September 5, 2002

Tossed Salad

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The weekend before classes resumed and life once again began to sink into misery, your two humble editors made a last ditch effort to send the summer out with a bang. Nate, being an avid Modest Mouse fan, and I a Flaming Lips fanatic set off in my “Little Honda” for the Unlimited Sunshine Tour in Brooklyn, NY.

Now, we are no National Inquirer, but when odd and unexplained phenomena fall into our collective lap, we can’t be expected to just ignore it. So it went as follows:

The concert was incredible. There were hicks, giant bunnies, confetti, blood, a chubby middle-aged man who told me to duck out of his view, and then a torrential downpour. But all of that is inconsequential, paling in comparison to the events of the following morning.

Early on Saturday, Nate, Nina, Thea, and I woke in a posh Manhattan apartment. I found a black cat sleeping on my chest. A few hours later (it takes quite a while for Nate and Thea to regain consciousness), the four of us were roaming the streets of Manhattan and happened upon a box full of that priceless (literally, it’s free) New York newspaper, The Village Voice. We picked up a copy and continued to roam, intermittently eating bagels and saving young, helpless children from giant sewer rats.

It was only later, while driving out of the city, that a gasp of pure and spine-tingling shock came from the back seat. It may have been the nude man riding the bicycle over the George Washington Bridge that tingled my spine (and not in a good way), but the gasp was also pretty startling. Nate and Thea had opened to a page in the Voice (page 38 to be exact) on which the bottom article contained the first seeds of the mystery about to unfold.

Some back-story seems appropriate. Last semester, Nate and I wrote and published an article extolling our extensive knowledge of the various methods of “pimpin'” one’s “pad.” We naturally titled the piece “Pimpin’ Your Pad.” Another possibility had been “Pimped-Out Pads.”

Now it was months later, in a far and exotic city, but we found virtually the same article we ourselves had toiled over and printed in these very pages. They chose the title that had ended up on our cutting room floor: “Pimped-Out Pads.” Sure, the author Carla Spartos’s fashion sense isn’t quite on par with Nate’s and mine. They opted for disco balls rather than our stylish neon cactus. But the similarities were uncanny and undeniable. And then it got even less canny.

Only six pages later, after some ordinary ads for female genital plastic surgery (“Innovative procedure invented by acclaimed surgeon Gary Alter, M.D.”), Nate once again gasped. This time he reached an even higher frequency, a girlish squeal the likes of which I hope never again finds my ears. A drawing of what the writer called a “bookish and droopy” indie kid contained the second piece of our perplexing puzzle. He was wearing an “Ithaca is Gorges” shirt. The ties to Ithaca were certain. Did Ms. Spartos steal our article? An in-depth investigation ensued.

In high school, my nickname was “Dick Tracy” (Nate’s, by the way, was “Nancy Drew”). However, I have few genuine sleuthing skills. I do have a rudimentary knowledge of the internet, so I made Google my Watson. I entered “Carla Spartos Cornell” in a search and Watson gave me one link: the foreboding “Untitled Document.” I knew I was on the right trail. I clicked — “Show me more Watson!” But before I could celebrate any new discovery, my computer froze. Coincidence? Eh, I think not. To check the reliability of Watson, I rebooted my computer and entered “purple buttocks Robocop” into a search. There were thirteen matches. But that’s all beside the point.

The search for the truth is far from over. Surely the Voice, in their plot of journalistic thievery, will see this very article, and perhaps then a confrontation will be inevitable. The story rolls on…

P.S. — Carla, leopard print is still out.

Archived article by Ben Kupstas