zam and every year i tell the story of how we met.
i met zam at the 1993 autumn olympics in west chesterfield, verhampshire, UK. zam was operating a make-your-own hot air balloon stand near the port-o-johns. i asked him how much. he asked me for the hour or all-night? i said, "you can teach me to make my own hot air balloon in an hour?"
he seemed confused but then recovered, "oh oh! right! uh, hot air balloons, sure. how much you got?"
"not much, i'm afraid," i was afraid.
"that's just how much it costs!" he exclaimed and snatched my pocketbook.
together we made a hot air balloon of old deflated beach balls. when we finished i was less than confident about the safety of the vessel. but when he asked if i wanted to take her up for a test drive, i didn't have the heart to turn him down. we flew up to about two hundred feet. "that's probably high enough," i said.
"nah, got really feel her out! test her limits!" he shouted back.
we got up to about 600 feet and that's when it happened, the entire town of west chesterfield was fire-bombed. we still don't know who did it or why. but all records of west chesterfield, the county of verhampshire, and even the entire 1993 autumn olympics have been destroyed.
anyway, zam and i have been good friends ever since.