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Strangers in a Strange Land

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1. Joel: The Final Frontier

It isn't often a billionaire business mogul walks into Joel's office, demanding his immediate attention. Ok, it is that often, but this time it's not Maurice. It's Lex Luthor, and a strapping young man, a story about sunspots. They look out of place in Alaska, one in a T-shirt and jeans, the other in a suit.

Of course Joel agrees to help, though Luthor's restrictions make it difficult. The check Lex leaves would pay off his loan tenfold, but he'd rather keep the friendly servitude to Cicely, over the kind of enslavement a job at LexCorp would entail.

2. Chris: Crime and Punishment

She was a beauty. 1967 Impala, engine revving a driving beat. Music you'd fuck to, if you were of that sort, which he definitely was. Slick black enamel and gleaming chrome, perfect lines. A real lady, and probably a bitch. She'd devour you, then make you enjoy being consumed. Chris feels 15 again, when auto theft was still grand. Years from jail and his fugitive repentance.

He gets two different answers to "What brings you to Cicely". No way they're FBI, though the kid's "anthropology research" answer seems possible. Doesn't matter, everyone has a story, even if most of them are lies.

3. Maggie: War and Peace

Maggie hadn't thought about John in years, though she imagined he thought about her. They'd never spelled it out, but at four years older than him, she was pretty sure she'd been his first. They had flying in common, their dreams of the sky made their other differences irrelevant.

He was an intriguing mix of charm and hidden dorkiness. She was never sure if he'd revealed his true personality, to her or to himself.

He'd moved away soon after; she'd heard about an air force career, and then there'd been silence. She hoped he wasn't one of her unlucky ones.

4. Ruth Anne: Learning Curve

Ruth Anne wonders how it is that no one notices there's nothing general about her store. Even Ed, whose birth mother was a witch, although he doesn't know it, is unaware. He shelves boxes marked 'wands', and 'dragon scales' without question. It helps that her handwriting isn't what it once was, and the spell she used disguised the contents, should anyone feel curious enough to open them.

She expected his owl to appear, but they only come to drop her an occasional letter. Ed's call came on a different path. Shaman or wizard, she still loves him like her own.

5. Ed: Sex. Lies, and Ed's Tapes

Ed's filming in the woods when the blue box pops up next to an oak. A door opens, and a man rushes out, asking the date.

He's even more surprised when another one follows, looks him up and down -- and winks. "Who are you?" Ed asks.

"Yes, he is," comes the reply. "And I'm Jack."

"Ed." He lifted his camera again.

Jack gives him a big grin. "Do you want me au naturel?"

"Jack! This is hardly the time," the first man says, fiddling with what looks like a tire gauge. When Ed checks it later, his film is blank.

6. Maurice: Dreams, Schemes and Putting Greens

There were many things Maurice liked about Officer Semanski (he could only think of her as "Barbara" when they were intimate), but chief among them was her honesty. She opined in no uncertain terms. She liked what she liked, and he liked her.

One thing she held in high esteem was the programming on CSC. They fell asleep many a night to the Sports Night repeat. And now that it was for sale -- Minnefield Athletic Network, he liked the sound of that-- it might make a nice little engagement present for her. Perhaps it would finally persuade her to accept.

7. Marilyn: Birds of a Feather

Marilyn misses her flying man, his silences, and the way he filled them with wordless joy. She tries to keep busy, her mother and Dr Fleischman both make it easy, her bowling league and knitting even make it fun. But the lack of wonder in her life when he's gone is like wind cutting through February ice.

When the actual flying man lands right on Main Street outside the office, it feels like a gift meant for her. Of course Dr Fleischman doesn't believe her when she tells him he just flew in. "But Maggie's out of town," he says.

8. Ron and Erick: My Mother, My Sister

Ron likes the mother and daughter on sight. They act more like sisters, or friends, but not in that garish, irresponsible way that women on talk shows do. They're friendly, and witty, and speak wit more pop culture references than Ed and Chris and Joel combined.

He's not surprised to hear that Lorelei runs an inn herself, and they bond over unpleasant guests and the kind of hospitality never shown to people in their line of work. Rory tells stories of Yale, Erick's alma mater.

They promise a trip to Stars Hollow, one day, and their recipe for Snow Cream.

9. Adam: The Big Kiss

There is very little Adam hates worse that kitsch, than quaintness, than quirkiness. He had enough of that in Cicely. Now, Cicely seems like the height of sophistication.

The restaurant is called The Pie Hole, and isn't that just fucking precious. He hates puns worst of all, despite living in one.

He has to admit, though, Ned's pies are exemplary, and Holling's going to shit when Adam brings home the recipe. Not that Adam will share it.

And if anyone is less lucky, or more doomed than he and Eve, it's Ned and Chuck.

It makes Adam feel positively sunny.

10. Mort (the Moose) :The Quest

Mort (not his actual name, but it will do for story-telling purposes) overhears two men talking about him. One is tall and broad and possibly red (Mort is color-blind). He moves expertly through snow. The other is lean and light haired, and loud. They're accompanied by an interesting wolf-dog, which is why Mort's following.

"You do know a big damn deer is following us."

"No there isn't."

"Its breath is horrendous. You saying I'm imagining it?"

"It's a moose."

"Thank you for the clarification. Is this kind of stuff going to happen every day we're in Cicely?"

"Very probably. Ray."