Containing an April Fools demonstration.

April is not necessarily the cruelest month. It all depends on how you feel about beginnings. And jokes.

This is where I come in. I'd been living in strange and exotic places, bumming around all over the world; I returned after all my adventures to find my friends of former days involved in strange and exotic adventures right at home. I'd been everywhere and seen everything, was cosmopolitan and incredulous and certainly nobody's fool. After all the things I'd been through, I thought I was prepared for everything, but this prodigal daughter's return to her home town was timed to coincide with events that would thoroughly tax anyone's credulity.

After I recovered from the globe-trotter's disease, normally referred to as jet lag, I called the old gang in Amazon House. I'd kept up with everyone minimally, letters reaching me occasionally at some American Express office at an outpost of civilization. More got lost. The last one I'd received had been written months before my return.

Diana sounded happy to hear me but preoccupied. "Hero! You're back! You won't believe what's been going on here."

She was right--I didn't. "I'm still a little confused from crossing all those time zones, Di," I protested, "but this is April Fools Day, isn't it?"

Diana laughed. "It sure as hell is, but if you can manage to get here in the next hour, you can see for yourself whether it's a joke or not."

Diana hadn't even asked me about my travels. My exodus and return were eclipsed. I'd left the familiar--mellow, mediocre, bordering on boredom big city Portland--to knock around the world in search of the extraordinary, and now here was the extraordinary right on my front doorstep. I'd been gone for ages and hardly missed home--now I felt like I'd barely missed something big.