MONDAY, DECEMBER 5 The week kicks off with an entrancing headline, found on the website of the venerable-except-for-Jean-Enersen KING 5 News: "Refund from Levitz Never Came." The dramatic promise of the headline is fulfilled by news writer Linda Byron's report, concerning Port Orchard's Dan Castillo, whose drama with furniture retailer Levitz began back on September 24 when Castillo wrote a $1,900 check to the Levitz furniture store in Silverdale for a new sofa and love seat to be delivered within 30 days. Instead of furniture, Castillo received the first of several letters delaying the furniture's delivery without explanation. When a November 8 letter pushed back the delivery to December 26—a full three months after Castillo paid for his purchase—Mr. Castillo had had enough, and he marched into the Silverdale Levitz demanding a refund. After being told by staff that there was no money in the store, Castillo was issued a "refund receipt" promising full reimbursement by November 24. When that day came and went without incident, Castillo and his furniture-deprived wife began investigating their options—and learned that Levitz had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. "Their slogan [is] 'You'll love it at Levitz,'" Castillo told KING 5. "We have loved nothing about Levitz." The Levitz website characterizes the bankruptcy filing as a necessary move in "restructuring" and promises "retail operations will continue as usual," while the PR firm representing Levitz told KING 5 News that Castillo's refund check is "in the mail."

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 6 From the small-yet-meaningful drama of a furniture buyer scorned we move to the large-yet-meaningless drama of a sports team defeated. Specifically, the Seattle SuperSonics, who were tonight trounced by the New York Knicks at KeyArena. Speaking of losers: "It should be mentioned that Howard Stern hit on me at the Sonics game tonight," writes Hot Tipper Bevin. "He's just as tall and creepy as he is on TV, and he couldn't manage to get through a two-and-a-half minute conversation with a bunch of strangers without mentioning lesbians. Needless to say, it went well."

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7 The week continues with news of continuing shit in Iraq, where celebrity war-crimes defendant Saddam Hussein followed several days of indignant bluster with absolutely nothing, failing to appear for court and blaming his boycott on his alleged mistreatment at the hands of an unjust and illegal court. (Also in Iraq, in a horribly mobbish twist, the 8-year-old son of one of the trial judge's bodyguards was kidnapped from the front yard of his eastern Baghdad home.) Meanwhile in the United States, a 44-year-old man was shot dead by a U.S. air marshal at the Miami International Airport. Officials say the man "indicated" he had a bomb in his bag but found no evidence of a bomb during the postmortem search. Meanwhile, the man's wife insists her husband was nothing but a temporarily unmedicated manic-depressive, and bystanders told the Associated Press they never heard the word "bomb" come from the shooting victim's lips. Stay tuned, and RIP to the country's unluckiest bipolar traveler.

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 8 Today brings a missive from a reader—specifically, a reader named Drury, who had this to add to last week's Last Days report on Nguyen Tuong Van, the 20-something Australian man executed by the Singapore government after being caught with heroin in the Singapore airport. Writes Hot Commenter Drury: "Six years ago I flew through Singapore on my way to India. As you arrive in Singapore, you are handed a sheet that basically says 'Welcome to Singapore, drug trafficking is punishable by death.' It's awful and tragic that Nguyen was hanged, but he knew he was taking a HUGE risk. Still, it saddens me that someone's life situation was so desperate they were reduced to risking death. In the coming week I hope you can find at least one hopeful yet irreverent current event to cheer me up." Dear Drury: Your wish is our command.

•• Today also brings a hopeful yet irreverent current event courtesy of the Boston Globe, which today featured a great Q&A between Globe reporter Suzanne Ryan and badass octogenarian journalist Mike Wallace, whose attempts to interview President George W. Bush have been steadily rebuffed. Asked what he'd ask Dubya if given the chance, Wallace goes for the jugular: "What in the world prepared you to be the commander in chief of the largest superpower in the world? In your background, Mr. President, you apparently were incurious. You didn't want to travel. You knew very little about the military... The governor of Texas doesn't have the kind of power that some governors have... Why do you think they nominated you?... Do you think that has anything to do with the fact that the country is so [expletive] up?" (Thank you, Mike Wallace. You're welcome, reader Drury.)

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9 Nothing happened today, unless you count the National Enquirer's "Jacko Bombshell," which follows a wily trail of hearsay—from the mouth of an alleged "Jackson insider" to the ears of the Santa Barbara police to, somehow, the Enquirer, which today reports that "Michael Jackson has suffered an overdose from drugs and alcohol and is said to be in a critical condition in Bahrain." Citing an unspecified "published report," the Enquirer suggests an "isolated and intoxicated" Jacko may soon be the subject of a desperate "rescue mission" by worried Jackson family members. Thanks to the Enquirer, and best of luck to Randy and Tito.

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10 Today Last Days had the great pleasure of spending a couple hours gawking at Kanye West, who capped off a triumphant year—standing up for the gays, dissing the president on live TV, and making the best album of the year for the second year in a row—with a dazzling performance tonight at the Everett Events Center. Speaking of invaluable African-American innovators: Today also brought the sad death of Richard Pryor, the renegade comic whose life of groundbreaking hilarity and flamboyant survival ended today at age 65.

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 11 The week wraps up with a good, old-fashioned public-grooming sighting from Hot Tipper Megen, who had just finished swimming at North Seattle's Helene Madison Pool when she witnessed a public-grooming felony she'll never forget. "At Helene Madison Pool, there are about six communal showers," writes Megen. "I was halfway through my shower when I noticed that the woman standing next to me had her head bent in a very awkward position. Trying not to make it look like I was watching, I watched her... and saw she was SHAVING HER LADY PARTS. In public. She had already swam, so the 'I was preparing to go swimming' defense (which still isn't a good one) could not be used. I wanted to kick her, but instead I just left, unshowered and chlorine-y."

Send Hot Tips to