Cover

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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-7

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

Thanks to The Ohio State University MFA Program in Creative Writing and The Ohio State University Press for their sponsorship of The Ohio State University Prize for Short Fiction. Thanks as well to the contest readers for loving short stories enough to plow through a gazillion of them. ...

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Little America

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pp. 1-12

They’d all blow in to some hick town where Hank and Lorraine would put on a program in a hall they’d hired for the night. Gorgeous in aviators and rattlesnake books, Hank jumped and spun and flirted with ladies and men alike as Lorraine chain-smoked and flipped charts that showed how people in other towns had gotten richer and happier ...

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Suitcase

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pp. 13-23

Some people were yelling that it was bourgeois to care if the kitchen floor pulled at your socks. Yeah, and what was wrong with shit on the side of the toilet? Shit’s natural. ...

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Holy Sisters

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pp. 24-38

It was early evening in Merida. The air was warm as a hot tub, and the plaza was full of dressed-up locals: women in those embroidered white dresses, men in loose white shirts. Little kids running and screaming. There was music and some of the old people were dancing. Maybe it was Sunday or something. ...

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In the Garden

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pp. 39-49

I’m out whacking blackberry bushes with the machete when Lulu and Guy come driving up with a jar of Red Zinger and a bottle of gin. Palmer is in his shop sawing away on something so Lulu goes and pounds on his window. He must have looked up because she starts a little war dance, waving the gin over her head. ...

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Ticket

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pp. 50-62

Them asleep, Pen would go out to the woodshed for an armful of logs. Then she’d get the idea to detour down to the cellar. Hit the light and stand still a second until the mice stopped skittering. Then—well, well— there was that bottle of Jameson lying on its side, hidden behind some ten-year-old jars of pickled beets. ...

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Letters

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pp. 63-92

Just when it seemed like we might have to marry poor Chuck, Viv got a love letter from a man she’d never met. It came to her at the Portland Hotel where she operated the cigar stand on the evening shift. ...

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Roll

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pp. 93-100

His jaw had been twitching for fifty miles so she wasn’t too surprised when all of a sudden he yanked the steering wheel to one side. The pickup veered off the narrow dirt road and went jolting along through the sagebrush, coming to a stop at the canyon edge. ...

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Yukon River

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pp. 101-115

It’s mostly drunk Indians where I’m working at the moment. Better than mostly white guys. Indians just drink. White guys, it’s got to be you look like somebody. ...