Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Epigraph

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Contents

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Jocko Hollow

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pp. 1-12

They are twelve and sixteen the summer two orphan grizzly cubs wander into town and pop out Peg Batchelder’s windshield. It makes the papers, though not much else does.
The summer they catch their parents in the fogged up truck, run back in and pretend to be watching Friday the 13th: Jason Lives. That July, their dog Baby Rhino dies, and their father builds a coffin from potato boxes...

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Muta Scale

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pp. 13-21

Camilo is talking to her about his mother.
“It’s big for her,” he says, balancing a paper plate on his hairy knees. “Summer Slam. Night of Champions. She’ll drag you by the ear to watch.”
Looking at Camilo’s knee is like staring at a scar, private, the skin so taut the bone shines lunar, so she looks away at Dr. Bob’s children who are quietly putting fistfuls of weeds...

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Hibernators

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pp. 22-27

After having enough of the world, of parties and taxes and automobiles, of parents and work and airplanes, the guy and the girl decided to hibernate. They were in love, which meant sometimes they wanted to chew each other’s fingernails and eat each other’s flesh, and it was hard to find time to do those things in the world, and harder still to do those things...

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New Year

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pp. 28-41

Over the long holiday, three of Parviz’s sisters got nose jobs.
Anahita’s came out perfect, like a dwarf rose floating in a porcelain finger bowl. Nasibeh, who along with her twin sister, Niloofar, had just turned twenty-one, woke to the stylish button Niloofar had wanted—a mix-up of the hospital or a twist of fate, no one would ever know. Meanwhile...

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Victory Forge

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pp. 42-48

The boy sends home three letters from Basic, where they are making him into something. His words are pieces, insect legs in sandy loam.
He takes to the military quickly, memorizing the Soldier’s Creed, believing the religion that all things can be improved. He eats their good food and wakes to their song. Wasn’t it only yesterday that he sat in a...

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Sour Milk

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pp. 49-66

He was born with a blond pompadour in Comanche, Wyoming to raconteurs and pitiable circumstances. His father had just finished serving out the last months of a jail stint for writing bad checks and masterminding an elaborate pyramid scheme; his mother was a secretary for a shady utility company and spent her free time downing boxes of pink...

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Continuity in Filmmaking

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pp. 67-74

Geoffrey has been a good helpmate and lover in our home, as well as a renaissance man at work, but he cannot be in two places simultaneously. For proof of this, I can point to the empty side of our bed, or to the absence of his dun-colored hairs on the pillow, or to the remarkably clear water in the bottom of the toilet bowl. When he arrives home, Geoffrey...

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Adwok, Pantokrator

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pp. 75-87

When he still had a stubbled head, the boy Adwok attempted to subdue his temper, straining it through the veil of his afternoon prayers. He clenched his right foot, slightly deformed since birth, into the shape of a nautilus, releasing it one toe at a time. Guide us on the straight path, he said, setting his jaw, whispering his way into a groove of...

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MacArthur Park

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pp. 88-100

For reasons they can’t fathom, Joanna and Rudy are separated on the plane to Los Angeles by a boy with no legs. They discover him in Joanna’s seat when they go to sling their carry-ons into the overhead bin.
The boy looks about fifteen and sits with an US Weekly splayed across his crotch, doesn’t notice them or refuses to, so deeply involved is he in...

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The Yana Land

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pp. 101-106

Maxwell Yana whispered a story in my head, his lips so close my ear begin to thaw.
Listen here, he said, the words rattling behind his mossy teeth. I tried to swat him away, but he advanced slow and deliberate. Once upon a time, he had been like a yellow dog, eager and jumping. Now this was Yana, draggin’ himself in the skin of something, in what’s left of...

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Everything Gets Mixed Together at the Pueblo

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pp. 107-120

Everybody is supposed to be on the bus at 12:15.
This is everybody, most of them white. There are a lot of them, small and tall, fat and pale, but if you are looking down at them from the pueblo, they just look like golf tees lined up, brittle and wooden.
Kind of like this: I I I I II I I III I I
The bus will take everybody up to the pueblo to see the...

Acknowledgments

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pp. 121-123