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He’s nine going on ten, skinny-tall, shoulder blades pushing out like things inside a paper bag, new blue bathing suit too tight here, too loose there, but what’s all that got to do with anything? What’s important is that he’s here, standing by the picnic table, the sun shining on the river, the smell of pine needles and river water sharp in the air, somewhere a shout, laughter, music from a radio. His father’s cleaning ashes out of the grill, his mother and sister are laying down blankets on the sunny grass not far from the table, Grandma’s carrying one of the aluminum folding chairs toward the high pine near the edge of the drop to the river, and he’s doing what he likes to do best, what he’s really good at: standing around doing nothing.

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Excerpt from “Getting Closer” by Steven Millhauser.

Also, check out “Dangerous Laughter”

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