In this collection’s title story, a man finds himself married to a former porn star, a woman he has adored for years. Their marriage, by her decree, is chaste; and while this doesn’t really bother him it does create a certain turmoil — especially when he has an ominous dream.
Meanwhile, a baby is found and no one remembers being the mother; a woman considers an invitation to adultery; a passionless girl lives in a land where the heads of some people hover; the world is being reshaped by a friend's fanciful maps; a young wife is presented to a man who has been strangely amputated; and a critic reviews an atypically transgressive play.
A Confusion of Moms
Well, Betsy, about the only thing we've decided for sure, though we really don't know
for sure, but we've decided to agree
that the baby isn't Mom's, since Mom is way past that age anyhow. This made Mom, like, gleeful. "I'm a grandma, I'm a grandma," she said over and over, though I can't say if she was glad she was a grandma or glad she wasn't a mom again.
The Full Chorus Sings of Dorothy
Fitzgerald's Many Virtues
He's forgotten who I am. Other women may fall easily but I cannot. Yes, he and I are older now. We each have traveled long enough to meet each other again. He supposes, therefore, that I have changed, as though time requires that we change.
I stepped to the window and looked down and saw someone, boy or girl but young for sure, dodging the traffic, which was thinner than the crowd, and hurrying towards and past our building. The scream came from a head that was hooked in the someone’s arm. The head belonged to the neckless woman I’d seen five minutes before.
Fifty Words EachSeventeen 50-word stories, including "Recklessly Re-Dialing," "For Son and Country," and "The Funeral Is Not This Week."
As True As She Wants It
Right in front of me she dismapped our street, drawing it quickly on a scrap of paper, making it wider and straighter and renaming it Esmeralda Avenue
(after her favorite old stuffed bear), and sure enough, when we went outside, I looked at the street and its sign and saw that we now lived on straight and wide Esmeralda Avenue.
The Amputated Man
The amputated man lived far enough away that they had to drive. The drive wasn’t long — a few turns, a few lights, then across the unmapped line between markets with bulletproof glass and those without. Nick took Bobbie to the side of the bullets.
The Astonishing Lawrence Lyrik Agitates the Servants of the Censor
For daring to view Lyrik's work, for daring to legitimize
him, I and the rest of the audience, as we entered the Hall, were pummeled with words and sometimes with spit and always with hate.
The Chicken Bone
When a reporter asks her — and even now they still do — why she would have married someone like me
, she answers, simply enough, that she loves me. Reporters, of course, do not believe in love, and so they continue to speculate publicly about her motives — and about mine.