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by Albino Finch

Bufrick's only unique trait was that he had been tied to a chair in the town square all his life. Bufrick was thirty-five. Any strangers passing through the town that asked about Bufrick were ignored, and, that night, dragged from their beds and beaten.

Bufrick's chair was on a sort of round pedestal, which sat on a larger pedestal, and so on, so that a sort of circular stair was formed. Bufrick led a happy existence. Every morning he would socialize with the local townspeople, who also kept him fed, and got him drunk on holidays. Invariably, someone would ask what Bufrick did the night before, and he would answer, "Oh, you know me. Went out hell-raisin'."

One day, a stranger in the town actually approached Bufrick. Since she didn't speak to a local about Bufrick, the townspeople never got a chance to ignore her, or drag her out of bed and beat the tar out of her.

"So," she said. "What did you do to get you tied to a chair in front of all these people and such?"

Bufrick didn't know what to do. A stranger had never talked to him before. How was he supposed to act? Could she understand English? Would she try and take him away? Was she a shephard?

Bufrick mumbled something incoherent. Then realized this wasn't the right response. "No," he said.

The female demanded a better answer.

"Uhh... Nothing." he said. "Miss," he added.
"Well. I'm going to untie you. Okay?"

"Okay," Bufrick answered, and then winced at his stupidity. What was this untying business? Why did he agree to such a thing?

But it was too late. She was already working at the knots, and Bufrick would have looked like an idiot were he to change his mind. So he let her go about her business.

"Well. That's it," said she. "You are free to roam where you may."
"Thank you," replied Bufrick. "Now... ugh... if you don't mind... I'd like to be left alone." And she left.

"Help," Bufrick cried weakly. "Help." But it was late, and all the townspeople were in their cozy homes, eating sauted toast. He didn't quite know what to do without the presence of the ropes around his body. The sensation was completely foreign.

"Help," he said again, but quickly dropped this line of action, as it was doing no good. "Okay," Bufrick said to himself. "What should I do? Well... I was okay when the ropes were around me. So, I'll put them back."

This he did, but whereas before they had snuggly wrapped him in their warm, scratchy embrace, now they draped loosely from his limbs. It just wasn't the same.

"Oh God!" cried Bufrick in a shakey voice. "Ohgodohgodohgodohgod."

The next day, the townspeople stood in a circle, tut-tutting over the grey, shocked corpse, the arms held to the sky, the ropes dangling from them like wet noodles.

"Tragic," they said.

Then, a new born baby was brought, and tied firmly into the chair in the middle of the town square.

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