741 Chapters
Medium 9780253010247

Chapter 19

Jesse Lee Kercheval Indiana University Press ePub

The next morning, I gave ilya the last of the Russian morphine, trying not to look at the black and purple bruise on his thigh from the shot I’d given him the night before. It wasn’t hard to do, if I made sure not to think about how tender the flesh was where the needle went in, didn’t think of the tiny hole it made as symbolic of any larger loss. Ilya closed his eyes, felt the rush of the morphine, waited for the pain to recede. I would have a talk with the neighbor before we went to the hospital to see a doctor. I needed to have enough morphine for Ilya to make good on my promise that I wouldn’t let him end up like Anne-Sophie. Enough for me as well, if I decided not to stick around either. I knew the neighbor would sell me as much as I needed, as long as I had the money. I felt Ilya’s eyes on me.

“Don’t even think about it, Vera,” he said. “You promised me. You swore to live to be 100.”

“No,” I said, “110.” Which was a bigger sin, suicide or lying to a dying man?

I went to get my purse, but when I looked in my wallet I remembered giving the taxi driver the last of my cash. I would have to find an ATM. There would be one near the hospital, or failing that, at a bank on the Boulevard de la Villette. I doubted the neighbor would charge the morphine to my credit card the way the Russian pharmacist had. “I have to go out and get money before we go to the hospital,” I told Ilya. “Will you be okay for a while?”

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Medium 9780253012098

10

S. A. An-sky Indiana University Press ePub

THE SYNAGOGUE SEEMED to Eizerman to be brighter, larger, and more dazzling than those in Miloslavka. When he and Uler walked in, evening prayers were already under way. Uler headed off somewhere and disappeared; Eizerman began to look around at the congregation and noticed several men among them wearing short jackets, dickeys, and trimmed side curls. No one paid them any special attention. . . . Turning around, Eizerman suddenly found himself looking right at Sheinburg. . . . He was standing by the east wall,1 next to an old Jew in a yarmulke2 wearing a long satin frock coat, and he was coldly, haughtily staring at Eizerman.

He was embarrassed and dropped his eyes, afraid to give away his terrible secret. But he couldn’t restrain himself from glancing again in Sheinburg’s direction. He was now engaged in conversation with his neighbor. He was talking rather loudly, with a note of indignation in his voice and with vigorous gestures. From the individual words that reached him, Eizerman concluded that Sheinburg was complaining about the head of the synagogue.

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Medium 9781574412710

Jumping Man

Tim Johnston University of North Texas Press PDF

Jumping Man

A child goes missing one afternoon, somebody’s little girl, and the news is a stick, an accurate rock, to the quiet hive of Sunday.

Mowers are killed mid-lawn, propane grills are snuffed, wet limbs are plucked from pools and sorted and banished from water, from fun itself, until further notice. Adults and teenagers fan out, lacing the air with the missing girl’s name like the call-and-answer of a whole new game: jay-nee . . . jay-nee . . . jay-nee!

We all have cell phones, we all know the number to call when we find her, we all secretly believe we will be the one to make the call—to tell her mother that Janie is fine, not kidnapped or molested, simply lost on her bike in the vast clone job of lawns and houses. And who hasn’t been? Pulling our cars into the wrong drive, wondering whose big dog is chained to our tree, where the rose bushes came from. It’s our inside joke—What a beautiful house!—and when somebody else’s kid walks big-eyed through the front door we are kind, we are patient, we don’t send her out again until we know where she belongs.

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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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Medium 9780253016881

Frances Parker

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

Frances Parker

I have been a doctor in this town for many years now. You won’t find me in the phone book, but if you go past the sign for Chief Raintree’s Village and the llama farm by the trailer sale lot and then take that winding road, which can be foggy at night and deceptive, you will come to an abandoned church—not abandoned anymore, that is. My dogs will be out front but don’t let them scare you. My friend Ansel is the pharmacist I use, the one at the drugstore on the square downtown that still has the real chocolate malts. He measures out the pills right in front of you. He’s also the one who’s been remodeling that big three-story house perched on a hill above Ash Street for about ten years now. They had that St. Bernard tied up by the garage for a while and a truck parked out front that had “Barely Gettin’ By” written on the side. You might have seen it. The front yard is a profusion of flowers this summer—lilies, daisies, bergamot—and the siding is halfway up. A nice slate color. But the brick sidewalk in front is still all torn up. It’s just a few houses up from the homeless shelter. Sharon, my partner, always says, would you trust a pharmacist who has started over so many times on his house and still can’t get it right? And I say, would you trust a doctor who lives in an abandoned church full of unpacked boxes and musical instruments and paintings and who still isn’t moved in? Barely gettin’ by, Sharon, barely gettin’ by. That’s my motto. My father was a luthier by trade—he made violins and cellos. He believed that if you shone a red light on an instrument, it would sound different than if you shone a blue light on it, that color and sound were somehow connected. He conducted all sorts of experiments with wood. He was always trying to discover the secret of Stradivarius, cooking amber in the front yard, mixing vermillion with rosematter, simmering the wood over a fire for months on end. He believed that if he could just discover the secret, he would be a rich man. I used to love the fact that he believed there was a secret—that was the thing I admired most about him—that he never gave up trying to find it. But I don’t really think there is a secret. Red light, blue light, if you tell someone that a violin is a Stradivarius it will sound good to them. My father would spend hours walking around with a violin in his hand, tapping, tapping the wood, then listening, his head cocked to one side. What was he listening for? I always start by leading the patient through what used to be the sanctuary when this was a church, past the one or two old church pews stacked with books and drums and gongs, past what used to be the altar, now with a tapestry of Jesus hanging there, because why not? he was a good man, and into the healing room, where I listen, carefully, until I hear the sound of his heart. I listen for a good long while.

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