Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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I

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I Have the Room Above Her

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pp. 3-38
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Every evening at 5:30, Bern walked from the storefront office of the small architectural firm he worked for on West Eighth Street to Glasco’s, a bar one block north of the Cedar Tavern on University Place. There he had a sandwich and a beer. After dining alone in...

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Suitor

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pp. 39-63
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The cabbie pushed a button and rolled down the windows rather than ease out of his coat as he drove. Shivering in the back seat, Bern concentrated on an ad posted in front of him in a small silver frame: a Lincoln Center staging of the Romeo and Juliet ballet. A few years...

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The Empire of the Dead

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pp. 64-96
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Bern was scheduled for a routine colonoscopy on Wednesday morning, forty-eight hours from now. Today, carefree indulgence. Tomorrow, penance and prep.
He showered, dressed, and fixed himself three scrambled eggs, bacon, and two flour tortillas warmed in the oven. Glancing at the...

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Art and Architecture

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pp. 97-114
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The building seemed to shudder with the sigh of the opening door, and a dusting of snow blew into the lobby. Bern stepped inside with the kitten in his arms.
“Oh no,” said Ryszard, the super. He was standing by the elevator doing nothing Bern could see....

II

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Signs

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pp. 117-141
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I hitched to Port Arthur on the advice of an art professor, convinced I wouldn’t stay long. At the time—1970, my sophomore year—I was thinking of becoming a painter. “In our day, the central principle of art is collage,” the professor said. “Image-bits. Like a series...

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The Magnitudes

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pp. 142-230
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Later, just before my morning show at the planetarium, I catch a crosstown bus to Oak Cliff. After a few short blocks, the bus pulls up to a dusty intersection separating a residential neighborhood from a small business district. A tennis-shoe army gets on: half...

III

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Basement and Roof

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pp. 233-266
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McGee’s, next to Bern’s building, sold many strange and wonderful things: high-end kitchen implements, ladies’ perfumes, pets. Bern wasn’t sure what this combination said about his West Side neighborhood. One day, he popped into the shop for an extension...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 267-268
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“I Have the Room Above Her,” titled “Bern,” appeared originally in the Georgia Review; “Signs” and “The Empire of the Dead” appeared originally in the Hopkins Review; portions of “The Magnitudes” appeared originally in the Georgia Review and in Gulf Coast, titled “Magnitude” and “What It...

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About the Author

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pp. 269-270
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Tracy Daugherty was born and raised in Midland, Texas. He is the author of four novels, five short story collections, and a book of personal essays, as well as biographies of Donald Barthelme, Joseph Heller, and Joan Didion (forthcoming from...

Fiction Titles in the Series

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pp. 271-271
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