Reader A (shivering): Qué frío tengo yo. Ay, qué frío.

Reader B: What? Is that Spanish?

Reader A: …

Reader B: Why are you speaking Spanish?

Reader A: I don’t know. It just seemed like a good idea. It’s kind of boring out here now that Hornblower isn’t around anymore.

Reader B: Yeah, I know what you mean. I’m kind of bitter about the whole thing. I mean, he just abandoned us.

Reader A: I guess he must have his reasons, though, I figure. I mean, I guess he must.

Reader B: Do you think so, though? It seems like he doesn’t really care anymore, like it’s not worth the effort for him. Which is bullshit, by the way, bec–


Readers A & B (Reader B just slightly behind, like half a beat. Classic dumbass Reader B move.): Hornblower!

Hornblower: It’s true I have returned from my long silence, and shoulder now the mantle once again. Too long have readers suffered such misfortune as rightly ought be borne by baser men.

Reader A: Well, I’m awfully glad you’re ba–


They splash’d and sputter’d daily at their toil, in hopes of tasting some slight succor soon, yet every evening they return’d still sickly, and clicked and double-clicked until the moon …

Reader B (hushed, to Reader A): What’s going on here? What’s he talking about?

Reader A: Shh, I think he’s talking about his absence. Listen.

Hornblower: … rose slow but certain, witness to the hope that loyal readers still maintained, despite the ever-growing doubt, and fear, and dread. They clicked and double-clicked until the light.

Where once new posts appeared as sure as spring
returns lost luster to long-barren lands;
where years ago great mirth and subtle wit
elevated tales of dope new bands.

Reader B: Is that iambic pentameter? It sounds like iambic pentameter.

Reader A: Well that last line was only nine syllables, but yeah I think for the —


Now page views dropped, and readers fell to sadness,
for sadness is a natural response
when what was once a fortress falls to ruin —
and blankness sits where thrived exquisite taunts.

Reader A: What’s next for Tin Speaker, Hornblower? What do you have left up the old sleeves in the old sleeve pockets?

Hornblower: Expect a lot of poop jokes and ostrich GIFs.

Reader A: Poop … and ostriches?

Hornblower: My SEO guy says that’s the only way to make this thing profitable. Apparently thousand-word concert reviews with no accompanying pictures don’t drive traffic the way they used to do.

Reader B: Did they ever, though, really?


Reader A: Seriously, Reader B. Get a grip on your life and your dignity.

Hornblower: You’re like a weirder John Travolta, minus the money and the Breitling watch. And minus Saturday Night Fever and Pulp Fiction, cos I liked those.

Reader A: Phenomenon was pretty good, too!

Hornblower: Are you fucking kidding me, Reader A.

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