Stories

Lou Lesko

It’s 9 a.m. at Charles de Gaulle airport. A man in his early thirties has just extinguished the butt of his sixth cigarette. He’s a driver for Success Model Management, sent to pick up a model flying in from America. Her flight arrived at 8 a.m., but she’s nowhere to be found. It’s Sunday; there’s no one at the agency he can contact. He resigns himself to wait another hour.

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Nineteen-ninety-one, my girlfriend Michelle and I were asked to house-sit her parent's place in a remote part of Morgan Hill, south of San Jose, California. One had to drive for two miles on a dirt road through a running creek to get to the house deep in the woods. It was magical. The place ran on generators and a massive array of batteries.

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I left an all-night pool party north of the Golden Gate Bridge and rolled into the Café Bugatti in San Francisco at 7 a.m. The barista, a conspicuously beautiful red-haired girl named Sheri, banished me to a corner table because I smelled of tequila and chlorine and because I was being a nuisance trying to flirt with her during a customer rush. So I shuffled over to the newspaper rack, grabbed the San Francisco Chronicle, and sat among a cadre of curmudgeonly Italian men from the neighborhood who frequently slapped their papers and swore under their breath when they read something they disliked.

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