Friday, November 6, 2009

NaNoWriMo, 2650-3266

On their first date they went to the Lisbon Zoo. They fed hot dogs to the rhinoceroses even though they were explicitly told not to. One of the zookeepers saw them doing it but said nothing, distracted by thoughts of her girlhood in Lucerne. She—her name was Helena—grew up among a large extended family of zookeepers and zoo enthusiasts. Some of them worked in factories and mines to support their zoo-related activities. Others worked in those same mines and factories just to support their daily existence. Still others were very lazy and only worked when forced to by the more energetic members of the family. Helena's favorite sibling, Josef, was maimed at age 21 when he ran with the bulls in Pamplona. A bull gored his leg and it had to be amputated. Now Josef had a prosthetic leg and was preparing to try out for the Swiss Olympic track team. His specialty was the steeplechase. The bull that had gored him was slaughtered and eaten by a family of Spaniards. They did the eating and the slaughtering, all in the same day. It was sunny, Maria remembered, that day her family slaughtered the bull. She arrived home from school (she was in the Spanish equivalent of fourth grade) to find a dead bull in her driveway. Her uncle and two of her aunts were busy slaughtering, slaughtering away. Across the street a neighbor peered out from behind elegant curtains. They, the curtains, had been imported from Turkey, where much debate was occurring on whether Turkey should petition to enter the European Union. Some people thought it was a good idea, while others thought it was a bad idea. Turkey is an interesting country because of how it's situated between the "Western" and "Eastern" worlds, both geographically and sociologically. Maria went inside to her room and shut the door. She put on her headphones and pressed "play" on her stereo. Before school she had been listening to Ace of Base, and the CD was still in the player. She listened to Ace of Base for a while, then took out the CD and put in a No Doubt CD. She listened to the first song, the second song, and part of the third song, then turned off the CD player, took off her headphones, and called her friend Josephine, who lived in Arkansas. It was almost lunchtime in Arkansas, and Josephine was fittingly about to eat lunch. Because Josephine was at school, Maria's call was picked up by Josephine's family's answering machine at home. Josephine was thinking about getting a hot lunch today instead of salad bar. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday were "tortilla days" at the salad bar—days on which tortillas were available for consumption—but today was Tuesday, so there was no reason to get a salad. Some boys she knew would get a salad every day, regardless of tortilla availability, but they did this partly to be "ironic", she believed, and she didn't want to be like that. She wanted to be like her friend Patrice, who was never ironic, and who only ate hot lunches or sack lunches. Patrice's grandfather was a pioneer in the field of cryptozoology. He owned a Cadillac that he had bought used from a man named Stephen Gnoshe. Before Gnoshe, the car had belonged to Spencer Tracy. He never drove it, but it was his. A lot of movie stars didn't drive their own cars in those days. One major example was Humphrey Bogart. He owned at least four cars and never drove any of them. Two of them were black, one was blue, and one was white. The white one was the most expensive. It was a Rolls Royce.

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