I never thought I could fall for a spaceman. I mean, you see them in the newspaper and they kind of give you the willies, all skinny and hairless and wiggly-looking, and if you touched one, even to shake hands, you just know it would be like when you were about fifteen and you were with an earth boy and you were sweet on him but there was this thing he wanted, and you finally said okay, but only rub-a-dub, which is what we called it around these pans when I was younger, and it was the first time ever that you touched...

well, you know what I’m talking about. Anyway, that’s what it’s always seemed like to me with spacemen, and most every body around here feels about the same way, I’m sure. Folks in Bovary, Alabama, and environs — by which I mean the KOA camp off the interstate and the new trailer park out past the quarry— everybody in Bovary is used to people being a certain way, to look at and to talk to and so forth. Take my daddy.

When I showed him a few years ago in the newspaper …