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I'm in a mall. Of course I can hear it. It started in malls. It started a surprisingly short time ago. Ten years, maybe?

Shoplifting is wrong. You do not wish to shoplift. Shoplifting is wrong. Purchase items legitimately using your credit card instead. You will feel better.

I could hear it. At first, I thought I was imagining it. So long ago. I asked other people, who looked at me strangely. I didn't blame them. But it persisted.

I went to the people in charge of the mall. They were pretty surprised I could hear it. Evidently someone came up with the idea to broadcast the tape just under the threshold of hearable frequencies. I wondered if that was illegal. The person shrugged, and said, "Evidently not."

Drive at safe speeds. Do not vent your aggression on other drivers. Stay calm and relaxed. Everything is fine.

I told a few people about it. Some of them thought I was pulling their legs. Some of them believed me, but didn't really see what was wrong. "It's not like they're telling you to buy stuff. Just to not steal it." And so on. It started popping up in other places. Cars, for one.

Wait in line in an orderly fashion. Things will move more quickly if you do not make a disturbance. Your turn will come, and you will be serviced.

I went to a doctor. Got my hearing checked. Evidently I can pick up a slightly larger range of frequencies than most people. Nothing really out of the ordinary. Somewhat better than average. It's enough. The doctor humored me when I told him about the messages, but I could tell he didn't really believe me. Or maybe I'm just getting paranoid.

Crime is wrong. Be nice. You should feel guilty about doing bad things.

Obsequious. No, that's not the word. Ubiquitous. Everywhere. I've stopped telling people about them, because I'm tired of strange looks. And who is going to do anything about them? Everyone seems so out of it nowadays. Repressed. Incapable of aggression.

Maybe there are other people who can hear the messages. Maybe there are people with low ranges of hearing, who aren't even effected by it. Maybe. It's not like I can go around asking people if they feel guilty when they do something they think is wrong. What kind of a question is that?

So I just act like everyone else. Head down, walking to where I need to be. And pretending to not hear it. Sometimes, I wish I couldn't. It would be easier. I wouldn't feel like I was the only person who really knew what was going on. I mean, some people have to know. The people who install the speakers? Who make the tapes?

It is good to be normal.

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If you've read Upsideclown and old articles here, you get the idea. Submissions are always welcome: We operate a strictly hands-off editorial approach (we won't even correct your spelling). Once submitted, your article goes to the vote by the seven clowns. A majority, and you're in the queue for Friday publications. Go on -- And if you want to know more, hints or clarifications: come ask us in talk.


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