As I brushed my teeth and looked at myself in the mirror, I pondered about what I had just been through. How did all of this happen? And why did it happen to me? Did I do the right thing?

  As I recall, me and the guys were sharing some cold drinks. Well, they were cold when we first started, but by the end of the night they were sort of room temperature and flat, but no one cared that much.

  It was the new year, so we were out stargazing and shooting the breeze.

  I undid a notch on my belt. I had a big lunch, and everyone brought stuff for the party, so I thought I'd be courteous and at least try a little of everything. I kind of wish I hadn't.

  Midnight was approaching, so I turned off the lamp in the front room. In just another minute, the fireworks would go off and the new year would be upon us. We started counting.

  Ten... Nine... Eight... Seven... Six... Five... Four... Three... Two...
We knew what came after two, but we were all made silent by a high-pitched scream outside. We rushed to the front window and saw a kidnapping

  I had a terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach. I hadn't felt this way since my potted cactus plant died.

  I decided that I couldn't just see something like that and not do anything, so I wished my company a happy new year and left the house. I ran down the street in the direction I saw the kidnapper taking off in. I saw a familiar-looking car parked outside of a discotheque I stepped inside and was greeted with flashing lights, booming music, and hordes of people.

  I decided not to go through the crowds, and instead stepped into what seemed to be an office. On the main desk, there was what seemed to be a miniature version of Rodin's The Thinker, but upon closer inspection, it was a clock.

  On the wall I saw a calendar that was still on the November page. I had to wonder if anyone had used this office since then, since both the clock and the calendar were both incorrect.

  I found a toaster that had a piece of toast in it that seemed to be harder than the desk itself. I'm going to assume that I was correct in thinking that the office had been abandoned.

  I then noticed a closed door in the back of the office, and decided to look inside, since it appeared that no one was here to get mad at me.

  The door seemed to be a closet. Inside, I found an old rotary phone. Perhaps the person that used this office was a collector of old things. I always liked the look of those old phones, too.

  ...Or perhaps they were just old. I found an eyepatch in the closet, too. I think in a town this small, I'd know if someone needed an eyepatch. I thought for a while, and couldn't think of anyone like that.

  Perhaps my last two guesses about the office's owner were incorrect. I stumbled on (or rather, was almost impaled by) another object as I was pulling things out of the closet-- an old sword. Was the office's owner a pirate?

  There was also a CD in the random objects around the bottom of the closet. It seemed oddly out of place, given the age of everything else that I'd come across that night.

  Finally, something I could work with-- a key. Maybe this could be used somewhere I hadn't looked yet. Maybe it could give me some answers about this seemingly abandoned office, or the kidnapper.

  There was also a clown nose in the closet, so maybe the owner wasn't a pirate. Maybe I had just walked into a costume closet or something. That sword was definitely real, though.

  I decided to step back outside to make sure the kidnapper's car was still there, and sure enough... It wasn't. The flowerbox it was parked next to had some bright purple flowers that I'm sure I would've noticed before if there wasn't a car there at the time.

  I sighed and looked around for any sign of the kidnapper. In the distance there was a fire going on. Was the kidnapper also an arsonist? I decided to investigate.

  However, it was getting a little cold, so before going towards the fire, I put on the winter hat my grandmother made for me. It looks like a koala!

  When I arrived at the fire, the city fire department was already hard at work putting it out. I snooped around a little bit and found a jar of dirt. I decided that it might have been left behind by the arsonist.

  I opened the jar of dirt, dug around in the dirt, and found... a digital alarm clock. If the time on this thing could be trusted, I had already been out for over two and a half hours. All this time and still I hadn't found much besides a jar of dirt and a key!

  Ugh. My stomach was killing me now. So much leftover Christmas turkey, then all the sweets and soda from the party... I was in no condition to be chasing a criminal around.

  This segment of the story has been erased because it's embarrassing, boring, and something I don't want to revisit.

  Unfortunately, after all that trouble, I've been permanently left with a shrunken head. What would Mom think if she saw me like this?

  I went back home, since I felt that I had done my duty. I put that CD I found earlier into my CD player and gave it a listen.

  What was on the disc? I honestly couldn't tell you. It was just a pile of secrets to me.

  I felt as though my story had come to a finish, but some loose ends from the evening were still bugging me.

  I decided to put out a wanted poster for the mysterious eyepatched person whose closet I looted. I drew a picture using my best guess of what that person might look like and posted a few of them around town...

  ...but not too many. If we were still under President Reagan's administration then maybe I would have printed more. Money's kind of tight these days.

  I walked home, playing with my knife. For some reason, I just open and close the knife whenever I'm bored.

  The worst part of the evening? I found a four-leaf clover on the lawn as I was walking back in. Why couldn't I have found this at the beginning of the night? Things might have gone a lot better and I might not be stuck as a shrunken-headed freak.

  The end.

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