Saturday, March 04, 2006

Welcome to My Diary

If you’ve managed to find your way to my website, you probably know who I am and what I do. But for those lucky few who’ve stumbled here by chance, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Ananka Fishbein. I am an 18-year-old student at Columbia University, and for the last six years, I have belonged to a group known as the Irregulars. Our mission is to protect New York City and the underground world that lies beneath it. So far, we have been successful.

Even if you have never heard of the Irregulars, you may be familiar with one of my colleagues. Though she avoids publicity and only grants interviews to elementary school newspapers, Kiki Strike is well known in Manhattan. She’s been credited with uncovering dozens of criminal plots and saving countless lives. But Kiki would be the first to admit that she could never do it all on her own.

Which brings me to the purpose of this website. The Irregulars could use your help. We need people like you to keep their eyes and ears open—to pay attention to what’s going on around them. In New York, strange things happen every minute, and no one seems to pay them much mind. They make the news one day, and then are forgotten the next. Right now, for instance, I am personally investigating two disturbing phenomena:

1. Since October of 2005, a mysterious maple syrup smell has periodically engulfed Manhattan. It has been detected as far south as Brooklyn and has been described as “overpoweringly delicious” in parts of Harlem. Some news articles have pointed the finger at New Jersey, where all strange smells are thought to originate. I, however, am not convinced that the Garden State is responsible.

2. Every winter, New York is plagued with exploding manholes and electrified sidewalks. Pedestrians are terrified, innocent poodles are zapped, and sometimes the consequences are tragic. The authorities are satisfied that frayed underground electrical wires and incompetence are responsible. However, the Irregulars know that there’s far more beneath the city’s sidewalks than damaged wires and pressurized gases.

Unfortunately, even with the Irregulars’ assistance, I have reached dead ends in my investigations of the maple syrup smell and New York’s electrified sidewalks. And now I’m afraid that I may need to turn my attention to an entirely new subject. Yesterday, while searching for information on manhole cover designs in my school’s library, I found an electric blanket and half-eaten cheesecake hidden under a desk in a dark corner of the sixth floor.

Those of you who live in the city may remember the “Bobst Boy”—a student who was discovered living in a remote part of the New York University library a few years back. After what I uncovered yesterday, I believe there may be someone secretly living in Butler, Columbia University's main library—and I’m not sure it’s a student who’s short on funds.

More later . . .


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