A note about this story

This story is from my collection, "A Place So Foreign and Eight More," published by Four Walls Eight Windows Press in September, 2003, ISBN 1568582862. I've released this story, along with five others, under the terms of a Creative Commons license that gives you, the reader, a bunch of rights that copyright normally reserves for me, the creator.

I recently did the same thing with the entire text of my novel, "Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom" (, and it was an unmitigated success. Hundreds of thousands of people downloaded the book -- good news -- and thousands of people bought the book -- also good news. It turns out that, as near as anyone can tell, distributing free electronic versions of books is a great way to sell more of the paper editions, while simultaneously getting the book into the hands of readers who would otherwise not be exposed to my work.

I still don't know how it is artists will earn a living in the age of the Internet, but I remain convinced that the way to find out is to do basic science: that is, to do stuff and observe the outcome. That's what I'm doing here. The thing to remember is that the very worst thing you can do to me as an artist is to not read my work -- to let it languish in obscurity and disappear from posterity. Most of the fiction I grew up on is out-of-print, and this is doubly true for the short stories. Losing a couple bucks to people who would have bought the book save for the availability of the free electronic text is no big deal, at least when compared to the horror that is being irrelevant and unread. And luckily for me, it appears that giving away the text for free gets me more paying customers than it loses me.

You can find the canonical version of this file at

If you'd like to convert this file to some other format and distribute it, you have my permission, provided that:

If you'd like, you can advertise the existence of your edition by posting a link to it at