1020 Slices
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Medium 9781574412796

Chapter Fourteen

Jane Roberts Wood University of North Texas Press PDF

Chapter Fourteen


As the time for Echo’s delivery dr aws near she no longer appears at breakfast and no longer works in the garden, although she still walks there and, wearing Sister Celeste’s heavy cape against the cold, sits on the bench before Our Lady of Guadeloupe for long periods of time. Seeing her there Father d’Acosta is reminded of a plant in the garden that, when touched, curls its slender leaves in upon itself as if seeking its own beginning. Her pregnancy has transformed the once slender girl into a woman so enormous that delivery seems impossible. Except for her eyes no traces of girlhood remain.

Time seems suspended as they wait for the birth. Whenever he has to leave the household he hurries back, recognizing his own need to be there and sensing Sister Celeste’s deep anxiety for the girl. Still, when Sister Celeste taps gently on his door at three o’clock in the morning, saying, “It’s time, Father,” he feels dismay.

“It’s too soon,” he tells himself. “She’s not ready for this.”

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Medium 9781574412710

Things Go Missing

Tim Johnston University of North Texas Press PDF

Things Go Missing

Part I: Malfeasance

For a while, there, I was a burglar. I mean I walked uninvited

into people’s homes and took their things and kept them for myself—though usually not for very long. My locker would fill up and girls would notice, the way girls do, and if they saw something they liked I’d either give it to them or take some cash just for appearances—two bucks for a near-empty bottle of N°5, five for something really desirable like a red alligator clutch. If anybody asked, it was all stuff my mother was getting rid of. When business got too brisk, or I began to recognize too many things in the halls, I’d start ditching my haul before I got back to school, or else I’d take it home and stash it in my mother’s boxes in the attic, knowing that Dad, if he ever went up there, would not be able to tell the difference.

Say “burglar” and people think: Male, full-grown, night-time, black clothes, flashlight. They don’t think: Girl, ponytail, pancake chest, Gap jeans—ringing the bell in the middle of the day, asking, Is Betty-Lynn home—? No kid was ever named Betty-Lynn.

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Medium 9781574415650


Becky Adnot-Haynes University of North Texas Press ePub

I love the pole vault because it is a professor’s sport. One must not only run and jump, but one must think. Which pole to use, which height to jump […] I love it because the results are immediate and the strongest is the winner. Everyone knows it. In everyday life that is difficult to prove.

—Sergey Bubka, 1988

When Ewan began pole vaulting again, he did it secretively, furtively, a thing he held inside his chest until it pulsed—like a family secret, or a lie. Lucky for him, it was a sport well-suited to solitude: You didn’t need someone to hit ground balls to you, to rebound missed shots, to return your serves. It had been eight years since his last vault—it was hardly a sport of casual pursuit—and he missed it. Really missed it. Standing at the end of the runway before his first jump, he felt a buildup of energy course through his limbs, the sensation so visceral that he closed his eyes and simply let himself feel the weight of the pole resting in his hands, that lovely feeling of anticipation. It was the day after he and Cora decided, officially, to start trying for a baby, him making a nervous joke as she pulled him to her that it was time to see if his boys could swim.

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Medium 9780253002365

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Gregory Schwipps Indiana University Press ePub

It’d lightly rained at some point during the night, and now Ollie’s sleeping bag felt heavy and moist. The sun was just strong enough to heat up the damp bedding and make it stink like wet feathers. His back ached from sleeping on the steel truck bed, and his eye throbbed. As he pulled himself out of the sleeping bag, everything he touched was wet. Soon he was chilled and miserable.

When he looked around, things appeared as they had the night before—he was near the entrance to some sort of park. While it seemed public enough, there was no gatehouse and, apparently, no patrolling rangers. He’d been seeing signs for the Daniel Boone National Forest, and he thought he was close to it, if not smack-dab in it. The only other thing in this small clearing off the road was a dumpster, and he’d heard something bump against it in the night.

But he’d slept all the way through and survived his first night on the road. He knew the open road was a bitch and that he’d be forced to earn her respect. Last night surely earned him some, although he’d paid dearly for it. He stepped to the ground in his sock feet and felt the moisture soak through them. His dry clothes were in the cab, but it’d be tricky getting dressed in there. He’d done it, of course, and his mind went to Summer. By now she’d be missing him. He hoped she was, anyway.

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Medium 9780253006837

10: Abdo-Julien

Abdourahman A. Waberi Indiana University Press ePub



THERE! We're all together again now, by the grace of the Most Lofty. Let's chat for a few moments. I'll go back to what I was telling you yesterday, my boy. So, where was I? Oh yes, did you know that the nomads are late converts, that Islam is an urban religion, born among merchants from Mecca? It is true that Mohammed, may his soul rest in peace, succeeded in conquering the nomads, regimenting them in his troops and sending them forth to conquer the world. And do you know that our beloved religion never really took to the sea, which is why Muslim societies have lagged behind in the development of capitalism? Islam has always viewed sailors as people on the fringe of society, outcasts, or rebels. Now, you little rascal, you're going to ask me how I can explain the power of Oman, if only in our region, and the advent of Swahili civilization from the Red Sea to the Mozambique Channel. It's due to prehistoric maritime cultures. The Omanese and a few Turkified populations on the banks of the Black Sea were able to preserve this knowledge of the sea, and so those remarkable sailors and fishermen gave birth to a veritable maritime power in the Indian Ocean. You didn't know that either, did you? Beware of appearances: an imposture may even lie between the pages of a history book made in Paris. Now listen to me. No, it's not hard to reach out to people. On the contrary, people are dying to find an attentive ear willing to listen to them and a mind inclined to stir up the mulch of their understanding. From time immemorial, Grandfather gave every conversation a certain depth, a duly calculated slowness that had absolutely nothing to do with laziness. There was in his gestures, and especially in his voice, an economy that captivated and galvanized me by its gentleness, its rhythm, and by the way he would stretch out a vowel like o or u, depending on his argumentation. And every one of his actions was marked by the same relaxed intensity. He did not hesitate to ask my grandmother Timiro for his thermos of tea three times in a row without raising or lowering his voice. And in the same courteous, firm tone, he could also insist that Grandmother make the tea over again if he didn't like the way it was brewed. All this not for the pleasure of indisposing others and showing his authority like the old quibblers of his age, nor to bother anyone, just to make sure that his interlocutors fully understood all his rights, even in the state of physical helplessness he was in before he passed from life to death. For him, life was a constant flow of exchanges in words or deeds, and because of this, he took all the time he needed to pose his voice, give his opinions, and move his old bones. Without haste, he tasted the sap of every minute: life is a banquet to be savored together, no need to lap it up in two strokes of a spoon. Not everyone shared his point of view. Timiro, gripped by the feeling of his precariousness, often let a few tears escape: they flowed down the ridge of her nose and flooded the hills of her cheekbones.

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Medium 9781771870764


Forrie, Allan Thistledown Press ePub
The beauty and rush of Caribbean life is explored during a family vacation in “Catch”, as Pauline Holdstock finds comfort during early morning swims where she can observe other tourists and the local population in solitude. Part travel narrative, part reflection on human nature, this essay will transport you.  

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Medium 9780253016881

Inspector 4

Michael Martone Break Away Book Club Edition ePub

Inspector 4

I am in quality control. I am quality control. I control quality here at the Pink Pearl factory. My job is to write out something, anything, on this piece of paper, and, then, test the eraser, a random nub from the lot, and erase, erasing every word. So, I use my test, this simulation, to write to you. I write this to you who worry that there will be evidence, a record, of our secret. “I just don’t want anybody hurt,” you write to me. “Destroy this,” you write at the end of the note where you wrote “I just don’t want anybody hurt.” I’m an expert, making language disappear. No more phone calls. “Your number will show up on the bill,” you say when you call. “Strike me,” you whisper, “from the call log on your phone.” I control quality. I am qualified. I make space. Gaps. I erase erasures. “We must,” you say, “not get carried away,” “Delete ‘Delete.’” “You are driving me crazy,” you write in the e-mail, my e-mail dangling down below where I have typed that you drive me crazy not from what you write but the way you hold my head, your fingers rubbing through my hair, how I spread open your lips with my tongue, its tip touching that nub, your pink pearl, sanding it flat, the stubble of my beard, iridescent irritant. “Rubbed raw,” I write. Abrasion. My hand in your mouth. You gagged silent. No one should know any of this. Ever. We must control ourselves. Not write down anything. No evidence. Forget even this. Nothing left but some crumbs rubbed clean, brushed from the empty, empty, empty, empty paper.

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Medium 9780253016881

Occupy Winesburg

Michael Martone Break Away Book Club Edition ePub

Occupy Winesburg


I pitched my tent between the soccer field and the playground in Emile Durkheim Park, across the street from Emile Durkheim High School, my stinking alma mater, and I dove the dumpster at Dollar General for sheets of cardboard. My mother texted: you’re making a fool of yourself, honey.

Did I care? Hannah Arendt made a fool of herself. Rosa Parks, too. Fucking Gandhi was the biggest fool of them all. I chuckled at public humiliation. I was the sole Occupier in Winesburg; alone in the park. The movement was me; I was the movement.

When I saw the principal of Durkheim High coming down the block in her minivan, I hustled into my tent for the sign I’d made just for her. I Reject Your Authority as Illegitimate. She shrugged at me benignly as she drove past my encampment, on her way to indoctrinate the current generation of Winesburg youth in capitalism and civic complacency. With one hand I held my sign high, and with the other hand I flipped her the bird.

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Medium 9781574413311

The Blue Carriage

Peter Brown University of North Texas Press PDF

The Blue Carriage


oanie rode the E into Manhattan three

Saturdays in a row but found nothing good and no one helpful. On the fourth Saturday, she laid on the bright blood-colored lipstick, lashed her hair into a gleaming bun, put on her pinstripe suit, her paisley neckerchief and her heels. Now when she walked into the stores in midtown, the clerks either scattered or ran towards her. She asked a few sharp questions at Macy’s and a sales manager made three calls and sent her to Albee’s uptown.

At Albee’s the salesman, with a pencil behind his ear and the name Morris embroidered on his apron, was too old and bored to be intimidated by the outfit. She pointed a pencil at him and then at her list of questions, but he had already walked away. He pointed down the aisle: he meant to show her the models that were moving fast.

First was the TrèsChic line from Montreal, which was in his opinion more popular, et cetera, than the rest. One in the window had blue patent-leather mudflaps and a blue parasol printed with white lollipops. The Hans Solo model had Nerf-rocket launchers on either side and was a hot ticket too, he said, with the Upper

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Medium 9781771870757


Forrie, Allan Thistledown Press ePub
The digging of a new well leads to a visit from “The Water Witcher” in Audrey J. Whitson’s short story about a young girl learning to divine the location of wells from her father’s old classmate: a woman with a fleet of cats and a difficult past.

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Medium 9781771870948

Amanda's Weekend

Altrows, Rona Thistledown Press ePub


Friday night

AMANDA HASN’T KNOWN DAVID LONG but the fact that he belongs to a Communist cell arouses her. He tells her that the members of his cell study Marx, but do not get involved in political activity, because action leads to compromise and compromise leads to corruption.

“What drives you, then?” she asks, and he says, “Purity of intent.”

Amanda has to know what motivates a person. She has learned that the best place to find out is in bed.

It’s good to have David in bed tonight. He is a bookish boy and tonight he looks especially pale and reflective. It’s as though she were sleeping with a cloistered monk, another idea that arouses her. She herself is reclusive — the reincarnation, she believes, of a medieval religious scribe. She takes quiet pleasure in hand-copying striking passages from books. She and David are like brothers sharing a moment. Besides, his dedication to inertia contrasts nicely with Kevin’s agitation. She is tired of rallies, tired of the rants against the sinister military industrial complex of the United States and its war of aggression in Viet Nam. She is tired of worrying what will become of Kevin and her brother and all her male friends of draftable age back home in New York.

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Medium 9781771870641

The Bridge

Hobsbawn-Smith, dee Thistledown Press ePub


AT FOUR AM, BREATHLESS ROLLS OVER and stares at the blue numbers on the clock. She can feel sweat beading on her upper lip. At five, she pulls on a skirt, tank top, sandals. Cigarettes and lighter, cash and key, cotton sweater over her arm. The hall floor creaks as she tiptoes to the lobby.

“Which way to the Brooklyn Bridge?”

The night clerk’s smile is as wan as the walls. “A good half hour south on foot, ma’am. You aren’t walkin’ alone, surely?”

Breathless almost smiles. “I’ve seen things. It’s like wearing armour, you know? A map, please.”

The map materializes. “It’s got the subways on the other side. See? And maybe I can lock your necklace in the hotel safe?”

“Gotcha. I’ll keep it out of sight.” She wraps her sweater sleeves around her throat, covering the necklace, steps into the morning.

A postcard pinned to the wall above the coffee urn in her favourite diner at home in Calgary had brought her to New York City. She’d stared at that postcard over breakfast for years. Men in hard hats and undershirts, building the mile-long Brooklyn Bridge over the East River in 1883, leaning casually on the cables. All those strands spoke volumes, braided steel wires that held the bridge together, tied it to the earth, stronger than they appeared, complicated beyond unstringing or understanding. The men who had woven the bridge into being were long dead, but Breathless had wanted to see their world — boots swinging over the bridge deck as they unpacked metal lunch buckets, at ease, unconcerned by the river, its currents, the city’s unseen risks. As if life was no more demanding or perilous than a simple walk across a bridge. As if all anyone needed was a single silver strand to hold them safe and guide them home.

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Medium 9780060727864

The United States of Lyncherdom

Twain, Mark HarperCollins ePub (DRM)


And so Missouri has fallen, that great state! Certain of her children have joined the lynchers, and the smirch is upon the rest of us. That handful of her children have given us a character and labeled us with a name, and to the dwellers in the four quarters of the earth we are “lynchers,” now, and ever shall be. For the world will not stop and think—it never does, it is not its way; its way is to generalize from a single sample. It will not say. “Those Missourians have been busy eighty years in building an honorable good name for themselves; these hundred lynchers down in the corner of the state are not real Missourians, they are renegades.” No, that truth will not enter its mind; it will generalize from the one or two misleading samples and say, “The Missourians are lynchers.” It has no reflection, no logic, no sense of proportion. With it, figures go for nothing; to it, figures reveal nothing, it cannot reason upon them rationally; it would say, for instance, that China is being swiftly and surely Christianized, since nine Chinese Christians are being made every day; and it would fail, with him, to notice that the fact that 33,000 pagans are born there every day, damages the argument. It would say, “There are a hundred lynchers there, therefore the Missourians are lynchers”; the considerable fact that there are two and a half million Missourians who are not lynchers would not affect their verdict.

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Medium 9781942496656

Chapter 20

Charlotte Jones Solution Tree Press ePub

“Has Shira written back yet?”

Conrad had been on his feet since they had arrived, unable to sit still. It had been over three hours since Shira had last responded. Zinnia shook her head. For almost two hours, her face had remained the color of milk, and she had excused herself from the tent multiple times. Her nervousness was clear to everyone. Conrad tried not to look at her. Her anxiety made it more difficult for him to ignore his.

The other officers were sitting in various places of the tent, which was lit rather poorly by the few lanterns Corporal Avner had been able to spare. Addae was scrutinizing the map of the Evron Conrad had brought, Lutalo and Hagos were poring over guest lists, and Kaleb was thumbing through statements given by some of the servants who believed they had seen something. Each was trying his best to burn time.

“Why would she not write back?” Kaleb said softly. “She has a reason, she must.”

“It could be anything,” Lutalo said. “Maybe she is being watched, so she can’t, or maybe she was moved, and she left it behind.”

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Medium 9780253018175

Epistle to an Embryo

B.J. Hollars Break Away Book Club Edition ePub

May 8, 2011

Dear Future Child,

I write to you today so that you might have some account of our first disaster endured as a family. You see, you were there, too, as the tornado swirled overhead.

This is the part of the story we don’t tell people because you are not here yet—just some tiny embryo—and the world is too unstable. There are still far too many factors left unaccounted for, too many variables.

Only sometimes, I’m told, does X + Y = BABY.

This morning, while cruising the cereal aisle in the grocery store, your mother nearly gave our secret away. There she was, mulling over the mini-wheats, when confronted by a cereal stocker named Al.

“Happy Mother’s Day,” he told her.

“Thank you.”

Are you a mother?” Al inquired, and after a moment’s hesitation—after weighing the unforeseen consequences of confiding in a stranger—your mother whispered, “No, but maybe one day.”

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