ALTHOUGH IT WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE TO THANK everyone who helped me struggle with this book, I'd like to acknowledge a few of the most important ones:
First, there's my agent, Oliver Abbott, who mixes the best martinis I've ever tasted, and my editor, Sophie LaRoux, who knows a thing or two about structure, grammar and foreign-made intake manifolds.
My wife, Marcelle, did more than her share of proofreading, and added her own thoughts about English bulldog breeding. My children, Tory and Baxter, spoke at great lengths about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. They also helped me brush up on my Latin tenses.
Thanks also to Professor Brian Porto, who long ago loaned his library, his thoughts and his extensive collection of war-era toy decoder rings. None of this could have been written without his patience and wisdom.
The writer's task is always a solitary, and occasionally lonely one. Timmy Narver delivered the newspaper to my porch every morning during the 26 months I worked on this project. Chuck Hoyt delivered more than my mail -- he also brought his jokes and his weather predictions.
Police officer Richard "Marty" Martinez frequently patrols my neighborhood. Chief Robert Pennoyer led the Police Bureau during much of the last two years. Thank you, men, for your courage.
I am indebted to the couples who answered my personal ads. Your anonymity has been, and will continue to be, my highest priority. Thanks again for filling out the forms in such exhaustive detail. If those rashes don't clear up soon, try using talcum powder with cornstarch.
Richard Berry wrote "Louie, Louie." Brandon Cruz starred in "The Courtship of Eddie's Father," and Roger Maris still holds the record for hitting the most home runs during a season. Becky Whitmer did much of my photocopying at the CopyShop in the University district. Thank you for collating so accurately, and I hope you and Tad enjoyed the prom.
Mick Jagger said, "You can't always get what you want." Thanks also to Henry Winkler, whose work as Fonzie on ABC's "Happy Days" proved a constant inspiration during some dark hours. I must also acknowledge the financial assistance of the Tuckman Soap Institute (grant MZ4520951).
A writer's work begins long before he turns on his computer. Dr. Wayne Roth delivered me at Syracuse General Hospital, after 17 hours of labor. Sorry for the delay. My parents, Lionel and Pia, gave me all the advantages a boy could want during his first 18 years, including a series of bicycles, a nice house to live in and a generous weekly allowance. I am grateful. Mrs. Edie Brewster, my first-grade teacher, taught me how to read. Coach Brant Watson taught me how not to throw like a girl, and Mrs. Carol Benge, my eighth-grade social studies teacher, finally showed me where Chad is.
Thanks also to Owen Sharpstein, who found my wallet in a public restroom in the Vatican, and mailed it all the way back to me in America. Thanks also to Clyde Ellerbee, who loaned me his last clip of ammunition in Panama. (We nailed old Pineapple Face, didn't we?)
Charlotte Mills was a wonderful high school girlfriend -- thanks for the memories. I've always enjoyed M&M's, both plain and peanut. Thanks also to Tom Brokaw on NBC, who always seems to know what's going on.
If I left anyone out -- and I'm sure I did -- please accept my apologies, and my heartfelt thanks. There's no doubt that your able assistance and influence have helped me create this work.
Peter Carlin's book, "Brave New Bride," will be published next year by Warner Books.