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On Stillwell Street, Sven came home from a night out with the boys playing pinball and stealing liquor bottles in a Mission saloon, then brawling with a couple of asshat real estate developers steamed on top-shelf bourbon and crashing his ten-speed on the ride home. He was in the freezer looking for an ice pack when he noticed that the sherbet he’d bought the night before was still there, the plastic wrapping still intact. He grabbed the pint and pulled off the lid to find it all there, no scoops missing, no sly lowering of the sherbet level around the edges. He surveyed the living room and saw the beluga on the sofa was gone, the grubby grabby kids missing, the steamer trunk that’d been serving as a coffee table vanished, the assorted stein glasses normally cluttered on top drying on the rack by the sink.

“Da voman’s gone,” he sniffed, guessing his latest eviction attempt had finally won on appeal. “Vell, best to her, ya.”

A flash of nostalgia hit as he settled into the sagging couch. Quiet. A full carton of sherbet melting in his crotch. The smell of surface cleaners, synthetic sterility; enough room on the sofa to swing up a leg. He flipped on the television and turned to cartoons.

He woke up to a dog barking, late for work. He rushed into his clothes, everything where he’d left it, not a whiny kid anywhere, no grimy handfuls missing from the sugar bowl. The bathroom was spotless, the toilet flowing normally. Not a single one of his pre-packaged Danishes had been filched. Cycling to the docks, he attributed the previous night’s sensation to the seventeen pints of beer he’d ingested and decided it was finally safe to steam-clean the carpets.

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