It is 3:50 AM and I just drank a cup of cold coffee. I didn’t feel it immediately so I had another cup, and now I feel like my brain is made of spiders. Each year, we at the Yale Record write, edit, and design an entire issue over the course of 24 hours: noon on Saturday to noon on Sunday. This is a very cool idea until it’s 3:50 AM and design has not begun and your brain feels like it’s made of spiders.
Why do we do it? There’s no easy answer. Maybe it’s for the love of the game. Maybe it’s about the sweet money we make from those House of Naan ads. Maybe it’s because the Yale Daily News calls themselves “America’s Oldest College Daily,” and if we produce a daily magazine one day a year then we can poach that title. Whatever the case, we did it last year and the year before and I hope we do it again next year. It feels right.
Everything you are about to read is true. For the past twenty-four hours, we have meticulously compiled these records from primary and secondary sources. There really was a Mayor Eoghan O’Connor, and he really did die under suspicious circumstances. There really is a town called Rafferty Falls five miles from the Canadian border. There really is a zoo there with a single empty ape cage, its rusted gate creaking in the stillness of the evening. I had three beers earlier but they didn’t affect me because of my robust constitution. I am twenty-one years old and it is legal for me to drink in the state of Connecticut.
It is 4:22 and they’re singing “Hallelujah” in the other room. Some of them know the verses, but they all know the chorus. Will is playing piano. Ayla is doing InDesign layouts. Arnav is making sure we spelled “mutt pheromones” correctly and Clio is peppering in ape jokes. Sam’s doing one of those nine-piece jigsaw puzzles they give pretweens, and it looks like he’s struggling with it. I am sitting on an upturned recycling bin in a room that smells like trash. I hope that I don’t smell like trash, but in this room there’s no way to be sure.
(There’s a whole subplot in the issue about dog killing. This seemed like a good idea as we were writing it, but now I’m now acutely aware that it is very sad when a dog dies. I am acutely aware of a lot of things now: of the time, of my heartbeat, of the inhumanity of puppy mills, the spiders. If you don’t sleep for a while, you realize that you never needed sleep to begin with, but after a while the world starts to fold in half.)
Rafferty Falls is a town that is universal in its particularity. Its quirks may not be your quirks, but gawk at them long enough and you’ll see something that is sort of yourself. Like all Americans, the good people of Rafferty Falls eat a jelly donut every morning for breakfast, and sometimes after dinner as a naughty little treat. They do not cry when they hear the national anthem, but something inside them breaks at its beauty each time.
It is 4:58 AM.
It is 5:31 AM.
I’ll sleep in seven hours. Whether or not we know it, we all hail from Rafferty Falls, and when we die that is where our spirits will congregate and stand in holy awe of the end of the world. The people there are you, basically. They are me. They are employees at the largest industrial puppy mill north of the Mississippi River.
It’s 6:32 AM and I can’t linger here. The sun is rising over New Haven, and the sun is rising over Rafferty Falls. I need to go slosh more cold coffee down my throat, and then massage my temples for a quarter hour to keep the spiders away. I love my editors. I love my staff. I love everybody who wrote something and everybody who drew something and everybody who venmoed us $3 because we said we’d put their name in the issue like Truman Pipestem. I love being a part of America’s oldest college daily. The issue is a whodunnit. When you read it in the afternoon, I hope you laugh. I hope you don’t laugh at this part, though, because it isn’t really supposed to be funny.
It is 10:49 AM.
It is 10:50 AM.
It is 10:51 AM.
Can you solve the case before the suave Detective Caruso? Will you bargain with the elderly? Will you side with the Swedes? I can string words into sentences still but I’m having trouble differentiating the meanings of things. I will sleep in two hours, after brunch, but I won’t sleep for long because I have class tomorrow and I don’t want to knock my sleep schedule all out of whack.
Who did the murder.
Who did the murder?
It’s noon on Sunday.
This issue is a murder mystery.
Editor in Chief