When one of Mark Twain's acquaintances reached a certain stage of intoxication, no power on earth could keep him from relating the story of a wonderful adventure he once had with his father's old ram. Similarly, whenever my friend Horace starts on his second twelve-pack, he is compelled to recount one of his wonderful, contradictory travel tales. Here's an example:
Tom Cole
(Exactly 500 words)
"Let me tell you about our trip to Nogales, Mexico. We arrived in Tucson on the 14th— maybe the thirteenth — I can check on that. We had breakfast— wait a minute — it WAS the 13th because I remember being glad it wasn't a Friday. So we had breakfast. I think I had two, no — it was THREE cups of coffee and some eggs. Then we got in the car and started to Mexico. Of course, we paid for our food. It came to $13.44 and with the tip it was a little more — but the waitress wasn't very good so it wasn't THAT much more.

"Anyway, we drove down there, all right? And when we got there — well, actually we didn't get there right away because I had to stop at my wife's sister's house which is practically on the border -? well, within 100 miles of it anyway ? and we spent what seemed like forever there. Honestly, she is the most boring person on God's green earth. Luckily, on this visit, time seemed to fly.

"So when we get to Nogales, it's raining like crazy and we don't even have an umbrella — well, actually, it didn't rain until an hour or so AFTER we got there, and then it really only sprinkled and come to think of it we DID have umbrellas because were warned that we might need them.

"ANYWAY! The shopping was okay but we didn't buy much, just some souvenirs and stuff — and actually that was the time we bought that six-hundred-dollar dinette set and the cool guitarrón that cost eight-hundred bucks. I also bought a bunch of sewing machines for my business and had them shipped to the states. It was all legal, of course, although I had to bribe an official 1500 dollars to waive the duty on all that stuff and my wife bought about twelve dresses and a couple of cases of rum. The four kids wanted piñatas, and we got two of them for each plus guitars and bongo drums all around.

 "You're probably thinking that it took all day to buy that stuff, but it really didn't. The fact was we were through shopping by noon and ready to head on back across the border. But — wait a minute — that's not right because before noon we hadn't actually even started LOOKING for the dinette set and that took several hours and on top of that, no one had really DECIDED on the gitarrón or the other stuff. But it was still pretty quick. I remember now that we had to get a hotel room for the night — and come to think of it — for the next three nights as well so we could have enough time to get everything done. But we really didn't buy all that much and didn't spend much time at all there in Nogales. I wouldn't figure on being in town past noon if I ever made plans to go there again."