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Medium 9781574415384

Staring Contests

Jessica Hollander University of North Texas Press ePub

Staring Contests

She sits on the brown carpet looking at me, two naked Barbies in front of her, but she isn’t playing with them. I peek at her over my paperback, and she raises her eyebrows and lets out a gasp. Her cheeks turn pink, but she doesn’t look away.

“Let’s go to the school,” I say. “You like the swings?”

She nods. She watches me stand, yawn, fix my ponytail, and then I stop with my hands in the air, my mouth open, and it’s my turn to stare. This is a game I won’t lose to a four-year-old named Lindy. Minutes go by. A bird caws outside. A car door closes, a woman talking, mad about yellowed grass. My arms ache. Lindy keeps her eyes on me, keeps me frozen as she gathers her Barbies. There’s sand at the school, a big box of hard brown sand. The Barbies are going nude-beaching.

.   .   .

Michael’s at the apartment when I get home, the room smoky from hamburger grease.

“Five minutes too late!” he yells, meaning he’s already started so I’ll have to cook for myself.

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Medium 9780253329561

Chapter Four

Scott Russell Sanders Indiana University Press ePub

On the beach at Whale’s Mouth Bay, amid boulders and sea gulls, Teeg lay roasting in the sun. Against her naked back and rump the sand felt like a thousand nibbling flames. Salt-laden wind fanned her hair. Even through the breathing-mask she could smell the ocean. Between repair missions, when she was required to stay inside the Enclosure, more than anything else she missed the feel of sun on her skin.

During this trip she quickly finished her assigned job—replacing fuel cells on a signal booster atop Diamond Mountain—and had three hours left over for scouting. Most of the time she used for discovering how hospitable a place the bay might be, testing for radiation, toxins, soil nutrients, the quality of water. These last few minutes of her allotted time she lay basking in the sun, as a celebration for having found the right place at last. She would have to make sure Whale’s Mouth had been omitted from the surveillance net. It probably had, since no tubes or laser channels or signal avenues passed anywhere near the place. Just another piece of real estate long since erased from human reckoning. She hoped so. Phoenix could tell her for sure. And she would need to spend a week here, later on, to run more tests on plants and microbes and air before she could assure the other seekers that this was indeed the place for the settlement.

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Medium 9780253012098

36

S. A. An-sky Indiana University Press ePub

THE NEXT DAY, Friday, Mirkin and his closest comrades were in a state of great agitation. The role of each in Beryasheva’s escape was very precisely defined. Hillel was supposed to spend the night at the Beryashevs’ to help Sonya if necessary; and in case the plot was discovered the very night she’d run away, he was to inform Mirkin about it immediately. Mirkin and Faevich were to be waiting for the runaway at midnight next to her house. As soon as she emerged, Faevich would take her bundle and carry it to the garden; Mirkin would escort her through the remote and deserted streets. Uler, Tsiporin, and Geverman had also decided to be in the garden to bid farewell to Beryasheva. Kornblat, after lengthy hesitation, decided to remain at home with his books.

Tsiporin was the most anxious of all. He didn’t work all day, ran to see Mirkin for no reason at all, had a worried and severe expression, and swore several times at the expense of these “aristocrats.” Hillel was the least anxious, but genuinely resented the sudden departure of Tsipa Zvulovina, who’d definitively managed to win his heart. Singing her praises, he said candidly and simply, “I’d even be willing to marry such a girl tomorrow! I wouldn’t hesitate for a moment! I’ve never seen such ‘fire’! She’s a real Cossack!”

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Medium 9789351380511

Ch_5_F

A.J. Sebastian SDB Laxmi Publications PDF

5

Dynamics of Corruption in

Satish Alekar’s Pidhijat (Dynasts)

Satish Alekar (1949 - ) has contributed substantially to Indian theatre with his absurdist presentation of plays with black humour, satire and circuitous depiction of reality.

He is known for his Mahanirvan (The Dread Departure), Mahapoor (Deluge), Atirekee

(The Terrorist), Pidhijat (Dynasts), Begum Barv, and Mickey and Memsahib. He has mingled colloquialism and traditional theatrical practices of Maharashtra. Alekar has been influenced by playwright Diwakar (Shankar Kashinath Garge (1889-1931)) who employed Natyachhata (dramatic monologues) to project issues of social customs, women, politics, colonial bureaucracy, using dark comedy and cynicism (Alekar 410).

Pidhijat (Dynasts) written in 2003, is a superb satire on rampant corruption perpetrated by political parties in the country. The play is a mingling of realism with absurd mode of expression. The dialogues between wife and lover, father and son, son and grandfather, wife and grandfather, father and grandfather are unique in presenting the central issue at discussion namely, corruption. There is a total disregard for moral principles as characters live compromised lives.

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Medium 9781552452677

Lonely Planet

Spencer Gordon Coach House Books ePub

LONELY PLANET

 

 

 

I

 

Ryan can’t remember his dreams. It’s been this way for two and a half years. He used to have so many beautiful, exciting nights – charging with elephants across marshmallow fields, fucking childhood friends in the stands of enormous monster-truck rallies, even dipping into libido-charging bouts of lucidity, wherein he could suddenly fly, melt time, be happy. Now, though, there’s nothing – not even the faintest, most ephemeral glimmer. But Ryan’s done his reading on nighttime emissions. He knows perfectly well that if you sleep, you dream; knows that he is no exception. And thus he figures these curious memory gaps can mean only one thing: that some seriously malevolent shit must be running amok in his subconscious.

Ryan guesses that if he could remember his dreams, he would call them nightmares. He feels he has good reason: despite the gaping dissolves in his memory, each morning is marked by a sense of dread so acute that he whimpers. He whimpers before he opens his eyes, before he is aware of himself as a being, distinct from his sticky mattress, the rattle of his ceiling fan. Whimpers as the sensation of waking life, consciousness, Ryanness, materializes in the slow, plodding minutes of awareness.

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Medium 9780253010476

Chapter 38 Twenty Fifth Year

William Williams Indiana University Press ePub

It is now several months since my Sinecer friend died, from which time I have not put pen to paper untill now, being May of my Twenty fifth year, having rather Indulged my melancholy humour to much and finding Nothing worthy recording, the time passing on in a sort of Sameness day by day. But I shall remark that Bell’s Wife has determined never to have another husband any more while She lives, as she says, and indeed she seems to Be resolved theron as my Wife thinks, too.

My Son Owen has been gone with Harry on a Visit Among our Indian neighbours above two months On the great business of Getting him a Wife, for his Passion for European Women has subsided a considerable time past. So that I am at this present time of writing In a scituation almost as forlorn as I was twenty years ago as to my own colour.

I must not forget to Observe that Rory the other day found a Young Faun in the back Woods and brought it home to my wife. She insists on rearing of it altho I am not much for it. Yet we have seen no Tigers now for years. Nor do I think they frequent our Quarter, altho our Woods are grown almost as ample as ever. But it May be the constant fires and frequent chopping in the Wood may have caused them to abandon these parts. And indeed their abscence is the best company, As we have Goats breeding among us frequently.

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Medium 9780253016881

City Manager

Michael Martone Break Away Book Club Edition ePub

City Manager

The town of Winesburg operates under the weak-mayor system, always has. I am the city manager, a creature of the council charged by the council, five elected members, to keep the trash trucks running on time. There aren’t too many other municipal services to attend to. The fire department is volunteer. The county provides the police. There are the sewers of the town, and I maintain them myself and conduct the daily public tours. The sewers of Winesburg are vast, channeling one branch of the Fork River through underground chambers and pools roofed with vaulted ceilings tiled with ceramic-faced bricks. The sewers were the last public works project of the Wabash and Erie Canal before the canal bankrupted the state of Indiana. I mentioned tours but there aren’t that many tourists interested in sewers. I walk the tunnels alone, my footsteps on the paving stones echoing. The drip, drip, drip of the seeping water. The rapid splashing over the riprap. There is the landfill as well to manage, the heart-shaped hole where the fossilrife limestone of the sewers was quarried, punched in the table-flat topography of a field north of Winesburg. We are located on the drained sandy bed of an ancient inland sea. Sea birds from the Great Lakes find their way to the pit, circle and dive down below the rim, emerging with beaks stuffed with human hair, for their nests, I guess. Indiana has complicated laws concerning the disposal of cut hair. Much of the state transships its hair here. A thriving cottage industry persists, that of locket making, using the spent anonymous hair to simulate the locks of a departed loved one. The lockets are afterthoughts, fictional keepsakes. The locket makers can be seen rummaging through the rubbish of the dump, collecting bags of damp felt. Winesburg was the first city in the country to install the emergency 911 telephone number. J. Edward Roush, member of the House of Representatives, was our congressman and was instrumental in establishing the system. I manage that too, taking a shift, at night usually, in the old switching room, to answer the calls of the citizens of Winesburg who more often than not do have something emerging. Usually not an acute emergency but more a chronic unrest. An anxiousness. Not a heart attack but a heartache. I listen. The switches, responding to the impulse of someone somewhere dialing, tsk and sigh and click. I manage. I am the city manager.

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Medium 9780253329561

Chapter Seven

Scott Russell Sanders Indiana University Press ePub

Is it the wilds he’s hungry for—or is it only me? Teeg could not decide. His eyes would glaze over whenever she told him about the wilderness. But then, his eyes glazed over and his breathing quickened whenever she leaned close to tell him anything. He was so ensnarled in the mating rigmarole that she would probably be disentangling him for months before they could actually make love. In the meantime, whether or not he was hungering for the wilds, he was certainly hungering for her, and that appetite would have to do, until she could deliver him into the wilderness. Once he was outside, the sea and forest could work on him. If she had to be the bait that lured him out there, then bait she would be.

She had already reported to the other seekers, after her two weeks of prospecting, that Whale’s Mouth Bay would make an ideal location for the settlement. Tonight, when the crew met for an ingathering, she must speak with them about Phoenix, before his passion cooled or his wilderdread returned.

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Medium 9789810861131

It’s a Wonderful Lie by Felix Cheong

Goodwin, Temari & Hoye (Editors) Monsoon Books ePub
"It’s a Wonderful Lie" by Felix Cheong

A romance short story set in Singapore, first published in "Love and Lust in Singapore" (Monsoon Books, Singapore)

We always believe we’re extraordinary. That the world could be wooed and moved if only we found its fulcrum, hit the dead centre and shifted our weight. But we end up exactly where we fear to tread, the black hole which draws dream and light to its tailspin denouement. Would a second chance, a retrial, ever change the outcome?
*   *   *
I flinch as my coffin feeds the fire. So, this is cremation, the tail end of creation. But I can barely feel the heat as it eats its way through my skin. Afterwards, there’ll be coffee and tearing tales, gathered like so many starry eyes, so many sunset remembrances. There’ll be time to eavesdrop on versions and revisions of stories.For now, I watch these flames mulling over flesh and wood, hungry and generous to a fault.
 *   *   *
It’s been two minutes since my body broke down as my death broke through. On the eve of Christmas too. What ass luck. What arse timing … See All Chapters
Medium 9781574412017

people’s choice

Michael Hyde University of North Texas Press PDF

16

what are you afraid of ?

that ran into the space left vacant. She drew the sheet up between her legs, thought of birth, her gaze fixed on the ceiling. Then she heard footsteps, in the kitchen below, the door shutting, the creaking of the stairs. Graham stood in the doorway to the bedroom—a solid figure against the moonlight that illuminated the hallway behind him.

“It’s a miracle,” he said, calm and deep, not moving. Enid pulled on her robe and followed him downstairs. She questioned him only with glances, knowing that Graham, when serious, would decide when it was time for him to speak. “Seeing is believing,” is all that he said. Enid pushed her feet into a pair of barn boots and hurried after him. He had already gone back outside.

In the barn, the back stall beyond the salt lick was lit by a kerosene lamp hung from the rafters. The wet smell of night mixed with the miasma of damp straw and animal waste. Graham was leaning forward over the bottom half of the split door, his hands pushed down against the rotting boards. Enid pulled back the hair from her eyes to get a better look.

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Medium 9780253018175

Fabricating Fear

B.J. Hollars Break Away Book Club Edition ePub

We searched for a lake monster on the shores of Lake Superior. This was in July of 2012. My wife, Meredith, son Henry, and I had headed north from Eau Claire, Wisconsin, in the hope that the vacation town of Duluth, Minnesota, might momentarily insulate us from the horrors of the world.

It didn’t.

Didn’t drown out the drone missiles dropped in Pakistan or silence the Syrian uprising.

In the days prior to our trip, I’d found I could hardly turn on the television without learning of the latest in a long line of disasters—flash floods in Russia, drought in West Africa, a car bombing in Kandahar. Not to mention an earthquake in New Zealand and Ireland’s torrential rains. For days on end, cable news had little trouble confirming that every last vestige of the planet was crumbling or washing away, bombed or broken or both.

Except, of course, Duluth.

By the time we arrived at Minnesota Point beach, we were disheartened to find that we’d already lost most of the daylight. Still, I kept my six-month-old son confined to the safety of the shore by using what little light remained to search for monsters.

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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 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 9781574412789

Chapter Seven

Jane Roberts Wood University of North Texas Press PDF

Summer 1944

Chapter Seven

• 1

G

race and Amelia have decided to spend the day together because

Grace will leave for New York the following day. After lunch they go to an early movie. Grace wants to see Mr. Skeffing­ton with Bette

Davis, but Amelia has seen it. They decide to see Snow White, smiling at the idea of grown women choosing a children’s movie.

And then, strangely (Grace can’t imagine why), as she watches the beguiling little dwarfs and Snow White’s mothering of them, she imagines Bucy—tall, very tall, lean, handsome—wearing his periwinkle blue shirt (the one she has most recently given to her washwoman), his eyes squinched up with laughter, his Adam’s apple going up and down. She is not sure John would like the movie. But Bucy would love the funny dwarfs, the music, the color, the artistry of it. Perhaps they can see a movie in New York after she has said, “Tell me why you left.” Had he known she couldn’t love him enough and been too kind to say it? Was that why he had painted those words over their bed and left?

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Medium 9781552452585

Drowning Doesn't Look Like Drowning

Heather Birrell Coach House Books ePub

Drowning Doesn't Look
Like Drowning

FOR A LONG TIME MY FATHER refused to talk about the accident. That he considered me at fault was obvious and how to integrate this feeling seemed puzzling to him – although, of course, not to me. I had lost him as surely as I lost my mother, lost him to a recklessness that had been mere frivolity in the past. My mothers risk-taking had always been extravagant but well-ordered, but my father grabbed at dangerous opportunities as if at bullets zinging past him. He had dropped out of the Superior trip because a gig had come up, a friend who needed help moving some cargo. Drugs? Maybe. Not weaponry, that was not his style. But that there was a hard edge, a large possibility of capture or injury, was a given. Sometimes wilderness trekking was too purely animalistic for him. Too distant from the intricacies of human infrastructures. Was my mother angry that he had cancelled – last minute – a trip that was meant to be my initiation into this type of adventuring? If so, she never showed it. In the days leading up to our departure, the expedition became ours alone – we gathered supplies, rolled and cubed clothes and gear into knapsacks built expressly for this purpose. She was a winker, my mother, and in those days she winked at me often, while reaching for a canister of propane, smoothing out a map, pointing out a buckle or clasp. Hugging me, the two of us wearing only our underwear and neon-orange life preservers.

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