Publication Year: 2014
Published by: Wayne State University Press
Series: Made in Michigan Writers Series
Praise, Title Page, Series Page, Copyright Page, Dedication
Dogs I Have Known
It is said that dogs are good. People with dogs live longer, are happier,
and are less likely to have their homes burglarized.
I have never owned a dog. This is in part because I am afraid of them, but also because I do not want to take care of an animal. My daughter would love a dog, but I will never buy her one.
So I guess you know what kind of person I am....
In his house, there are beautiful things. In the Jungle Room, there are statues of monkeys and a waterfall. In the Pool Room, there is a twist of tapestry for a ceiling. There is red and gold everywhere. He himself is a work of beauty—sideburn, lip, pelvis. What’s known as a human god. Above men, though with them. Born among us,...
When Jack stepped off the city bus, wind blew into his open coat, drying his sweaty shirt and chilling him. The ride home from high school often made him motion sick, but there was nothing he could do about it, just as there was nothing he could do about the high school itself, which was large and old, with tall corridors that always seemed underlit. He zipped up his coat, licked the pimple at the corner of his mouth, and started home....
I had turned to James, one of my proofreaders, to guide me in
matters of love, to keep me from making mistakes. This now itself
seemed to have been a mistake. On top of this, his work had begun
So I called the jackal on the phone and ordered him over to my office, where he might not be so comfortable, where I might pull his forearm hair or pinch him with my staple remover. But when he...
The woman had moist. Damp pod inside. Intimate times, she was boiled snow pea slick. Months postmeeting, couldn’t form a sentence. So directly affected by her, did I was. After we lost our baby, I sometimes went “yit” or “jit jit,” my brain damp and _, while she absorbed the pain and gave off aseptic smiles. Current problem: I had raked the leaves into a pile. While she fumed, the leaves kept falling. Was I supposed to know piles of leaves aggravated her?...
A Talented Individual
When had it dawned on him that he was a talented individual? Was it on the first day of second grade when Sister Rose asked him if he wanted yet another sheet of math problems while other kids struggled with their first? Was it the eighth-grade forensics tournament in which he placed first in extemporaneous speaking? Or was it his MBA in marketing from the Kellogg School at Northwestern, a top-five B-school?...
Helmet of Ice
It was a cold November day, and our dry boats rested one hundred yards from a sea broken into churning black heaves of water between jostling bergs. I feared my father would chase me with his ax, as a joke, forcing me to run over the hard creases of shore ice, which were sharp enough to cut through my sealskin pants and gash my legs. My mother lay on her stomach among the women. For some...
Assembled there in a fifth-floor conference room at the North American headquarters in Plano were twelve of Frito-Lay’s finest minds. No, we weren’t the very top of the org chart—though Helen was VP for Consumer Strategy, Insights, and Growth—but we represented a crucial creative force. I believed a company was driven by its products. Period. As a senior project scientist for the Doritos...
...morning but crossed the sky low and to the south, like a wobbly trucks hauled off the rubble. Some debris went by train. Borden?s still made milk and sherbet and ice cream at the plant on Highway 100, and Elsie the Cow?s red-and-yellow face still smile
After Ronald Reagan became president, hard times found me in West Allis, Wisconsin. They followed me around, then they got ahead of me—like my shadow. The sun flew into the air every morning but crossed the sky low and to the south, like a wobbly punt that curved out-of-bounds. A wrecking ball was knocking down six-blocks worth of Allis-Chalmers. Twenty-foot-tall dump trucks hauled off the rubble. Some debris went by train. Borden’s...
Woman of Peace
By the time she turned seventeen, Meg Shannon had come to believe
that the world pretty much sucked, but with the help of friends and
family you could build a little tarp-covered shack in which you could
ride out the shit storms.
She was raised in Justice, a southwest suburb of Chicago, where 294 and I-55 tangled and separated, where the late news was filled with shootings and fires and indicted politicians, where nearby...
My Nonsexual Affair: A Tale of Strong and Unusual Feelings
My nonsexual affair began on the day Linda and I had hot-fudge sundaes, in the park, near the fence, where most of the grass was dead and the weeds could not be identified by anyone who was not a trained botanist....
Windows Reflect Some Light
He was placing the sprinkler on his small front lawn when she got
out of her two-tone Buick Le Sabre at the curb and approached.
“It’s me,” she said.
She went right by him, up his porch steps, and into his house, while he stood on the lawn.
He had never seen her before. ...
The Bad Reader
Two grown men at the Dairy Queen consider a difficult case: a nephew gone astray, a gun brandished in a bookstore, shots fired. Red, the taller and older of the two men, wearing shorts and a blue polo shirt, stands by the plate-glass window, holding the stub end of his ice-cream cone at his side, in a nonlicking position. His hiked-up white athletic socks cover his bowlegged calves without a wrinkle;...
Always the Same Dream
In the dream, I’m always eating a bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich on the green-line L train when a woman carrying a boa constrictor gets on at thirty-fifth Street. She sits across from me wearing a bobcat-print pair of stretch pants and a tiger-print top. She has her hair pulled up in an alarmingly vertical ponytail, kind of like ...
No Joy in Santa’s Village
It was the bottom of the ninth and Santa was down 43–1. After playing every position, taking every at bat, all game, he was tired. He was six for thirty-one with one run batted in, himself, in the seventh, on a fading drive down the right-field line that had curved around the foul pole at 353 feet. He’d taken his base trot slower than anyone had ever taken it. He was tired and he was resting himself....