ElsaCosta (joined almost 14 years ago)

im sometimes a human


We almost died on the way to Guayaquil. I think we would have been more worried if there hadn't been a near-accident. Back in San Juan, we showed off our dismissive gazes and new fedoras to anyone who condescended to notice. We are the hip. We are the elite. Our Che shirts are the only ironic Che shirts south of Belize. We are sexy Ecuadorean hipsters. Fear us.

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I was an optimist. I thought that I, like Hemingway, could weave my influence between countries, live in the welcoming limbo between a government I believed in and one that spoke my language. I stopped trying to return to the United States thirty years ago. I am an airplane steward now. Sometimes I write in imperfect Spanish for a newspaper named after a boat named after a nameless elderly woman half a century dead. I believe every word I write. I am happy.

But the days I spent in the narrow land come back to me every day. They knew...

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Not everyone knows this, but Kate Beaton is obsessive, the painterly equivalent of a Method actor. To create each new page of "Hark, a vagrant!" she recruits Swiss artists' models to dress in period clothing and pose in front of the Alps. Frozen in position as well as in time, they are required to make only the most ridiculous of faces for her art to take fruition. Eyes are stressed. At least half of the models have held a spot in Guiness for eye-bugging capability.

Once their minds are relaxed after a sufficient period of standing still, they are required...

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The old folks filed away from Gregoire slowly, creeping off to investigate a small marble statue of Psyche being ravished by Cupid. The chandelier hung precariously over them, and Gregoire wondered how many shots from his 19th-century pistol would send it crashing down on their aged heads.

But would Bonaparte commit such a gauche act? Gregoire thought not. Even in exile, surrounded by mad old women, he still had his dignity. He held his head high, hoping that the extra height of his admiral's hat would exceed that of the straw bonnets behind him. He would win this psychological battle....

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