Ate It Anyway
Publication Year: 2012
In "Celibacy-by-the-Atlantic," Phil negotiates a lingering, low-intensity regret brought on by the annual family get-together at his parents' beach house, where memories of his aimless, privileged adolescence mingle with forebodings of his aimless, privileged middle age. In "A Lover's Guide to Hospitals," Carl lies in bed, pining over a stillborn romance through a moody, post-op haze of painkillers. As a consoling needle through the heart, the object of Carl's unrequited affections also turns out to be his nurse.
In "Burt Osborne Rules the World," a precocious boy ponders his childhood in "a world protected against anything you could imagine doing to make it more interesting." Sensing that only more of the same awaits him as an adult, Burt charts a different course--as a class clown with a truly toxic sense of mischief. Others, like Lydia in "Ralph Goes to Mexico," assert their individuality more effortlessly, for they're just too naturally odd to be cowed by convention. Lydia's dilemma is whether she should have her leukemic cat stuffed and mounted or turned into a hat after he dies.
These lyrical tales celebrate the ordinary--and the not so ordinary--with a flourish of Nabokovian wit that combines grandeur, kitsch, and the author's broad empathy with his characters.
Published by: University of Georgia Press
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The stories listed here first appeared, in slightly different form,...
River of Toys
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...the road, and I can walk and walk until I hear a car coming frombehind or until I see through my closed eyelids the light of onenight utility lights. With the road empty, the students gone, mostof the faculty on vacation, it's so quiet that I can hear the trickleI like to close my eyes and think about where I used to live, in...
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...wooden folding chair, his rear end already getting sore. He keptnoticing how the girls on the screen, with their bell-shaped hairsister, Gwen, her eyes widening in the screen's light, glaring athalf-price shopping, along with concerts by the Providence Pops,guided tours of the island's oldest houses, and classic film festi-...
Night of the Red Palm
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...morgues are usually ever closed," Chuck said, perched at the edgedraft of Kristy Roller's narrative essay and then back up to herface and the red hair around it, stirred, as if waiting to get backKristy stared to the left of his shoulder. She still had her jacketthe adjunct office, usually went so fast that the students didn't...
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...quite understanding that he was on the roof, his long lips swing-kitchen in old lawn chairs they had found in the garage, rollingan easier way to calculate each person's share of the rent and thebeen caused by the planet Venus leaving its orbit and halting theMolson: Joni Mitchell's first platinum record, the completion of...
Ralph Goes to Mexico
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...ramp to interstate, to a high whinny at sixty-five. If Lydia trieswhat little strength he has left—a dry, lifeless yowl that afterof hazy tunnel cut into the thick of Arkansas, walls of pine foresthome dealerships, all under a ceiling of blank sky the same coloras the white pavement of the road. As she pulls off the interstate...
Hungry Hungry Hippos
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...sleeping bag in my half of a winterized bungalow, its forced-airvents cut into the ceiling where the warm air stayed and stayed.It was the seventies, and it was gloomy, of course. For those oflost its accreditation, things were so bleak that we boasted in ourlife—clunky old oversized cars roaring out of driveways, black-...
Burt Osborne Rules the World
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...had been smelling and tasting like overcooked eggs. I wasn't sickexactly; it was more that I was no longer friends with the tasteof food. Through the last abbreviated class periods and the finalgave us, in the red lipstick that Mrs. Carmody put on everybody'smouth. Outside, the darkness lay flat against the windows, which...
How to Swallow
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...the lead story. Cars were on fire in Indonesia, burning yellow andat a corner, the whole page bright with flames, leaving a narrowabout Frank Sinatra, just carried on a mild chatter of grandchil-dren and weather, all this in a blend of smells that Jim had beenbreathing for years on similar contest-judging trips. It was not...
A Lover's Guide to Hospitals
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...bicycle accident. My friends and I clench our teeth as if imitat-ing sharks, all our appendixes ruptured, such a crowd of us thatas we drift in white vehicles toward the great white floodlit facestudent insurance, I'm the closest I'll ever come to that fantasy.But unlike the structures I used to dream about, grand hospitals...
In a City with Dogs
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...collecting signatures on a petition to abolish the internationalpolice force, and the kid in Central Park who tried to rob me bysaying he had a gun built into the shoe of his artificial leg, myPerhaps I could say it was the worst time of my life—all thoseover the letter I would write to the Times in response to someone...
A Bend among Bumblebees
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...tide most of you probably saw. I mean, talk about wide coverage.one out on my fork—balanced, not speared, I promise—and I said,cloth—not that Julia's is all that stuffy, but Martha Stewart saysme back to the airport, his pickup truck stalled in the passengerdrop-off area, and he couldn't get it started. Of course the airport...
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...put his mouth directly against it, so he had to speak louder thanafternoon's discussion with the lawyers. In summer, around here,sort of chute that led to the ordering counter, a tall college boy,stamper, gently lifting even little babies' wrists, as the familieslineup of Skee-Ball setups along one wall; or to the showroom, at...
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...restaurant-related phrases, thinking as he always does on his lastcall of the day, even filling in on the blackboard at the back of hiseyes those rolling diacritical squiggles that English doesn't havethe store with stringy, woodstove, old lady trills. Jasmine incensepage... like specials clipped onto the middle of a menu, is what...
A Puddle of Sex Books
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...breasts revives some long-buried stirrings in the old gas stationhouse, sitting on the friendly rock he and his friends had namedRoger. Whatever details were missing from the story—sex organs,penetration, bodily fluids—he wouldn't have noticed. At fourteen,or whatever age, in the spring, in the middle of the wet dirt, he...
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...crayons a year or two before. The fancy quartz-weighted cigaretteand near this over-insulated house—the icy wisps of vapor that acarton of Sealtest ice cream gave off when it was lifted out of thedeep freeze, the virginal white gloss of bowling pins the machinethrough that freakishly ordinary buffer land that exists wherever...
A Foolish but Lovable Airport
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...legs. I leaned against the waist-high concrete wall that separatesour two halves of the shared balcony, cantilevered over the smokeof somebody else's hamburgers being grilled one floor below, andof tree blew in the air and collected in little transparent driftsagainst the curb. We both looked up at an airplane that was going...
Page Count: 194
Publication Year: 2012
Series Title: Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction
Series Editor Byline: Nancy Zafris, Series Editor