Cover

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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 2-7

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Thanksgiving

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pp. 1-18

When the phone rings in the empty loft Ted knows exactly who it is: exquisite Mary, gentle Mary, tough Mary and brainy—his brother's wife—for whom Ted would fall in a minute if such things were permitted. She seems cold as they climb through some small talk, gets to the point fast, warms to her task: "Oh Teddy, really, you have to come this year. ...

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Blues Machine

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pp. 19-38

Rockin' Joe Heath stumbled into the stairwell in nothing but a black Zildjian T-shirt, shushing himself, trying to see right, pounding head. He recalled the old lily pattern of the wallpaper and something about the tattered edges of the carpet over the stairs, but he couldn't remember any act of climbing those stairs or what must have ensued. ...

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A Job at Little Henry's

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pp. 39-62

Richard Milk thought about the stolen money all weekend, planned different speeches, different ways of dealing with Dewey Burke on Tuesday when Dewey was due to show up. Richard wanted to explode in Dewey's pocked face, but yelling wasn't going to work. Better to quietly ask that jailbird to admit the theft, then offer to let him work it off, ...

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Taughannock Falls

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pp. 63-76

To fly anywhere at a moment's notice is my job, very nearly. At Merrymount Hospice, the morning after the afternoon of Japonica's call ("Stephen has been asking for you"), I have to fill out a form explaining my relationship to the patient. I write, Friends from birth. This relationship occasions no questions, and I'm given a wristband. ...

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Fredonia

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pp. 77-97

George Skinner drives to Michigan every six weeks for the store, and every six weeks he drives right past Fredonia, New York, where his sister lives with her husband Kevin. He doesn't stop. Every six weeks he thinks about brilliant Tracy Lynn, thinks about how he ought to stop this time, how he is going to stop this time, ...

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Loneliness

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pp. 98-109

Porter hadn't seen a whole movie in years. At his kitchen table he ate babaganoush and pita (both of his own careful creation), thinking rather hopelessly of all the prints he'd worked on of all the rushes from all the films he and his colleagues at MegaArt Color Labs had processed, ...

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Fog

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pp. 110-121

Twice I have been lost in the fog in a boat, once with Cara, once with Peter Pearson and both times scared shitless. Cara's canoe the first time in Blanchard Cove (we call it Fast Cove) with harbor seals around us playing and snorting, swimming under us and coming up way ahead, dunking when we got close, coming up way ahead again, ...

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Anthropology

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pp. 122-148

The Bar Double Zero was nothing Owen had dreamed. Dr. Clark was much more taciturn and plain unfriendly even than Owen's uncle had warned. And Dr. Clark was short, with a homemade haircut and wild eyebrows like hedges untrimmed. And dressed in polyester head to toe, pants and shirt from Woolworth's, no hat, ...

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Big Bend

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pp. 149-174

That night Mr. Hunter (the crew all called him Mr. Hunter) lay quietly awake two hours before the line of his thoughts finally made the twitching conversion to mirage and hallucination that heralded ease and melting sleep. ...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 175-176

Special thanks to the University of Maine at Farmington and to the Ohio State University for crucial release time. Warm thanks to the MacDowell Colony for time to think and write. Fondest thanks to my friends and colleagues and teachers and editors and agents and especially to my parents and siblings ...