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Medium 9781574412789

Chapter Four

Jane Roberts Wood University of North Texas Press PDF

Chapter Four

• 1


race Gillian has just come from her Saturday tennis game. Amelia had fallen, trying to return Grace’s serve, and Grace had gone home with her and seen her inside to be sure no bones were broken. Grace volleys very well, but ordinarily she does not serve well.

But this morning she had; the perfectly placed balls had zinged satisfyingly over the net. When Amelia fell, Grace felt a twinge of guilt at her own aggressiveness. Now, sipping a cup of hot tea, she is snuggled in the blue-and-yellow lounge chair on her gallery.

From time to time she glances through the windows into the treetops to see bare limbs swimming in a haze of tiny, almost invisible, green leaves. The forsythia has bloomed overnight. And the smallest of the finches, the gray ones with yellow breasts, have returned.

Spring is here, the smell of it as enveloping as incense.

Spring. The elixir of emotion. When she had read “The Lady of

Shalott” to her class, she had been so emotional she could hardly get through the poem. The class had assumed it was because of

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Medium 9781574412796

Chapter Fifteen

Jane Roberts Wood University of North Texas Press PDF


The next evening Dylan comes, ringing her doorbell. “Well,

Dylan,” she says.

“Brought you something,” he says. “And hey, you’ve painted that wall. That’s a great color. I like it.” Then, walking quickly to his truck, he pulls a Christmas tree from the back of it.

“The nursery gave it to me. Lennon and I have already put up our tree. Well here, here’s a good place,” he says, setting it in her living room in front of the windows. “What do you think? Do you want it?”

“Yes. This is nice. I’m having my book club over next week.

It’s the first time I’ve ever had them.”

“The ladies will enjoy the tree,” he says. Screwing the tree into the stand while Anne holds it straight, he says, “I’d be glad to help you get the lights on.”

From the attic Anne hands down dusty boxes labeled: Lights,

Ornaments, Manger Scene. “Dylan, you look wonderful. How do you feel?”

Stringing the lights, he says, “I’m feeling really good now. The doctor says I’m in complete remission. And Lennon’s doing great, too.”

“I’m sorry you didn’t bring him with you.”

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Medium 9780253223432

Chapter 6

Jim Cohee Indiana University Press ePub

Chapter 6

Dana said when you die you are dead for all eternity. How long is eternity? Dana said if the outermost tip of the primary feather of a little baby bird just barely touches an iron ball the size of the moon once every four hundred and seventeen years, when the ball is pulverized, eternity hasn’t even started.

When you die you smell like poop, he says.

Down the block on West 44th Street was my classmate and archenemy Kong Warthead. His mother’s name was Mrs. Warthead. It was difficult for Kong to walk because of the size of his butt. His legs were like giant plastic bags stuffed with marshmallows. When he moved, sinkholes opened in the street and cars rolled into them along with kids in baby carriages. Mothers screamed. Kong had soft round shoulders and his arms hung like gorilla arms. He didn’t have hands, but links of chain hung from his sleeves.

When he walked, he had to heave one huge bossy leg around the post of the other. He went, “Huhn . . . huhn.” He would wrestle me to the ground. When I got up, he would wrestle me down again. He’d say, “Why don’t you even talk, huh? Hey, Aaron. Say something. Hey, dumbbell.” That was his only idea. That’s all he ever said.

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Medium 9780253016881

Walt “Helper” Voltz

Edited by Michael Martone and Bryan Furu Break Away Book Club Edition ePub

Walt “Helper” Voltz

You are looking at the proud owner of the shortest short line in the United States or really what you are looking at is the longest story about the shortest short line in the country.

Your eyes go back and forth over these lines like my engine shuttles back and forth on my siding. My railroad runs 5,284 feet east to west, west to east. I have 150-pound flat-bottomed rail, and every morning I don my gandy dancer’s hard hat and walk the length of the property, checking the joint plates and lag bolts, the tie plates and spikes, the ties themselves with their date nails I have stamped and installed. The ballast is pristine ballast, crushed quartz (from the smallest quarry in the United States, a scooped-out glacial moraine banking up against the property) that sparkles in the Indiana sunlight. I switch the switches on either end of the line that connect me to the mainline of the Chicago, Fort Wayne and Eastern, née the old Conrail, née the older Pennsylvania, née the older still Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne and Chicago. I check the switch points and the frogs. I maintain what’s left, hereabouts, of the telegraph too. I have a shed at each terminus of my line. I will send train orders from one depot to the other, following the old rules of the old rulebooks, about train movements, labor practices, and traffic. I’ve been told I have a distinctive hand on the key. Dah dah, dit, dah dah dah.

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Medium 9780253203175

Red Star: A Utopia

Alexander Bogdanov Indiana University Press ePub

Letter from Dr. Werner to Mirsky

Dear Comrade Mirsky,

I am sending you Leonid’s notes. He wanted them published, and you, as a man of letters, can arrange that matter better than I. He himself has gone into hiding. I am leaving the clinic to try and trace him. I think I shall probably find him in the mountains, where the situation has lately become critical. By exposing himself to the dangers there he is evidently indirectly trying to commit suicide. He is obviously still unstable mentally, although he impressed me as being near complete recovery. I shall inform you the moment I learn of anything.

My warmest regards,

N. Werner

24 July 190? (illegible: 8 or 9)



It was early in that great upheaval* which continues to shake our country and which, I think, is now approaching its inevitable, fateful conclusion.

The public consciousness was so deeply impressed by the events of the first bloody days that everyone expected a quick and victorious end to the struggle. It seemed as though the worst had already occurred, that nothing more terrible could possibly happen. No one had realized how tenacious were the bony hands of the corpse that had crushed and still crushes the living in its convulsive embrace.

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Medium 9780253010247

Chapter 4

Jesse Lee Kercheval Indiana University Press ePub

I went into apolline’s bedroom and called the chair of my husband’s department, another film scholar who was an old friend. In my husband’s office at home in Indiana were a half-dozen books I could have checked for information on even such a forgotten film figure as Ivan Mosjoukine, but that was there and I was here.

“John,” I said, when he picked up the phone.

“Good Lord,” he said. “Emma.”

I could hear people talking in the background, the sound of forks on china and glasses clinking. “Oh, you have guests.”

“To hell with them. Where are you? Tricia said she went by the house this afternoon looking for you. There was mail piled everywhere and no one answered the bell. She was about to call 911 when a neighbor came by walking her dog and told her she’d seen you leave in the airport shuttle this morning.”

Tricia was John’s most recent wife, a poet who taught in my department. A good one. Would she really have called 911? Yes, Tricia wrote whole books of poems about dying. She had a sestina about jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge that made suicide sound like the best high dive ever. She knew enough about the magnetic pull of death to be worried about me. “I was taking my aunt to the airport,” I said.

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Medium 9780253008237

Cruel City: A Novel

Mongo Beti Indiana University Press ePub

“I’m the most miserable girl of them all. Think about it, Banda. Women mock me relentlessly in their songs. The old folks pity me. When I walk by, the young can barely turn away; they can hardly keep from laughing. But I’m not holding any of this against you. I still need to know why you did this to me. Why didn’t you want me? All I need is an explanation.”

Fearing this discussion yet anticipating it, Banda cast a melancholy gaze on his girlfriend: he examined her face with a combination of annoyance and pity. He was visibly perplexed. His whole body, particularly his mouth, expressed the distaste of the generous spirit in the face of life’s demands.

He turned his gaze away just as languidly as he had looked in her direction and buried his head in the filthy yellowing pillow as if it held the answer. He remained stretched out on the bed among the filthy sheets. His long lean body evoked those gigantic black snakes suffering from indigestion that one occasionally crosses in the fields.

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Medium 9780253010247

Chapter 18

Jesse Lee Kercheval Indiana University Press ePub

I put ilya to bed and cover ed him. He was shivering, though the hotel room was overheated and stuffy. I laid next to him and wrapped my arms around him to warm him. He was on his side, trying to catch his breath, trying not to start coughing. How could I have not known he was so ill? How had he kept going? I’d seen him fencing, damn it. I could feel his heart beating, feel the energy there, the will, the fierce control that I’d felt during my visit with Mosjoukine in the monastery. It was what kept them both alive. Another trait of our father’s I didn’t share.

His eyes closed, drifting into sleep. I stayed awake.

I thought about Mosjoukine. Where was he now? If he had known I was coming, would he have asked me, not some younger sibling, to take him away? Would he have asked me to take him back to Paris?

“Too old,” Ilya said, without opening his eyes, and I realized I must have said what I was thinking aloud. I poked him.

“He was a young 102,” I said, joking. Even at 102, Mosjoukine was not too frail for life in Paris.

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Medium 9781574415650

Thank you for the ________

Becky Adnot-Haynes University of North Texas Press ePub

My husband and I are eating takeout spaghetti and meatballs in a motel because our house has bedbugs. At one point we didn’t have them and then we did, finding them moving in their slow buzz on the mattress seams and headboard and behind the electrical switch-plate by my nightstand. My husband wanted to stay with friends, but I’m not the type of person who likes to see whether you eat poached eggs or Grape-Nuts for breakfast.

My husband booked the motel. According to him it’s nice enough, which means it’s gross. There was a long dark hair on one of the towels when we arrived and the whole place seems kind of damp, like Spanish moss. The little fridge in the kitchenette works only for keeping beers sort of cold, which we found out after we bought milk and deli meat. The only good thing about the motel is that it has cable. We spend a lot of nights eating cheap Italian food from Paliani’s and watching whatever’s on: sitcoms, cartoons, cooking shows, infomercials, shows about the lives of famous people’s unfamous spouses, shows about people who want to be magicians, shows about badly dressed people who are ambushed into buying new wardrobes. Our favorite is this show about people who have really weird and specific addictions, like a woman who eats baby powder or a guy who spends every night patrolling the streets for dead raccoons and possums to bury.

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Medium 9780253012098


S. A. An-sky Indiana University Press ePub

“WHATS THE ORE MIKLET where you want to take me?” asked Eizerman with a smile.

“You’ll find out when we get there!” replied Uler in a conspiratorial tone of voice. “You see, it’s an apartment where any of us can stay,” he began to explain immediately. “That’s why we call it an Ore Miklet. Three people are living there now. You’ll see what sort of group it is, what fine people they are!

“You just mentioned robbers and criminals,” he recalled. “You should see Sonya Beryasheva’s father, the one Mirkin was just talking about—and then you’d understand what a robber and a criminal really is!”

“What are you talking about? Who is he?”

“You see,” Uler began heatedly, “this Sonya Beryasheva’s a young woman who’s just out of this world! Believe me when I say it. She’s not a young woman at all, but a real human being. You can talk to her about anything. She’s read absolutely everything! Mirkin gave lessons to her younger brother for half a year. He made her acquaintance, lent her books on the sly, and turned her into a free thinker. Now she’s no less than we are.”

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Medium 9780253018175

Death by Refrigerator

B.J. Hollars Break Away Book Club Edition ePub

When inventor Oliver Evans first conceived of his “refrigeration machine” in 1805, he never dreamed it could be a killer. He, much like Jacob Perkins and John Gorrie (both of whom would soon improve upon the design), dreamed simply of extending the preservation properties of food. None of them imagined their invention had deadly potential, providing a perfect-sized trap for a curious child who dared step inside.

I first learned of refrigerator deaths while serving as a camp counselor in a small country town in Indiana. The victim was a boy named Bobby Watson, who in the summer of 1968—while lost in the throes of a game of hide-and-seek—wedged himself into an abandoned fridge left to rust on the edge of the dock. A maintenance man wandered past moments later, tied the fridge to the dock, and heaved it into the water, wholly unaware of the child hiding within.

The fridge, we informed our campers during weekly retellings, was meant to serve as an anchor for the docks, though for Bobby it served as a coffin instead.

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Medium 9780253002365


Gregory Schwipps Indiana University Press ePub

It rose through the trees as surely and as steadily as tomato plants growing in June. First it surrounded the trunks of the sycamores, then it came farther and slipped over the roots of the oaks and maples. They were merely stumps by then, and within weeks all the stumps were gone, their flat tops like so many kitchen tables submerged.

It crept through the fescue and the sagging wire fence. The garden, long since returned to a rectangular patch of weeds, was overtaken slowly, from west to east.

It lapped at the stone foundation of the barn before crawling up the frame, the hand-hewn timbers as seasoned and hard as iron. By the time it reached the floor of the loft, it was touching the bottom step at the back of the house. Looters had kicked the door in, and the water flowed over the threshold and across the floor. The dirty river water climbed the steps to their bedroom. It covered everything until the only remaining mark of their existence was the peak of the barn roof. The water swirled around it, the upturned keel of a ship sinking, and then the barn roof, too, was hidden.

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Medium 9781574415384

The Good Luck Doll

Jessica Hollander University of North Texas Press ePub

The Good Luck Doll

Claudia’s mother sent the doll in a large yellow envelope that was torn at the top and dirt-smeared. The doll looked familiar: squeezable, dressed in overalls with a white lace-collared shirt adorned with the bright, awkward dots and wavy lines of someone unable to hold a marker properly. A girl with two braids chopped off and a brown smear on her cheek. The note said: You forgot to take your baby with you.

Claudia made up Steve’s king-sized bed and set the doll in the middle, as a joke. She’d moved into the apartment nearly a year ago and still couldn’t think of it as hers. Steve carefully chose his articles. “Hand me my remote,” “Let’s move my dresser closer to my bathroom.” Once he’d said, “My front door’s sticking again,” and Claudia said, “The door might be yours but the stickiness belongs to the landlord.” He ignored her and never got the door fixed. Now with the humidity, she came home and banged her shoulder against the sweet spot in the middle.

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Medium 9780253010476

Chapter 41 Twenty Eighth Year

William Williams Indiana University Press ePub

We had not seen one sail for a long time, but about August as Job was on the Hill he discovered a fleet of above twenty vessels all Standing to the Southward. I got the glass, but they were So far out that I could not make much of them and we Lost sight of them towards Evening….

“Being Mate of a large Brigg, one Captain Smith Commander, and laying at the Havannah anno 1776, It chanced that we lay nigh to a Spanish Sloop late From the Main, and as the mate of her happened to Get a little acquainted with me by my speaking the Spanish tongue, He on a day asked me on board to Spend an hour or two, that he had something to shew me. According, the next day being Sunday and He Only being on board except an Old Negro fellow, I went on board to have a little chatt with him.

“We had not been long together before he unlocked a Ceder Chest and got out a bundle of old Papers and Bid me look at them, saying they were English. After I had looked over a few leaves I asked him how it came into his hands. He told me he had it from two Indians who spoke good English, and that one of them Told him in Spanish it was wrote by his Father Who had lived and died there, and that they would ‘Give me money enough if I would sware to give it Into the hands of some good English man As soon as I could after we had took in what water we wanted. They brought me above fifty Pieces of Eight, And I swore by the Holy Cross to deliver the Papers. Now as you are the first English man I have met with, If you will take it in charge You shall have It. Otherwise I shall take it on shore and deliver it to some other, and if not, to the Governor.’

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Medium 9781574415384

March On

Jessica Hollander University of North Texas Press ePub

March On

Mired in the late processes of moving, my mother left trails of things everywhere: clothes strewn from dressers, condiments rolling by the refrigerator, stacks of books leading from shelves in ragged, precarious steps. I hadn’t realized these things were left: they’d been so well hidden in drawers, behind doors, in tight-lines of themselves; but now they were dragged out and dropped, abandoned as my mother flitted around, suddenly overwhelmed, suddenly needing help.

“Clutter.” She fluttered her hands toward the boxes she’d sealed weeks ago. “It’s like that tricky triangle. People get lost.”

She called a few moving companies, asked if they had any women movers, then ranted about discrimination and division of labor. They hung up, and she stared at the phone incredulously. She walked to something heavy and yelled for me to grab the camera. “Look at me!” she said, her arms struggling to embrace the microwave a foot above the counter. We took pictures of her lifting things, and then I guess she sent them to the moving companies with slews of hateful exclamations.

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