Too long for Twitter, too short for their own entries:
I’m reading about the cost of living in Tokyo and I make some strangled “omigod” kind of noise. Jak inquires, and I read him the bit about “$15 for a watermelon and $25 for a mango”.
Jak yelps, “$25 for a MANGO?!? We need to sell to Japan but live here! It would be the same as outsourcing to India or China, but in reverse.”
I start laughing, and he continues, as though he’s just solved all our problems in one stroke: “That’s it, we should write in Japanese!” A beat, then mock-crestfallen, “… oh wait.”
We look at each other for half a second, and then in unison cry “Michaela!” (The teenlet chose Japanese for her foreign language and is two years into a four-year program.)
While I continue to crack up, Jak elaborates, “Michaela could go to Japan and we could write it off as a business expense!” (This in reference to the class trip next summer for which she needs $2K.)
I roll my eyes, still chortling, and he grins at me. “I’m so glad you laughed. I like it when you laugh.”
I was up most of Tuesday night, prevented from sleep by one of my various medical conditions. In the early morning, shortly before falling into bed for a nap, I read about Google’s plans for a new operating system and, like half the Internet, mentioned it on Twitter. (Sorry, I can’t bring myself to use ‘tweet’ as a verb. I just can’t.)
When I awoke about three hours later, I had been dreaming that about mid-afternoon I realized that today was April 1, and I suddenly feared that the whole announcement was one of Google’s elaborate jokes. I pulled up Twitter and searched for any mention of Google in conjunction with April Fool’s, but got nothing. I couldn’t imagine that I was the first person to figure this out, but the date hardly seemed like a coincidence. I posted a note to the effect that I hoped it wasn’t just a gag …
A couple of minutes passed, and then my Twitter page refreshed, changing colors and layout. I had been pulled into a sort of parallel Twitter, where people who’d copped to the joke were chatting, sequestered from those who hadn’t, so as not to give anything away.
As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t read a lot of fiction these days because I’ve gotten so damned hard to please. This is doubly true for short fiction, for some reason. So when I hit a rare, rare exception, it’s worth mentioning.
I recently did some freelance editing and layout on an iPhone version of the anthology Seeds of Change, which meant that I ended up reading the whole thing. The first story in that book — “N-words” by Ted Kosmatka — really impressed me. Besides the original anthology, it looks like “N-words” will also appear in both the Dozois and the Hartwell Year’s Best collections for 2009, so I guess I wasn’t alone.
I’ve been reading Philip Brewer’s personal finance posts for over a year now while failing to notice that he’s also a Clarion graduate and skiffy author. His short story “An Education of Scars” is available online and free to read. It’s worth the time, and then some.