"Wait, so he hit you?"

We had been over the story several times by now, as Carl sat down bringing a fresh round of amber colored liquid in pint glasses.

I ignored his question as I tried to figure out if this was another IPA or something different.

"Yes," I said, snapping back to reality.

"Damn dude, that fucking sucks," Carl said taking a sip of his beer.

I shook my head in agreement. Took a sip. It was the IPA. Damn that is a good beer.

"Yeah, he just snapped after I told him he was being an asshole...

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His dive, performed in front of the small, half-drunk dinner party, was perfect in his mind. He'd had a few martinis at dinner, his wife looking at him strangely over her chardonnay. But he was on a roll that night. And Joyce had come with that husband of hers, Jerry, and had shot him her own looks as he went on about this and that. Sometimes the words came spilling out in a beautiful procession. Tonight, he was on.

Then the whole group wandered out to the backyard after he had told them he was going to perform the dive...

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his father painted the top of the lighthouse himself. with the last concise stroke of the red paintbrush, his father had a concise stroke of his own, and slid off the roof to his death, colliding headlong into the rocky ground, and tumbling into the choppy water. his body was never found, though toby often imagine a blue man, with nibbles taken out from fish schools, and skin as loose as kelp on his bones. with equal sincerity, toby imagined that his father had not died at all, and was merely hiding in the system of caves eroding into the...

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I couldn't sleep with her next to me. The smell was making me crazy. She dead to the world, breathing her breath, rustling the covers, each movement sent her smell across the bed. Sour. Sick.

For weeks she wasted away in front of me. Now she didn't eat and her body was starting to draw on what little reserves we left. All fat gone, now her muscle. I was afraid to touch her. Afraid to look too closely. Afraid to see her slow wasting death.

But we still shared this bed. She and I, as always. The only difference now...

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I remember the smell of wet snow on a blinding morning. Squinting through glare and steam. Battleship twigs wobble in a frozen puddle. The neighbor's bell-bottoms dark blue to the knees. She sank in a soft mountain of snow, but extracted herself with the confident strength of the Bionic Woman.

The crows were flying silhouettes, Japanese ink on a rice paper landscape. The country was preparing for our spectacle. There would be battleships in the harbor, fireworks from the torch, old songs that would not die.

But on this day, in the insulation of a winter morning, we weren't thinking...

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