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& Darkness Moves In

The dead cowards my parents on a tear through the goddamn fields.

2 B R 0 2 B

All diseases were conquered. Death was an adventure for volunteers.

A Center

If others call you a maniac or a fool, just let them wag their tongues.

A Common Story

“I think he does not care for art; I fancy he has not even read Pushkin.”

A Dangerous Creature

The dog glares back at Roger, his eyes on fire, but he doesn’t let her go.

A Dark and Empty Corner

Human language, Winston thought, was not adequate for spiritual union.

A Different Ending

The peanut seller tore sheets out of paperback books to make the cones.

A Distant Episode

The distant past returned—what part of it, he could not decide.

A Dream of Ease

I shoved them one by one, easy as pie yet with care, just shy of mercy.

A Farmer’s Life: Xiwuqi, Inner Mongolia

For my vacation last summer, I visited the Bateer family in Xiwuqi.

A Father’s Story

Certainly the ushers who pass the baskets know me as a miser.

A Final Conversation

I used bravado to protect myself when we lived in poverty.

A Friendly Round of Golf

“We’d be naive,” Crump went on, “not to assume that people are vile.”

A Husband and Father

Frank kept his face blank as he read the orders: Report to Berlin.

A Life with Bears

I want to focus on bears. On knowing them, and on what they need.

A Lot Going On Up There

The hawk moves out of the way to let a little hot package of breath rise up.

A Master at Work

Man is always beginning everything anew, even in his own life.

A Model Prisoner

A Numbers Game

We are in his car. “Bell, I’m starving. Want to go for a burger or pizza?” I panic. Pizza. 285 calories per slice. Burgers. Harder to estimate.

A Personal Statement

“I’d like to talk to C about her personal statement,” Blattman said.

A Place of Our Own

Lorenzo and me, we’d squat our own building. It was the new frontier.

A Real Writer

Advance planning was never Hank’s strong suit, he had to leave her.

A Redeeming Sacrifice

Paul King was shiftless and drunken; ugly tales were told of him.

A Sailor

She did not leave him for the sailor. So why should he be angry?

A Saint from Texas

So that’s what I’d look like if every beauty parlor in the world shut down.

A Secret Space

Two weeks after she and Mark were married, Hannah fell in love.

A Serious Desert

All over the planet people try to end pain: striptease, bee stings.

A Shrine at the Inn

It was true. We would probably never visit that place again.

A Small Blip on an Eternal Timeline

I grabbed him by the face and told him life only comes to a person once.

A Small Hotel

The allure of Mardi Gras is to feel this way: unseen and unseeable.

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