Not a Fan

Alistair,

I think I’m being stalked. I keep seeing clowns, even in places where you’d never expect to see one. They’ll walk by the door when I’m having a meeting or in the audience when I go to my daughter’s recital; there was even a time when I might have seen one outside my bedroom window. What do I do, Alistair?

Not A Fan of Bonzo in Virginia


Not a Fan,

Time to confront the clown. Place yourself in a situation where there cannot possibly be another clown (say, a monastery) and wait. Then, when you do see a clown, you know for sure that you’re being stalked by him. You’ll have the speed advantage, as your shoes are (presumably) more practical. Kill him immediately; it’s the only sure way to rid yourself of a clown stalker. They are remarkably tenacious.

Alistair

Devoted

Alistair, 

Granddad passed away a month ago. The funeral was two weeks ago. During the  funeral, he woke up. We were all surprised. For a while, everyone was happy that he’s back but… I’ve started noticing a few things – tics he didn’t have before; he never, ever sleeps; he doesn’t eat, he just pretends to; he orders weird stuff online, then takes it into the  basement and locks the door; animals run away and babies cry whenever he’s around. 

So, do I just buy him a welcome-home/birthday gift kind of deal, or what? 

Devoted Grandson in Dudley 


Devoted, 

Congratulations. You have been honoured with meeting the first of the next-gen zombie prototypes. As you can see, he is far less obvious and stupid than any zombie created to date. This has been accomplished by infecting him with a genetically-engineered zombie virus prior to his death that politely lies dormant until the host body has ceased to possess original life and does not immediately require feeding. Do not kill Granddad, or everybody will think you a sick, heinous murderer and you will be executed for your trouble. While you no doubt have a plenitude of questions at this point, I will merely answer the one question you have already provided: Unlike with the truly living, the thought is not what counts with the zombic. If it’s not something he can eat or otherwise enjoy, do not bother. Strictly sentimental gifts will not impact him the way that they’re intended to. As with most creatures of the Granddad variety, a selection of woodworking tools is your best bet.

Alistair

Suburban

Alistair, 

My next-door neighbor is a mad scientist. He’s nice and all, keeps to himself, friendly, good neighbor material. It’s just that his experiments are getting annoying. He’s had my weed-eater for six months, he keeps borrowing my car battery, and he’s severed all the power in the neighborhood five or six times. I don’t feel like I know the guy well enough to confront him, but somebody’s got to, you know? What’s the best way to ask him to shape up? 

Suburban Dad in Abington 


Suburban, 

My initial response would normally be “burn his house down” but given that he still has your weed-eater and has an apparent need for enormous quantities of electricity, he very likely has a you-know-what in his basement. As such, do not add fire. Instead, whenever he borrows something or cuts the power, just go over to his garage (mad scientists aren’t good about security) and take something. Sooner or later, he will confront you on this subject at which point you can simply say “Sorry! I thought that we had a mutually assumed relationship of randomly inconveniencing each other! My mistake!” and he will take the hint – especially when he sees that you’re not even using his atomic distillation unit. 

Alistair

Bedridden

Alistair, 

I’m not panicking or anything, just need a quick word of advice: How can I tell if I’m  in a real hospital? 

Bedridden in Putnam 


Bedridden, 

Determining the authenticity of a hospital is a notoriously difficult affair. Unless the MD comes in and begins setting a collection of shiny pebbles on your blanket or obviously seasoning you in preparation for being cooked and eaten, your average layperson lacks the requisite knowledge to spot out an imposter. 

As such, try faking a new and exciting ailment. Do your best to cobble together symptoms in a sort of random fashion – for instance, you feel that you are running a fever, you are vomiting great piles of hair, and there are spots in your eyes. If you are observed by a team of students who keep suggesting more and more outlandish concepts, you’re probably in a real hospital. If, likewise, the doctor calmly tells you to stop eating stray cats, you are also in a real hospital. If they eye each other conspiratorially, then draw the drapes and have an animated discussion with the nurse about whether or not “He knows,” then the odds have gone markedly against being in any hospital outside of a highly unethical psychiatric ward attempting to convince you, for some reason, that you’re in an ordinary ER.

Alistair

Queen

Alistair, 

My cousin just got in touch with me; turns out that he’s royalty in a small European  country. They still demand that royalty marry within the family, and it looks like I’m the only option. He doesn’t really care who he marries, he’s just trying to become king, and he has to be married for that to happen. What do you advise? 

Queen to Be in Miami 


Queen, 

There are no immediately apparent problems here for you as far as I can see. Enter into the marriage on the understanding that it’s simply a strategic contract. You then have two options: A. Be a queen (which, I suppose, could appeal to some people) or B. Immediately divorce the king; write a predominately fictitious book entitled “Queen for a Day” in which you describe how you were forced into a familial marriage by the royalty of a backwards nation; make millions while practically living on talk shows; and buy the small nation from your ex-husband, making you queen anyway. In my experience, that sort of thing works brilliantly. 

Alistair

Thumb

Alistair, 

A moral dilemma for you, Alistair. A spaceship filled with genocidal aliens has visited my home. They were fairly friendly, but explained that it is their destiny to kill every human being in existence. They then demonstrated their ability to do so by using one of their ship’s impressive array of weapons to liquefy a cow. This particular shipload of aliens is merely the scouting party so they’ve gone off to establish communication with the mothership and let their leaders know that they found some humans to kill. Two important pieces of  information: 1. These aliens are tiny – they are less than an inch tall and their spaceship is the size of a big chicken. 2. They just parked their spaceship in my oven, mistaking it for a docking bay. Question: How morally reprehensible would it be for me to shut the oven door  and turn on the self-clean function? 

Thumb in the Dike in Barcelona 


Thumb,

 Incredibly morally dubious, and also profoundly wasteful. Cook small aliens on 350 degrees Fahrenheit with basil and mint for two hours until crispy. 

Alistair

Third Wheel

Alistair, 

My girlfriend has been bitten, and now she’s hanging around with the Alpha vampire a lot. I don’t want to be clingy, but I really, really like her! What’s the line where I go from normal jealous to creepy and annoying jealous? 

Third Wheel in the Keys 


Third Wheel, 

Trick question: normal for vampires IS creepy and annoying. So just go with your least healthy instincts. 

Alistair

Filthy Rich

Alistair, 

I want to fly. Not like “fly-in-an-airplane” fly. Not like “glide-in-a-wingsuit” fly. Not like “jump-off-the-Hendersons’-roof-again” fly. More like Superman flying. Just me in my t-shirt and jeans at fifteen hundred feet, soaring comfortably. Tell me how I can make this happen – price is no object. 

Filthy Rich in Monte Carlo 


Filthy Rich, 

The deal you’ll have to cut isn’t going to cost money, per se. There are plenty of entities powerful enough to grant you such an ability, and they have very reasonable prices these days. Back when, it took you and your firstborn’s firstborn for three generations. Now it’s just you. Pro tip: Try and get the package deal that offers flight, superstrength, and a random ability selected from a grab bag. The bonus ability is usually miserable, granted, but hey! Who else do you know who can talk to worms? 

Alistair

Curious

Alistair, 

What are the fourth, seventh and sixteenth items on your bucket list? 

Curious in Lynchburg 


Curious, 

Four: Do numbers two and three again, but with a wetsuit. 

Seven: Assassinate a foreign head of state. Without getting caught. . 

Sixteen: Numbers seven, eleven, and twelve, but this time, make all subjects chickens. (Margin note: Possibly combine with number nineteen?) 

Alistair