Big A

Man: Can you help me?

DJ: In which regard?

Man: I was thinking, books.

DJ: Ah yes? Good thought indeed! But have you tried our rose-almond tea?

Man: I'm a coffee Man, thanks anyway.

DJ: We have zingers then! - like coffee in a way. Marko, have you slipped anyone any of our various zingers of late? Lemon, insanely wild berry?

Marko: Ah sir, what can I get for you?

Man: Well, you're carrying books in your arms. That's a good sign. I gotta get this..Scarring Letter, or something, for my daughter.

DJ: Hold on a second! Wake up all day to W E D G, your leading wedge of music for the entire valley!

Marko: We're temporarily besieged by FM radio.

DJ: Ladies and gentlemen of the listening audience, we continue our conversation at Raring's Bookstore on the subject of...what else? Sex! Anyway, Sir! Don't you care if your daughter reads about adultery?

Man: I want my daughter to read about everything - if it's any of your business.

DJ: And And And, doesn't the Tootley-Wootley-Town School Board usually object? Especially if a minister has more than scripture on his mind. Hey? Hey? Hey? One eye on heaven, the other on her c-rotch. Right? Hey, maybe they're both heaven!

Woman: Yeah? So why didn't they slap that A on his skinny ass? I tell you why. 'cause you can do anything you want to a woman: in this country, then and now, and get away with it.

DJ: It's our Mellana, deadly sweet, a late arrival to our remotest broadcast, AND afternoon priestess of Jazz Funk for the entire valley!

Woman: And I'll wear that scarlet A right now, and keep it on too. And get all the sisters to join too. Is that what you want?

Man: I don't care what you do. I came in here to buy a book, not a whatchacallit, media event or something!

DJ: More like “or something” in this market!

Marko: Hawthorne worked in the custom house, collecting tariffs and the like. Political job one would suppose. Melville, in point of fact, served in a parallel fashion. Melville wrote Moby Dick - as I'm sure you know.

Man: Didn't like the movie.

DJ: Neither did he.

Man: Yeah, well, had to see it in the grave - which ain't a bad place for some of them.

Woman: That A equals CASH For white males. That's another thing! Sir! You must carry around a hell of a load of guilt if you ask me!

Man: Adultery. Part of life, isn't it? Or can be?

DJ: Tolerance! I love it! Tolerance! And his favorite sound is rockabilly! Would you believe it, folks out there? - surveys say most sophisticated listeners in the entire valley!

Man: It's nice to hear it sometimes, like far away. My folks have a place in the Poconos and there's a retired teacher. She plays that stuff down the road.

DJ: Yeah that's what we do. Play that stuff down the road.

Woman: We'll be down that road forever! Me with my enforced A! And the redder the better! If I could just get you just to beGIN to see what you've done!

Man: Just drink your herbal tea and you'll be fine.


Wife: Got it?

Man: Here, change your life! Some tea for you. Lemon Zinger.

Wife: Well what's it about, the book?

Man: Some woman: gotta wear big A.

Wife: She's gotta big...what?

Man: Ass, asshole!

Wife: Well what did I say?

Man: All my life I just play along!


PEEK is the website of Paul Ford and his pseudonyms. It is showing its age. I'm rewriting the code but it's taking some time.


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About the author: I've been running this website from 1997. For a living I write stories and essays, program computers, edit things, and help people launch online publications. (LinkedIn). I wrote a novel. I was an editor at Harper's Magazine for five years; then I was a Contributing Editor; now I am a free agent. I was also on NPR's All Things Considered for a while. I still write for The Morning News, and some other places.

If you have any questions for me, I am very accessible by email. You can email me at and ask me things and I will try to answer. Especially if you want to clarify something or write something critical. I am glad to clarify things so that you can disagree more effectively.


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© 1974-2011 Paul Ford


@20, by Paul Ford. Not any kind of eulogy, thanks. And no header image, either. (October 15)

Recent Offsite Work: Code and Prose. As a hobby I write. (January 14)

Rotary Dial. (August 21)

10 Timeframes. (June 20)

Facebook and Instagram: When Your Favorite App Sells Out. (April 10)

Why I Am Leaving the People of the Red Valley. (April 7)

Welcome to the Company. (September 21)

“Facebook and the Epiphanator: An End to Endings?”. Forgot to tell you about this. (July 20)

“The Age of Mechanical Reproduction”. An essay for (July 11)

Woods+. People call me a lot and say: What is this new thing? You're a nerd. Explain it immediately. (July 10)

Reading Tonight. Reading! (May 25)

Recorded Entertainment #2, by Paul Ford. (May 18)

Recorded Entertainment #1, by Paul Ford. (May 17)

Nanolaw with Daughter. Why privacy mattered. (May 16)

0h30m w/Photoshop, by Paul Ford. It's immediately clear to me now that I'm writing again that I need to come up with some new forms in order to have fun here—so that I can get a rhythm and know what I'm doing. One thing that works for me are time limits; pencils up, pencils down. So: Fridays, write for 30 minutes; edit for 20 minutes max; and go whip up some images if necessary, like the big crappy hand below that's all meaningful and evocative because it's retro and zoomed-in. Post it, and leave it alone. Can I do that every Friday? Yes! Will I? Maybe! But I crave that simple continuity. For today, for absolutely no reason other than that it came unbidden into my brain, the subject will be Photoshop. (Do we have a process? We have a process. It is 11:39 and...) (May 13)

That Shaggy Feeling. Soon, orphans. (May 12)

Antilunchism, by Paul Ford. Snack trams. (May 11)

Tickler File Forever, by Paul Ford. I'll have no one to blame but future me. (May 10)

Time's Inverted Index, by Paul Ford. (1) When robots write history we can get in trouble with our past selves. (2) Search-generated, "false" chrestomathies and the historical fallacy. (May 9)

Bantha Tracks. (May 5)

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