New England Journal of Medicine


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What if the cancer came back? Each time I visited a hospital I had an uneasy reaction. The first thing that struck me was the smell. If I did a smell test I could find a hospital with my eyes closed: disinfectant, medicine, bad cafeteria food, and recycled air through old vents, stale and artificial. And the lighting: a leaky radiant, it made everyone look pale. Like they didn’t have enough blood in their bodies. The sounds were artificial and grating: the squeak of the nurses’ rubber-soled shoes, the sounds of the hospital mattresses. A hospital mattress is covered with plastic, and I remember how it felt and sounded as I shifted in the bed, the crackle of the of the covering beneath me, every time I moved, crackle, crackle, wrinkle, wrinkle.

Some people even get physically ill when they encounter sights or smells that remind them of illness. There was a story in the New England Journal of Medicine: a woman was treated for breast cancer with very arduous chemo, and she suffered violent bouts of nausea. Five years later, she was walking in the mall when she ran into her oncologist, the doctor who had treated her. She threw up. So that’s how cancer stays with you. And it has stayed with me.

In Paris, a large Texas flag flew from the Hotel de Crillon. During that last ride, I finally let myself have champagne, and sipped a glass as we rode along.

My uncle lives alone with a bunch of animals-dogs, cats, rabbits and goats. One day, I was visiting and found a note that read, “The dogs ate Boo Boo,” stuck to the door. Knowing how my uncle felt about his pets, I frantically searched the yard for Boo Boo’s remains, but found nothing.

“Sorry to hear about Boo Boo,” I said to my uncle later, as I showed him the note. Which one was he?

My uncle read the note and grinned. “Boo Boo’s my neighbor. His note means he fed the dogs.”
Don Lindsay was in a bad mood the night he nearly stabbed his young son. It wasn’t the dinner. He liked steak, and his wife, Gwen, knew how to cook it. It was the boy, reaching across, grabbing his father’s plate, going for a piece of meat. Lindsay’s rage ignited. Suddenly he saw his knife poised in his big fist.
Anderson patted him down, reached in to pull out his pants’ pockets, and felt a fierce stab. She pulled her hand away and discovered a hypodermic needle plunged so deeply into her palm it was till hanging there. In that terrifying split second, she also saw her death sentence: swirls of red blood in the needle’s cartridge.

Refrigerators: A Jenn-Air built-in refrigerator costs $7,200. But you can get a side-by-side refrigerator that looks like a built-in for $2,700: the Bosch Linea 800 refrigerator is cabinet depth, mimicking the look of a built-in for a fraction of the price.

Conservationists urged Congress to save this vast natural wonder, but developers had greater influence. Not until 1934 did Congress authorize the Secretary of the Interior to acquire over 2 million acres of the everglades for a park, and then it gave him no money to do so. The state legislature provided the first land purchase money in 1946. Although Congress “established” the Park in 1947, federal funds weren’t appropriated until 1958. In the next several years, 1.4 million acres, the southernmost part of the 7 million acre everglades, finally became a National Park.

There are many asthma triggers. Some individuals are affected by just a few; others by a wide range. The most common include those that are inhaled during normal breathing, such as pollen, dust, pollution, perfumes, extremely cold air, and cigarette smoke. In some cases, certain foods can provoke an allergic reaction. Attcks can also be caused by emotions: Some asthmatics react to stress or fears in themselves or those close to them, and some will even suffer an onset of wheezing from a prolonged bout of laughter. In some cases, an attack follows an infection and inflammation of the lungs. Exercise is another common trigger.
I am sitting in an overstuffed chair in the lobby of the Dominion Imperial International Hotel. So help me, that’s really the name. I am surrounded by overgrown ferns, ugly but expensive floral carpeting, chandeliers that make me think of The Phantom of the Opera, stuk-up hotel employees in silly-looking uniforms who give me dirty looks-and nobody my age. Except my friend Wendy, who dragged me here.
Jerry looked over at me and opened his mouth-then shut it again as he started to hear what they’d heard: the ticking and the rumbling and the squeal of metal a longway down at the next station. The subway seemed much louder than usual, especially compared to the quiet ones who’d been on the tracks a few minutes before.
Mica Area High School-MAHS- was not exactly a hotbed of nonconformity. There were individual variants here and there, of course, but within pretty narrow limits we all wore the same clothes, talked the same way, ate the same food. Even our dorks and nerds had a MAHS stamp on them. If we happened to somehow distinguish ourselves, we quickly snapped back into place, like rubber bands.

Kevin was right. It was unthinkable that Stargirl could survive-or at least survive unchanged-among us.

We continued our march. We were gradually drawing closer to the ditch, from which an infernal heat was rising. Still twenty steps to go. If I wanted to bring about my own death, this was the moment. Our line had now only fifteen paces to cover. I bit my lips so that my father would not hear my teeth chattering. Ten steps still. Eight. Seven. We marched slowly on, as though following a hearse at our funeral. Four steps more. Three steps. There it was now, right in front of us, the pit and its flames. I gathered all that was left of my strength, so that I could break from the ranks and throw myself upon the barbed wire. In the depths of my heart, I bade farewell to my father, to the whole universe; ad, in spite of myself, the words formed themselves and issued in a whisper from my lips: Yitgadalveyitkadach shme raba…May His name be blessed and magnified…My heart was bursting. The moment had come. I was face to face with the Angel of Death.

No. Two steps from the pit we were ordered to turn to the left and made to go into a barracks.

She hadn’t told him. She didn’t know how; she knew he wouldn’t like it. She didn’t mind a movie or coffee or a walk or anything else he might suggest. But she never had any space. No place to breathe. He always wanted her with him. Her friends and her family saw less and less of her. Her friends were mad at first, hurt that she seemed no longer to care about them. But that passed. They gave up. Her friends no longer called. Tired of the constant rejection, they stopped inviting her.

But tonight was different. She wanted time with her friends. She wanted time with other people. She loved him, or at least she thought she still did. But now she felt suffocated, like she couldn’t get away. Even now she felt the anxious pull in her heart thinking about how she would tell him that tonight she had plans and they didn’t involve him.

The room was swept and fairly neat, for Crooks was a proud, aloof man. He kept his distance and demanded that other people keep theirs. His body was bent over to the left by his crooked spine, and his eyes lay deep in his head, and because of their depth seemed to glitter with intensity. His lean face was lined with deep black wrinkles, and he had thin, pain-tightened lips, which were lighter than his face.
In walks these three girls in nothing but bathing suits. I’m in the third checkout slot, with my back to the door, so I don’t see them until they’re over by the bread. The one that caught my eye first was the one in the plaid green two-piece. She was a chunky kid with a good tan and a sweet broad soft-looking can with those two crescents of white just under it, where the sun never seems to hit, at the tops of the backs of her legs. I stood there with my hand on a box of HiHo crackers trying to remember if I rang it up or not. I ring it up again and the customer starts giving me hell. She’s one of those cash-register-watchers, a witch about fifty with rouge on her cheekbones and no eyebrows, and I know it made her day to trip me up. She’d been watching cash registers for fifty years and probably never seen a mistake before.
As he dribbles

past you, into the

paint, then stops, pivots

and gives the big man

a head fake, you must

remember that my

father can shoot with either

the right or left hand.

In fact, I was sure there was something different. I vividly remembered the flat black color of his eyes the last time he glared at me -the color was striking against the background of his pale skin and his auburn hair. Today, his eyes were a completely different color: a strange ocher, darker then butterscotch but with the same golden tone. I didn’t understand how that could be, unless he was lying for some reason about the contacts. Or maybe Forks was making me crazy in the literally sense of the word.

I looked down. His hands were clenched into hard fists again.

Edward was walking past the front of my truck, looking straight forward, his lips pressed together. I yanked the door open and jumped inside, slamming it loudly behind me. I revved the engine deafeningly and reversed out into the aisle. Edward was in his car already, two spaces down, sliding out smoothly in front of me, cutting me off. He stopped there –to wait for his family; I could see the four of them walking this way, but still by the cafeteria. I considered taking out the rear of his shiny Volvo, but there were too many witnesses. I looked in my rearview mirror. A line was beginning to form. Directly behind me, Tyler Crowley was in his recently acquired Sentra, waving. I was aggravated to acknowledge him.
For months I slept under the breakfast table next to a box of kitty litter, but I soon learned to use the newspapers to my advantage. With the papers wrapped around me, my body heat kept me warm. Finally, Mother told me I was no longer privileged enough to sleep upstairs, so I was banished downstairs to the garage. My bed was now an old army cot. To stay warm, I tried to keep my head close to the gas heater. But after a few cold nights, I found it best to keep my hands clamped under my arms and my feet curled towards my buttocks. Sometimes at night I would wake up and try to imagine I was a real person, sleeping under a warm electric blanket, knowing I was safe and that somebody loved me. My imagination worked for a while, but the cold nights always brought me back to my reality. I knew no one could help me. Not my teachers, my so-called brothers or even Father. I was on my own, and every night I prayed to God that I could be strong in both body and soul. In the darkness of the garage, I laid on the wooden cot and shivered until I fell into a restless sleep.

“Hello, gentlemen.” Oliver halted in front of the glass double doors that led inside. He turned to find a man sitting on a nearby bench. He was leaning back, one leg up on the other knee, with a computer on his lap.

“Glad you could make it,” he said. Just by the tone of his voice Oliver knew they were talking to the man in charge, and yet he didn’t quite look it. Instead of being tall, he was shorter. Instead of being muscular, he was overweight. His untucked dress shirt and leather jacket were draped over a wide middle, with baggy jeans. He had frizzy hair, and the blue light from his computer deepened the folds on his face.

That’s when Hannah’s boyfriend shows up in his Toyota 4-Runner. It doesn’t take looking out the window to see that he’s arrived. The base of his Bowes stereo hurls Megadeth at us. The front windows tremble. He double parks directly in front of the restaurant, gets out with his two clones, one female, and locks the car with the motor running and Megadeth booming in the street: “Mama! Mama!”

Hannah, half smiling, stretches her neck to catch a glimpse of him but then bites her lips when she sees he is not alone.

The girl walks in first, wearing shorts and a halter. Hanna looks stifled inside her yellow –and-brown polyester Burger Bar suit; still she manages a pretty cheerful “Hi” when the three of them amble up the yellow Formica counter.

Belinda Tobias had always been a big girl. No one noticed or said anything when her breasts swelled, her moon faced glowed, her eyes hollowed-she had dull eyes to begin with-and her stomach rose to a mound. Even when Belinda’s belly jumped or did the electric boogaloo under her baggy shirt, no one saw it. Or said anything. Her mother, who wore either tight skirts or stretch pants, said, “ You kids and your big clothes! So unladylike! Sloppy!” This made her sister’s eyes roll from Belinda’s growing form, then up to the heavens.

Lightning Injuries
Lightning strikes occur year-round and kill an average of 67 people each year in the United States; more than 80% of the victims are male. Most lightning-related injuries occur in the summer when thunderstorms are common and more people are outdoors.

Besides directly striking a victim, lightning can kill by splashing or side flashing off a nearby strike area or by traveling through the ground (step voltage). Less than one-third of lightning victims die, but many survivors sustain permanent disabilities.

Of the relatively few victims who suffer a cardiac arrest immediately after the strike, asystole is the typical finding. Although the intrinsic automaticity of cardiac cells may restore an organized cardiac rhythm, prolonged respiratory arrest from thoracic spasm and impairment of the medullary respiratory center can cause a secondary hypoxic cardiac arrest.

Chuck glances at the clock. Two minutes to ten. He hears the far-off boom of drums now. There’s a low whistling sound, too, and when he looks up he sees an orange burst. They’ve started the aerial fireworks. As soon as he closes up, he can take off for the park. First, haul down the green flag and lock up the oilcan rack. Don’t trip over thw water bucket. Bring in the credit card machine. Open the safe and put in the cash. Mke sure the safe is closed tight. What else? Fix the spoke on the broken chair, so Vic won’t have a fit.
The first week of August was long over. And now, though autumn was still some weeks away, there was a feeling that the year had begun its downward arc, that the wheel was turning again, slowly now, but soon to go faster, turning once more in its changeless sweep of change. Winnie, standing in front of the touch-me-not cottage, could hear the new note in the voices of the birds. Whole clouds of them lifted, chattering, into the sky above the wood, and then settled, only to lift again. Across the road, goldenrod was coming into bloom. And an early-drying milkweed had opened its rough pod, exposing a host of downy-headed seeds. As she watched, one of these detached itself into a sudden breeze and sailed sedately off, while others leaned from the pod as if to observe its departure.
“I loved it!” protested Anton. “Because those glass diamonds were going to make me a free man. One of the guards was a simple fellow with financial problems. One day I told him my father would pay five thousand dollars to the person who could get me out of prison. The guard looked too surprised to answer. But eight days later he followed me into the latrine and asked, “What’s the deal?” ‘Five perfect diamonds, each diamond having been appraised in excess of one thousand dollars, will be given to the person who drives me out of those gates,’ I told him. So he did, and I paid him with a dollar’s worth of glass jewelry.

Uncle Mark stood behind Grandmother’s chair, playing on a small pipe that he had acquired somewhere during his travels; it was made from hard black polished wood, with silver stops, and it had a mouthpiece made of amber. Un Mark invariably played the same tune on it at these times, very softly.

As we rise from the kneeler, I touch Richy’s shoulder and he blinks his eyes rapidly at me, as if tapping out some Morse code. He nods his head: I have the impression he is trying to reassure me. We have no time to speak because people begin to arrive. Richy and I stand there, slightly to the right of the casket. Faces pass before us and hands thrust themselves at us and murmurs of sympathy whisper in our ears. At one point father Norton appears and we pray. The air conditioner hums a continuous Amen. People stream in now. I am surprised at their number: from the office, old friends, nodding acquaintances, Ruth’s friends. An old man with foul breath shakes my hand, grunting sympathy: someone Ruth had causally befriended perhaps. She was always striking up conversations with total strangers, particularly in supermarkets. Once, she received a black eye trying to break up a fight between two kids on the sidewalk. Thinking of that poor bruised cheek, I glance involuntarily toward the casket and see her at last. I look for a long time. A blizzard og hands interrupts me: Richy’s classmates have arrived in a delegation and they swirl around us. But even when I turn away I still see her there in the casket. I wait for the reaction but there is none. I shiver in the sterile, chilled air. My grief has not diminished but I realize that a peak has been reached: it can go no higher. Perhaps the peak was reached this morning when I found her bobby pin and needed that whiskey.
By stroking each gift with her old, blotched, clawlike fingers, frail as quills, Grandmother, who lived all the year round in darkness, could discover not only what the thing was and where it came from, but also the color of it, and and that in the most precise and particular manner, correct to a shade.

That morning, Mike Chung read his own composition aloud to the class. He described a typical day through the eyes of a student in a wheelchair. Everything most students take for granted was an obstacle: the bathroom door too heavy to open, the gym steps too steep to climb, the light switch too high on the wall. The class applauded and the class nodded approvingly.

“Read me your will or shut up.”

“ I, David James Alpern (aka Crow),” he read, “being of exceptionally sound mind and body, leave my best friend, hannah Glenn, my mighty brain, including all the words she doesn’t know-“

“Thanks a lot.”

“-a lifetime supply of Tooty Frooty gum-“

“Gimme a break!”

He stopped reading. “Are you going to listen?”

“I’ll listen, I’ll listen.”

“- a lifetime supply of Tootie Frooty gum and my track shoes. To my mother, M*A*S*H reruns forever and a quiet day. An extra toilet plunger to my stepfather, Willie. To my brothers, Jay and Mike, snot-free noses-shut up please so people can sleep-birthdays at Burger King, and a snow shovel so you can make some money in the winter. To my sisters, Kelly and Chris, al the tangerines y’all want, a box full of chocolate chip cookies that never goes empty, and Wonder Woman tee shirts, red for Kelly, green for Chris. To Lisa and Janet, getting out of the house safe, thanks for the sandwich under the door, and winning all their volleyball games. And finally to all those others, teachers, acquaintances, enemies, and strangers, goodbye, y’all, I’m not sorry to leave.”

He glanced at me, the way he does, quick and sideways, so you don’t get a good look at his face. “Like it? Think it was funny?”
Old Lady Waverly passed out one of her famous worksheets on the three basic kinds of rocks, which we were supposed to read about in chapter 3 the night before. Luckily it was open book because I hadn’t read it, and rocks aren’t really my thing anyway. But I’m a fast reader, and I used the index to find the page numbers, and then skimmed paragraphs. The wok was easy, but boring, and being as tired as I was, it was pretty hard for me to keep my eyes open. I had told Mary Grace about the pills before class, so whenever my head started to droop down, she jabbed me in the back with a pen.

But it didn’t matter that I was new. Not really. Schools were always kind of a mysterious to me. Most teachers I’d had eemed to like me all right, even though most said I worked below my potential. But success or failure was a hit or miss for me, like walking through a mine field and hoping you didn’t get blown up. But for kids like Judy, it was like they studied the mine field and drawn maps so they never accidentally stepped on anything that would go bang. It wouldn’t hurt being more like that. And it sure would have made Dad happy.

And it started me thinking about my own dad. On Christmas Eve, we talked about some things we disagree about, and it was the first time I’ve ever seen my father doubt himself a little. He didn’t admit it-we’ll both be old guys when that happens-but I saw a tear, and it made me hope for a truce, or at least a cease-fire. Naturally, the second I had that thought, he started baiting me with some trash about Mr. S that was really ridiculous, and it all went south. To tell the truth, I think I helped sabotage it because I was afraid of the complications it might bring between him and me-you know, remind him how much I love him-when I’m trying my best to hold my own.

Monday, 5 November, 1492. At dawn I ordered the Nina beached in order to clean the hull. I shall do the Pinta next and then the Santa Maria. Two ships should remain in service all the time for security reasons, though here people are safe and I could beach all three ships together without fear. This is one of the best harbors in the world, and it has the best climate and friendliest people.

Noble, self-assured, fearless, the Boxer stands out as one of the most impressive of all breeds. But he has something else in his favor. The Boxer is lovable, friendly, and playful; in fact, he is a true clown at heart. The two sets of characteristics, which, at first glance, seem diametrically opposed to each other, sum up the true charm of the breed. The Boxer will be your loyal protector, but he will also be your family friend.

(He) sat bolt upright in bed and found himself face to face with the unearthly visitors who had opened the curtains. It was a strange figure-like a child, yet like an old man. Its face was soft and smooth, with no sign of a wrinkle, yet its hair was white and hung down its back. Its arms were long and its hands were strong and muscular. It legs and feet were bare. A pure white tunic trimmed with summer flowers covered its body, and it held a branch of fresh, green winter holly in one hand. But the strangest of all was the jet of light that shone from the top of its head-a light that lit up everything around it.

In one of my earliest memories, my mother and I are on the front porch of our rented Carter Avenue house watching two delivery men carry our brand-new television set up the steps. I’m excited because I’ve heard about but never seen television. The men are wearing work clothes the same color as the box they’re hefting between them. Like the crabs at Fisherman’s Cove, they ascend the cement stairs sideways. Here’s the undependable part: my visual memory stubbornly insists these men are President Eisenhower and Vice President Nixon.
They dropped their backpacks on the little circular table near the window and sat down in two straight-backed chairs. Outside, the sun had dropped low enough behind the motel that half of the courtyard was shaded. Chris looked at his watch -6:05. At home it was 5:05. Their parents wouldn’t be missing them yet. His mom was usually the first one home, at five-thirty. In a half-hour she’d be reading the note. Pat’s parents would find theirs about fifteen minutes later, but Chris suspected that his mom would be waiting for Pat’s parents with some bad news when they got home.

Dan finally knocked on his father’s door at 10:30, carrying his guitar. Gordon had regained his self-control and was stern and reserved. “Put the guitar down. Put it down!” he said again louder and more angrily. Dan sat down with the guitar across his lap. “Here,” he said, handing Dan the document he prepared the night before. “These are the rules that will govern your life until you have proven to me you are mature and responsible.”

“This is a joke. I mean, like here where it says my room is going to be inspected every day. By whom?” Dan’s voice became shrill as it became louder. “My room is mine. You don’t have the right….I won’t allow it. Dan was already thinking how he can make his room more disgusting if his father persisting with the inspection demand. “I can only go out once on the weekend if I follow all the rules all week. This is bullcrap. F**** you. No way. No f**** way!” Dan yelled. Resentment and anger overwhelming him, his mind raced and he felt himself ready to explode. He was the victim of his father’s pride. His father could shove that! He started to leave the room. “You don’t understand me at all. You don’t care. All you care about is that everyone thinks you have perfect children. Shove it. ” He threw the paper the paper at his father.

When Bob first noticed unexplained 900 number calls on his phone bills, he asked Adam about it, but Adam denied any knowledge of the calls. Bob believed him, and they decided it was a computer glitch. When Laurell also discovered unexplained 900 numbers on her phone bill, she questioned Adam. Adam said his father asked him to make calls from his mother’s phone. She was appalled, but not surprised. She considered speaking to Bob about it, but decided it was just more of his aberrant behavior, and she could use it to deny him weekends with Adam. Neither ever spoke to the other about it, so Adam was free to carry on placing bets on sports events.
Caroline had heard the undertones in her mother’s voice, but she wasn’t worried. Her mother was manageable. She walked into the kitchen undecided if she should binge. She hated to eat, but at the same time she loved it. She knew it was better to have a cigarette, so she opened the window to let out the smoke. She resented that she wasn’t allowed to smoke it in the house, but it was easier to be sneaky than to fight with her mother even though she knew she could win that battle, too. Being sneaky had become a way of life, and she found not getting caught exhilarating and exciting. She stared at the photo of herself and her mother in London. She felt a pang as she noticed how stunningly beautiful her mother was and how gawky she felt she looked in comparison.

Nights, alone in her studio, she could focus entirely on images, how to select, to improve, to enhance. Though she worked almost exclusively digital, she retained the dark-room mind-set when it came to creating the print. She layered, highlighting, shadowing; she removed blemishes or hot spots to create her base for her master print. To this she could refine specific areas, alter density, add contrast. Step-by-step she would shape the print, sharpening or softening to suit the mood, to create an image that expressed that moment in time, until she felt what she hoped the client would feel.

“I thought we could update the classic tussy-mussy.”

“I have no idea what that is.”

“It’s a small bouquet, like this, carried in a little holder to keep them fresh. We’d put display stands on the tables by their places, which would also dress up their tables, just a little more than others. We’d use the lilies and the roses, in miniature, but maybe reverse the colors. Or if that didn’t go with their dresses, all white. Small, not quite delicate. I’d use something like this very simple silver one, nothing ornate. Then we could have them engraved with the date or your names.

She fought a sick feeling in the pit of her stomach as she drove back to the house. Something ugly curled around her. Even at midday, deep shadows from the surrounding peaks fell upon the landscape, making the house a dark specter through the trees as she rounded the last curve in the road.
Suddenly she was too tired, too spent of emotion to argue. He gently pressed her head against his shoulder and wrapped his arms around her. Slowly the warmth of his body invaded hers, and with it came peace. Peace from all the emotional upheaval. Blessed release from the insidious presentiment of danger. As he bent and kissed her forehead, all doubts and suspicions faded. With relief, she slipped her arms around his neck.
True, life for peasants like Little Li and his uncle had also been hard under the Song emperors, who had ruled China since the end of the 10th century. Officials sent by the government had often been corrupt, seizing most of the harvest and leaving only enough to enable the peasants enough to stay alive. But at least the officials were educated people who observed the niceties of civilized behavior. They had ruled according to written laws. The new rulers were barbarians from the western deserts, who spoke an incomprehensible language and drank fermented mare’s milk. It was not to be tolerated!

By the time they had caught their breath, divided up the stolen packages, concealed them awkwardly in their shirts and socks, and separated to go home so their mothers could take them out trick-or-treating, Cory’s stomach ached so gnawingly that he spent the evening hiding behind his pirate mask trying not to say anything. He’d been afraid that if he opened his mouth, the facts would leak out. He hid the dried cuttlefish snack, the goguma
crackers, saki ika, dasimaodeng noodles, a little bad of dried lotus root, and the melon-flavor candy under his mattress. He left his trick-or-treat bag full of candy bars, licorice ropes, and M&M’s on the kitchen table. By nightfall, he decided he never wanted to think about food again.

Smythe remembered being called to dinner by the bell. The bunch of them filed out of their dorm and into the mess hall. They’d been assigned positions at long tables, each headed by a faculty member. Smythe and the other boys had been told they would each take turns waiting on tables and cleaning up. And they’d sit when they were told to sit, and they’d eat when they were told to eat. They would say grace, say please pass this and please pass that, and most important, they would learn to tip their soup bowls away from them and eat like civilized human beings.

Cassie lay on the bed for a long time, wishing and hoping for sleep, trying to will herself through the night. Outside it was raining and the hiss of tires sounded like brushes on cymbals in the heavy darkness. The blind moved gently against the window, its rhythm clashing with the blare of the radio down the street. Cassie was almost there, almost past the day’s unbearable weight, when she heard the sound. She tensed, pulling her mind back to the present, back to awareness. She listened to see if she could hear it again. There. There it was. Cassie listened. There were the soft sounds of muffled sobbing. The girl was crying.

The den looked like a battlefield. Empty soda pop cans, two giant pizza boxes, and a half-finished sack of barbecue chips were strewn around the room. Easily haf of the debris was from Bradley. It takes a lot of fuel to keep an engine like Brad’s going. He’s close to seven feet tall and plays guard on a basketball team. He hates it, but the scholarship he’s got to the new university keeps him at it. In fact, I doubt if anyone on the team knows his real passions are music and poetry.

Future tennis star Arthur Ashe was born in Virginia and named after his father, an eighth generation African-American. Arthur Senior became both mother and father to six-year-old Arthur Junior and his brother when his wife died at age twenty-seven. While only semiliterate, the elder Ashe worked as a special policeman, caterer, cook, waiter, and groundskeeper to support his family. It was during his job as a tennis court supervisor in Richmond that his son was first exposed to tennis, when the court professional, Ron Charity, asked the seven-year-old if he would like to learn the game. While Charity and others helped young Arthur develop the skills that eventually led him to his position of captain of the United States Davis Cup team, it was his father who helped him develop his character.

Robert Clemente’s obsession with baseball started at age five. A ready and inexpensive supply of baseballs was obtained by crumpling magazine pages into round balls. Hen imes got a little better for his father, he would give Roberto an occasional quarter for the bus trip to San Juan to watch the San Juan Senators in the Puerto Rican winter league. Roberto’s mother wanted him to study more and to someday become an engineer, but his father became impressed with Roberto’s baseball skills after watching him hit ten home runs in a seven-hour sandlot game. Melchor offered the compromise that his son play baseball and study later, and he eventually signed a contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers for his seventeen-year-old son.
In 1986, fifteen-year-old Selena was named the Female Vocalist and Performer of the Year at the San Antonio Tejano Music Awards. Driven largely by the phenomenal popularity, sales pf Tejano records increased from two million copies in the early 1980’s to over twenty-four millions a decade later.

Abe was the center oh hi daughter’s career. He managed the band, handled the bookings, ran the sound boards, and in the early years, even drove the bus. Other spin-off enterprises were formed to capitalize on the group’s success. Along with the fame came a more sultry style for the still down-to-earth Selena. While her father despised some of her costumes, Selena felt they were “just costumes.” Then in the midst of all this excitement and fame, a bullet from the gun of Selena’s fan club manager ended it all.

Given the temperature, he already regretted his choice in clothing, but his gear had been picked more for stealth than comfort. Dressed in dark clothes and boots, he would meld into the night. As he crept along an alley, he stuck close to a brick wall, mingling with its shadows. He felt the Glock pressed against the small of his back, tucked into the waistband of his pants with a black T-shirt worn loose over the weapon.

The ______________

I caught the tremendous ________________

and held him beside the boat

half out of water, with my hook

fast in the corner of his mouth.

He didn’t fight.

He hadn’t fought at all.

He hung a grunting weight,

battered and venerable

and homely. Here and there

his brown skin hung in strips

like ancient wallpaper,

and its pattern of darker brown

was like wallpaper:

shapes like full-blown roses

stained and lost through age.
Those Winter Sundays

Sundays too my father got up early

and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,

then with cracked hands that ached

from labor in the weekday weather made

banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

He was always busy, Toshiko’s husband. Even tonight he had to dash off to an appointment, leaving her to go home alone by taxi. But what else could a woman expect when she married an actor-an attractive one? No doubt she had been foolish to hope that he would spend the evening wit her. And yet he must have known how she dreaded going back to their house, unhomely with its Western-style furniture and with the bloodstains still showing on the floor.

Earlier that evening, when she had joined her husband at a night club, she had been shocked to find him entertaining friends with an account of “the incident.” Sitting there in his American-style suit, puffing at a cigarette, he had seemed to her almost a stranger.

Half a Day

I proceeded alongside my father, clutching his right hand, running to keep up with the long strides he was taking. All my clothes were new: the black shoes, the green school uniform, and the red tarboosh. My delight in my new clothes, however, was not altogether unmarred, for this was no feast day but the day on which I was to be cast into school for the first time.

My mother stood at the window watching our progress, and I would turn to her from time to time, as though appealing for help. We walked along a street lined with gardens; on both side were extensive field planted with crops, prickly pears, henna trees, and a few date palms.

“Why school?” I challenged my father openly. “I shall never do anything to annoy you.”

“I’m not punishing you,” he said, laughing. “ School’s not a punishment. It’s the factory that makes useful men out of boys. Don’t you want to be like your fathers and brothers?”

They found him under a big cottonwood tree. His Levi jacket and pants were faded light blue so that he had been easy to find. The big cottonwood tree stood apart from small grove of winterbare cottonwoods which grew in the wide, sandy arroyo. He had been dead for a day or more, and the sheep had wandered and scattered up and down the arroyo. Leon and his brother-in-law, Ken, gathered the sheep and left them in the pen at the sheep camp before they returned to the cottonwood tree. Leon waited under the tree while Ken drove the truck through the deep sand to the edge of the arroyo. He squinted up at the sun and unzipped the jacket-it sure was hot for this time of year. But high and northwest the blue mountains were still in snow. Ken came sliding down the low, crumbling bank about fifty yards down, and he was bringing the red blanket.

Before they wrapped the old man, Leon took a piece of string out of jis pocket and tied a small gray feather in the old man’s long white hair. Ken gave him the paint. Across the brown wrinkled forehead he drew a streak of white and along the high cheekbones he drew a strip of blue paint. He paused and watched Ken throw pinches of corn meal and pollen into the wind that fluttered the small gray feather. Then Leon painted with yellow under the old man’s broad nose, and finally, when he had painted green across the chin, he smiled.

Besides, she wasn’t totally unprepared. She had been reading about delivery; she knew what she would have to do. And she gathered the supplies she would need-scissors, rubbing alcohol, cotton pads, receiving blankets. She had packed everything in an overnight bag, the way some women packed to go to the hospital when the time came. But Novalee knew she wouldn’t be going to the hospital.

Detective Marsh learned that Jennie had gone to community college for a year, studying food management, then dropped out, apparently to get married. She worked for Hair Cuttery for a year and the went to food service, employed by a number of caterers and bakers in Orange County, a quiet worker who would arrive on time, do her job and then leave. She led a solitary life, and deputies could find no acquaintances, no close friends. Her ex-husband hadn’t talked to her in years but said that she deserved whatever happened to her.

“That’s the problem. He tried to open it. But it’s password protected. We’ll have to send it to CBI headquarters in Sacramento to crack, but frankly, that’ll take weeks. It might not be important, but I’d like to find out what’s it all about. I was hoping you’d have somebody in the bureau who could decrypt it faster.”

All the night we were in a great bustle getting things stowed away in their place and boatfuls of the squires’s friends , Mr.Blandly and the like, coming off to wish him a good voyage and a safe return. We never had a night at the Admiral Benbow when I had half the work, and I was so-tired when, a little before dawn , the boatswain sounded his pipe, and the crew began to man the capstanbars. I might have been twice as weary, yet I would not have left the deck, all was so new and interesting to me-the brief commands, the shrill notes of the whistle, the men bustling to their places in the glimmer of the lanterns.

When the nicotine is absorbed into the bloodstream, it travels to the brain, producing a high. The vaccine NicQb creates antibodies the bind to nicotine in the blood. Together, they’re too large to reach the area of the brain stimulated by nicotine. With no pleasure derived from nicotine, cravings are reduced over time. In the study of the vaccine (which may be available in 5 years), 57 percent of those who achieved high levels of antibodies stopped smoking for at least four months.

Several other antismoking vaccines are in the works, and two drugs, rimonabant and varenicline, are also promising. Both work by blocking brain receptors that give us the reward response. Experts say many smokers will still need counseling to break the habit.

External high-resolution ultrasound can provide a low-cost noninvasive alternative to other imaging techniques. It involves no radiation and offers results in 12 minutes.

Tardiff uses external vascular ultrasound on patients who are intermediate risk of heart disease. The tools allow him to track plaque in the major arteries in the body, using a high frequency probe placed on the patient’s neck and groin to view the arteries from outside in. While an angiogram provides only tunnel-like view of blood flows, ultrasound allows doctors to see the thickening of the arterial walls as plaque accumulates within. Because the procedure is noninvasive and safe, it can be repeated regularly to monitor plaque buildup.

Combined with other tests, external vascular ultrasounds can help doctors decide whether to treat a given patient with drug therapy or recommend lifestyle changes only. If ongoing ultrasound screenings show continuing plaque formation, doctors can adjust the risk more aggressively, or even suggest more invasive tests to determine if surgery is necessary. All this would happen early on-years before a possible fatal heart attack.

The downside, says Tardif, is that while external vascular ultrasound gives good readings of more superficial arteries, it cannot look at the coronary arteries, as CT and MRI can. The result: “It would never tell you definitively whether a patient is at extremely high risk of having a heart attack.”

Energy in a Can: Is it Too Good to be True?
Energy drinks are popular new beverages widely available in store claiming to “stimulate” and “energize” you. Unlike other beverages, energy drinks do not have a Nutrition Facts table. Because they contain ingredients like B-vitamins, caffeine, taurine and herbs, they are classified as Natural Health Products in Canada (or “supplements” in the US) and the labels have recommendations and cautions for use. Being “natural”, however, doesn’t always mean “safe”. The long-term safety of energy drinks is unknown.

Most energy drinks contain about 120 calories per 250 ml can from sugar and carry a hefty dose of caffeine (80 mg). This is double the caffeine of a cola beverage, but less than a cup of brewed coffee. This amount is probably not harmful to most adults, but exceeds recommended limits for young children. Many labels state they are not for children, pregnant or breastfeeding women and that all others should not drink more than 500mL in one day. This hasn’t stopped children of all ages from consuming them though, and no laws prevent kids from buying or drinking them. In fact, research has found that some children drink up to five at once, which dishes up 400 mg of caffeine-too much for little bodies.

There are cautions about other ingredients as well. Experts are still unsure if ingredients like taurine are safe to consume in large doses. Herbs like Ginko biloba and ginseng have been known to interact with blood clotting medications. Many labels warn that energy drinks should not be consumed with alcohol . here’s why: a normal response to drinking alcohol is to fall asleep, which helps us stop from overdrinking, But, adding a big caffeine buzz might delay sleep, which could increase the chance of “overdoing it”. Abide by the cautions and don’t mix the two. Be aware of any adverse reactions that you may experience and report them to your health care provider.

Meanwhile, if you need a boost in energy, be sure to get enough rest, eat well, and get plenty of physical activity-it’ll do your body good.

Several days passed before her saw the Falcon again. It was parked on Allegheny, a block and a half from his office. He noticed it as he stood saying goodbye to a client he’d just had lunch with, and he faltered mid-sentence when he caught sight of that distinctive rear end and the rust freckled, crumbled trunk. A CARTER/MONDALE sticker hung in tatters from the bumper. Nobody sat inside, though. He collected himself and turned his attention back to his client.

Late the next Monday afternoon as he was driving home from work he saw the Falcon parked on Greenway, not far from his own street. This time it was occupied. He slowed and peered inside, but the car behind him honked and he was forced to drive on. Anyhow, he had seen enough to reassure him. The driver was a woman, mid-fortyish and non-threatening and almost certainly a stranger, although he couldn’t swear to that in half-light. Besides, she’d turn her face away when she saw him looking in. But that was only natural. Nobody likes to be spied on.

They went to Martick’s and Macaroni, a place down on St. Paul Street that made good soups. The place on St. Paul became their favorite and they always tried to get the same table there, a little round one near the window; and if one of them ordered gizzard soup the other had to order it too because it had so much garlic. They were kissing each other good night now-just tentative, cautious, restrained kisses as of yet-so garlic was an issue.

They went to the movies and held hand; her hand was muscular and solid, no doubt from piano playing. Her hair smelled like butterscotch. At suspenseful moments during movies she had a habit of not breathing, and Michael always found himself not breathing either, in sympathy.

That was what Michael had told himself, and yet daily his resentment against Army life had grown until he lived in a permanent of barely suppressed rage. He raged against the itch of flying insects on the exercise field, and the increasing weight of his weapon as he stood rigid throughout some officer’s interminable speech, and the infuriating hawk and gargle of Connor’s cough. One night, after Pauline had allowed eight days to go by and then sent only a breezy note describing a visiting captain’s “cultured” Boston accent, Michael leapt from his bed shouting “Stop it! Stop it! Stop it!” and clamped a pillow on Connor’s face and held it down with all his might. It took three men to pull him off. Connor sat up, blinking in a dazed and disbelieving way, and Michael sank back on his cot and buried his head in his hands.

After that, the other men shunned him. He hadn’t made any friends in this new camp anyhow, and now the few who’d been minimally polite began to leave a wide space around him. His superiors observed him too closely, and Connor (a loutish sort) made a point of harassing him every chance he got-“accidentally” upsetting Michael’s coffee mug or jostling him out of formation. Then they took a hike through scrub and Connor’s rifle went off and shattered Michael’s left hip. Nobody even pretended it might have been a mistake. The only mistake, Michael knew, was that he’d been wounded rather than killed. But he was not so naive as to press charges.

And besides, the joke was on Connor, in the end. Michael got to go home.

Midnight. It’s now Tuesday, April 29. After hours of debating the issue with myself, I decided to take a sip of my urine. I still have nearly a half-cup of fresh water left, but I want to find out what the urine tastes like and whether I’ll be able to stomach it. With the CamelBack bite valve reattached to the tubing at the stub where I cit off the hose during my first attempt to fabricate a tourniquet, I suck two tablespoons of urine into my mouth and swallow it immediately. The night air chilled it substantially from its initial 98 degree temperature, to maybe 60 degrees. The sharp saltiness is repugnantly tangy and bitter. My face wrinkles into a knot. Surprisingly, it’s not as horrible as it could be-I don’t gag or puke.
Some people liked to make fun of Battle Mountain. A big newspaper out east once held a contest to find the ugliest, most forlorn, most godforsaken town in the whole country, and it declared Battle Mountain the winner. The people who lived there didn’t hold it in much regard, either. They’d point to the big yellow-and-red sign way up on the pole at the Shell station-the one with the burned-out S-and say with a sort of perverse pride, “Yep, that’s where we live: hell!”

But I was happy in Battle Mountain. We’d been there for nearly a year, and I considered it home-the first real home I could remember. Dad was on the verge of perfecting his cyanide gold process, Brian and I had the desert, Lori and Mom painted and read together, and Maureen, who had silky white-blond hair and a whole gang of imaginary friends, was happy running around with no diaper on. I thought our days of packing up and driving off in the middle of the night were over.

The men were in full wing, busy filling silos. Vegetable gardens were slowly emptying out and the corn was turning fast. “Buddies Day” came round perty often, when cookie baking frolics and canning bees were plentiful, well attended by the younger women, especially. Sadie didn’t mind so much making chowchow. Actually, she preferred cooking and canning bees over quilting, maybe because she sensed such scrutiny the past few times she’d been. She was glad Leah had gone in her stead recently to Anna Mast’s quilting. Not that she was happy to be under the weather, no. Just hadn’t felt like putting up with raised eyebrows and the unspoken questions that were surely being thought as she sat and stitched amidst a dozen or more women in fairly close proximity.

It was a two-room hovel. The larger room, dominated by an oven, was the bakery, and the other, separated by a flimsy curtain, was his bedroom. The bottom of the oven was covered with smooth pebbles. He was explaining to me how the bread baked on these heated pebbles when the nasal call of the muezzin wafted through the air from the mosque. I knew it was a call to prayer, but I didn’t know what it entailed. I imagined it beckoned the Muslim faithful to the mosque, much like bells summoned us Christians to church. Not so. The baker interrupted himself mid-sentence and said. “Excuse me.” He ducked into the next room for a minute and returned with a rolled-up carpet, which he unfurled on the floor of his bakery, throwing up a small storm of flour. And right there before me, in the midst of his workplace, he prayed. It was incongruous, but it was I who felt out of place. Luckily, he prayed with his eyes closed.
Getting animals used to the presence of humans is at the heart of the art and science of zookeeping. The key aim is to diminish the animal’s fight distance, which is the minimum distance at which an animal wants to keep a perceived enemy. A flamingo in the wild won’t mind you if you stay more than three hundred yards away. Cross that limit and it becomes tense. Get even closer and you trigger a flight reaction from which the bird will not cease until the three-hundred-yard limit is set again, or until heart and lungs fail. Different animals have different flight distances and they gauge them in different ways. Cats look, deer listen, bears smell. Giraffes will allow you to come within thirty yards if you are in a motor car, but will run if you are 150 yards away on foot. Fiddler crabs scurry when you’re ten yards away; howler monkeys stir in their branches when you’re at twenty; African buffaloes react at seventy-five.

The next day I started feeling a stinging in my eyes. I rubbed and rubbed, but the itch wouldn’t go away. The very opposite: it got worse, and unlike Richard Parker, my eyes started to ooze pus. Then darkness came, blink as I might. At first it was right in front of me, a black spot at the center of everything. It spread into a blotch that reached the to the edges of my vision. All I saw of the sun the next morning was a crack of light at the top of my left eye, like a small window too high up. By noon, everything was pitch-black.

I clung to life. I was weakly frantic. The heat was infernal. I had so little strength I could no longer stand. My lips were hard and cracked. My mouth was dry and pasty, coated with glutinous saliva as foul to taste as it was to smell. My skin was burnt. My shriveled muscles ached. My limbs, especially my feet, were swollen and a constant source of pain. I was hungry and once again there was no food. As for water, Richard Parker t was taking so much that I was down to five spoonfuls a day. But his physical suffering was nothing compared to the moral torture I was about to endure. I would rate the day I went blind as the day my extreme suffering began.

Dub’s sister, Sylvia, was a freshman at Rice, but she was often home. Sylvia had a dorm room-Rice requires its freshman to live on Campus-but her potluck roommate, flush with the freedom of college life and only recently paroled from a fundamentalist upbringing, like towing home the occasional stray men. When she did, Sylvia returned to Clear Lake to sleep. She returned this evening to find Dub and me in some sort of late-round Twister lock, smooching in front of MTV.

“Great.” Sylvia said, startling us by plunking her purse down on the coffee table. “I leave my roommate and her “boyfriend” only to find my sister auditioning for work as a contortionist.”

One particular classmate stays in my memory. To some extent Tim Hartnett and I were competitors: we both had the potential to be excellent students, but the other Tim, as our teachers like to put it, had a more difficult time controlling his behavior. A good-looking boy with dark, curly hair, blue eyes, and tight clothing, was always getting in trouble by making wisecracks, shooting spitballs, or coming to school late, although he lived just a few feet from the building. Often, one of the teachers would send somebody over to wake him up. Tim was bright, bold and fearless: the other kids liked him, and although he sometimes made life difficult for the nuns, they seemed to have a grudging respect for both his intelligence and his independence.

In December of eighth grade, our class used to walk as a group from the school building to the church next door, where we were rehearsing our Christmas pageant. One morning we were lined up in the parking lot between the two buildings when a few of us started throwing snowballs. From behind her veil, Sister Lucille noticed a snowball flying through the air, and ordered us to stand still.

“Who threw that snowball?” she asked.

Nobody said a word.

Sister Lucille just stood there and looked at us, waiting for the guilty party to step forward and confess.

We didn’t have our coats on, and we were starting to feel the cold. Finally, Tim turned to me and muttered, “This is crazy.” Then he spoke up and said, “Sister, I threw it.”

Several kids protested and said, “No you didn’t,” but Sister either didn’t hear them or chose not to. “Alright, Tim, come with me,” she said. “Everybody else go inside.”

Tim was punished in the usual way: he had to wash the blackboard and clap the chalk dust out of the erasers. Later that day, I went to Sister and said, “Tim took the rap, but a lot of us were throwing snowballs.”

“Then why didn’t you come forward?”

It was a good question, and I gave her an honest answer: “Frankly, Sister, I wasn’t sure which snowball you saw.”

She laughed, and I did, too.

Like every other boy I knew, I couldn’t wait to turn sixteen and get my driver’s license. Dad and I both assumed that he would teach me how to drive, but although he was an experienced and professional driver, it soon became clear that possessing a certain skill doesn’t necessarily mean that you can pass it along to someone else. Big Russ didn’t have the patience to teach me the mechanics of driving, which I had realized a couple of years earlier when he took my older sister out for a lesson. As I watched from the backseat, Betty Ann drove into a traffic circle, and with Dad sitting nervously beside her, she must have gone around it a dozen times because she hadn’t learned how to ease back into traffic. I found the whole thing hilarious, but dad failed to see the humor. When we returned home, his face was beet red. “No more!” he announced to nobody in particular. “No more!”

Although I took driver’s ed classes at Canisius, I learned some important lessons from Big Russ as well. To him, driving involved a lot more than knowing how to operate a vehicle. Before I set out, he wanted me to tell him not only where I was going, but exactly how I intended to get there. When we went out driving together, half the lesson was a combination of geography test and contingency planning. How do you get downtown? Turn north on Seneca and get off at Church. And if there is an accident? You can also get off t Smith. And if the thruway is backed up? In that case….

It wasn’t until 1980, when I turned thirty, that I really began to understand how Dad’s generation had affected the course of history. I was working in Washington when I was offered a fellowship to visit Europe for five weeks. I wasn’t sure I could spare the time, but my boss encouraged me and finally insisted that I go. I had never been overseas, and except for Dad during the war and my ancestors who were born there, nobody in my family had ever been to Europe. When I arrived in Germany, I decided to visit Dachau, the sight of the notorious concentration camp, which is not far from Munich. As much as I had learned about World war 11, and about the Holocaust, nothing prepared me for what I felt at Dachau. The remnants of the camp were still there, including the barracks, the gas chambers, and the ovens where the bodies were burned.

Suddenly, another visitor, a short, older man, came running up to me. He threw himself at me knees, grabbed my ankles, and started sobbing. The he stood up and started talking to me in Polish, of which I understood not a word, except for “American,” over and over again. I nodded yes.

Then woman came over and began to translate. This man was a Jew who had been a prisoner at Dachau when it was liberated by the Americans. He had come back to visit for the first time in thirty-five years, and when he saw me, looking like an American, he was overcome with grief and gratitude. Over and over he kept saying, Thank you, America. Thank you, America.” He was crying, I was crying, and so were the other tourists who had gathered around us. He led me to a marker where one of the buildings had been, and he motioned for me to take his picture there.
After Rory was disabled, I often went in the carriage with a mare named Peggy, who stood in the stall next to mine. She was a strong, well-made animal, of a bright dun color, beautifully dappled, and with a dark-brown mane and tail. There was no high breeding about her, but she was very pretty and remarkably sweet-tempered and willing. Still, there was an anxious look about her eye, by which I knew that she had some trouble. The first time we went out together I thought she had an odd pace; she seemed to go partly in a trot, partly in canter –three or four paces, and then to make a little jump forward.

At last, just as the sun went down, I saw the old master come out with a sieve in his hand. He was a very fine old gentleman with quite white hair, but his voice was what I should know him among a thousand. It was not high, nor yet low, but full, and clear, and kind, and when he gave orders it was so steady and decided that everyone knew, both horses and men, that he expected to be obeyed. He came quietly along, now and then shaking the oats about that he had in the sieve, and speaking cheerfully and gently to me, ‘Come along, lassie, come along, lassie, come along, come along.’ I stood still and let him come up; he held the oats to me and I began to eat without fear; his voice took all my fear away. He stood by, patting and stroking me while I was eating, and seeing the clots of blood on my side he seemed very vexed.

Call me Ishmael. Some years ago-never mind how long ago precisely-having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim in the moth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially when my hypos get such an upper hand on me that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately knocking people’s hats off-then, I account it high time to get to the sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball.

One day I stole some jewelry for my grandmother to meet payroll. She had come over ot our house, realized she forgoit something, and asked uf I could go back to her house and get it for her. While I was thers, I went into her jewelry box and took some jewelry. I got $300 for it at a hocking place and deposited the money into my account to cover payroll that week. My grandmother knew it was me. At first I denied it. But she had seen the jewelry before she left. She was contemplating wearing it. When she got back, it was gone. The only person who had been in her apartment was me. Still, I denied it.

Later, though, I confessed, paid her back the money that she had said it was worth, and apologized to her. I felt terrible because my grandmother had helped me financially with the business.

While my grandmother forgave me, the whole incident showed how far I had fallen. What had been unthinkable when I first started the business was now standard procedure.

Compromise is subtle. It creeps up on you, and then when consequences don’t immediately follow your actions, you compromise more. What starts out as lying on your tax return ends up with lying on multi-million dollar loans. That is the pattern. Compromise slowly leads to destruction.

The disaster struck. Disaster has lots of faces, but this time it appeared in the form of Beaver Bruckman. Beaver was one of those kids who’d probably been in the eighth grade since the school was built. And since the junior high wing was like his permanent home, he probably figured he has seniority rights over the smaller, scrawnier kids who were merely passing through. Half the kids who experienced a growth spurt in last year’s eighth grade class thought it was because Beaver had picked them up so many times by the head.

The only class Beaver was good at was gym. In fact, in gym he was the undisputed king. But you had to watch out for him. By fourth period gym class every day, Beaver had stubble on his chin, and the friction of exercising with stubble might have made him irritable or something. In touch football, Beaver’s touch was more like a full-body slam. Kids were so scared of him, he could block by giving a dirty look. And if you were lucky enough to make it through the game in one piece, you still had to make it through the shower. Beaver was the kind of kid who got his jollies by reaching over and turning your faucet to scalding, and he’d actually get mad if you didn’t stand under it and burn. Then came towel snapping. Beaver would always dampen the towel to improve their action, and he could make them crack like a whip. One guess what his favorite target was. Beaver was one guy you had to turn your back on. And he was persistent too. Last Friday he snapped at me so much, I felt like I had been blow dried.

We knew we had to call somebody about the body, but we weren’t sure who. Lymie said, the rescue squad, but I told him that guy was way beyond being rescued. And Lymie said to forget about the village police because the quarry was out of their jurisdiction, and they wouldn’t care. So it was a toss-up between the sheriff and the troopers. Lymie knew the sheriff’s son and had even been to his house a few times. According to him, the sheriff was a pretty decent guy.

Neither of us wanted to make the call. Lymie claimed the sheriff might recognize his voice, so I was elected. I was still shivering something wicked even though I had thrown on dry pants and two sweatshirts, and I was wrapped in this electric blanket my father’s aunt had given me because she said New York’d be cold. I had it cranked up all the way. My breathing still hadn’t settled down to the point where talking was that easy.

“I’m not trying to be perfect, Mrs. Saunders. I just want to be normal. You know, like everybody else.”

“Oh, Tyler, can’s you see there’s a million ways to be normal? Christopher was normal in his way, and you’re normal in yours. And you’re both special. All I’m trying to say in my own clumsy way is that you should never think of yourself as a bother or a burden to any of us. You bring a lot of joy to us, Tyler, just the way you are. Your mother knows it, and your brother, and, as tough as your father was on you, I hope you realize you were something special to him too.”

Lance Armstrong and other elite riders completing in strenuous events such as the three-week Tour de France requires 7,000 calories a day to stay at the top of their game. Ensuring that they eat enough is a job for a small army of support people.

A breakfast for Tour de France riders features pasta and protein, such as risotto and chicken breast. A little protein helps break down carbohydrates and replenish and maintain carbohydrate storage. The pasta is cooked al dente, or just enough to be firm, with extra-virgin olive oil. Riders sometimes add an egg over their pasta or a side omelette with chicken or lean steak-no cheese or ham. Breakfast also typically includes toast, fresh juice, fresh fruit, and coffee.

Lunch is prepared in advance by the team soigneur for riders to carry in the rear paockets of their jerseys to eat on the road. A pro team such as Lance’s has a head soigneur and three assistant soigneurs. They prepare meals early in the morning of the day’s stage and then drive out to the designated feed zone. During each of 4 to 6 hours, riders also are served meals in musette bags. These are light cloth bags with long straps, which they pick up in designated feed zones on the course.

When the peloton sweeps through, the soigneurs stand to the side of the road in their team outfits so their riders can spot the. Cyclists ride past, hold out an arm, and the soigneur loops the long strap over the cyclist’s arm. That’s lunch to go. Riders then transfer the contents of the bags to their rear jersey pockets and fold up the light cloth bags to put in there as well.

Riders eat small sandwiches that typically contain honey and chopped bananas or smoked turkey with a little cream cheese and honey. They also munch energy bars. Then, of course, there’s fresh fruit, such as bananas and peeled apples. (The peels can cause upset stomachs from the high fiber content.)

When the day’s ride is over, cyclists replenish carbohydrates right away. Within a half hour of crossing the finish line, they eat baked or boiled potatoes, pasta, rice, or cereal such as muesli.

In the evening, they eat a bigger meal. Dinner typically consists of meat-beef or poultry trimmed of fat-or fish, to provide essential iron and amino acids. Dinner includes a lot of pasta, sometimes with roast potatoes, olive oil, fresh rosemary and garlic.

Despite eating 7,000 calories daily, Tour riders lose weight and muscle mass, especially from their upper bodies.

Would You Like a Liger?

      Biologists have found that about 10 percent of animal species may sometimes breed with other species. This means that two animals of different species can produce offspring. Scientists have discovered more of these animals in the last 25 years. One example of a hybrid animal is the mule, which is a cross between a donkey and a horse.

      It is more difficult for hybrid species to survive in the wild, however. Occasionally, species that are too different genetically might mate in nature. Many babies that come from the different species are unable to reproduce. This means that the hybrid species cannot grow in number. Zorses, which are a hybrid of a horse and a zebra, and mules, are two examples of species that cannot reproduce. Another problem that hybrid species have is that they face competition from the members of their parent species.
      There are also positive things about producing hybrid species in the wild. Hybrids may develop adaptations to conditions that neither of their parents was able to live in. This could happen because of new gene combinations being produced in hybrids. Scientists have studied the adaptation of hybrid species using sunflower and honeysuckle plants.
      Two common species of sunflower are the common sunflower and the prairie sunflower, and both species only grow in moist soil. Their hybrids can grow in desert climates and salt marshes, however. When parent sunflowers were planted in the desert, they failed to survive. Results of the studies done with plants are comparable to similar things that have happened in animals. The studies of animal and plant hybrids could help us discover how humans have adapted.

      Chinchillas are small rodents that are native to the Andes Mountains of South America. They are named after the Chincha people, who once made garments from the small animals' fur. Today, chinchillas are often bred in the United States and sold as pets.

     In the wild, chinchillas eat fruits, seeds, plants, and small bugs, but domestic chinchillas are unable to digest these things. Chinchillas bred as pets eat hay and are kept in cages much like mice. Chinchillas also need lots of exercise in their habitat, and they need small chew toys to keep their teeth short.
     Chinchillas have also been used in research of the auditory, or hearing, system. Chinchillas are used as models for this research because their hearing ability is similar to that of humans. Scientists have studied chinchillas to learn how the cochlea, a structure in the inner ear, functions.

Dear Mr. Richardson,

     As you know, I have been a longtime customer of Richardson's Hardware. I have always valued the service that I received from your store and have always given my business to Richardson's Hardware instead of the large chain stores nearby. However, I have been shocked and disappointed by the service I have received lately.
     First of all, there are barely any sales associates on site. One day, I had several questions to ask about various products but could not ask a single one because it was impossible to keep anyone's attention for more than a minute. As a result, I decided to hold off purchasing some items because I could not get the information I needed.
     In addition, there was only one cashier working the register last Saturday. Having one cashier, of course, is unacceptable on the weekends when your store is busiest. It took me nearly 30 minutes to make it to the front of the line. When I finally got there, the credit card machine was not working properly, and I was forced to pay cash. The cashier did not even apologize for the inconvenience.

     Richardson's Hardware has been in our community for over 50 years. It has always been known for quality merchandise and excellent service. Therefore, I know you will see to these matters and make whatever improvements are necessary.


Gillian Kwon
Dear Editor,

     As a lifelong resident of Fremont, I have been reading The Fremont Messenger my entire adult life. I always remember it being on my parents’ kitchen table while I was growing up and how my mother and father relied on it for valuable information about our town. Sadly, your paper has strayed from the respectable editorial policies on which it was built.

     For one thing, your political articles are no longer objective; they clearly and consistently favor one candidate over the other. Regarding our upcoming election for mayor, The Fremont Messenger always runs articles praising the actions of Miguel Suarez, but very few pieces are published about the good work done by Cynthia Bradshaw. At the same time, your paper tends to skip over Suarez’s many flaws, such as his inability to show up for critical town planning meetings; of course, you never forget to mention the three times Bradshaw voted to raise taxes.
     In addition, your paper is extremely one-sided when it comes to school-related matters. It repeatedly criticizes the Fremont school district for so-called “unnecessary spending.” Unfortunately, your paper’s stance is that all money spent on our schools is unnecessary, regardless of how the money is put to use. In the past year, I have not seen one article that spoke favorably on the good work done by Freemont schools.
     Papers should report the news, not judge it. That was the policy when The Fremont Messenger began publishing in this town, and that is the policy it should return to today.


Tara McMorrow
When Juliette Gordon Low was born in 1860 in Savannah, Georgia, her parents could not have known that she would grow up to change the lives of so many girls. In 1912, Juliette founded what would become the world’s largest educational organization for girls, the Girl Scouts of the USA.

     Although not all girls were well educated in the 1800s, Juliette was fortunate to attend a boarding school in Virginia and later a finishing school in New York City. With her education complete, Juliette had the opportunity to travel around the United States and Europe.

     In 1886, Juliette married a wealthy British man named William Low. They moved to England, and she continued to travel. However, during the Spanish-American War, Juliette felt the need to help the war effort. She came home to the United States, and she and her mother started a hospital for wounded soldiers. When the war ended, Juliette returned to England. Unfortunately, her marriage failed, and the couple separated. William died in 1905.
     For many years, Juliette looked to put her life to good use as she had during the war. In 1911, she discovered her calling. She met a man named Sir Robert Baden-Powell. Robert had founded two youth organizations, the Boy Scouts and the Girl Guides. Juliette became very interested in Robert’s efforts and decided to make this youth movement her life’s work.
     Several months after meeting Robert, Juliette returned to the United States, phoned one of her cousins, and stated, “I’ve got something for the girls of Savannah, and all of America, and all the world, and we’re going to start it tonight!” On March 12, 1912, Juliette formed the first troop of Girl Scouts (then called the American Girl Guides). It had only 18 members, including Juliette’s own niece. By 1920, the organization had almost 70,000 scouts all over the country (including Hawaii, which was not even a state yet). Ten years later, there were 200,000 scouts.

     Although Juliette came from a certain amount of privilege, she dedicated her organization to girls of all economic levels. As the Girl Scout movement grew, Juliette made it a point to bring together girls from various backgrounds, hoping to provide them with an overabundance of opportunities they might not otherwise receive. She used outdoor field trips to help the girls become resourceful and independent. Believing that girls should be geared for more than jobs as wives and mothers, she sought to help her scouts develop their potential in business, science, and the arts. Juliette also encouraged girls with disabilities, which was quite unusual at a time in history when many disabled people were not expected to participate in certain activities.

     Juliette Gordon Low died in 1927, but she left a legacy. Since the Girl Scouts’ inception, its members have made a lasting impact on the world. They have planted victory gardens, aided victims of war, promoted nutrition, worked to prevent violence, and helped children in Afghanistan, to name just a few accomplishments. Today, there are 3.7 million Girl Scouts, still working toward Juliette’s goal of bettering themselves and the world.

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