As Mark mentioned last week, I took some time off to explore France's thriving black market baby trade, an impulsive idea that had lodged itself into my brain after having read an enticing Condé Nast Traveller piece entitled, "Paris: Good Food, Good Orphans." As it turns out, parentless Eurotykes are not quite as easy to come by as I had initially hoped—which isn't to say they were entirely unavailable: A few bills slipped into the palm of a surly, Babar-themed-carousel operator and I was eventually offered the pick of the litter. My new acquisition is a precious three-year-old who tells me his name is Henri, but whom, for socialization purposes, I've rechristened Andy Roddick. And while parenthood has gotten off to a somewhat rocky start for your associate editor, we think a homesickness-alleviating trip to the Paris-like environs of Santa Monica Blvd.'s French Market will be just what the doctor ordered to finally stop little A.R.'s incessant cries for someone he keeps referring to as "Maman!"
In any case, if you're wondering what any of this has to do with you, it doesn't, save for the fact that Mark has suddenly and mysteriously gone AWOL himself, the only clue being a hastily scrawled Post-It on my monitor reading, "Off to alert authorities to your recent international abduction scheme. Back Friday." And while I'd love to say Go Fug Yourself's Heather Cocks was back for another superlative fill-in stint, sadly, for the next two days, it's just you and me. And Andy.