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What you said about what we said last week

A young actress wrestles with ego as she prepares to take the stage; a drone delivers tragedy to a Northwest neighborhood; a professor explains gentrification to a group of college students: The third annual Fiction Issue featured five stories about D.C. written by local authors, who gave life to characters from a young boy who befriends a zoo animal to a woman pulled back to the 1968 riots by the unusual and unexpected death of a child.

“@elliottholt rocked @wcp’s fiction issue with her short story,” Christine Grimaldi tweeted of Elliott Holt’s story “Backstage,” about a college student preparing to star in EuripedesThe Trojan Women. Washington City Paper contributor Tanya Paperny praised the “gorgeous lyric style” of her friend Temim Fruchter’s “Favorites,” the story of an Orthodox Jewish woman’s journey of self-discovery.

The most chatter online, unsurprisingly, centered around Brent Sandmeyer’s alternate version of Rusty the red panda’s escape from his Northwest D.C. habitat in “It Takes Two.” “Finally we know how DC’s red panda _really_ escaped!” @Anniepoohster tweeted. “Ahh Rusty the Red Panda, we miss you,” said Elayne C. Burke on Twitter of Rusty’s banishment from the National Zoo to the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Virginia to make adorable babies.

Cleanse Room

As the rest of the world prepared to destroy their diets over the holidays, Jessica Sidman tried a three-day juice cleanse from local company Jrink Juicery. The result: temporary weight loss, jaw fatigue, and not much else.

A defender of the cleanse emerged in the comments. “Well I did the Jrink reboot not-so-easy without any issues (besides on my pocketbook) and I lost 4lbs and had a minimized appetite for about a week. It was just what i needed before a vacation and it was delicious,” commenter vAnnalise wrote. “It’s also a great test of willpower 🙂 I prefer this trend to the cupcake and froyo trends of the past.”

Another commenter seemed concerned that readers would conflate drinking cold-pressed juice as part of a healthy diet with trendy juice cleanses. “Hold on a second. You are confusing two concepts and doing your readers a disservice in the process,” wrote commenter Popeye. “Juicing is not only done for a “cleanse”/“fast”/“detox”/“reboot” (or whatever). It is a VERY healthy supplement to a normal diet. This is the primary value for millions of people who do it. You seem so eager to do a takedown of a fad (which the detox thing is) that you seem to have missed this fundamental point.” As Sidman wrote in the comments, the story was focused on cleanses, not on the health benefits of juices overall.

The position of juice cleanse skeptics was stated succinctly by @heylookatlane: “Juice cleanses appropriately included in the Fiction Issue.”