Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 1-5

Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. v-vi

Acknowledgments

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. vii-viii

read more

River of Toys

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 1-11

I love to walk with my eyes closed. At night, when I come back to my apartment from work, there are almost no cars on the road, and I can walk and walk until I hear a car coming from behind or until I see through my closed eyelids the light of one corning toward me, and I open my eyes and find myself walking in the middle of Highland Avenue. ...

read more

Celibacy-by-the-Atlantic

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 12-26

It was a clever idea, but the movie did nothing with it. The noncheerleader girls, wearing their boyfriends' leather jackets and popping gum in time to the music, swaggered between rows of combination lockers and advanced toward the camera in a phalanx of lipsticked smiles. ...

read more

Night of the Red Palm

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 27-34

"One thing I ought to point out is that I don't think morgues are usually ever closed," Chuck said, perched at the edge of his rolling chair and looking down for a minute at the first draft of Kristy Roller's narrative essay and then back up to her face and the red hair around it, stirred, as if waiting to get back out in the wind. ...

read more

Wickersham Day

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 35-44

Getting the dog off the roof meant that somebody had to pull Danny's Land Cruiser up to the kitchen door, as close as possible to the edge of the house, then Danny would climb on top of the car, while Booger would walk back and forth, not quite understanding that he was on the roof, ...

read more

Ralph Goes to Mexico

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 45-58

Even at highway speed, the Ryder van's automatic transmission seems never to shift, just winds out faster and more frantic, like a washing machine on the spin cycle, revs up from ramp to interstate, to a high whinny at sixty-five. If Lydia tries to go any faster, some kind of governor comes on and literally pushes the gas pedal back up. ...

read more

Hungry Hungry Hippos

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 59-65

In my first year out of college, I spent so much time staring into my old black-and-white television that I began to incorporate into my own eyes the tendency of the picture to roll when the tubes overheated. Drifting off to sleep, I often had vertical-hold problems: ...

read more

Burt Osborne Rules the World

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 66-78

All day long, on that day in the sixth grade when my life changed forever and the world became a better place, everything had been smelling and tasting like overcooked eggs. I wasn't sick exactly; it was more that I was no longer friends with the taste of food. ...

read more

How to Swallow

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 79-95

Frank Sinatra was dead, to begin with, but that wasn't the lead story. Cars were on fire in Indonesia, burning yellow and orange on the front page of the same newspaper in every vending box, which Jim could see every time the chartered bus stopped at a corner, the whole page bright with flames, leaving a narrow column on the right: ...

read more

A Lover's Guide to Hospitals

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 96-105

In my oldest fantasy, everything is perfect after the giant bicycle accident. My friends and I clench our teeth as if imitating sharks, all our appendixes ruptured, such a crowd of us that they have had to call a second ambulance. The pain weighs us down on our stretchers as cleanly as a bag of sand. ...

read more

In a City with Dogs

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 106-111

Other than a man I used to know from school who was collecting signatures on a petition to abolish the international police force, and the kid in Central Park who tried to rob me by saying he had a gun built into the shoe of his artificial leg, my memories of the months I lived in New York are more or less unpopulated. ...

read more

A Bend among Bumblebees

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 112-122

We're sitting there waiting for our fake margaritas when we hear that sneezing noise of a charter bus pumping its air brakes, and in about half a minute La Sombrero is wall-to-wall with green warm-up jackets from one of those flag twirling and color guard squads that were competing this weekend at the HeiferDome. ...

read more

Ashes North

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 123-138

Roy's two sons both cried on the phone when Bob finally reached them from the lobby of a pizza restaurant whose main dining area was filled with coin-operated cars and rocket ships. Bob had been calling their house every few hours, not knowing when they would get back from their camping trip. ...

read more

Hot Plate

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 139-151

Cabrito al carbon. Salsa, roja. Blosser is thinking in Spanish, though he doesn't really know how to speak it, except for a few restaurant-related phrases, thinking as he always does on his last call of the day, even filling in on the blackboard at the back of his eyes those rolling diacritical squiggles that English doesn't have a name for. ...

read more

A Puddle of Sex Books

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 152-162

How it starts is that a man is driving in the desert and a woman passes him in a car, and she is naked. Then there is something about how she pulls in for gas and somebody else sees her, maybe an old man. Or maybe by then she's curled up in the backseat of somebody else's car. ...

read more

Singing Pumpkins

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 163-169

George was sitting with Life magazine opened to a page that showed Senator Barry Goldwater's face lit from below in the manner of kids in a tent trying to scare each other with flashlights. The sun had gone behind a cloud; he had read all his comic books twice; ...

read more

A Foolish but Lovable Airport

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 170-182

It is very satisfying to be part of a dialogue in which a man invites a woman whom he's already given up on to come visit him at his parents' summer house, at the very moment when that woman has a man in her apartment watching basketball and waiting for her to come back inside with the barbecued chicken legs. ...