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Tales

An Uncomfortable Bed

One autumn I went to stay for the hunting season with some friends in a chateau in Picardy. My friends were fond of practical joking, as all my friends are. I do not care to know any other sort of people. When I arrived, they gave me a princely reception, which at once aroused distrust […]

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Last Day

I met Colonel Greydon on the last day of his life. We didn’t know it was his last day, but we knew he was dying. And he wanted to die at home, in peace, without prolonging it. He’d taken great care to have male nurses around the clock, because he was a private sort of […]

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My Hot Air Balloon Ride

For a time in my life, everywhere I looked, I saw hot air balloons. If I thumbed through a magazine, there was a hot air balloon in the sky. If I watched an old movie, there was a weathered balloon with a basket underneath and this lady and man would land and have a picnic. […]

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Bitter Falls

Lily peered out the window of her sparsely furnished room to the street below. She could see the entire length of Main Street that wound through Bitter Falls like a fat, filthy snake. Rain had been falling for three days now, churning mud beneath the horses’ hooves as they made their way up and down […]

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Our German Relative

Whenever our family got together, it was inevitable that we would sit and tell stories. We would gather in my grandparents’ adjoining kitchen and living room, tjinja on the floor to make room on the couches and chairs for our elders. Here at the heart of their warm and crowded house, no one would be […]

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Away Game

My great-great-grandfather came to visit us at the lake. This was unexpected because he died 110 years earlier. He spoke in a Mennonite brogue that featured sure-footed enunciation with short demanding sentences and syntax reminiscent of a buggy ride over frozen stubble. Clear eyes stared you down into the frost-blackened remains of a failed Turkey […]

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I am Otter

I met an otter near the public boat launch. He was eating the remnants of a Wendy’s hamburger. As I approached, he shuffled around, giving me his back. I knew he wanted privacy but couldn’t help staring. “Excuse me,” he said. “May I help you?” “I’m sorry. It’s just…” “It’s just that you’ve never seen […]

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One Summer Night

The fact that Henry Armstrong was buried did not seem to him to prove that he was dead. He had always been a hard man to convince. That he really was buried, the testimony of his senses compelled him to admit. His posture — flat upon his back, with his hands crossed upon his stomach […]

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Upsy Downsy

“What are you doing?” Father asked. Billy removed the mirror from under his chin. “I’m imagining what the world would be like upside down,” Billy explained. “You’d have to lift your feet to walk through doorways.” “If gravity stopped, we’d all be dead,” Father said. “Nothing would keep us from flying right out into space, […]

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Smart Car

I get into my car and am greeted by, “You’re looking good today Duke. I see that your blood pressure has improved and your pulse is a healthy 63.” “Yes and you too are looking good Carl. I see that you are freshly washed and lubed. Did you do that last night?” “Right, I was […]