Cover

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pp. C-C

Title Page, Dedication, Copyright

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-x

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Bacon on the Beach

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pp. 1-20

He walks gingerly out into the water, feeling for broken glass. Mud squeezes up cool between his toes. When the water is chest deep, he pushes up from the bottom muck out into the lake. He aims for a yellow porch light on the far shore and starts swimming, plowing through the chilly water in a slow freestyle....

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Running Away

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pp. 21-36

It was Donny McLaughlin who taught Fisher how to run away, not suddenly, but with careful style. Donny had been doing it since he was six, when he stowed away in the backseat of the car of a mechanic from Lakeland who had come to his father’s salvage yard to pick up a manifold for a ’58 Chevy half-ton pickup. With Fisher along,...

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American Standard

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pp. 37-55

The truth is, Billy tells himself, this is a pretty damned stupid thing to do. But he’s promised to go with Royce to the bike shop to help him bring his new motorcycle home, and a promise is a promise, even if Billy hasn’t been on motorcycle in probably twenty years and the whole idea makes his nouveau-middle-class-even-though-I-don’t-have-a-job-anymore...

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Moving Man

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pp. 56-78

After the fourth ring, the machine in the living room picked up. It was a student, she had heard he helped students move their stuff from one apartment to the next, and she wanted her things moved. He decided he’d call her back later. He turned the TV on and settled into the couch. He fell asleep in the middle of...

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Memorial Day

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pp. 79-82

Samantha watches her sister, Naomi, rub the tabby, slowly, stroking her hand along the narrow back to the haunches, like milking a cow’s teat. The morning before, Naomi had followed the cat through the wet grass behind the greenhouse, watched the cat’s flanks bulge and strain until it dropped its litter, then took the wet sticky lumps and...

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Trash Fish

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pp. 83-93

Donny sat in the front of the boat with the rods and waited for his father to figure the motor out. The woman had never left the doorway; she’d taken Raye’s money and pointed a finger down the path to the river. “Boat’s in the water,” was all she’d said, and then she’d eased...

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Swimming the Cave

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pp. 94-96

She’s here because she wants to be. She’s sure of that. She’s here, she thinks, because she needs to know how far he’ll go for her. She’s here because she’s pretty sure already how far she’ll go for him. Pretty far, she thinks. Far....

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Happy Puppy

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pp. 97-121

Life had been good. He and Lucy had lived in apartments for a while, and when she had finished her degree and the future had started to look certain, they bought the house, brand-new and white-stuccoed, sitting plump against a lake full of motorboats and skiers and aging bass...

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Julia Loving the Face of God

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pp. 122-143

Julia Ross learned to live with a certain spartan simplicity in the months after her oldest son died. It became her way of balancing out her husband’s excesses, by answering them with her own passive resistance to the elaborate, the ornate, and the careless. The first things she removed from her life were the indulgences of expectation and grief....

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A Small Church in the Country

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pp. 144-156

After everyone from the Young Adults Group and all of their chaperones have unloaded their bags and bundles from the bus and taken to their cars and left, after all the good-byes are said and done, Bob Wenkins drives the bus out of the parking lot. Carol, his wife, walks to the very back of the bus and sits down sideways, the back of her head...

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The Grove

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pp. 157-163

Donny sat in the back of the car with the chickens in the smell and the feathers, making sure that the cage didn’t tip over and fluster the chickens. If it did, they might beat themselves bloody against the chicken wire, and they would be harder to sell. His father generally took Donny with him when he went to sell chickens. Raye would run out in...

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Ghost River

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pp. 164-180

The first day of the Young Adults Group campout, lunch was hotdogs cooked on a propane grill and did not, to Fisher’s considerable disappointment, involve any elbow rubbing with girls whatsoever. Separate tables for the ladies, a watchful parent at the end of each table. The rest of the day was camping stuff, canoeing on the river and...

Acknowledgments

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pp. 181-181

Back Cover

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pp. BC-BC