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Stories by Christopher T. Leland

Publication Year: 2011

New short stories from Christopher T. Leland that explore love in all of its forms and complexities.

Published by: Wayne State University Press

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In Conclusion

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pp. 1-6

He could see her from the breakfast nook. In her housecoat, her hair pinned loosely back from her face, she looked like a Hausfrau in a German movie. But she was smoking—smoking “elegantly,” he thought. It was not an accusation. She was not conscious of how she smoked. But she held the cigarette in a way that showed study—a one-...

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The Woman Who Loved Claude Rains

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pp. 7-18

That I.J. and Ina Bannister were one of the couples in Rhymers Creek who made least sense was pretty much agreed on. That, from time to time and as years go by, a man and the woman he takes to wife live lives distinctive and sometimes at odds isn’t really something that calls much attention. But I.J. and Ina’s marriage was one of two people so ...

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Casing the Promised Land

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pp. 19-29

He came to get her at two o’clock, when the smog had begun to back up in the canyons and settle across the valley. It was hot for March. He did not get out of the car, honking instead since the appointment was at three. She hopped down the walk in her new sundress, the first time she had worn it since he bought it for her two Sundays ago at Penney’s. ...

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The Congregation of Love

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pp. 31-47

If it hadn’t been for that goddamn magazine, Billy Paul would still be I don’t know why he even talked to them, except that a man in the condition he was in can hardly think his way to the bathroom straight, much less do anything else. That reporter just showed up on his door-step, and he said she was so nice and pretty and everything that he ...

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Memento Mori

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pp. 49-53

Kirk could never keep a journal, not on this trip anyway. Maybe that’s why he took so many pictures, even though pictures seemed second-best. On his own bed across the room, he cleaned the auxiliary Kirk squinted. “I don’t remember. I thought you wrote it down.”Robert reared up from the mattress, reaching for his jeans on the ...

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How the Coe Boys Got Their Names

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pp. 55-63

All that miserable August, she cursed Dr. Banfield, Del, love, her own plumbing, the U.S. Army, the United Nations, and Korea, both North and South. It was bad enough, in what everybody said was the sultriest summer since 1928, that she was into the eighth month of her first pregnancy. But then, six weeks before her due date, Dr. Banfield rec-...

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What Do You Do With Your Nights?

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pp. 65-69

He smiles. “Why are women who smoke so sexy? I know it’s bad for you, but there’s just something about it that makes me hard.”“I’m putting it out.” She breathes a laugh. “I don’t want you to love “Oh, no,” he whispers. “I love you because you wear panties to bed.”She giggles, then shivers at fingertips across her thigh. “It’s always ...

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Peach Queen

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pp. 71-79

He came when he was called, though wound in the blankets and ready for sleep. His father’s voice rose, low but insistent, as the boy groped to the door, not sure the words he’d heard were real. Thumping down through the half-dark, he could see his father at the foot of the stairs, arms akimbo, his great, red beard covering the cleft of his collar. ...

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Wonderful Town

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pp. 81-85

Judy was a little jealous of Jean, she had to admit. She, after all, was the Chicago was fun, of course. She’d been going there with her mother since she was a girl, and she and Jean had gone a couple times the summer after high school. She had applied for jobs in the city a few weeks before and was hoping the one at that insurance company would come ...

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pp. 87-98

With the state police and the highway patrol and the local cops and ladies with cell phones and who knows who the fuck else, you gotta For alla ’em, you gotta make it look like you’re just the most respect-able fucker on his way home. Just a hardworkin’ family man. Maybe out for a little fun. Rollin’ down the road, I want nobody to give me a ...

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As If in Time of War

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pp. 99-110

Against the door frame with her glass of wine, she felt a peaceful laziness that passed over her too seldom in the afternoon. It usually came only at night, when the children were in bed, when, from the deck, she could hear but not see the surf tumbling rhythmically below. She squinted in the sunlight, gazing over the rooftops to the distant beach ...

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What It Came To

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pp. 111-114

The lighter was new. A Zippo. He knew she had noticed when he tried He hadn’t wanted to meet her at her office. But it was private on He leaned his forehead on the window. His breath misted the glass. He turned to face her. She played with the locket around her neck. Her hair was dirty, and she was paler than he remembered. She’d lost ...

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A Mother’s Love

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pp. 115-123

He had none of his boxer brother’s grace, nor his father’s swagger that she remembered as the first thing she had noticed there at the mixer at the Knights of Columbus Hall. Perhaps he did lumber, as his brother said, but Joseph was always putting the worst face on things. No, she thought, watching him from the kitchen window as he came out of the ...

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pp. 125-127

Beside the lake, your clothes piled on the shore you’d always known. Ste. Claire, her pitchy lapping tickling your feet, above, a star-sown The hair on your arms and legs rose up against a chilly breeze sprung from the west. White-girdled with the rest of you nut-brown, a summer’s worth of sunlight-dappled skin. That day, with all the rest, ...

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As Always, Unkind

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pp. 129-136

...“What the fuck were you thinking?” He laughed. “Jeez, you were a We were arguing about a song. Well, not arguing, but I was telling him that, for years, I thought the words said one thing when, accord-ing to him, they said something completely different. I guess it made Guys make assholes of themselves for their friends. They will do ...

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Last Frontier

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pp. 137-159

Standing by the sink at the window, Gogan could see the truck wind-ing the last mile over the plain. It came slowly, raising little dust, finally gathering speed to make the hill. Watching it, so lonely and small in the bright spring morning, it was odd to think that beyond the next rise and the groves of the next shallow valley was the freeway ...

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pp. 161-168

Esther wasn’t pretty, never had been. She was thin and freckled and, even if grownup longer than she cared to remember, still a little knock-kneed. But, as she walked into the hotel lounge that evening, it was certain, too, that she wasn’t homely. She had a shy, troubled walk and a sober, intelligent face that lent her an odd girlishness, made her un-...

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pp. 169-176

...“Fellatio—that’s cocksucking—,” he explained, “has only achieved popularity in recent years, when men habitually began to bathe. Be-fore, our only choice was the unspeakable crime against nature.”It was ten days past his eighteenth birthday, but the first he had been free. When I saw him as I came off my shift at the mill, I felt a ...

E-ISBN-13: 9780814335369
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814334959

Page Count: 192
Publication Year: 2011

Edition: 1
Volume Title: N/a