New Stories from the Midwest 2012

By John McNally; Jason Lee Brown et al. | Go to book overview

Eighteen
Twelve + Twelve

Christine Sneed

SOMEONE IN THE ALLEY THREE STORIES below my window was calling out to someone else and what he was saying was not very nice. Maybe he did because we were all stuck in an ugly, listless March, ice visible everywhere and clinging to our lawns like a dense gray scum. We were exhausted and cynical under cloudy skies, our pants cuffs perpetually caked in grit and mud, our car tires spinning and spinning on snow-choked streets. No one I knew was outside digging up the flower beds, and certainly no one was in the mood to offer spare coins to strangers distractedly ransacking their pockets for change to feed the meters. Instead, people were talking heatedly into mobile phones or looking down at their feet as they trudged, these unloved husbands and crashdieters and stubborn musicians and disbarred lawyers who all huddled in on themselves because among their other hardships, winter hadn’t yet ended and at this near-unendurable point, they just couldn’t look each other in the face.

Griggs was in my kitchen on a Saturday morning, sitting right by the window with his coffee and Tribune, listening to an outraged someone down in the alley yell insults at a hapless someone else. I was in the other room and didn’t hear anything, but when I appeared before him with my newly clean hair and skin, generally pleased with myself, Griggs smiled a little, shook his head and told me what he’d heard. He wouldn’t say the obscenities because he was my father’s friend and therefore a supposed role model. I looked at him dead-on,

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New Stories from the Midwest 2012
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Editors’ Note xiii
  • Introduction 1
  • One - Mr. Scary 6
  • Two - To Psychic Underworld 22
  • Three - Townie 32
  • Four - The Amnesiac in the Maze 47
  • Five - The Deep 56
  • Six - Circling in the Air 72
  • Seven - Down to Bone 83
  • Eight - Starry Night 94
  • Nine - Peter Torrelli, Falling Apart 104
  • Ten - In Which a Coffin Is a Bed but an Ox Is Not a Coffin 117
  • Eleven - Drunk Girl in Stilettos 131
  • Twelve - The State Bird of Minnesota 146
  • Thirteen - The Five Points of Performance 156
  • Fourteen - The Baby Glows 170
  • Fifteen - Splendid, Silent Sun 172
  • Sixteen - Miscarriages 185
  • Seventeen - American Bulldog 198
  • Eighteen - Twelve- + Twelve 206
  • Nineteen - A Dry Season 221
  • Twenty - Schnecks 234
  • Thirty- Other Distinguished Stories 243
  • Contributors 245
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