The good people at Powell’s, the best-stocked independent bookstore in America, requested a tour report from my Killing the Buddha co-author Peter Manseau and me for their newsletter. We were happy to oblige, especially when we learned it has a readership of 300,000, making it one of the biggest book publications in America. Leaving aside the sad commentary on the rest of the book reviews that implies, we’re proud to present “The Buddha-Whale”:
“In the hotel laundry room we emptied the pockets of our suitcases: parking tickets from Boulder and Chicago; a matchbook from Austin; a cocktail napkin from our flight that morning, folded over a half-dozen times. Unfolding it, we saw that it was printed with a map of the US, upon which Peter had passed the time on the flight by locating the twenty-five cities of our tour, marking each with a small black dot, freckling the country with the all places we’d been.
“Waiting for the rinse cycle to end, we stared at the dots — Boston, New York, Washington, Annapolis — until a picture seemed to form.
“Not a face. Not a cross. Not the Virgin Mary.