It is said that, of five hundred and fifty-five ways to cook a lobster, only two hundred and twenty-five are still known in the city. Older chefs lament the days of their great-grandparents, when more ways were remembered. No one knows why this loss took place.
Once upon a time—we might as well put it that way, why not?—you are bathing, innocently enough, in the bend of the river closest to your home, when bobbing along with the current, out of apparent nowhere, comes the smoothest, ripest, most glowingly golden mango anyone has ever seen.
Jim was spraying black paint on the last of the windows when he saw the cat emerge from the hedge of arbor vitae at the back of the yard—an unusual tortoiseshell cat with a wild mix of reds, blacks, and browns in its fur. All the confusing colors distracted for a moment from the fact that the cat’s head was missing.
Since the night she died, she’s been called beautiful five thousand, two hundred and seven times by five thousand, two hundred and seven different tenientes. Each one has his own, peculiar stiffness as he clings to her, as his veneer of restraint chars and peels back like pages in a burning book.
They shared an apartment where William knew the landlord, where nobody asked questions. Leo learned to ignore the strange bumps and creases of his neighbors’ clothes. He was safe among the modified; their crimes, their sins, were so much greater than his own. And in that safety he could forget, as long as possible, what lay ahead.
Since the season of the stinging rains struck only every three or four years, plans to enlarge and improve the below-ground nests always wriggled to the back of people’s minds as soon as the sun returned and the stink of burning faded from the air.
Sightseers come to Dragon’s Beach, but they don’t stay long. The rough glass of the beach is too dangerous to walk on, the earth crumbles horribly beneath your feet, and besides, there isn’t anything to see. Just a weird rock formation and some holes in the ground.
I was eleven years old when I realized that my mother was a ghost. I can remember the exact moment of this realization, but I wish I could better explain how it came about. It was like I had all these broken pieces of the truth, like shards of a white bowl, and in one moment, the pieces flew together, reforming the bowl, like the instant of its shattering running in reverse.
They told me they’d found her at the bottom of a cliff in the mountains, not even bruised. They looked, but they couldn’t find where she’d come from. And then they couldn’t find anybody to foster care her. I felt sad just as I do for all the creatures in my care. I took her in right away.
It was Jeffrey who had wanted to go to the bookstore after school. Jeffrey, Emily had discovered after he moved in with them, read constantly. He read in the morning while he ate his cereal. He read whenever he finished an assignment before everyone else in class, which was pretty much all the time.