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Wildly Interesting Books

  • Adam's Task by Vicki Hearne
  • Anything by Colin Cotterill
  • Auguries of Innocence by Patti Smith
  • Big Box Swindle by Stacy Mitchell
  • Darwin: A Life in Poems by Ruth Padel
  • Gehry Draws
  • Human Smoke by Nicholson Baker
  • Out of Our Heads by Ava Noe
  • Stylepedia: A Guide to Graphic Design, Mannerisms, Quirks and Conceits
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larrson
  • The God of Small Things by Arundahti Roy
  • The Long Fall by Walter Mosely
  • The Martin Beck Series by Maj Sjowall and Per Waloo
  • The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
  • The Wrecking Crew by Thomas Frank
  • Vermeeer in Bosnia by Lawrence Weschler

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Our Man in Panama Begins to Devolve

Posted by Jim Calandrillo, now back in Panama by way of Mumbia

Hello, my fellow American. And, how are you on this fine, fine morning? I, myself, could not catch an ounce of shuteye, and decided to come here to the Canal banks to see if a fellow countryman might also be having trouble navigating the Land of Nod. And here you are! Fine, fine morning, I must say. When you can't smell the Canal, it means the winds are calm, and you'll be able to walk along ths shores without a mask or having to turn back to whatever direction you came from.Now that was mighty nice of you to offer me a cigar. It sure smells genuine Cuban, but my doctor has forbidden such extravagances because of my sinus condition. What? Did you lose something in the grass down there? Well, never mind the sinuses, let me just help you up to your feet. You're soaking wet from the dew. You'll never find your little dog anyway in this thick fog. Bet they never warned you of the thick layer of dew that develops on these fine, fine mornings, now did they? Way I see it, when you step on her, she'll yap, and there, you'll have found her! What's her name? Hugo? Well, she won't be able to hear you in the thick air, so be careful where you step. She'll show up somewhere along the banks here. All bodies do.I see you're wearing a "Find Baby Sophie" ribbon. Damn shame about that one. Nice job they did shaping the ribbon to look like one of them Macy's balloons.Well, aren't you nice. But, once again, I'll have to pass on that whiskey flask. Jameson's did you say? Mighty fine. No, I'm taking so many pills the doctor gave me that I can't drink sip of anything but well water. What's that? A Vicadin. You sure pack 'em strong. And I guess you don't care about what damage you might be doing to your liver?Hell, you're right on that one. You only go 'round once, unless you're a Canal repeater? Really! First time! Well, I'll be zoned! You could of fooled me. Headed where? Venezuela is a nice place this time of year. I'll give you that. Only stay away from that Guantanamo. Bad place, full of crazy Iraqis, like they never heard the Monroe Doctrine in school! Shame on them once for landing, and shame on them twice for squatting, but I'll be damned if they'll catch any of us not looking next time.Say, you seem like a nice sort of woman. What's a nice sort of woman like you doing in these parts of the Canal zone? You don't say. I thought Ballanchine had given up the search for your friend decades ago. She sure was somethin' the way she tu tu'd around, wasn't she? You reckon she's still alive and dancin' at her age? Oh just forty-two. Thought she'd be much older than that by now.Well, you have a nice stroll. You hear. Mind that dip in the Canal up about a hundred feet or so, where you're headed. Last time I heard, there was a gang o' no-gooders collecting people for another Muriel boat lift, or is it arial boat lift?No, I know you're not Cuban, my fellow American. But, you can't be too careful of who you might be mistook for. Just last year this bunch of maniacs thought I was some Serbian related to that long-dead archduke Ferdinand that went and started that big, world war, the second or third one, I think. And don't let anyone call you an ugly American! Geez, that fumes my timbers. You're about the prettiest thing I've seen along these banks in years, but you start talking to these know-nothings and first thing you know they're calling you an ugly American or queer, or something like that.Now, there goes my sinuses all plugged up again. Hey, you be careful on all fours down there. I was once mistook for an alligator. You don't want that nip and tuck. Just a joke. This gal, Joan Rivers told it to me. Yeah, the one who can't move her face any more. Damn shame. You mind your wet snout in the grass there. And when you head back this way, I'll fill you in on my latest condition.

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