December 7th, 2009


Bank Error in Your Favor - Collect $15

For your mortgage account ending in XXXX: Thank you for your recent payment of ($ USD) 82,829.72.

I wish.


Dear Valued Customer:

We're writing to let you know you received an Account Alert on 12/06/09 that contained inaccurate information about your mortgage payment. Please disregard the Alert, and accept our sincere apologies for any inconvenience it may have caused.

"The Grains of Paradise" by James Street

Some time ago, I mentioned this short story that I couldn't find anywhere, remembered from a long ago schoolbook. More recently, an anonymous poster added that he or she also remembered the story. That was the straw that broke the camel's back. I had tracked the story down to an issue of the Saturday Evening Post from the 50's. That was going to run me $20-$30. So instead I found the very textbook for sale for $0.76. I ordered it. A week passes. No book. I happen to check my credit card info, and I see my money's been refunded. I ask. Apparently, they got the book and found it in an unsale-able condition. Another setback in my lifelong quest to find this story again. But, another copy of the textbook was available from another seller for the princely sum of $2.10, and now I have it in my hands. To sum up: I googled, I bought, I conquered.

The story is not quite how I remembered it. Nor is it particularly awesome on a re-read, but it does have its moments. I wonder if I read it when I was living in Wisconsin and homesick for California and Mexican food, and that's what made it more memorable. Apart from Taco Bell and a Mexican restaurant that closed after three months, there wasn't an avocado or tortilla within twenty miles of me [the story offers glosses and pronunciation for both of those exotic words] Anyway, for everyone, all two of us, who remembered this story fondly from a schoolbook 30 years ago and can't find it, I offer a copyright-violating treat:
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