The American Male at Age Ten - “If Colin Duffy and I were to get married, ee would sleep in our clothes and eat pizza and candy for all of our meals. We wouldn’t have sex, but we would have crushes on each other…”
The Place to Disapear - “All languages are welcome on Bangkok’s Khao San Road, including Drunkard…”
Life’s Swell - “To be a surfer girl in Maui is to be the luckiest of creatures. It means you’re beautiful and tan and ready to rip. It means you’ve caught the perfect dappled wave and are on a ride that can’t possibly end…”
The Origami Lab - For centuries, origami patterns had at most thirty steps; now they can have hundreds and scientists have started applying its techniques to medical, electrical, optical, and nano-technical problems…”
Shoot the Moon - “White men in suits follow Felipe Lopez everywhere he goes. They are ubiquitous. They rarely miss one of Felipe’s games or tournaments…”
Do We Transcend Before or After We Purchase the Commemorative Eel Cakes? - “Climbing Mount Fuji, where nature, religion, sport, and schlock form the most holy of alliances.”
The Congo Sound - “Hervé Halfon owns a record store on the Rue des Plantes, in Montparnasse, just a few Métro stops from the Eiffel Tower but spiritually closer to Avenue Gambela, in Congo…”
La Matadora Revisa Su Maquillaje (The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup) - “People think that because I kill bulls I have to be really brave, but I’m not. I’m a sensitive person, and I can get super-terrified. I’m afraid of staying home by myself, and I get hysterical if I see a spider.”
Meet The Shaggs - “Depending on whom you ask, the Shaggs were either the best band of all time or the worst…”
Orchid Fever - “Generally speaking, orchids seem to drive people crazy. The people who love orchids love them madly, but the passion for orchids is not necessarily a passion for beauty…”
One of the few Americans to see action during the Bug Wars of the nineteen-nineties was Robert J. Lang, a lanky Californian who was on the front lines throughout, from the battle of the Kabutomushi Beetle to the battle of the Menacing Mantis and the battle of the Long-Legged Wasp.
White men in suits follow Felipe Lopez everywhere he goes. They are ubiquitous. They rarely miss one of Felipe’s games or tournaments. They have absolute recall of his best minutes of play. They are authorities on his physical condition. They admire his feet, which are big and pontoon-shaped, and his wrists, which have a loose, silky motion.
Thailand, the most pliant of places, has always accommodated even the rudest of visitors. Starting in the early eighties, when foreigners started trekking to such places as Myanmar and Tibet and Vietnam, Thailand took on another hostessing job, because Bangkok was the safest, easiest, most Westernized place from which to launch a trip through Asia.
Jill Meilus is a New York City real-estate broker. Like Superman, she can see through walls. Walking down a Manhattan street with her is a paranormal experience. “Nice building,” you might remark as you pass a handsome but unrevealing prewar facade, to which she might respond that the J-line apartment on the third floor has a new kitchen, that the guy in 8-A is being transferred to Florida and will entertain any offers of more than two hundred thousand dollars, that the super is a chain-smoker, that there is a one-bedroom for sale because the owners are having money troubles or are having twins or made a new fortune or are splitting up.
If Colin Duffy and I were to get married, we would have matching superhero notebooks. We would sleep in our clothes. We would both be good at Nintendo Street Fighter II, but Colin would be better than me. We would eat pizza and candy for all of our meals. We wouldn’t have sex, but we would have crushes on each other and, magically, babies would appear in our home.