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Paint Her Deeper: Soolagna Majumdar’s “Marge Simpson Anime”

Gwen pulled the stack of letters out of their mailbox, and immediately caught sight of the yellowed envelope. A contrast not only due to its color and size, but also by its decoration: tiny stickers of a dinosaur, a fish, a llama, and a teddy bear surrounded their handwritten address. The package – the stamps indicated it had come from Australia – was addressed to Dania.

Near the bottom was a hand-drawn mouse creature, with a speech bubble reading “Do Not Bend Please.” Gwen flattened the package against the wall, soothing out the wrinkles that had formed after the envelope was shoved into their mailbox. The damage controlled, as much as it could be, she carried the mail into the house.

“Dania, you have a package,” Gwen called, dropping the package onto the center table of their living room. “Did you order something from Australia?”

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Emotional Support Animals: Rarecho and Netflix’s “Aggretsuko”

Five days a week, from 8am until 5pm, Gwen could be found sitting calmly at the reception desk of a Chicago architecture firm. This was her job – her “survival job,” she told people back home. Freelance writing and literary management not serving to pay her rent, Gwen had joined the silent ranks of the artistically unfulfilled, eager for the day when she could stick up a middle finger to her job, quitting as she marched out the front door and into the awaiting limousine to success.

It was a dumb fantasy, and Gwen knew that. It’ll be a cab, not a limo, she thought to herself. But in her heart, she knew she wouldn’t be quitting the job soon – and when she did, wouldn’t want to burn bridges with the people who had been nice to her while there. As she set a phone back in its dock and began to type out client information into a spreadsheet, she considered her ideal departure from work: a new job arising in theatre, the discomforting assertiveness of handing in two weeks notice, the inevitable half-hearted departure conversations about staying in touch and we-hope-you’ll-visit-us-soon. This would happen. In the future. Not now.

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Acting Your Age: Takashi Nakamura’s “Pītā Pan No Bōken”

Dania emerged from her room and immediately stared at Eleanor.

“What?”

“You didn’t tell me…” Dania began, walking further into the room, “that there was a Daddy Long Legs anime, too!”

Eleanor exhaled. “Oh, yeah. There is.”

The ads for the show, Watashi No Ashinaga Ojisan, had run at the conclusion of the last few episodes of Pītā Pan No Bōken. This was in lieu of the show’s traditional, “Next Week On…” ending, for fear of spoiling what would happen next.

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Eat Your Heart Out: Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives”

Dania was sitting at her desk, working intently in one of the many spreadsheets her job saddled her with, when she was reflexively drawn up from her chair by a familiar scent.

“Plantain?” she asked herself.

She stood slowly, wanting to be sure that she didn’t disrupt her focus with a false alarm. But it was unmistakable – plantain, and what seemed like horseradish and sweet chilies.

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