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“Congratulations! You’re a finalist for our tenth season here on The Decision.” The host grips Winthrop’s shoulder; the audience whoops. “For tonight’s challenge, we’ve brought your bedroom closet to the studio! You need to organize it, AND–” The audience murmurs. “–start your 2011 taxes!”

“Wow. What’s my alternative?”

“You can let this professional welder hold an acetylene torch to your face until the count of thirty.”

The torch ignites with a blue-white hiss. Winthrop winces.

“Time for your Decision!” says the host. Floor lights swell with tension; the audience and the orchestra hush.

“Can I count, like, onetwothreeforfivesix?” Winthrop says.