poor Ms. Katu Lata Kulu. She's been wandering the globe for more than 50 years with those blasted letters on her back (which, I can only presume, are the magical motivation for her earth-bound wanderings) and has this dire need to take the souls of anyone who learns the secret of her existence.

Now, I know that ghosts have an infinite capacity for action, owing to their lack of bodies and immunity to the laws of thermodynamics, but this need of hers apparently extends to every living human being, regardless of spatial location. This raises plenty of questions in and of itself. Being a ghost, it's a given that she can cross the globe at her whim to visit homes from Australia to Armenia, but what if that message was slipped into the International Space Station, to be read by a hapless cosmonaut? What if that cosmonaut was in a lunar lander? Is the moon always full when you're upon it?

But, what's more distressing is that it must be a dreadful experience from her point of view - having to regularly visit the living, the vibrant and full-bodied, and rob them of something so intimate and precious. To have to constantly be reminded of the life she should have had, the life she should still be living right now. And to have to punish those people, those who have not suffered like she has suffered, for the crime of knowing that she exists - of knowing that she suffers, and will suffer forever.

What a condemnation, then - not just to die, not just to wander the Earth, not just to be unremembered, but to see everyone who would remember her lose their very soul by her own hand.

Well, the full moon's approaching, readers. I know it's stupid, but I think I'll sit by the window tonight, filling my heart with feelings of recognition, sympathy, pity, and forgiveness.