Nadine stole a white Plymouth Roadrunner early Friday evening. She took it from an airport parking lot, which bought her the weekend before it was missed – a couple of weeks if she was lucky. Earle had shown her how and when to take an automobile. ‘Stay calm and act natural. Once they’re on the plane, there’s nothing they can do. You’re the new owner. Remember that.’
‘A Hundred Ways to Live’, Four American Tales
‘I seen one!’ May Alice took a hold of my arm, her eyes filled up with nightmare. ‘It’s got claws and fur and lives at the bottom of the water. It hides in the grass and drags you down just when you thinks it’s safe. Ain’t nothin’ you can do about it ’cos you’s already died. Then it eats you and it hurts somethin’ awful.’
‘Wichega’, Four American Tales
All at once, Lucy remembered Trevor and began to weep. He would never grow old as she had grown old. His youthful face remained unchanged and unwearied, preserved forever in her faithful memory. She did not love him – did not know if she had ever loved him – yet there he was. Was he still alive? She tried to think of Gerald, dead Gerald, dull, oblivious, bullying Gerald, but his face had turned bland and bloated with the years, like a blurred photograph of an undistinguished stranger.
‘Long Distance’, a free short story
Someone had pitched me into the freezing waters of a dark and pitiless lake. Monstrous predatory creatures circled in the primordial gloom. High above, a pinpoint of grey light flickered on the edge of extinction. I had to swim for that light – swim for it or else sink into unfathomable loss …
Giles Manningtree had the annoying habit of latching on to me simply because we were the same nationality. He believed fellow-countrymen should stick together and defend their common culture before it was trodden underfoot by ignorant Gallic hordes. I wondered what had induced him to set up shop in Paris in the first place. There was forty years’ difference in our ages, but he looked ten years older than that. He had actually lived through the 1960s; unfortunately, he’d been too stoned to remember much about them.
Eric drew close, as if confiding a secret. ‘The word is dead, Howard. It died when facts ceased to count. Perceptions are all that matter these days. Electronic impulses have no conscience. Money talks – I should know – but it’s mostly lies.’
I once played volleyball with the archbishop of Barcelona. He was fast around the court and had a useful serve. Attired in clerical garb and sporting a long dark beard that waved in the wind, he looked like somebody impersonating himself. I know a little about how that feels.