Cover

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Frontmatter

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Half Title

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Title Page

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Contents

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

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1. Grenade

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pp. 1-24

Trace Mullins stole an M67 fragmentation grenade from his father—the post weapons range instructor who, according to Trace, had “a whole closet full of stuff ”—and we all spent one Saturday afternoon in the dugouts behind the Officer’s Club pool deciding what we were going to blow up. ...

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2. Roar

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pp. 25-56

Clay Hamilton stood where he always stood at dusk—every dusk, it seemed to him, for the last ten years—staring into the open freezer door of a gas station mini-mart, the present establishment known improbably as Big Bart’s Belly Barn. ...

3. The Fifth Week

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pp. 57-63

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4. Last Known Position: 2,000 Feet Above the World and Descending

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pp. 64-82

It was while jogging the scarred mountain road above the town of San Luis, Argentina, that I came upon a boy and his horse. Judging by the skid marks and stench of burnt rubber, the two had had a very close encounter with a very large truck. ...

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5. Strong Arm

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pp. 83-97

“Henry J. Lippman!” a gruff, smoker’s voice bellowed across the stretch of empty tables in the Iron Kettle Restaurant and Bar. “I’ll be shot and stuffed if that ain’t Henry J. Lippman!” ...

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6. Seven Rifles at Dawn

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pp. 98-123

I noticed three disturbing elements in Captain Moore’s appearance as he swept through the front flap of the operations tent. The first was that he was mentally unhinged and the second was that he was quite irritated. ...

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7. Man Swallows Goldfish while Sleepwalking, Chokes to Death

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pp. 124-138

My wife’s family cornered the market on strange death. They invented the concept. They hold the freaking patent. To look up my wife’s family tree is to see twisted branches filled with decapitations, puddle drownings, impalements, accidental hangings, circus animal attacks. ...

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8. Cannibals in the Basement

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pp. 139-166

My wife invited them into our house, the cannibals. There were three of them. Charlie and Tom were brothers, two squat men with phlegmatic, darting eyes that always appeared desperate to escape the clutch of their faces. The leader was Reginald. ...

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9. Our Deepest Sympathies

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pp. 167-175

The boy watched the khaki-colored, government-issued sedan cruise slowly past him. He was seated on the curb just outside of the Officer’s Club Pool, shaded by the awning. A light blue towel lay draped across his shoulders. ...