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Bright Blue Day

It was a bright morning, and hot already. The sun rose up over the eastern mountains and across the valley below. All across the county families were waking up, kids climbing out of bed, coffee being made to the sound of the TV news. Another blue bright morning. Even through her sunglasses Jenny had to squint into the sun from behind the wheel of her old Nova, but she felt alright. Window down, cigarette
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"A Thing of Beauty and a Boy Forever..."

"Another veteran of Pfaff's beer cellar arrived for an appearance at Maguire's Opera House. New Orleans-born actress Adah Isaacs Menken (real name: Dolores McCord) had just completed a wildly successful two-month engagement in San Francisco. Mark Twain, during his stay in the Bay City, had reviewed two of her shows, Mazeppa and The French Spy, for the Enterprise. The first, based on the Lord Byron
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Cattle Call

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Red Bandana

He was mean, redneck mean. He worked hard for it. He was just a little guy, little banty rooster and tanned a deep dark red, dragged his feathers state to state. He used to say he was part Cherokee, said he was Welsh, said his granddaddy rode with Mosby for the Confederacy but he used to say a lot of things. He looked more Irish than anything, with blond curly hair, flattened nose, bandy little legs.
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Bill Cody, 1917

William F. Cody lay dying of kidney failure at his sister's house in Denver. He was 71 years old and his kidneys were shot, his own blood was turning against him. Family and friends surrounded his bedside, praying and witnessing. Touching the paper-thin skin of the old man's hand. It seemed like an unlikely way for him to go, they all agreed. He had seen his brother thrown to his death in Iowa, seen
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Muybridge's Buffalo

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The New York Theater Party

"Overshadowed by the better-known exploits of Mafiosi, the dubious achievements of the early Tong members remain sadly obscure. Undeservedly neglected is Sing Dock, the chief boo how doy, or hit man, of the Hip Sing Tong in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. A methodical man who always carefully mapped out his assassinations and escape plans, he became known as 'The Scientific Killer,'
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Superstitions, 1988

She sat in her wheelchair, staring out the window at the cornfields. She said that morning she had a bad sickness right behind her eyes and needed silence. She had brown eyes but they looked black. I stared down at the laces of my shoes and waited, most of the afternoon. By dusk she was all right again. “I dreamed last night that somebody shot you.” She told me later. “Yeah? Who did that?”
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Americans

"Mr. Srinivasaninstructs us to call him 'Babu'because no one can sayhis name -perverted letters mateunnaturally, hereticbloodlines (sex in high schoolwas like sports: we did ourbest and hoped someoneimportant saw). This countryAbsorbs into its blondnessdarkness and we beganin darkness -I wonder how a Hindufalls in love in Texas.I wonder where Ann Nguyen went(who threw her books into myhands and knew
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Another Country

He used to talk about the fifties like was another country or something. Used to sit right over there in one of the window booths, lighting one fresh Chesterfield off the dying butt of the last one, stubbing the last one out into the growing mountain of ashes he had built up on the table in front of him. He'd nod to the guy behind the counter and abracadabra another cup of coffee would magically appear
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9th and 3rd, 1959

"I remember one time he was the Silver Tin Can. If there was a window open, or a door, he'd throw a in can through it with a note: 'The Silver Tin Can Strikes Again!' He'd wear a cape and give his Doctor Sax laugh. 'Mwee-hee-hee-hee-hee!' Everybody thought it was the dirty Greek, me. Jack's mother just couldn't believe Jack would do anything like that. He'd be in his cape - thirteen years old - jumping
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Santo and Johnny, 1959

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Galveston, 1900

"All over Galveston freakish things occurred. Slate fractured skulls and removed limbs. Venomous snakes spiraled upward into trees occupied by people. A rocket of timber killed a horse in midgallop."At the expensive Lucas Terrace apartment building, Edward Quayle of Liverpool, England, who had arrived in Galveston with wife three days earlier, happened to walk past a window just as the room underwent
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from "February"

The world’s always been an irrational place, you don’t need me to tell you that. You take that woman down in Florida, brought her boy down to a shooting range and put a bullet through the back of his head. Said later angels or something made her do it, she certainly didn’t want to. She loved her son, grieved for him now he was gone. Makes no sense, but I see no reason not to believe her.I’ve
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Vapor Trail

He thought she'd probably be gone before he even got there, and when he pulled up to the house, when he saw the empty driveway and the windows shut tight, he was certain of it. But he got out of the car anyway. Went up and rang the bell. Knocked on the window and called out her name, the whole bit.She sounded strange on the phone, that's what brought him over here halfway across the county in the
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Cowbirds

"Cowbirds are brood parasites, laying their eggs in the nests of other birds and leaving them to the care of foster parents. Unlike parasitic Old World cuckoos, which lay eggs closely resembling those of a host species, cowbirds lay eggs in the nests of more than 200 other species, mostly smaller than themselves. Some host species eject the unwanted egg, others lay down a new nest lining over it, but
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May, 2006

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Yellows and Blues

Gray sits next to me in the hotel bar, sweating against the cold and drinking back his scotch. He's all twisted up over this girl, this painter he met out in Williamsburg, some off-the-boat Irish girl with a rose tattooed to the side of her hand. I haven't seen him like this in twenty years."She's slipping past me," he keeps saying. He chews down on an ice cube and signals for another drink. "She's
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McCreary Road

Billy poured a small shot of bourbon into the bottom of his coffee cup. The cup was a gift from his son, it had a baseball painted on it and WORLD'S GREATEST DAD in big bold letters. He looked through the kitchen window at the scrubby yard outside. It was already raining lightly, rippling across the surface of the kiddie pool out there surrounded by toys. Bicycles and hula-hoops. A disconnected garden
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Zoot Suit

"In the spring of 1943, American servicemen attacked youthful Mexican - and, to a lesser extent, African American - civilians, particularly males wearing the flamboyant 'zoot suit' or 'drape shape.' These outfits consisted of narrow-cuffed pants pleated at the waist, long wide-shouldered jackets, knee-length key chains, and flat-brimmed hats atop pompadour hairdos. They were worn by Mexican youth -
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