Tag: Depeche Mode

A Letter For My Daughter

A Letter For My Daughter

i am not sure what i want to tell you about myself
i am not sure if it is worth trying to tell you something
after all, most of us tend to think about ourselves first right
so if you think about yourself first
why would you want to spend time thinking about me
about something I have to say
if this sounds needlessly gloomy
overly self conscious melodramatic what have you
then you are absolutely right
i dare you to just look away right now
because I know that you are thinking
little spoilt girl
or maybe you cant stand all the whining
or something
and I would not berate you
so where was i
god its so hard when your brains been run over by a truck
and squeezed by a drycleaner
so do you know why my words looks like shit
and why my words sound like shit
its because they ARE an absolute reflection of my thoughts
and my thoughts are a whirling vortex of mad dancing leaves
and i am in the middle choking
god wish i could breathe
what the hell is happening to me
what i am i trying to tell you
when i look at these words they are like
stings in my skin
like i am trying to tell you
something
and that something is hidden beneath my skin
and i have just cut open to see
look for it
and i have taken it out
all the tar
or whatever
it is
and now i have sewed everything back together again
but still its bleeding through
and my hands are shaking
the words are in and out of focus
its called a focus
i would not be so confident if i were you that i am mad
after all theres only one way to determine this right
you would have to look inside my head
and then youd most like likely end up choking in all the tar as well
and then itd be normal for you
to choke
for you too
so what i am trying to tell you
who i am right
who i am
that is the first most simple thing you can tell a person
you can say myname is such and and such
and then youve mad made a connection and it is all very simple
so utterly very fucking simple
well for me it is NOT FUCKING SIMPLE
it never was
oh god dont want to be like this
a regular beat girl or something silly like that
now if only I could focus
focus is good
they teach you that in society
focus is what it is all about
wheres my card
oh here
good
focus back
but now i dont have
i think it was here before
wheres my dollar bill

will you still be waiting for me
if i dont kill the future right
now?

______

Emma Reese Sawyer was born at St. Luke’s Medical Center, Phoenix, AZ on 6 May 2006.
______

A Thousand Reasons

A Thousand Reasons

It’s stupid to try to walk through the desert from Painted Rocks to Tucson with only half a bottle of water in my handbag. But I’m doing so anyway. 

I’m still hitching … even if there will never be another car …

*

I didn’t want to blow the money that I took from him on a plane ticket back in Miami. If I first set foot in an airport with a plan only to go to Phoenix – or perhaps as far as LA – I knew I would let panic seduce me and spend them all on a ticket for the San Juan Fernandez Islands or someplace else so far away nobody knew it existed. But I would not feel safe anyway once I got there.

I didn’t want to rent a car, either.  He’d find out for sure. He still supplies those underage flicks to Mr. Fed. He’d have access to databases or credit cards and whatever he needed to track me in 60 seconds, just for 60 seconds extra whack-time – or worse: Real time.

Or maybe I’m just paranoid. It would be like a bad Tarantino-movie if a low-life like Jeremy was ever able to blackmail somebody in authority to help find me …

But that’s just the problem. I am paranoid. So cash is the only option. And staying low …

When then?

Read More Read More

Until You See the Signs

Until You See the Signs

I have lived for almost a year now in Bolivia, and I have never felt threatened here. Ever.

I guess any sane person should have. Mom would have freaked out if she knew just how far out in the jungle I was living until recently. Me: 21-year old, blonde, a ‘stupid American’, and definitely ripe for the picking – at least in the eyes of some men. 

But nothing ever happened.

Then I finally decide to go back to civilization and things turn crazy real fast.

 It starts when the bus’ gear shift breaks. The driver manages to wheel it into a village in the first gear and then runs off to find an auto mechanic without saying when he will be back. 

As I drift around the village with the other passengers, mostly locals out to smoke and take a piss, I notice a lone taxi in a corner of the market square.  I reckon I’m still at least an hour away from Santa Cruz de la Sierra, the only place here big enough to host an international airport, and I don’t know when the hell the bus is going to ever move again. So I walk over and ask the taxi driver, how much for the rest of the way? 

One hundred bolivianos. 

Okay. It’s a lot of money here but back in the US it’s more like two drinks, even though I still have to be careful with the little money I have left. 

There are no phone numbers or addresses printed on the taxi, only a homemade sign in the window. Tourists are warned in all the guidebooks not to take taxis like that, only the official ones. But, you know I feel I have lived in Bolivia forever now, so I’m not a tourist anymore, right? 

I look at the driver, trying to take stock of him. He is a sweaty 30-something guy with a thin mustache and piercing eyes but seems like the harmless silent type, or so I convince myself. And I really don’t want to be stuck here.

I agree to 100 bolivianos and off we go.

For 20 minutes he stares blankly out the front window, while his body is going through the motions to get his vehicle from the spartan upland and into the city where I plan to sleep for a hundred years.

And then he starts talking about more money for the ride. 

I look out the open passenger window and admire the withered baby palm trees, dry fields and unfinished buildings on both sides of the road, while I also pretend not to understand what he is blabbering about in Spanish and fragmented English. 

I try to say to myself that this guy is not going to follow up on his implied threat of pulling over and doing various things to me if I don’t give him a hundred bolivianos more right now. But who’s to say if that is enough or, more likely, if it’s the little finger that will tempt the shark enough to fancy grabbing the rest, and then some? I heard about two female tourists getting raped and killed at Lake Titicaca not so long ago. A rarity in Bolivia, but not an impossibility. 

This is insane. Am I about to be the next headline on some traveler warning site?

I glance at him again and see pearls of sweat dance over his brow while he tries to find a grimace that is somewhere between friendly and intimidating. My heart beats like a jackhammer but I try to remain calm and use the only asset I have right now.

Anger. And believe me, I have plenty of that.

I turn slowly towards him and explain in perfect Bolivian Spanish that he is going to pull over now, because I am a crazy American chica who is here to jump from a chair with more than his loving arms around my neck, once I get to the hotel where my Bolivian boyfriend was supposed to meet me, but instead hung himself on this day exactly a year ago. I have tried life since but I have given up and now I am going to follow him. 

Because I loooved him so much.

Yes, that’s right. Everything is planned. I have even reserved the exact same room.

So I am not afraid of you, Mr. Sweaty and I have nothing to lose so you had better drive me all the way to the hotel and to the agreed price, or I’m going to fast forward my planned exit from this world by pulling at a lot more than what is in your pants, and make this car go over in the other lane and get squashed against the next oncoming truck.

Sweaty looks like somebody threw him a gut punch, bewildered and somewhat in pain. He didn’t get what he wanted; he hadn’t even articulated it for himself and that was the hole in his defense. And so I made my move and now he is off balance, his tired self-pitying mind trying to process the new information. 

And so when a big fat truck actually pulls out to get in front of us (as Bolivian drivers are wont to do) but from a side road, and Sweaty hits the brakes – that’s when I kick open the passenger door. He forgot to lock it, of course, because, as I counted on, he hadn’t really planned this out. Or perhaps the lock didn’t work as most things in Bolivian cars. 

Whatever the case, I run to the roadside and then up the gravel lane that the truck came from where there is an excavator exhibition of all things, and I never see him again. 

I even got my few remaining things, all in my small faded rucksack, which never needed to go in the trunk anyway – thank God.

All in all, I get away with the whole stunt with only a few bruises on my left leg, which I get because I stumble after I get out on the asphalt safely, because there is a damn rock on the road. 

Go figure. But I make it.

And now I have to make it on foot in burning noon heat towards Santa Cruz, still 20 miles away.

*

I hitch a new ride with a pharmacist, who drives an old American Ford pickup. Small, gray man, about 55. His wife, I take it, is in the pickup as well, so I climb in without too much apprehension even if my heart still hasn’t quite slowed to its normal routine. 

She is a big woman, with clear native features. As I squeeze in, I’m really glad there weren’t any ice cream parlors in the jungle.

And you know, my feet hurt and it’s too bloody long to walk to the city center where the decent hotels are. So Señor and, yes, Señora Flores are going to be my saviors and hopefully no more surprises. If there was a plane today, they could have dropped me off at the airport, but in a way I’m glad there isn’t so I get an excuse to burn some of my last reserves on a room with a proper bed.

I find out that the two are on their way to an evening shift, right after the siesta they both look like he’d rather be doing still. But there is a sharp twinkle in the tired eyes of the woman, when she asks me, why I am out here, all alone and walking to Santa Cruz.

So I explain it, as nonchalantly as I can, and she feigns a quick smile, as she hears the story about how the taxi driver looked like an idiot while I heroically bolted towards the fenced area with the latest fashion in excavators.

“Where are you going, then?” She says it just loud enough, so it makes me think she also wants to make conversation in order for her husband not to fall asleep behind the wheel.

“I’m going to … Hotel Amazonas.”

I had almost forgotten the name. It looked good on one of the few pages of my Lonely Planet that was still readable after almost a year in jungle humidity. I had thrown it away, but Luis – Julia’s kid – found it for me. Behind a shed. Apparently I had been reading it last when I came to town and then not really. I don’t even know if the hotel still exists. I didn’t call beforehand.

“I know that place,” she says and lights up, as if something grand has just been revealed to her. “It is two blocks from our pharmacy.”

Thank God for small favors.

We get there without any more incidents, only lots of smalltalk which I can deal with.

So the Hotel Amazonas turns out to both exist and be okay, too. A middle-end hotel where everybody looks a bit tired and the vending machine in the lobby is empty, but otherwise it is clean and friendly. 

I hit the shower next and after that hop straight into bed. Then I treat myself to a good load of CNN droning on the fuzzy telly that is precariously mounted on the wall in front of the bed. But, of course, I can’t concentrate on president Bush’s first budget.

I try to imagine what a guy I could like would actually
be like. Someone I might meet – tomorrow? Someone like Manuel maybe, with all his good parts and none of the bad.

How about a good-looking guy, who was born into a mob family or something – and he wants out because of me? Ha, ha …

I smile about that scenario  for the rest of the evening, and in the beginning it feels exciting. But as night descends on Santa Cruz, excitement gets replaced by a feeling of desolation. My perfect man fades out and only a fog is left in my mind. And since I can’t sleep I know I have to go out, or lose my mind in here.

The problem is that the first place that strikes me as the place to go, is a bar I saw at the plaza and I promised myself I wouldn’t get drunk so easily any more.

Yeah, just like I promised myself I would recover from losing my best friend back in Ohio, oh, and also find love again and, yeah, in general only think about love. Pure love. How else to attract it? Yes, I would seek out and find good things only. Rebuild. Those were some of my most cherished promises.

I get up and get my clothes on and head for the bar. It’s too late and I’m too tired to start over before tomorrow, anyway.

*

The bar is okay but boring. Irish theme. But it’s mostly tourists and the local rich kids who haven’t really seen what is going on in the jungle or highlands outside their city. Anyway, I had to go although I really shouldn’t have.

There’s some kind of, I dunno, expectation of richness that comes with being a white American. People here seem to expect you to bathe in money every morning and you get to think of yourself like that after a while, even if you constantly scrounge for cash and send pathetic emails back home for support you can never really get and pay with promises you can’t really keep.

Julie once confided in me that Bolivians are used to thinking about Americans as either DEA-agents or uncaring tourists with a goldbar up their ass. They only shit out pieces if they are allowed to take a nice photo of your kids and pet the llama.

And so I got enlightened about living in rural Bolivia for some months. At first I felt superior. Then I felt inferior. And finally we were all just normal. Just human beings getting by and trying to do the best we could.

But I had, of course, met Julia’s brother and fallen in love with him. That changed the game. From eternal-backpacker-moves-in-with-locals to … I don’t know, but it didn’t work out. Living with them became the kind of normality I had run away from in Ohio with family responsibilities and close ties that hurt when they broke up and people died. I had run away from closeness because it brought me too much pain and lo and behold – I ended up just the same in the Bolivian outback of all places.

God, Julia was crying when I said I had to leave. And I lied when I said I would go home to the States, the natural thing to do now that my little ‘Second Life’-project in South America has met its end. 

And at the bar there is no one interesting to talk to about all of this, and, more importantly, no one to buy me the drinks I don’t feel I can afford myself.

So on the wrong side of midnight I finally retire to my hotel room’s small balcony with a bottle of the local sweet booze, Singani, from the store across the street and a surprisingly cold coke from the machine in the reception. They make good company.

I checked the only computer they have in the reception and there was no email for me. No messages in the reception. I’ll check again tomorrow.

 I let my mind run through all the impressions from the last 10 months. Like a kaleidoscope of love and hate and quiet evenings outside the tin-roof house listening to the jungle murmur. Julia and I never got tired of that. And she was – is – very sharp. She’ll get out of that one day, to some better place. I’m sure of it.

And she has heart. She was the one who found a doctor we could trust and pay for, when we thought I was pregnant. Manuel had just found his friends and an extra bottle.

I bet he was scared. But does that excuse him? I think that’s when it started to go wrong.

I drink more and my mind churn around the possibilities. Below me the streets of Santa Cruz are as alive as ever. The warm tropical night mixed with clinking bottles, hooting scooters and boys and girls laughing.

As I crane my neck to see, I also move my butt and the rest of me and I accidentally push the bottle so it topples. I manage to catch it but not before a good deal of Singani goes through the empty spaces in the metal railing.

“Hey! Que pasa!

Down below are two guys, looking up and laughing and waving at me. Goodlooking, shining smiles, pastel-colored t-shirts, nicely tanned and trained. Some more rich kids. They’d never dress like this where Julia lived. Maybe I missed that, too. 

“Hey guys – sorry for dripping on you.”

I raise the bottle up again and the dripping stops. 

“Why don’t you come down here?” 

Direct, aren’t they? Okay. I give them my best and least drunk smile. “I can’t. I have been drinking too much.”

What? Did I just say that? Oh, what the hell. Let’s see how they react.

“You speak good Spanish,” Guy no. 1 widens his toothpaste smile.

“I have lived in Bolivia since last summer.”

“Here in this hotel?” Guy no. 2 snickers again. I notice a splotch on his pink shirt, near the collar. Probably beer.

“No.” I roll my eyes and try not to have the world roll back at me. They are only one floor down, but I’m glad the railing is there.

“Where then?” Guy no. 1 insists.

“In the Chapare.”

That stops the snickering.

“Chapare is where the drug barons live,” Guy 2 confides, his demeanor suddenly all too serious for his age and level of intoxication.

“No, they don’t,” I explain. “Some people grow coca and sell it. Some coca ends up as drugs. That’s not the same.”

“Bullshit.” Guy 1 shakes his head. He grins, but there is a grimace behind the grin that is not friendly anymore.

“You were just the lover of a drug baron, I bet,” Guy 2 dares and smiles, too, but not in a friendly way either. 

More like the way you smile at a cat before you kick it.

I feel the anger rising again. I have not had enough Singani to quench that.

“Fuck off.” I almost feel like throwing the half-empty bottle after them, but I manage to at least control that. 

So I just sit there and scowl.

“I think we’ve got ourselves a drunk drug-whore,” Guy 2 explains to his mate, as if he had just discovered something important that they might have to report somewhere.

“Go fuck yourselves.” I get up, almost without reeling. One hand is firmly on the railing.

They just snicker some more and then begin to walk away. 

“All gringas are whores,” I hear one of them add to this most brilliant analysis of who I am and where I come from.

I should never have told them I had lived in the Chapare. 

There are a million farmers there and maybe a thousand or so sell coca plants for cocaine that somebody else does, but I had forgotten the prejudice and racism here in Bolivia. It’s not as if it wasn’t in Chapare, either. Just reversed.

Back there you talked about everyone who lived in the East province cities as assholes who bled the poor working people dry. And also in cahoots with the “gringo oppressors”, as Manuel’s friends in the Movimiento Al Socialismo would say when they thought I didn’t listen.

I lean so far over the railing that I almost forget my plan about not falling out. “Go to hell! Go to hell!!

All I get for being a drunk bitch are some more stares from the street below and some more snickering from the two guys who round a corner and then they are out of my life but not of my mind.

I slam the balcony door and retreat to the dark room. My half-finished bottle stays outside.


*

Eventually the morning comes. It always does.

Still no email, though. No messages, either. 

But I can wait. 

I have all the time in the world.



In the Eye of the Storm

In the Eye of the Storm

Have you ever had one of those experiences where the phone rings and you just know something bad has happened?

Not easy to explain why – maybe there is no explanation. But I think everyone knows.

“Should I get it?”

Jarrod looks quickly at my mum. She only looks at Don Johnson on the TV. So he turns to me, almost apologetically.

“I can do it,” I say and reward him with a quick smile.

Mum has only been seeing Jarrod for a week, but he is pretty sedate. So I don’t mind being nice …

Wriggling out of the couch, I do feel a small point of iciness in my stomach but I ignore it. 

I take the three steps from the couch to the kitchen door, slowly and deliberately as if my body already knows something I don’t. Grab the phone and then close the door as much as I can without choking the chord: The eternal struggle.

Now I’m alone in our tiny kitchen. It’s snowing outside again. The lights from the street below give the flakes an eerie fluorescent glow against the night sky. It would be pretty if it wasn’t coming down in waves that only grow bigger by the hour.

“Hello?”

“Carrie … ”

“Lin?!”

“Yeah.”

“It’s … almost 10. Are you alright?”

“Not … really. Can I come over?”

“Now?”

“Yeah.”

“Where are you? Are you at home?”

“Not really … ”

Tendrils of coldness spread in my stomach.

“Lin – where are you?”

“It’s kinda hard to tell. Street signs are all covered by snow.”

“I’m coming to get you. But can’t you see where you are? There’s got to be something … ”

“I know where I am. Sort of.” 

A note of irritation creeps into her voice, but it quickly evaporates and there is only deep tiredness left like she is already half asleep.

“Are you far away?” I ask, twisting the phone chord harder between my fingers.

“No. I think I can be at your place in maybe 20 minutes.”

I want that to be 2 minutes. I want to interrogate her about what the hell is going on, but part of me already knows. 

Lin’s father dies in a hotel in Haiti. Big famous IT-business man and then  … dead. 

And her mother’s a nervous wreck whose best idea of a ‘cure’ to the insanity is to leave Lin with the old man who takes care of the house and then fly off to the Keys with her own lover, and then come back because she has a guilty conscience … but not really be there.

Lin got counseling. Lin got back to school. Lin walked and talked normally. But of course … ‘normal’ is just a word.

I feel determination rising in me, mixed with my own guilt about all the things I didn’t do or say until now, because how the hell could I? I can barely figure out my own life.

“I’m coming out to meet you. Are you coming up from the main street?”

“Yeah.” Her voice is weak. “I’m at the phone booth near the park … I think.” 

“Okay. I’ll go get my clothes. I’ll meet you.”

My heart beats faster, louder. I don’t remember if I manage to say goodbye properly. I just hang up and rush through the living room again, past Don Johnson and his melancholy beach walks on the TV …

Lin, please … stay safe.

There are the usual questions, from my mum – and a few perfunctory ones from Jarrod. And then a bit of shouting. But I’m off – down the stairs so fast I almost fall, and then into the gusts of snow that are like small razors against my skin.

There’s practically nobody on the street at this hour because the weather is straight from Antarctica. I work myself through the snow piles towards the main street and the little park. I didn’t get extra socks in my boots and soon I feel the cold numb my toes. So I walk faster.

I expect to see Lin all the time, but she is not coming. Did she go another way? Did she get lost?

After what feels like forever I see the small huddled shape on a bench, just opposite the first phone booth, I know on the main street.

I hurry closer and the small wiry form becomes Lin Christakis.

She is not wearing a cap, although this is definitely cap weather. Her dark stiff hair locks are sprinkled with snow. For a moment she looks like a frozen hedgehog.

I stop right in front of her and grab her shoulders, not really knowing if I should shake her or what the hell I should do.

“Why the hell didn’t you walk to meet me?” I yell.

She looks up at me, hollow-eyed. “I knew you’d find me.” 

“You’re absolutely crazy, girl. You’ll get pneumonia.”

I pull her up from the bench. She follows willingly, but as we make our way home, her arm in mine, I wonder if she would have kept sitting there if she hadn’t called me.

I quench the thoughts and we get the hell back to my apartment.

Everything has been so bad this autumn: The jerks in class, the teachers, Richard dumping me … everything except Lin. 

Until now.

We finally get in. My mum meets us in the hallway. She is all business and Jarrod follows in her wake.

“You must be freezing!” Mum almost pulls Lin’s coat off her and gives it to Jarrod so he can put it over the extra heater we have in the kitchen.

“It’s okay, mum …” I know it’s a pipe-dream with an entrance like that, but God, I wish mum would let us handle this ourselves!

“No, it’s not ‘okay’. Lin – do you want a hot shower?” My mum pulls open the door to our bathroom cubicle with one hand, while she is on her knees, working Lin’s boots with the other.

Lin kind of nods and I go with her and show her how to work the tabs. 

After half an hour, Lin gets out of the shower, a cloud of steam following her into our box of a hallway. 

I take her to my room and we find some dry clothes that don’t look too much like they don’t fit.

Inside the living room, my mum has found a use for her herbal tea obsession and made big mugs for the three of us.  Jarrod has strategically retired to the kitchen to make more coffee.

Nobody is talking and the only sounds are fake gunshots from the obligatory shootout at the end of the Miami Vice re-run. 

Lin sits on the couch. My mum sits beside her. I take the footstool with the “sacred Maya pattern” blanket. Jarrod stands by the kitchen door. 

Lin puts the tea to her lips but doesn’t drink anything before she sets it down again.

Next up is the news on TV about death here and bad shit there, and then I become clear-headed enough to find the remote and mute it all.

Lin sips her tea, at last, her lips barely touching.

My mum breathes deeply. “What’s going on, Lin?”

“My mother and I had a fight.” Lin’s voice is little more than a whisper.

“Again, huh?” I deadpan because that’s all I really can do now. 

“Again … ” Lin nods, while she looks down in the tea.

Then she eyes Jarrod for the first time. That’s his cue.

“Hi,” he says and smiles a well-rehearsed smile under the crisp mustache. “I’m Jarrod. Deborah’s … ” He nods towards my mum but hesitates.

“My hot date for the evening,” my mum explains, returning the smile but wryly.

“Since last Monday,” Jarrod adds, keeping up the cheery smile. “I’m the counselor at Collinwood High. Deborah subs in middle school there.”

“That’s nice,” Lin says, making an obvious effort to make it sound nice.

Then the phone rings.

I get up ready to get it, but my mum is quicker.

“Stay here,” she says.

I bite my lip and move over to the couch beside Lin. I don’t want my mum to take the damn phone because I know bloody well who is calling now. But what do I do? – Run past her and block the door?

Lin rocks a little back and forth, her eyes closed, holding the tea in one hand like she is meditating. The scent of hibiscus, the warmth – promises of other worlds than this.

My mum’s voice cuts through the half-closed kitchen door as Jarrod clears his throat and moves to annex the footstool I just left.

“Hello, Julia. Yes, she is here,” I hear my mum say from the kitchen.

“So … you two are attending Cuyahoga High?” Jarrod starts and looks expectantly at us.

And that’s when Lin jumps from the couch and barges into the kitchen. “I’m not going home – I’m not!”

My mum looks stunned for a moment and I can hear Lin’s mum at the other end talking frantically, a mixture of anger and desperation as if she wants to reach out and grab Lin just by shouting.

The next five minutes are a blur. I remember running to the kitchen also, reaching out for Lin, who stands there like a wild animal, trapped. Lin’s mum shouts at the other end of the line. My mum shouts. Lin cries. I say small incoherent, meaningless things, meant to calm her down, but I think Lin barely registers that I’m there.

Lin doesn’t want to talk to her mum, even though the distant, desperate voice pleads with her to do so, and sneaks in a few veiled threats, too, about changing schools again.

Then Jarrod tries, and that counselor-voice does something to douse the fire, enough for my mum to get Julia Christakis calm enough to listen to my mum’s pitch that I think she just made up on the spot:

‘Lin might get a serious cold if she’s to go out anymore tonight. Not good for her asthma … What if your car is stuck in the snow? … What if … What if … What if … ‘

My mum is annoying in a million ways which include being a certified health nut, stuffing half the kitchen with dietary supplements … but sometimes it’s pretty darn useful, especially when Lin’s mum is a sucker for those things, too. And sees my mum as an authority. 

That and the fact that it snows an awful lot outside now …

So Lin’s mum relents and lets her stay. At least until morning.

After she hangs up, Jarrod asks the predictable questions about Lin’s family, and if she gets any help and all that, but my mum ushers him back to the couch and says she’ll take that from here.

“Carrie – find the air mattress for Lin,” she says to me through tight lips. “And maybe you two should just go to your room? We’ll be off to Jarrod’s after the news … ”

Read the rest of the story in the ebook:


This story is only available in full-length as an ebook – with a little companion story (a ‘B-side’), also not published anywhere else.

If you subscribe to my newsletter I will mail you a free copy of the stories you have missed because they are only available as ebooks.