Imitation is the severest form of flattery.

Don't Shoot the Messenger

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Welcome to Mimic Week! All this week on, the regular columns will appear as usual… but with a twist. Your eight regular writers, plus at least two guest authors who've written for the site before, are hiding in the ten regular column slots—maybe even their own—under a clever pseudonym: The Mimic! Can you figure out who actually wrote each article? Tune in Monday, July 28 for the answers!

 IM Conversation With: White  
White: Maro?
Maro: Oh, hello, the color White.
Maro: One of the many abstract concepts that I like to talk to by instant message.
Maro: What's shakin'?
White: I'm just tweaking some numbers in my spreadsheets.
White: Later, I'm going to oppress people who don't think the way I do.
Maro: Sounds like a wild night.
White: Are you busy?
Maro: Sort of. I'm writing my column.
Maro: In it, I outline some of the techniques I use to be more creative.
White: In list form?
Maro: But of course.
White: w00t!
White: I mean, this pleases me.
Maro: Technique #1 is Wait for Divine Inspiration.
Maro: If you stare at a blank screen long enough, an old man from outer space will eventually tell you what to do.
White: Is that even true?
Maro: In my experience, yes.
White: All my god ever seems to do is destroy all of my little men.
Maro: I guess I'm just lucky. Mine supplies me with article gimmicks.

 IM Conversation With: Roderick Van Ouch  
Roderick Van Ouch: Maro, how are things?
Maro: Things are good.
Maro: I'm working on an article about how to be more creative.
Roderick Van Ouch: That's great to hear.
Roderick Van Ouch: I've noticed that in recent weeks you haven't mentioned my classic guide to creativity A Roundhouse Kick to the Chops, nor its increasingly violent but equally enlightening follow-ups An Elbow to the Solar Plexus and A Football in the Groin.
Roderick Van Ouch: You remember our deal.
Maro: You won't let me forget it.
Roderick Van Ouch: If you don't mention my books soon, I'll have to self-publish another one. I'm going to call it A Slap Across Your Face.
Roderick Van Ouch: Early reviews are unfavorable.
Maro: I don't know what that means, but I'll mention them this week.

 IM Conversation With: White  
Maro: Oh, White, I've been meaning to ask you something.
Maro: How did that party go a few weeks ago?
White: It was a disaster. Everyone left in tears.
Maro: That's too bad. Sorry I had to duck out early.
Maro: Magic needed ruining and it couldn't wait.

 IM Conversation With: Evil Mark Rosewater  
Evil Mark Rosewater: Bro?
Maro: What do you want?
Evil Mark Rosewater: Don't be like that. Who says I want something?
Maro: Just a hunch.
Evil Mark Rosewater: We've been twins for, what? Two, three months?
Maro: All our lives.
Evil Mark Rosewater: Right. And in all that time, have I ever once asked you for a favor?
Maro: No, but you've demanded them.
Evil Mark Rosewater: You say, "Tomato," I say, "Give me that tomato or I'll cut you."

 IM Conversation With: White  
White: I just hooked up with red and black.
Maro: Both of them?
White: Yeah. What can I say? I have a thing for dwarves and nasty-looking old ladies.
Maro: Do they know you're two-timing?
White: Not yet.
Maro: What about your sense of honor? What about chivalry?
White: I'm sure they will kick in eventually.
White: That's why the relationships won't last. I give them three months, tops.

 IM Conversation With: Evil Mark Rosewater  
Maro: Maybe you can help me, too. I'm writing about creativity.
Evil Mark Rosewater: Great. My least favorite subject.
Maro: I'm at Technique #2: Steal!
Evil Mark Rosewater: Now you're talking my language.
Evil Mark Rosewater: As I famously said, "Talent borrows. Genius steals."
Maro: That was my line!
Evil Mark Rosewater: Philosophy in action, folks.

 IM Conversation With: White  
White: I need some more advice.
Maro: Really? After how things went last time?
Maro: I'm not sure if I should be playing matchmaker.
White: I'm having a crisis of faith.
Maro: Oh?
White: All I ever do is ruin other people's fun.
White: It's always prevent this, destroy that. Players can't do X, Y, or Z.
White: I'm the biggest stick-in-the-mud in all of Magic.
Maro: I'll keep that in mind.

 IM Conversation With: Evil Mark Rosewater  
Maro: "Steal!" is just a dramatic way of saying, "Draw inspiration from anywhere."
Evil Mark Rosewater: You mean like the time you "drew inspiration" from my diary and created Yawgmoth's Bargain?
Maro: You made Yawgmoth's Bargain!
Maro: Then you snuck it into the set while I was out breeding creativity with an old pair of restrictions!
Evil Mark Rosewater: Oh, yeah. Right. What do you mean, then?
Maro: I'll give you an example.

 IM Conversation With: White  
White: I just need to loosen up a bit.
White: Take off my hair and let down my glasses.
Maro: Live a little.
White: Yeah. That's why I want to hook up with Timmy at tonight's party.
Maro: Timmy, the player psychographic?
White: Yeah. I get a real adrenaline rush whenever we're together.
White: I feel so calm and free, like nothing else matters.
White: Do you think there's a chance?
Maro: Why not?

 IM Conversation With: Evil Mark Rosewater  
Maro: One morning, several years ago, I was sitting in my kitchen, eating a piping-hot bowl of cream of wheat.
Evil Mark Rosewater: You live a life of danger!
Maro: As I stared into this mushy glob of tastelessness, I became inspired.
Maro: I asked myself, "Self, if cream of wheat was a Magic card, what would it look like?"
Evil Mark Rosewater: And?
Maro: Long story short, that's how Mercadian Masques came to be.

 IM Conversation With: Ga'Aark  
Ga'Aark: Brains.
Maro: Oh, hi, Ga'Aark. I haven't heard from you in a while.
Maro: What's on your mind?
Ga'Aark: Brains.
Maro: Same here. I'm fascinated by how our brains work.
Maro: In fact, I'm writing a column about how to be more creative.
Ga'Aark: Brains.
Maro: Yes, by using our brains!
Maro: So far, I'm up to Technique #3: Resurrect Old Ideas.
Maro: If it's been rotting in a hole in the ground for years, it's gotta be good.
Maro: I'm sure you can appreciate that one.

 IM Conversation With: Evil Mark Rosewater  
Evil Mark Rosewater: Enough with this "creativity" crap.
Maro: What do you want to talk about, then?
Evil Mark Rosewater: I think I'm in love with a Goblin.
Maro: A Goblin? Which one?
Evil Mark Rosewater: You know which one.
Maro: Steamflogger Boss.
Evil Mark Rosewater: Obviously. It's a cruel taskmaster and its meaningless ability might cause the end of Magic as we know it.
Maro: I can see why you like it.
Evil Mark Rosewater: There's a party tonight. S.B.'s going to be there.
Evil Mark Rosewater: Would you put in a good word for me?
Maro: I'll see what I can do.

 IM Conversation With: The Swordfish  
The Swordfish: Maro, I need you to pick me up in 20 minutes.
Maro: What, again?
The Swordfish: Yeah. And this time, don't leave me alone with some Armani-suited psycho who wants to eat me for lunch. I barely swashbuckled my way out of that one.
Maro: Sorry.
The Swordfish: Don't worry about it. The person who's really got to worry is that guy in the Armani suit. If I ever see him again, it'll be for the last time. This scimitar stuck to my beak isn't just for show, you know.
Maro: It is very pointy.
Maro: Do you remember what Mr. Armani looks like?
The Swordfish: Not really.
The Swordfish: Anyway, I've got to get to this party. Pick me up.

 IM Conversation With: Roderick Van Ouch  
Maro: Are you going to this party too?
Roderick Van Ouch: Unfortunately, I can't go. I'm too busy trying to figure out what a box of raisins has in common with parliamentary democracy.
Maro: Why?
Roderick Van Ouch: I'm giving a seminar on Micronesian Macroeconomics.
Maro: Oh, of course.
Roderick Van Ouch: Or is it Macronesian Microeconomics?
Maro: I wouldn't know. But good luck.
Roderick Van Ouch: Thanks. Better get back to these raisins...

 IM Conversation With: The Swordfish  
Maro: Why don't you drive there yourself?
The Swordfish: You know my flippers can't reach the pedals.
The Swordfish: Plus, I've had too many adult beverages.
Maro: You drink like a fish.
The Swordfish: ...
The Swordfish: That was embarrassing.
Maro: All right. See you in twenty.

 IM Conversation With: Ga'Aark  
Ga'Aark: Brains.
Maro: By the way, I'm really sorry that we haven't been making many Zombies lately.
Maro: It's just that the creative demands of recent sets haven't been very accommodating to corpsekind.
Maro: I guess you'll always have Onslaught Block, though, huh?
Ga'Aark: Brians.
Maro: Yes, I believe both Brian Schneider and Brian Tinsman had a hand in making some of your undead compatriots from that era.
Ga'Aark: That was a typo.

 IM Conversation With: Steamflogger Boss  
Steamflogger Boss: Maro, how's tricks?
Maro: Oh, it's you. Let me guess. You're going to a party tonight.
Steamflogger Boss: How did you know?
Maro: Let's just say a little birdie told me.
Maro: Plus, I'm writing all this dialogue.

 IM Conversation With: Ga'Aark  
Ga'Aark: What's a guy got to do to get some brains around here?
Maro: Might I suggest prying open a human skull.
Ga'Aark: Too easy.
Ga'Aark: I like when they play hard to get.

 IM Conversation With: Steamflogger Boss  
Steamflogger Boss: All of the unloved cards are going to be at this party.
Steamflogger Boss: Me and Squire and the entire graduating class from Homelands High.
Steamflogger Boss: If you're not busy, you should come.

 IM Conversation With: Ga'Aark  
Ga'Aark: I have a confession to make.
Maro: Oh?
Ga'Aark: Promise you won't be mad.
Maro: I promise.
Ga'Aark: I have a crush on your evil twin brother.
Maro: ...
Maro: I guess he does have a lot of brains, being my twin and all.
Ga'Aark: Precisely.
Maro: It's just that they're evil brains.
Ga'Aark: That only makes them even more delicious.

 IM Conversation With: Grok  
Grok: Maro, what's up?
Maro: Grok! My most empathetic imaginary friend.
Grok: Got a sec?
Maro: I'm writing a column, but a little procrastination never hurt anybody.

 IM Conversation With: Steamflogger Boss  
Maro: I do have a column to write. It's about different ways to be creative.
Maro: I just got to Technique #4: Beat a Dead Horse.
Steamflogger Boss: Can it be a dead Goblin?
Maro: Sure. It's only a metaphor.
Steamflogger Boss: Oh. Never mind, then.
Maro: The point is that sometimes that horse isn't quite as dead as you think it is.

 IM Conversation With: Grok  
Grok: I'm going to a party later and I need some advice.
Maro: Shoot.
Grok: Do you think there's a chance that Ga'Aark and I could get together?
Maro: You mean as a couple?
Grok: Yeah.
Maro: A union between a Zombie and, uh, whatever it is that you are is a little unorthodox.
Grok: I know, but I think it could work.
Maro: Anything's possible. Just look at Julia Roberts and Lyle Lovett.
Grok: Very topical, Mark.

 IM Conversation With: Steamflogger Boss  
Steamflogger Boss: I like to flog things, but with steam.
Steamflogger Boss: Don't ask me how it works, though.
Maro: Why, trade secret?
Steamflogger Boss: No, it just makes no sense.

 IM Conversation With: Grok  
Grok: I'm tired of dating regular humans. They're just too complex.
Maro: Yeah, especially their brains.
Maro: Did I mention I'm writing a column about creativity?
Maro: In case you're wondering, Technique #5 is Sleep On It.
Maro: For example, Einstein came up with the Theory of Relativity after a long nap.
Grok: I find that highly suspect.
Maro: And I wrote entire episodes of Roseanne while in a somnambulistic trance.
Grok: That I believe.

 IM Conversation With: Steamflogger Boss  
Steamflogger Boss: I've been a little frustrated lately.
Maro: How so?
Steamflogger Boss: Just...irritable at work, you know? Grumpy.
Maro: Go on.
Steamflogger Boss: What I'm trying to say is that I didn't flog my way up to middle-management only to have to spend my days wrangling a pack of rock-eating morons.
Maro: Isn't that what middle-management does?
Steamflogger Boss: Touché.

 IM Conversation With: Timmy  
Timmy: Maro, you around?
Maro: Yeah, Timmy. Just putting the finishing touches on my column.
Timmy: I need to ask you a question.
Maro: Fire away.
Timmy: Why does everybody hate me?
Maro: Everybody doesn't hate you.
Maro: Only the overwhelming majority of people hate you.
Timmy: I think it's because people don't understand me.
Timmy: They think I'm some kind of idiot, but I'm not.
Maro: I know, Timmy.
Timmy: I just have different priorities.

 IM Conversation With: Grok  
Grok: I want someone with uncomplicated motivations.
Grok: Ga'Aark is someone who knows exactly what he wants.
Maro: You mean brains.
Grok: Right. I just don't know how to go about getting to know him.
Maro: You need to find some common ground.
Grok: I don't understand.
Maro: Look for values you share, activities you can do together.
Grok: No comprende, amigo.
Maro: Try to figure out if something that you're passionate about, something that you love to do, lines up with Ga'Aark's passions.
Grok: I'm not sure I follow.
Maro: Let me put it this way: Do you like to eat brains?
Grok: I don't know. A little.
Maro: Go with that.

 IM Conversation With: Timmy  
Timmy: I'm thinking of changing my name.
Maro: Really? To what?
Timmy: I don't know yet. To something a little more grown-up.
Timmy: Maybe Tim or Timothy.
Timmy: What do you think of Timbaland?
Maro: I think it's taken.

 IM Conversation With: Steamflogger Boss  
Steamflogger Boss: Productivity is way down, our margins are shrinking.
Steamflogger Boss: My employees eat half of our raw materials.
Steamflogger Boss: What I need is a reliable work-force, one that can coexist peacefully and work together as a team towards a common goal, one that can follow directions.
Steamflogger Boss: What I need is White.

 IM Conversation With: Assistant Steamflogger Boss  
Assistant Steamflogger Boss: No, you don't! I can right this ship!

 IM Conversation With: Steamflogger Boss  
Steamflogger Boss: Tell him to shut up.
Maro: How did you know he sent me a message?
Steamflogger Boss: The omniscient narrator.
Steamflogger Boss: And that guy's not the Assistant Steamflogger Boss.

 IM Conversation With: Assistant to the Steamflogger Boss  
Assistant to the Steamflogger Boss: Fine. I still think I can right this ship.

 IM Conversation With: Timmy  
Timmy: You know who does understand me? Grok.
Timmy: Grok really gets what I'm about.
Timmy: I can be myself around Grok, slinging spells for the sheer thrill of it.
Timmy: Win or lose, it doesn't matter.

 IM Conversation With: White  
Maro: This might be a little awkward.
White: What do you mean?
Maro: Well, have you ever thought of hitting on Steamflogger Boss?
White: No, not once. In fact, the idea disgusts me.

 IM Conversation With: Evil Mark Rosewater  
Maro: Do you have a Plan B for tonight? What about Ga'Aark?
Evil Mark Rosewater: That is possibly the dumbest thing you've ever said.

 IM Conversation With: Timmy  
Maro: Timmy, I'm just wondering something.
Maro: Would you consider making a move on White?
Timmy: Are you kidding? White's about as fun as a whack on the side of the head.

 IM Conversation With: Mistform Ultimus  
Mistform Ultimus: Hey, Maro.
Maro: You're like a bad penny.

 IM Conversation With: Steamflogger Boss  
Maro: What do you think of my evil twin brother? Any romantic interest?
Steamflogger Boss: You can't be serious.

 IM Conversation With: Mistform Ultimus  
Mistform Ultimus: I'm going to this party tonight.
Maro: And you need some advice.
Mistform Ultimus: Yeah. What should I be?
Maro: Well, you have a lot of options.

 IM Conversation With: Grok  
Maro: If Ga'Aark isn't interested, maybe you should direct your attention to Timmy.
Grok: Timmy? That lamer? I'd rather Terror myself with a rusty Terror.

 IM Conversation With: Mistform Ultimus  
Mistform Ultimus: I was thinking of going as a Giant Dwarf.
Maro: People love the oxymorons.
Mistform Ultimus: Or maybe a Treefolk Splinter.
Maro: Cute. How about just being a Pest?
Maro: I think you can pull it off.

 IM Conversation With: Ga'Aark  
Maro: Hey, Ga'Aark, if things don't pan out with my brother, how do you feel about Grok?
Ga'Aark: Brains.
Maro: Oh, I give up.
Maro: This is going to be painful.

 IM Conversation With: Mistform Ultimus  
Maro: Sigh. Is there someone you're trying to impress?
Mistform Ultimus: Yeah, this hot Swordfish I met down at my local watering hole.
Maro: Oh, then wear an Armani suit.
Mistform Ultimus: Really?
Maro: Yeah. They're very popular among swordfish these days.
Mistform Ultimus: Thanks, Maro. I knew I could count on you.
Maro: See you at the party!

Mimic Week is over! Did you guess who wrote this article?

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