Get a Grip: A Short Story Collection

Get a Grip: A Short Story Collection

Get a Grip: A Short Story Collection

Get a Grip: A Short Story Collection

Synopsis

The stories in Get a Grip depict a range of imagined lives. There are Estonian brothers trekking from their blighted neighborhood to a college interview. There's a TV meteorite hunter in town to search for otherworldly treasure. We meet a widow addicted to physical pain and a successful ad executive who loses all his worldly possessions in one day. All of the characters work out their struggles in the Baltimore region, channeling, in turns, the area's charm, its despair, its humor, its self-doubt, its compassion. Get a Grip is a book about who we are when the cameras are off and the phone has died.

Excerpt

You scan the Shopping Network again for the thing God wants you to buy, the thing for the troops. Those barely-shaving boys. There are wind chimes, brooches, stop-snoring aids, mini trampolines. and more stuff of no value to young men in Humvees, young men storming rooftops, shooting at cars, frisking villagers whose kind brown faces are costumes. Your bad hand clutches the remote, zapping the volume, daring your fingers to do more than throb in concert with your boring heart.

The presenter, Petunia, offers the profligate items in a baby voice. She jokes about wrinkles she doesn’t have. Words line up in your throat like fighter jets— something like, “Get more Botox! Maybe it’ll paralyze that mouth!” You clamp them inside your lips, the hot of engines. Fool outbursts at the television aren’t Christ-like. and they could make the hand flare up, the pain an electrical storm up your arm. Which you maybe deserve. But according to your smarty-pants son, you also risk a blackout, and the last thing you need is him down here lecturing you again.

The next product she presents is the American flag—not something the troops need sent. Still, an icy-hot pool seeps in your stomach. You lean forward . . .

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