Distemper

Occasionally I seem to fall into myself, and I have a limited number of holes to accommodate that, which is to say I’m capable, one chance in five, of being an asshole.

You see, I’ve just gotten out of bed and I remember some things I said and did yesterday while I’m trying to make some pancakes look and smell like pancakes before I taste them, and I’ve reached the point where flippancy is the other side of intensity and both of them have burned the pancakes.

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Summer Stock Story

I was headed to Theatre-by-the-Sea in Rhode Island. I’d gotten the part of von Trapp, or the Captain, as he was known, in The Sound of Music at because I was tall, had a mature look (due to a receding hairline), and so could conceivably be a widowed former naval officer who had fathered seven children. I was twenty-nine years old, but looked forty-two. Also, I could sing, thanks to my father’s patient voice lessons, and was emotionally not unlike von Trapp,

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Some Kind of Smoke Signal

There’s this video of my dad and me lighting our hands on fire at the kitchen table. It starts with him walking around the kitchen, opening and closing cupboards. He must have been looking for something—I’m sure he was looking for something—but a small part of me wonders if maybe he was doing it just for fun. This is the same man, after all, who dragged home a hay bale for us to practice “knife throwing” on mere hours

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Persian Lessons

It was my need to belong that drove me to learn Persian. I prided myself on my command of the idiom. The secret to my steep learning curve was pretending. Make-believe was my major strategy. I was not content to merely memorize verb conjugations and the uses of the subjunctive. My tactic early on was to convince myself that I was Iranian. Even before I had the vocabulary, I had mastered the cadence of a Persian sentence. I

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College Education or Desert Walkabout in Indian Madras

he night I escaped the sinewy charms of Don Baker, I ran down the rocky dirt road from the drive-in, dodged behind garbage cans, and sidled into the recessed doorways of a strip mall to avoid being seen when Don drove by in his VW van. I walked home from that very scary date and swore to myself “Never again.”

A sophomore at Arizona State University, I thought I knew everything about college, men, and, oh yes, life.

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Freckles

The cinnamon freckles that are dusted on my body are identical to the ones on the bodies of my sometimes former, sometimes current, nighttime, kind-of-friends. [I wouldn’t go as far as to call the speckled procession, ‘lovers’]. When our bodies combined, the specks were capable of soaking up twice the amount of vitamin D — especially in dark rooms.
Ephelides awoke in the sunshine. But stormy weather would wash away the little stains,

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Only Eight

I crouched next to the green rocking chair as Alejandro faced his twenty-seven third-grade classmates. They were cross-legged on the threadbare grey carpet, waiting for him to read his first completed story of the year. I tried to intercept the gaze of any who would glance my way, my silent plea to receive his story kindly. Things didn’t come easily for Alejandro.

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