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 V.14 No.25 | June 23 - 29, 2005 

Culture Shock

One of Stephanie Lerma’s balloon purses
One of Stephanie Lerma’s balloon purses

Here's a bizarre little story for you. Last year, local artist Stephanie Lerma drove up to Wink, a beauty salon and lifestyle store in Santa Fe specializing in one-of-a-kind boutique items. Lerma was trying to peddle some of her paper creations. The owners, however, couldn't tear their eyes off her purse.

Lerma had made the contraption herself out of balloons. "I just fell in love with it," said Aline Ellis, co-owner of Wink. "It's very clever, soft on the hip. I ended up buying one myself."

Wink's owners decided to start selling Lerma's balloon purses in their store. A regular client from Washington, D.C., was equally enthusiastic. This client is apparently very well connected. She gave a balloon purse to one of the Bush twins as a gift. No one seems to recall which one exactly, but, let's face it, does it really matter? The point is that the other twin ended up demanding one, too.

Lerma believes that Wink's client is the daughter of one of the biggest bigshots in the Bush Administration. What does this all mean? Well, looks like Lerma might have started a national fashion trend among some of the trendiest Republican brats in the capital.

A girl's gotta have some place to put her cocaine. (Kidding! Geez, lighten up, Alberto.)

We somehow managed to do a chop job on one of the honorable mentions in our Ridiculously Short Fiction Contest [Feature, June 16-22]. Our apologies to Mr. Berry Ives. Here's his short story the way it was supposed to be printed:

At dusk the American left the Hotel Intercontinental Karachi in a 3-wheeled jitney for a destination known by the driver as the source of 'sheesh. Familiar territory was soon buried deep in the mercy of the less fortunate. Puttering to a halt, the driver disappeared down the dirt road's bank into the dusty underworld. With heart racing through the wait, our American was all alone. The driver was faintly heard emerging from some gloomy shack below, and of a sudden rematerialized in our victim's tricyclic waiting room announcing 'sheesh! One whiff verified the brick's validity.

Earlier that day, a clay brick ascended through six pairs of hands to be lodged in a wall of Quaid-e-Azam's tomb.

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