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Love At The Gun Runner

At the edge of town in Merced, California, sits a pale building whose sign says, “The Gun Runner.” A shooting range and retail outlet for rifles, pistols, and any kind of bullet you might need, it is owned and operated by Sandy, a friend of my family’s and the only true psychic I …

The Grand Boy

She had no grandchildren; he was a substitute. She thought of him as her “grand boy.” He wasn’t unrelated, being the grandchild of her father’s sister. She remembered the first time she’d seen him, on his father’s lap in a baby’s stretch suit, fisting the k…

These Dark Woods

When my son Tom was born, I was surprised that there was nothing physically wrong with him. I suppose this is the reaction of many first-time older parents. Proud and relieved to have a “normal” child, I had no aspirations for my son to become an artist or to graduate from Harvard or to…

Like A Leaf In Autumn

A Reconsideration Of The Good Death Of Scott Nearing

In the 1920s, Scott Nearing was a professor of economics until his radical views got him fired from two universities. Even the Communist Party found him too outspoken. In 1932, denied permission to speak in public and unable to get his books published, he turned his back on academia and moved with …

Sunbeams (Issue #390)

War, at first, is the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then, the satisfaction that he isn’t any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone’s being worse off. Karl Kraus

Japanese Food

My friend Howard doesn’t want me to know that he’s dying. He hates all the movies and books and plays about AIDS, especially what happens at the end. He says they turn something real into a sappy, pointless melodrama. But that’s not why he hasn’t told me.

Dining Out

I am sitting with my parents in a restaurant only a few miles from where I grew up. Our dinner conversation meanders like some venerable stream through well-worn and familiar channels. My mother does most of the talking. She talks about Ethel Nussbaum, who has breast cancer, and Doris Steinmetze&rs…