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The Elements of Love

Blum Tippertodd leaps in front of a group of women haplessly walking the streets of New York City.


Every single one of the women screams and begins to flee in different directions, one going so far as to vault over the hoods of traffic jammed taxis. Fellow pedestrians take up their horror with their own cries.

"Monster!" one man shrieks.

"Run for your lives!" howls another.

"Tim-tim! Don't go near him!" a mother pleads to her transfixed son.

Distraught, Blum turns to a struck dumb homeless man; the meager sandwich he'd begged money for all day slips from his fingers and becomes dirty component parts on the ground. His dark eyes are wide and glassy, jaw hung slack to reveal rows of mostly gums.

Blum points at the poor homeless man. "YOU! I'LL EVEN SETTLE FOR YOU! WILL YOU LOVE ME?!"

In response, the man squeaks and shrinks himself into his big coat, muttering for Blum to "Get that glowing finger" out of his face.

Blum whirls around, searching for someone, anyone who might be able to love him, but all the people are backed away, many clutching their loved ones close and many clutching their phones set to "camera".

"SOMEONE, PLEASE!" he kneels on the ground, spreading his arms wide in a foolish hope of an embrace. "LOVE ME!"

But no one who hears him wants to love him. Perhaps it is because Blum Tippertodd is a man that is literally made of fire.

"He's melting the asphalt!" an astute coward observes with a high-pitched stab of the voice.

Suddenly, a rubbernecking ambulance driver stares at Blum for too long at the wheel and winds up careening into a fire hydrant. It snaps off its foundation and the mold crumples, sending jets of water into the hot air.

Out of the pipe bursts a particularly large glut of water, congealed together in the air. Blum is in awe; he must be seeing things, but the shape of that blob of water looks sort of like a woman.

The blob cries a greeting. "I WILL LOVE -" but before she can finish, she lands on Blum, dousing him with a steamy splash.

The water woman stands up, sees the ashy flakes that were once Blum clouding up her otherwise crystalline clear body.

"...my love," she says, staring at the ashes dissolving in her palms.

"...my love."

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