This is a partial excerpt, set in Costa Rica, from the title segment of Chapter 3, called “Chino’s Moon”…
If I were the child of my host parents, the man called Chino would be my uncle. All day he sits outside his little store where the men and children congregate, selling soda pop, single cigarettes and mint candies. He laboriously reads the sports and human interest stories in the newspaper he pays for every day from his till. At night he sleeps on a fold-up cot in the back of the store to discourage thieves and ambitious coons from helping themselves to his wares.
He has an impish grin on his face when he says to me, “Quiero hacerle una pregunta.”
“Okay,” I agree.
“¿Usted cree que un hombre fue a la luna?”
He repeats the question, asking if I believe that a real man went to the moon, and then adds, “Un americano.”
“Sí,” I say, perplexed, thinking, doesn’t everybody know that?
Then Chino does something I have not imagined. He throws back his head and laughs a deep belly laugh, not of mockery, but of genuine mirth, as if I have performed an amusing and clever trick. It’s one of those contagious laughs that makes you giggle even when you don’t know what’s funny.
“¿Usted no lo cree?” I ask. I have never heard of anyone who flatly disbelieves what we all know to be true.
“No, no, no,” Chino shakes his head. “Yo, no.”
“¿No?” I ask, a burst of laughter escaping me, too.
“¿Cómo puede ir un hombre a la luna?” he asks, looking at me as if I have told him I am certain elephants can fly.
But didn’t you see the pictures? I start to say. Then I stop. But they showed it on TV, flashes through my mind. Sweet Lord. Listen to me. These are the stupidest reasons on earth to believe anything…
A live link on Amazon.com on September 17 will bring this book to you. For residents of Tamarindo, Costa Rica, a book signing (date to be announced when books arrive) will be held shortly after at Bookstore of the Waves.