Wells Tower

12 articles
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The Great Paper Caper

The story of Frank Bourassa, the world’s most prolific counterfeiter.

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The Tuber

Navigating the alligator-infested rivers of North Florida.

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Who Wants to Shoot an Elephant?

“What kind of a person looks upon the world’s largest land animal—a beast that mourns its dead and lives to retirement age and can distinguish the voice of its enemies—and instead of saying ‘Wow!’ says something like ‘Where’s my gun?’”

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The Dance Contest [Excerpt]

Intrigues within a Thai prison.

"'My friends,' he says, 'I hope all of you are having a mellow and productive day. Perhaps you feel surprised that I say "friends." Well, you deserve to be called by that word. Three months ago, I came to you seeking assistance with several problems. Inmates doing bodily harm to each other was a problem. Drug casualties were a problem. Another problem was videos filmed on contraband phones, videos which referenced conduct that is unbecoming to you and unbecoming to this institution. One more problem was some chattering birds who told false stories to the BBC about conditions in our facility. Three months ago, I asked for your help with these problems, and there has been no trouble since.'"

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The Old Man at Burning Man

A father-son trip to the Playa.

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The Thing With Feathers

The Ivory-Billed Woodpecker was extinct. Then it wasn’t. The story of an uncertain resurrection.

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Moto

Escalating competitions between two boys take an unexpected turn.

"Most of my losses, though, were at the hands of the son, Jimmy Knockwood Jr. Two years older than me, Jimmy wore a hint of Iroquois aristocracy in his cheekbones, and some part of his body was usually sheathed in a dirty plaster cast. He beat me at every sport we had equipment for. At 13, he had arms like a man and could throw a baseball with such force that after playing catch with him you couldn't turn a doorknob. Once, when we were wrestling, he put me in a choke hold that made my vision go white. I cursed Jimmy's mother, and he rubbed a toad into my teeth. Seeing me in tears afterward, my father asked why I put myself through the disgrace of playing with Jimmy. He had forgotten the infatuation a boy has no choice but to feel for a peer who is good at everything."

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In Gold We Trust

On switching to the gold standard and a trip to the Yukon to witness the modern gold rush.

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Meltdown

The writer travels with his father to Iceland and Greenland:

It usually takes a week of traveling with Ed Tower before I’m seized by the tantrum-pitching impulse and can barely resist the urge to punch myself again and again in the face.

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Welcome to the Far Eastern Conference

On former Knicks savior Stephon Marbury and his post-NBA life playing in China.

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Barry Hannah in conversation with Wells Tower

“Fiction writers are good people, usually. There’s a lot of pretenders, but I haven’t met a lot of sons of bitches.”

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My Kushy New Job

Lessons learned while temping at an Amsterdam coffee shop.