A fifth-grade bully, a blossoming romance, a late-night crash
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The cover was a tree. It trembled once before the axe, again in your hands, when you paid with a crumpled dollar bill. Paper burns hotter than wood.
The inside is of glass — blown, ground, and stained. The stains are three — hope, blood, and ash. The ash and blood are what is left when hope is cleansed. To be hopeful is to stand with nose against the window, staring at the sun. Alternatively, and right behind, is the fire.
The advertisements are paid for by merchants disguised as benefactors, but their real identity may never be known. Many are scarred where their names were written. These ads may be understood as a liquid remembrance of the American Dream: one part oil to two parts water, your purchase a match struck in the name of freedom.
The pages are folded once, stapled twice, then trimmed. These operations are conducted late at night, but a light is kept burning at all times.
All subscribers are given two choices; those who choose correctly are given two more, and so on, ad infinitum. The others are billed and their checks kept near a window with moderate sunlight.
— Sy Safransky