The Zankou Chicken Murders

The creator of the California-based food chain kills his mother, sister and, finally, himself.

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From Hollywood to Anaheim, he had opened a chain of fast-food rotisserie chicken restaurants that dazzled the food critics and turned customers into a cult. Poets wrote about his Zankou chicken. Musicians sang about his Zankou chicken. Now that he was dying, his dream of building an empire, 100 Zankous across the land, a Zankou in every major city, would be his four sons’ to pursue. In the days before, he had pulled them aside one by one -- Dikran, Steve, Ara, Vartkes -- and told them he had no regrets. He was 56 years old, that was true, but life had not cheated him. He did not tell them he had just one more piece of business left to do.

The Golden Suicides

A couple, well-known New York artists, decamp to L.A., where she intends to direct a movie about a rock star trying to leave a cult. Beck, a friend, signs on, then (possibly under pressure) drops out. Their behavior grows strange, and they rant of constant harassment by Scientologists. They return to New York—to die.

The Sad and Beautiful World of Sparklehorse's Mark Linkous

While on a string of tour dates opening for Radiohead, interaction between Mark Linkous’ antidepressants and the Rohypnol he took to sleep caused him to pass out. A hotel maid found him the next morning bent into a position where his legs had been cut off from circulation. When they untangled, built-up potassium shot from his lower body upward, triggering a harmful chain reaction that caused a heart attack and kidney failure.

The Good Soldier

Struggling with depression and thoughts of suicide, Army officer Lawrence Franks went AWOL. Five years later, he reappeared as Christopher Flaherty, a member of the French Foreign Legion who served three tours in Africa. Then he was court-martialed.

Fiction Pick of the Week: "Maybe We Should Get Tattoos and Other Possibilities For Happiness"

Family problems and a myriad of solutions.

"I don’t know if my husband and I are on the way to church or a hangover. It is too early in the drive to tell. The first Thursday of every month, my husband’s sister comes over to watch the kids. They are too old for a sitter, but the older one keeps trying to kill herself and we don’t want to risk it. Always keep an eye on them, I tell my sister-in-law. Don’t leave them alone for a second, not even to ice a cake, organize a closet, dry the dishes, say a prayer."