Birds of Paradise Lost
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: Red Hen Press
Praise for Book, Title Page, Copyright, Acknowledgments, Dedication
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Mr. Le looked up one morning from mending a vest at the Love Leather and saw a very good-looking Asian kid, his old-est grandson’s age, maybe, seventeen at the most, staring quizzically at him from the sidewalk. When their eyes met through the glass pane, the boy’s ruddy cheeks turned a deeper shade of red and Mr. in—baby, hide the dildos! We’ll have to shoo our twink for brows-...
Show & Tell
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Mr. K brought in the new kid near the end of the semes-ter during what he called Oral Presentations and everybody else called Seventh-Grade Show and Tell. “This is Cao Long Dinh,” he said, “and he’s from Vietnam,” and immediately mean old Billy “What’s so cool about that?” Kevin, who sat behind him, asked, and Billy said, “Idiot, don’t you know anything? That’s where my ...
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The palmist closed up shop early because of the pain. He felt as if he was being roasted, slowly, inside out. By noon he could no longer focus on his customers’ palms; their life and love lines had all failed to point to any significant future, but blurred the wind was heavy with moisture. He reached the bus stop’s tiny shelter when it began to pour. He didn’t have to wait long, how-...
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This dude, right, a loner and everything, made his sorry ass part of our family, and Mamma insisted that me and Pammy call him Uncle Steve, but I wouldn’t. Uh-uh. I called him U.S. U.S. came to eat at our restaurant a couple of years ago and or-dered Mamma’s special Hu Tieu soup. Kept saying he hadn’t eaten Pammy, sweet, ready-to-please Pammy, started to treat him like a ...
Everything Must Go
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On a windy morning in June, when the fog had finally lifted and the air was cool, they borrowed a truck to drive around Noe Valley in search of garage sales. Along the way they saw many especially those with white trim, and she said so to him. He agreed with this assessment, though his favorite was the mansion a little farther down the road, one with richly ornate friezes and two dis-...
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The day after Mama and Papa took off to Las Vegas, Grand-ma died. Lea and me, we didn’t know what to do. Vietnam-ese traditional funerals with incense sticks and chanting Buddhist “We have a big freezer,” Lea said. “Why don’t we freeze Grand-Since Lea’s older than me and since I didn’t have any better idea, old when she died. She had seen lots of things and lived through ...
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...“Eat,” Mr. Nguyen tells his little girl, “eat, you must eat, please, for your Ba,” and she cries. “No! I won’t,” she says through runny nose and tears, “no meat, no meat.” As she is saying this, Mr. Nguyen quickly spoons the stir-fried pork into her mouth, but she spits it right back out. They both stare at the piece of pork on the table as if waiting for it to crawl away and escape. After a few sec-...
Birds of Paradise Lost
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Mister Qua’s oolong tea from Guangdong was wasted that Thanksgiving morning. As usual we sat at our corner table at the Golden Phoenix, Mister Qua’s restaurant, chatting when Mis-ter Huy ran in as if chased by a ghost. “Undone, absolutely undone,” he yelled and waved the San Jose Mercury News expressively above throat, swirled between my ears, reigniting that terrifying flame of ...
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She’s in the middle of doing her taxes when her brother calls. “Sister, guess what I’ve just done?” “Little Demon,” she says, “how can I guess? If you have some-“No, no, not that easy,” he says in the little boy’s voice he uses She tries not to give in to laughter the way she used to when they were kids. She writes down the six-digit number on line 13, where ...
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How are you doing tonight? Hot? Yeah, sure is hot. We’re having a tropical heat wave, folks. So hot, it reminds me of coconut trees and thatched-roof huts. It makes me think of myself as this impossibly handsome little boy playing with his dog, or, as Yeah, as I was saying, I was playing with Next Week’s Menu get-ting him to roll over in fish sauce and lemongrass, jump in the wok, ...
Bright Clouds Over the Mekong
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It was unfathomable, but there he was. One bright after-noon the door of her restaurant opened to admit a tall man who limped a little, like someone trying to stay steady at sea. When he neared her, he said, “Chao co, manh gioi?”—in an awk-ward tone delivered by an inflexible tongue. She looked up and saw a pair of ice green eyes, and it took her a full second to realize that ...
Close to the Bone
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...“Rain delayed Napoleon. He wanted the ground to dry out a little before the attack. Wellington’s army was over here, on St. Jean, but they withstood repeated attacks. By nightfall they counterattacked and drove the French from the field. . . . There my father told me a fairy tale; he probably didn’t know any. But war stories he told too often, turning our dining room table into the ...
Step Up and Whistle
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H ow my uncle ended up almost exactly where he was three decades ago, repeating the same gestures that turned his life upside down, would be too bizarre to imagine, let alone make up. But since “The Staircase Incident” was written up in the local pa-pers, and he was called “mentally disturbed” on the evening news, First, given his profound losses, Uncle Bay is far from being “dis-...
About the Author
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San Francisco Chronicle, The Baltimore Sun, The Atlanta Journal, anthologized. Birds of Paradise Lost is his first story collection. ...
Page Count: 216
Publication Year: 2013