Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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p. vii

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Don’t Think

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pp. 1-19

Don’t think of the roses on the trellis overhead—you motoring through, captain of your tricycle. Don’t think of the birdbath either—where robins and blue jays drank or just rested—nor of the giant copper beech tree near it that you later climbed until you could enter your house...

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Of Course He Wanted to Be Remembered

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pp. 20-39

“Of course he wanted to be remembered, more than anything. He would have loved this...

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Uncle Ray

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pp. 40-58

Little did you know then, when you first stood alone on its white wooden raft, lord of the lake you looked out upon, how many times you would return to it as you have again today. You loved so many things about the Berkshires but none more than you loved...

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The Chill

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pp. 59-72

A man walks into a bar and decides that he will tell a joke beginning with those exact words—“A man walks into a bar.” He feels that he’s really been a kind of crypto-comedian all his life and wants a chance to show it, if only to the people seated at the bar. Just before...

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The Offering

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pp. 73-87

The first time was when his mother was crying. He reached in his pocket, opened his hand, and offered her a nickel in the hopes that she’d make up with him. He didn’t remember her exact reaction—he was only about five—but her tears stopped as if a waterfall suddenly...

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The House Visitor

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pp. 88-104

It’s Halloween, and I’m in a house again. Only a mother and her little girl live in it. I would have liked to have a better view of what costume the girl was wearing, but I couldn’t get out of my cab to see—it would have been too risky. I think she was dressed as some kind...

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V.I.N.

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pp. 105-120

The earth throbs with evil, Rogers thought. It is stained with horror of a million kinds. Lately, when he first closed his eyes to try to sleep, and sometimes right after he woke up, he’d see a massing of lizards in his room, like evil...

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Olympia

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pp. 121-142

Lately, whenever I get up at night (for the usual reasons), I’ve gotten into the habit of writing down a line or two that spontaneously occurs to me as soon as I wake up. When I first write them down, these phrases often seem shockingly revelatory, but in the morning...

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The Intruder

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pp. 143-164

First a sound, like a door shutting. Then he sat up in bed, telling himself it was just a dream sound or, if not, then just a random noise the house made. It was 3 a.m. and pitch black in his room with a cold floor that would require slippers. He’d have to reach for the glasses...

Acknowledgments

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pp. 165-167