Publication Year: 2004
Published by: University of North Texas Press
Series Title Page
Table of Contents
For their encouragement, wit, and love, I thank my mother, Ruth Meacham, and my father, David Meacham. I am grateful for the kindness of my stepmother, Kay Meacham, and the endless generosity of the Duemey, Meacham, Rybak, and Santomauro families. For sharing their stories...
Trim & Notions
All afternoon, I’ve watched boy after boy impersonate middle-aged gamblers. I’m helping my friends Alan and Geneva cast the Valley County High School musical. Alan teaches English literature and Geneva teaches choir, while I’m a K-through-6 art teacher next door at County Elementary. Alan...
Bill’s mailbox, an old country thing, flagarmed and rusting, perches at the edge of his property across from an abandoned red schoolhouse. His wife Lynn complains that the mailbox is tacky; Bill tells her it’s rustic. To make his point, on the side of the box, he has stenciled their last name in...
Weights and Measures
How He Tells You: When your Dad says Sit down, I have something to tell you, you imagine he’ll say: I’ve lost my job, we’re moving, you’re starting eighth grade in Vermont. His voice has that somethingbad’s- coming sound, and he stoops to pick something off...
Estelle hadn’t meant to sleep with the interviewer, but here she was, underneath him, watching his furry back heave and shudder. It was 3:30 on a Tuesday. The afternoon light leaked through the dank hotel drapes. She hadn’t really looked at the room until now, as the interviewer labored and she...
“Ineed you to attack me.” Carter’s girlfriend Jen said this as she was warming up for aerobics. She sat on the floor with her legs splayed in a way that looked both hot and impossible, stretching over one leg, then the other. At the moment, she was talking to her ankle. Carter wasn’t...
Worship For Shut-Ins
It isn’t really the pain that sticks, or the car careening towards her, or the slow, horrific realization that no one is at the wheel. It is the sound of the impact that Valerie can’t shake: the startled yelp of her dog Cass being hit, then crushed to death. At night, when she falls into a drugged netherworld...
Tom and Georgia Come Over to Swim
The night is too humid and still for the fan, but Pauline needs sound, the hum of blades slicing air. She twists the knob on the GE stand-up to “high,” then spins around to cool the backs of her knees. Strips of red and pink plastic fly from the fan, circling and flickering over her skin like minnows. Last...
Simple as That
If she is to grieve, Lila reasons, she will do so Hollywood-style, with exaggerated gestures, crescendoing sobs, flowing gowns that sweep her ankles. After searching her closet for diva-wear, she wraps herself in a pink bathrobe the shade and texture of marshmallow candy. The robe...
Because he worries she might be drinking, Ted calls his daughter on Sunday night. The machine picks up and he begins to speak, awkwardly and with some reluctance, as he always does when he leaves messages. He doesn’t trust digital technology and holds on to ancient, dependable appliances until...