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When They Said Repent (I Wonder What They Meant).

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Night Vale, have you ever felt deeply that everyone around you was wrong and should feel terrible for it? Of course you have, and for our listeners from the Sheriff's Secret Police, you always feel like that, and are always right! But did you know, listeners, that Carlos, beautiful, perfect Carlos, has been the recipient of all that focused neural intent? Last night, he asked me to forgive him for everything he's done that's hurt me.

I said, "Carlos, what happened? Did your life flash before your eyes and you decided you had to make amends before your impending death? Because that's a common symptom of meteor showers and you should not feel bad at all!"

"No," he said, and proceeded to explain to me the rites and secret mysteries of his religion. And I was in ecstasy. Well, you remember how, a few flavorful moons ago, Carlos said some words I'm contractually not allowed to repeat on your Night Vale Community Radio, threw up his hands, and painted our door with blood, all the while rhythmically chanting "you win, you win, you win", while eternal night took its annual vacation in our midst? It turns out that was a religious observance, not what John Peters (you know, the farmer?) said was the surest sign of scurvy he's ever seen. But I said, "no, he's obviously redecorating! And I like his style!"

It turns out, we were both wrong, and it was about religion all along!

Welllll, that was last night. And of course I forgave Carlos for every little tiny insignificant thing he thought he's done wrong, as if he could do wrong. "Cecil," he said in his smooth caramel tones, "this is serious."

"Oh, I know," I said, just like that. "Oh, I know."

And then Carlos sighed over me, so soulful, and we then had a fascinating discussion about the merits of repentance. And you know what? It made a lot of sense!

So I thought I'd get in on it, too! My soul could use some cleansing, don't you think? It's been looking a little grey around the edges. Time to shake the dust off!

I think I'll start with...

STEVE CARLSBERG

Steve. Steve, where do I start? I mean that literally, where do I start? Our lives are mobius strips, doomed to forever repeat ourselves. We always go forward, yet we find ourselves turning and going backwards and then things are all icky and weird and could stand to be cut with scissors.

Oh, Steve. Steve. I have been guilty of hating you so much, so much, because of your honestly awful ways. You have betrayed my trust and the trust of this city, stealing our precious bodily fluids and then spreading terrible lies about infections and walruses (walrii?) and lice. And it wasn't just you, ohhh no, that would be understandable, but you had to create a contagion. Sure, it was supposed to be about "curing" us all of the City Council-inflicted eczema, but I say, if the City Council wants us to have eczema, then it is merely our duty as citizens and taxpayers! Suck it up, Steve! What, you want to go back to the days when we all had bright purple and glistening COLD SORES? Grow up.

You have an evil heart, Steve, there's nothing else to say but that. You should really look into getting a transplant. They're really cheap these days, and you get the second one half off! Think about it, Steve.

...

...

...

No, no, no, stupid, no, that wasn't what I meant to say. What I meant to say is, Steve, I'm sorry. I'm sorry that I went after you with a spear that time you turned into a woolly mammoth. It was petty of me, even though you deserved it for shedding on the couch. And then we hung out together and drank soup and talking too softly for the Sheriff's Secret Police to hear, and I'm very sorry about that, too.

I'm sorry I told you that you looked good in that scarf. I'm sorry I scoffed at your attempts to build a bicycle out of spare bowling pins, although you have to admit, I had a point, and I was right in the end. Nevertheless, I am sorry.

I apologize for taking you with me, that time we escaped from the mandatory field trip to the Planetarium and snuck around outside while the rest of our class was brainwashed by Jupiter. Jupiter! They couldn't even have held out for Neptune. The ingrates.

I'm sorry for that time with the football, you know the one. It was disgusting and also really hot, which only made it more despicable.

...Actually, you know what? I'm not sorry for that! I refuse to kink shame myself or even Steve Carlsberg. Fly your inflated football high, Steve!

Listeners, did I ever tell you about the time--

But I digress. And I'm sorry for digressing.

Steve.

STEVE.

STEEEEEVE.

I'm sorry for the time I dyed your neck in Desert Bluffs's official colors, that was just rude. I'm sorry for general lawlessness and lasciviousness that made you fall in love with me. I realize I corrupted you, with my glorious abominations, and I led you astray and right onto certain body parts that, again, I am contractually obligated to never mention on air. But you led me astray, too, Steve; together, we turned away from the darkness of summer reading, and stepped into the light, or, well, the complete-darkness, of between the stacks. And it was glorious. And I'm sorry for that, too. My first time totally should have been better than Steve Carlsberg.

Wow, if this weren't a radio show, we'd probably be having hate sex right now! But thankfully for all of us here at the station, and for my continued ability to remain employed, we are, in fact, still on the radio, and the door is triple-bolted and warded against intruders, and I'll have time to walk off this attack of erotic nostalgia on my way home! To my boyfriend! Who is, in fact, someone I do not regret sleeping with!

Anyway, Carlos is going to be going around today and tomorrow to talk to people, he's at Old Woman Josie's now, talking about bloodstone circles and animal sacrifices. So if you see him walking around, go up to him, Night Vale, and tell him you forgive him! It's what I would do! And, have, in fact, done!

And here I must leave you to walk home and wallow in my shame of once (twice, five times, who was counting?) having slept with Steve Carlsberg. Ugh, Steve. The shame of it.

Good night, Night Vale. Good night.