A gang of street kids, an anonymous radio announcer, a detective from the future, a presidential assassination attempt and a frequently mistaken narrator all play a part in this jumble of introductions to an open-source novel inspired by the works of Macedonio Fernandez.
It took Esperanza weeks to work up the nerve to knock on Macedonia's door. First she had to decide what to wear. She wanted to seem casual but not too casual, a little formal but not too formal. Since she had no wardrobe, though, in the end she simply wore the best outfit that Miranda could steal. That was the easy part.
She had to figure out what to say. Why would someone show up at some stranger's door and "just want to talk"? It had better be for a good reason, or at least for something believable. Maybe she was doing a survey. Did she work for the government, then? No, that would be too scary. If a government official knocked on your door, it couldn't be good. An interview, perhaps? Esperanza liked this idea, but she needed more of a story. Was it for a student paper? But Esperanza didn't go to school. For a newspaper, then? But Macedonia was in the media business. She would know people and places and Esperanza did not. She would get caught in the lie.
She settled for a puff piece from a remote provincial magazine. She thought that would work okay, but it all turned out to be a waste of time, because as soon as Macedonia opened the door, she said, "Oh, you're the girl who's been following me. Won't you come in?". Esperanza followed shyly to the kitchen, where Macedonia made her sit and tell her what she wanted in her tea. Esperanza was now too nervous to talk, so there went the interview story out the window. Instead, Macedonia did all the talking. She wanted to know why she was being followed, especially by assorted street youth. Did they think she had something worth stealing? She invited Esperanza to take a look around the house, and note where anything valuable was. All she asked was that they come and steal things on a day when she herself was not around. She didn't care about things. She just did not want to get hurt, or see anyone else get hurt either.
Esperanza was not sure what to say, or even how to drink her tea. It seemed like an alien drink suddenly. She acted like she'd never seen a cup and saucer in her life. But she managed to convey to Macedonia that she had only the friendliest intentions.
"You sure have a funny way of going about it", Macedonia scolded, while offering more biscuits.
"We listen to you every day", Esperanza said, and described the corner in the emergency room of the downtown central hospital where the homeless kids gathered for shelter, for food, and for company. Now it was Macedonia's turn to be startled.
"You're the teacher", Esperanza instructed, "we learn lots from you every day. You seem to know all sorts of stuff. How spiders make their webs. How far it is to Sweden. Why some trees are always green. Where's the coldest place on earth. How the Ancient Egyptians baked their bread."