“Measuring the Marigolds”
“As Savannah twisted around, she saw them. Just over her head, Dr. Marjane Satrapi floated in her polymer blanket, strapped to the bulkhead. She looked like she was just sleeping, her mouth slightly open and the deep lines along her cheeks relaxed. But her brown eyes were wide open, a million-yard stare like nothing Savannah had ever seen.
It gave her the shivers. She didn’t even bother looking at Captain Gongsun.”
“Harrison’s boots had been assembled by Chinese out of the hides of good Texan cattle and rubber from Brazilian trees. They, and the white man in them, were the first traces of the global economy to track into this forgotten corner of southeast Asia.”
“Russell and Maggie”
“They came home from the movies rather late, Russell Lake and Maggie Crowe. They’d dawdled in the lobby speaking in a language that was quite definitely English but which was at the same very personally their own. They’d grown up together, thin little boy and exploding redhead, and they’d stopped off, not for coffee, but for the sheer childish, selfish pleasure of ice cream.”
“Mary opened the door and craned her head around the door of her daughter’s bedroom. Iris had the radio on full blast, and rocked her head in time to the thunderous roar of the beat. At the same time, her hand moved furiously over a sheaf of paper. Occasionally she would pause, suck her pen, and then begin writing again.
Mary stared at her with moist, frightened eyes.
It’s all my fault, she thought. I read to her when she was little.”
“gojoe: u believe the news from SLO? y the fuck r bums burning down my bank? WhoIsJaneGalt: b/c they don’t THINK. I taught philosophy for forty years, never seen kids this stupid. Parents shove baby thru govt-indoctrination ‘school’ too watered-down to flunk them if they don’t make it.”
“It was the little dharma bum Owen Weinstein and me, sitting in my tiny apartment in North Beach and cooking up macaroni and beans, when Michael died and came back. We were the angelheaded hipsters, poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed, we were contemplating jazz.”
“Sweat and White Cotton”
“A thousand hours on the training mat, a hundred thousand falls. Rolling, weaving, the feeling of your center shifting underneath you…I wouldn’t give it away for any amount of money. Even so, I did.”
“Gods of War”
“It was about three in the afternoon, at least that’s what it would’ve been on Earth. The sky was an angry purplish, like blood on the inside of your helmet, and it was ripping around, trying to kill us. The worst was behind, but the destruction lay ahead.”