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Gould [NOOK Book]


Draws a portrait of an American man through a collection of shorter stories documenting his romantic and sexual encounters over the course of forty years, showing the pain and wonder of love that are such a part of life in the modern world

In his newest book, the author of Frog and Interstate draws a portrait of a man through his romantic and sexual involvements, as well as a portrait of modern American life over the past 40 years. By turns comic and deeply touching,...

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Draws a portrait of an American man through a collection of shorter stories documenting his romantic and sexual encounters over the course of forty years, showing the pain and wonder of love that are such a part of life in the modern world

In his newest book, the author of Frog and Interstate draws a portrait of a man through his romantic and sexual involvements, as well as a portrait of modern American life over the past 40 years. By turns comic and deeply touching, Gould is a bravura performance delineating the leaping arc of love--and all too often, the miscarriage of that love. 288 pp. Author readings. National ads. 12,500 print.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
These two short novels have as their anti-hero Gould Bookbinder, a high-strung New York City book reviewer and college instructor who's "often being frazzled or on the border line of falling apart." The first novel, "Abortion," tells Gould's history-from college in the late 1940s to the borderland of senior citizenship in the present-through the prism of his relations with the women he's gotten pregnant. Gould initially appears to be a fairly normal, well-intentioned fellow, but he turns out to be terribly-and pathetically- manipulative. Miriam is married, and Gould is seeing her. He realizes he wouldn't mind "getting her pregnant and having a hold on her like that and maybe even a child if she wanted it or he could persuade her to keep it or just something troublesome they went through like an abortion that would sort of seal something between them." The second novel is named after Evangeline, a divorce with whom Gould lives and has a troublesome relationship, based mostly on good sex and an abiding affection for her child. Characteristically, Dixon (Interstate) writes looping run-on sentences filled with dialogue, a style that captures the manic momentum of Gould's consciousness. Dixon's subject is human malleability. He excels at depicting men who try many versions of themselves. Gould wears each of his selves uneasily, as if unable to trust in their durability. Dixon's theme, in effect, is that character-those consistencies of behavior and motive on which fiction traditionally stands-is an illusion. What makes Gould more profound, if less flashy, than Interstate is that this time Dixon is mapping the need for that illusion rather than simply showing us that it is illusory. (Feb.) FYI: Dixon's previous two novels, Frog and Interstate, will be reissued by Holt's Owl imprint.
Library Journal
Gould Bookbinder is obsessively driven by his desires-initially just for sex, then for children-regardless of consequences for the women in his life: "I left it to her to take care of the rest of it, meaning her own pleasure and the birth control." The first section, "Abortions," touches on five relationships over 40 years. Each includes an abortion or miscarriage. The second, "Evangeline," explores what appears to be a version of one of those stories in greater depth. Although Gould is slightly influenced by the sexual revolution and less so by feminism, he is just too obtuse and selfish to "get it." As in his two most recent novels, Frog (LJ 9/1/93) and Interstate (LJ 5/1/95), both National Book Award finalists, Dixon has created a deeply flawed and fascinating character. Highly recommended for all public and academic libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 10/1/96.]-Jim Dwyer, California State Univ. Lib., Chico
Kirkus Reviews
Stream-of-consciousness fiction, about one Gould Bookbinder, a would-be writer, and his many girlfriends, from the prolific author of Interstate (1995), Frog (1991), etc.

The story divides into two novellas, "Abortions" and "Evangeline," but they are of a piece, chronicling the relationships Gould experiences from the 1950s onward. Dixon writes in a run-on style that drifts in and out of these relationships, capturing, in the process, the emergence of a more liberal moral climate, and the evolution of a naive adolescent into a mature man. "Abortions" thus moves from back-alley abortions to legal ones; it is the relationships themselves, however, that are abortive here, unsatisfactory and temporary. Gould doesn't have much to offer his women except sex, and the assets they have, in his eyes, are purely sexual. He flits from one female to another until, finally, he's married and a father, but his wife, too, is purely a sexual being, and abortions still happen. Gould's longest relationship is not with his wife but with the title character of the second novella, with whom he maintains a correspondence and whom he continues to sees long after he's married. Evangeline is a free spirit, raising her son on the fly as she takes on lover after lover, pops pills, and plays at becoming an artist. She and Gould proclaim a hundred times that they don't belong together, that they have nothing in common, that each wants most to be free. Ironically, they are in fact exactly suited to each other—they're both irresponsible, selfish, and self-absorbed in much the same way.

Extremely readable and clever work, but the pages don't add up to much except sex and more sex, described in clinical detail and with clinical dispassion, featuring a cast of characters who seem incapable of thinking about anything other than their bodies and their appetites.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781937854034
  • Publisher: Dzanc Books
  • Publication date: 4/30/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 299
  • File size: 781 KB

Meet the Author

Stephen Dixon is the author of fifteen novels and fourteen short story collections and has published hundreds of stories in an incredible list of literary journals. He’s twice been a finalist for the National Book Award and his writing has also earned him a Guggenheim Fellowship, the American Academy Institute of Arts and Letters Prize for Fiction, the O. Henry Award, and the Pushcart Prize.   
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Read an Excerpt


A Novel in Two Novels
By Stephen Dixon

Owl Publishing Company

Copyright © 1998 Stephen Dixon
All right reserved.

ISBN: 080505605X

Chapter One


The first was when he was seventeen and just a freshman in college and she was a couple of years older. She originally told him she was eighteen because she didn't think he'd want to go out with someone almost two and a half years older than he. But he looked through her wallet and found out her real age and later told her "I'm sorry, I went into your wallet, I won't pretend I was looking for anything but to find out how old you are, because I didn't think you were eighteen--you don't act it and that you're almost a junior and your looks and clothes. And I found one of your IDs with your age on it, and so what?--for what's wrong with you being that much older than me? We seem suited together, don't we?--no big deal like where you experienced World War Two and knew what be-bop was and I didn't. And it's not that you act younger than you are but maybe I act older and if that seems like bragging then just that two and a half years isn't much difference at our age, or at least not between us." Later he thought, Maybe her being almost twenty and so far along in college is the reason she let him go so far with her so quickly or let him get in her atall: third date, her folks not home, first one they kissed, second she let him rub her behind through her skirt, they'd intended to see a movie but she said while he stood by the door waiting for her to get her coat "I don't really feel like going out, it isn't that I'm feeling unwell or my period or anything like that, would it be all right if we just watched something on TV and maybe later go out for a snack?" and he said he hates TV, it's for idiots, and Saturday night?--nothing's on but dopey comedy shows; he would never own one if he had his own place, he never watches it, his father insists they do at dinner--the news; the news is important, his father says; it's the world, it's what's around us, you learn things; you're a smart boy but afraid to learn things or think the world today is unimportant?--and it always leads to arguments like that and sometimes him leaving the table before dinner's finished. I Love Lucy--oh wonderful; Arthur Godfrey, Sid Caesar, George whatever-his-name-is, with the crewcut and checkered jacket and overstuffed shoulder pads and always a bow tie and horselaugh--what morons, and she said "Fine, we won't watch TV, but why do you have to get so virulent about it? Maybe we should go to a movie after all, though I looked in the paper and there's nothing in walking distance that I want to see and I really don't want to take a subway or bus back and forth." "We can stay here and talk," and she said "All right, hang up your talk and let's coat," and he said "Did you mean that?" and she said "What?" and he said "You reversed a couple of words; it was pretty clever," and she said "I can't take credit for it. I have a brain problem, nothing fatal, and sometimes do that and also with my reading. But what do you want to talk about?" and he said "Can't we discuss this in a more comfortable spot?"--already maneuvering her, not so much to score but to kiss again, this time with the tongue, feel her breasts, maybe get his finger in her cunt, but that'll probably come the next date or one or two after that--"You have a living room with chairs and a couch here, don't you?" and she said "Nope, we read, talk and play chess on the floor. Well, chess I sometimes do play with my father there, but you're so smart, Mr. Thinkpants," and they went into the living room, and she said "Would you like something to drink? My father has a liquor cabinet stuffed with things, and they won't be home till past midnight, so I'll have plenty of time to wash your glass out and put water in whatever bottle you choose so it doesn't seem poured from," and he said "Boy, did I once say we were suited?--even down to our fathers. Mine's also a cheapskate with his booze," and she said "It's not that; he doesn't like the boys dating me getting tipsy on his whiskey and then getting frisky with me--it's like giving them a gun to shoot me, he's said, Freud not intended," and he said "I know Freud but not what he says, except for that double-meaning thing. But sure, I'll have something hard--what's he got?" and she said "He likes scotch, so probably lots of scotches," and he said "That's for old men, not that your father's old, but you know ... do you have anything else? Canadian Club, that Royal something ... a good rye?" and she looked and he drank two highballs and she had one but hardly touched it and they talked about their parents and people they'd dated and where they both were on several historical occasions to see if their paths had ever crossed--he was walking to school on D-Day when he'd heard about it, her parents told her about it at breakfast and "then went into almost like a history lesson as to what it meant"; he was in summer camp in New Jersey when World War Two ended; she was lying in a hammock at a friend's summer cottage near Peekskill when she first learned of it, "Peekskill," he said, "my folks took a bungalow there for a month when I was four or five," and she said "That was the only time I was near there--her family felt sorry I had to spend the summer in the city"; Roosevelt's death: they both walked into their apartments to find people crying and the radio blaring, but in different boroughs; Stalin's: he found out from newspaper headlines on a newsstand in the Garment Center ("Corner of 36th or 37th and Eighth Avenue to be exact") when he was delivering belts for a belt company, she was a block or two away between Seventh and Eighth and maybe around the same hour--it was after school--applying for a showroom modeling job with a coat and suit house--and he touched her hand, said "This little piggy--ah, that's silly, isn't it?" and felt himself getting high and said "Drink all yours down, catch up with me--or as you might say: 'Drink all yours down and catch down with me,' though that makes no sense, and no sense is good sense--nah, that makes no sense too. But I'm about twice your weight or a little less, so two of mine is one of yours, and you gotta be equal and fair," and she finished her drink and said "I believe you're trying to compromise me through the use of my father's booze, just as he said," and he said "That's right, I'd never lie to you," and she said "That's a lie, the last part," and he said "Oh, so what," and smiled and she did and squeezed his hand and he moved closer and said "Now I'm going to be piggy," and she said "We'll see--better than wolf, I guess, but that's a bad pun," and he thought "Pun"? What's she mean?, and she moved closer--he let her; he could have moved even closer than he was when he first started to but wanted to see if he moved a little closer whether she would too--and she put her head on his shoulder and shut her eyes and looked so satisfied and peaceful that for a moment he thought he should leave her like that--they were sitting on the couch--but he took her chin between his thumb and forefinger and said in a fake European accent he'd heard in a few movies "Mine darlink," and kissed her and she kissed back and they kissed and while they were kissing with their eyes closed he touched her breast through her blouse and she pulled her head away and said "I don't know if I want you touching me there," and he said "Then where can I?" and she said "I don't think anywhere," and he said "You let me touch your tushie last time and now you're sitting on it so I can't," and she said "If you did touch my behind then I didn't feel it so I wasn't aware you were touching it," and he said "Come off it, you don't lie, I don't lie," and she said "So maybe I did feel it but I thought that was a love tap you were doing," and he said "No, a sex tap," and she said "Touche," and he said "Yes, mucho touche, if what I know of the word's right, mucho tushie touche," and she said "Too much touche, but what I meant by 'love' was 'playful'--you were fooling around--kidding--and I let you because I thought it was harmless," and he said "Oh brother, was I fooling around and harmless," and she said "Don't suddenly get immature," and he said "Sorry, lady," and slid over to the end of the couch and looked at his feet and pouted and she said "What's wrong now?" and still looking at his feet he said "You know, darnit," and she said "Are you trying to manipulate me again?" and he said "I know what manual labor is," and she said "What's that supposed to mean?" and he said "It isn't the name of a Mexican worker," and she said "You sound stupid now--excuse me: just a touch silly then, for I hate that, when an intelligent sensible man intentionally acts dumb, as much as I hate an operator," and he looked at her and smiled and said "Okay, I'm wrong, I admit it, I'm sorry, very sorry, if I could apologize a hundred times without sounding redundant, I'd do it," and she smiled and he slid over to her and said "But you know, getting back to the other subject, we do know each other," and she said "We hardly do--three times plus when we first met and before that seeing each other on campus," and he said "You know me now, all about me, my ups and downs, my bads and goods, my bumps and humps--no, not that," and she said "Great time for puns," and he said "You used that word before, and now you'll see how honest and stupid I am--I mean, when you weren't looking I could have written it down and looked it up later--but what's a pun?" and she gave her definition of it and he said "How come I didn't know it?" and she said "Some people know, others do--that's a pun, almost, but more just a joke," and he said "And funny, but anyway, to end what I was saying about knowing me, you do, and I feel I know you, and I really like you," and she said "And I like you," and he said "Then, settled?" and she said "To an extent," and he said "Good," and they kissed and after about a minute of kissing he touched her breast and kept his hand there and after another minute of kissing he started unbuttoning her blouse and she tried to rebutton it and he pulled her hand away and unbuttoned the rest and rubbed her nipple with his finger and then unhooked her bra, all while they were kissing, and pulled her bra up and got her breast out from under her blouse and kissed it and while he was kissing it in different places he put her hand on his pants where his penis was and she squeezed it once and moved her hand away and he said "Come on, please, just a little more," and put her hand back and she squeezed it a few times and then left her hand on top of it and he unzipped his fly and pulled his penis out and put her hand around it and she began jerking it and then faster and he said "Easy, not so hard, I'll mess up the couch," and she said "We should stop, then, my parents will see the stain and they'll know what it is and go crazy," and he said "Wait a second, I've an idea," and kissed her and put his hand up her skirt and scratched her hair through the panties and then curled his pinky underneath the panties and felt around and got the tip of it inside her vagina and while they were kissing and two of his fingers were inside her vagina he stretched his other hand to the side table lamp behind her and she said "What are you doing?" still jerking his penis and he said "Shutting the light or making it lower--does it have two bulbs?" and she said "That one, three," and he said "I'll shut off two, all right.?--it's hurting my eyes," and she said "Why? Your eyes are mostly closed," and he said "It still comes through, or it's just nicer all around that way, softer," and felt around the socket for a switch but felt light chains and pulled two of them and the room went dark and she said "Why'd you turn them all off?" and he said "I only pulled two, so that must have been all that was on," and she said "Oh well, now you don't have to look at me," and he said "Yeah, very tough to do, looking at you--you're a beauty," and she said "Sure," and he said "You are, you are--kees me, you chrazy mixed-up beauty," and kissed her and she pushed his face away and said "What do I do if the phone rings?" and he said "I don't know--where's the phone? You can't find it in the dark?" and she said "I mean, do I answer it?" and he said "No-o-o," and started pulling her panties down and she said "Suppose it was something important?" and he said "How could it be? Your parents are out. Why don't I just take it off the hook--where is it?" and she said "There's one in the kitchen," and he said "Ah, let's just let it ring," and pulled her panties down farther and she didn't stop him and he pulled them off and felt her legs and behind and inside her behind and she said "Not that place, it could be dirty," and he said "It isn't dirty--it's part of fooling around when you're doing it," and she said "Dirty as in feces, okay?" and he said "I understand," and felt her legs around her crotch and her hair there and started pulling his pants off and she said "What are you doing?" and he said "My pants, off, they're uncomfortable, the belt buckle thing's sticking me," and thought Say "Help me, will you?" and said "Help me with them, will ya please?" and she said "I'm not sure," and he said "Don't worry, anything you don't want to do, we won't--we can just stay close to each other, rubbing and hugging but that's all," and felt her vagina and inside it and she jerked him back and forth and they were kissing and then he pulled off his pants and then shorts and shirt off and her blouse off and bra from around her arm where it was hanging and he said "Our shoes and socks," and he pulled their shoes off and his socks for she didn't have anything like that on and then he was on top of her and she said "I don't know if we should continue, this could be dangerous. Suppose my folks come back early and we do mess up the couch?" and he said "Why would they and if you want I can put my hanky or something under you or we can go to a bed," and she said "No bed," and he said "Then here, we won't be messy and nothing might come of it," and she said "One of them could get sick--my mother, one drink, and they drink a lot at those dinner affairs," and he said "Is that where they went?--where, way downtown?" feeling her body all around, and she said "Some political club event--once a year, I think it's at a big midtown hotel, with lots of speeches. They never miss it and she's a terrible drinker if they don't serve her lots of appetizers before; my father can hold his though," and he said "Don't worry, they left, what, an hour ago?--so they're just starting, and we can do anything, if we do it, quickly," and she said "I don't want to do it any kind of way," and he said "Have you ever?" and she said "Once, with a guy I liked, a few times, when I was much younger--it was a big mistake. And you?" and he said "Yes, but I have to admit it, only with women I paid--I don't like that, I'm sorry," and she said "That's all right," and he said "So what do you think?" and she said "I really don't think we should," and he said "Okay," and kissed her neck and face and breasts and belly and said "I think we should," and vagina and stuck his tongue in and turned his body around, and she said "I've never done this--I didn't with the other guy, though he wanted me to," and he said "Just try, if it's no good, not something you like, don't then, really," and she did and continued to and he did and then he felt himself coming and pushed her face away and said "You don't want to be swallowing the stuff, do you?" and she said "No, never, though I think I tasted it now," and he turned around again and kissed her and put his tongue in her mouth because he thought she'd wanted to be kissed like that after, for that would make her think he didn't think her mouth was dirty from doing it, and then he tried putting his penis in her and she said "The whole thing doesn't feel good like this, the couch isn't wide enough and my shoulder's pressed--let's get on the floor," and he thought "Good, it's done, I'm in," and said "Why not your room?" and she said "The floor's easier," and he said "How could it be?--the bed's softer," and she said "My room's a mess," and he said "Who cares about that?" and she said "I just don't want us to be there, I share it with my sister when she comes home from college, and this is a good thick carpet and please don't argue," and he said "Okay," because she just might get so upset at him that she'd stop now and they got on the floor and she got on her back and spread her legs and patted her thighs, he saw all this from the light in the kitchen, and said "I'm not wearing anything, I haven't got one yet, did you bring something?" and he said yes and got up to get his wallet out of his pants and she said "Actually, I've already started my period a little, if you don't mind that--I never should have let you do what you did," and he said "By the way, when I said I had one, it wasn't for this time particularly, I just happen to have it in my wallet for a while--and before, when you shouldn't have let me do what I did, did you mean with my mouth?" and it seemed she was nodding and he said "You're nodding?" and she said yes, and he said "I didn't taste anything unusual, so maybe it had stopped before I was there--but you sure you can't get pregnant by us doing this without anything?" and she said "Positive, it's biologically impossible, though if you want to put on something, just to be extra safe, go ahead," and he said he'd rather not and got down on the floor and inside her and flattened himself on top and she said "That can't be the way, I'm not the most experienced at it, but what you're doing would squash anyone," and he said "Sorry," and raised his rear a little and after a few moves by both of them, came. They did it again a short time later and then almost every weekend someplace, sometimes both weekend nights and occasionally on a weekday, when his parents weren't home, hers, couple of times at the apartment of a friend of hers when the friend's parents were out and she left them alone for an hour, and used condoms for a while and then a diaphragm when she got fitted for one or didn't use anything around the time of her period and sometimes right at the height of it--he didn't really like to do it then, all the blood on him after and the thought of her bleeding while they were doing it, the slippery stuff not so much theirs but her blood, but it didn't seem to bother her much, she'd just pull the tampon out and roll it in a tissue or napkin and drop it on the floor and once even said, lying back flat on the bed, "Why don't you do the honors this time--it's only a little string," and he told her lots of times he loved her though he only liked her a lot but loved making love with her and just knowing he had someone steady to make love with and that his friends knew, that was important too, and she said she loved him more than she had anyone before, "even if there haven't been that many guys in my life I felt deeply about: two, you're the third, and one of those two when I was so young I never let him touch me or do anything but kiss, but that was exciting enough then," and they met on campus the days they both had classes and had lunch there and sat outside when it was nice and talked and sometimes she took the subway downtown with him when he had to go to work after school, just to be another hour with him, she said. He wished he could really love her and felt bad and troubled that he didn't and sometimes thought he was wasting his time going with someone and doing such serious things with her whom he didn't think he'd ever love so much as to say it and mean it, and he also felt at times he was only going with her for the sex and that if she suddenly said "No more for a while" and the "while" meant a few weeks or a month or more he'd stop seeing her, cut her off quick, and he wondered what it was stopping him from loving her--her intelligence, he finally decided, she just wasn't smart enough or didn't have the kind of artistic and creative brains he liked, someone intensely interested, or just more interested than she was, in all kinds of art and could see it with a certain clearness and talk about it right, and she was also at times so bourgeois--that was the word he used to himself, for he knew it sounded so condescending--even if she was sleeping with him and enjoying it and even initiating lots of the little things when they had sex, and not just in music and books and that she thought all sorts of opera was funny--just the mention of it made her laugh--but in furniture and clothes and cars, that she really did like certain kinds of women's magazines and TV, that when they walked out of a movie he'd hated for its stupidity and obviousness she'd say it was very good if not great--this happened several times--and also what she wanted out of life: to be an elementary school teacher; he said "Outside of the long summer vacation, which I think every job should have, how could you go to the same classroom day after day with kids?" and she said "Because I'd love to and feel it's the most hard-working rewarding professional profession of all the teaching fields," and he said she ought to at least try to be a college teacher--"longer vacations and you only get to be with adults"--and she said "Why, if I love kids better and think teaching them is a much more important job?" and he said "Because it's deeper work intellectually and you'll get challenged--your brains will--more, and you'll have more time to do research and with the longer vacations and fewer classroom hours you might even eventually have more time to spend with me," and she said "Oh, you're saying we're going to last forever and ever till death do one of us part? and I'm certainly not in the least--most remote way--talking of marriage here; Jesus, no! but just that we're going to go on for a long time?" and he said "Why not, what's to stop us? but we'll see--one year at a time for the time being, but you also become, by being an education professor, if that's the field you want to go in to, an expert on one thing and more well read, and I'd think your conversations would also be better--who wants to hear all the things that go on with kids?" and she said "You don't like what I read now or our conversations?" and he said "I'm talking about the future; our conversations are fine, you're very bright, much brighter than me," and she said "No I'm not and you know it," and he said "We're equal then with you holding a little lead," and she said "You don't believe that either; and if you don't like the way I am or think or what I want to do with my life, then the hell with you, mister, you can take a flying leap right now," and he said "Wait, hold it, I didn't mean it that way," and she was crying and they were sitting at the kitchen table in her parents' apartment, having cake and a special mint tea she bought and he thought here's a chance to get out of it for good; just say "Well, that's it then as you said, I've had enough of this," and leave and never call again and if she called him, to just say "I'm sorry, I don't mean to hurt your feelings or anything but that last time told me everything that was wrong with us and was the finish and that's all I'm going to say," but he looked at her and her mouth and her pretty face, beautiful really, though not the smartest-looking, and her small nose and long hair in a thickly corded braid and those greenish though sometimes pale-bluish eyes he loved looking at but were now behind the closed crying lids and her mouth again, lips which he once told her, or twice, three times, she could model for cigarettes, which he'd hate for her to do because then it might mean she'd have to smoke, or lipstick or straws or ice cream pops, they were so perfectly shaped and he got an erection and looked at her breasts but her arms covered them and at her legs and bulge in the calf where it crossed over the knee making it look even more muscular and thought when she squeezes his waist with those it actually can hurt and then that if he goes now that'll be the end of their sex for the day, which they'd planned on without saying so for her folks were away for the weekend at some resort upstate and for the second time in six months he was going to stay the night here, and still seated he edged his chair up to hers and touched her face with his hand and thought what she'd like for him to do, since this is what finally stopped her crying the only other time which was over nothing he did or said but something she'd remembered from her past, someone dead, is hold her and he held her and said "Tears tears tears, who needs them and why do I incite them, right?" and without opening her eyes she said "I don't know," and he said "But I'm right about my being wrong, right?" and she said "Right, if you say so," and he said "I'm right: I'm wrong, wrong, really wrong," and kissed one lid and she opened it and smiled and he said "Your face looks crooked that way," and she opened the other eye and smiled and kissed his hand now back on her cheek and they kissed and hugged and then made love. Then she called one night and said "I have to talk to you tonight and it's not something I want to say on the phone, can we meet?" and he said "It's Wednesday and I've got an important German exam tomorrow plus my job after and I'll probably be working there late," and she said "So what are you saying.?--one night, if I say it means so much to me, you can come up here even if it's that inconvenient for you, do part of your studying on the subway, and it won't take long," and he said "It has nothing to do with anything like your being very sick, something you just found out about?" and she said no and he said "Then that's a relief, but I think I know what it is," and she said "Don't say it; I've said enough already and people around here got big ears," and he said "Where're you calling from?" and she said "The candystore on Jerome, but just come up now," and they met at a coffee shop in her neighborhood and she said she was pregnant and he said "That's what I thought it was, even before I thought it might be that you're sick," and she said "You're a genius, is that what you wanted to hear?--well, you are," and he said "It's not that, it was your voice," and she said "Listen, stop it, we have things to discuss, and whatever you say next, don't ask how it happened or if there was even a possibility of another guy or I'll go crazy--I'm already crazy enough over it, what a thing!" and he said "All right, take it easy, I wasn't going to ask, but it is kind of perplexing how it could have happened, for we were very careful, weren't we?" and she said " 'He won't, he won't'--you won't, you sure about that? What a joke. Of course, you ninny, but we did it a lot when we were doing it, so maybe my protection can only hold so much or for so long--overnight, I'm saying--once, remember? Or when we were using yours you squirted a lot into it and some of it spilled over, but I don't know--accidents in the making of these things at the place they're made at. Or it could be that one day when I was so sure I didn't need protection because I'd started bleeding, I did, and it was just nature that gave me a wrong signal," and he said "You did 'what'?" and she said "It needs explaining? I did need, I did need, but I'm only speculating with all these," and he said "You've had a test?" and she said "I'm a woman, I know the signs, and yes, I've seen a doctor," and he said "Okay, then what do we do?" and she said "If you don't know, I have a solution. Through a cousin of his--" and he said "Who?" and she said "Someone, I'll tell you later, I have the name of an a.b. man on Burnside," and he said "That's in the Bronx?" and she said "Yes, it's a big avenue, cutting clear across it, almost--east and west; this one's on west," and he said "What's 'a.b.'?" and she said "'A.b.' for you know what--to get rid of it, the a.b. man does--he performs them. He's a real doctor, licensed, but does this on the side and we need three hundred dollars," and he said "Where're we going to come up with that?" and she said "You've told me you have some money saved," and he said "I do, I forgot about that, a little," and she said "How much?" and he said "A hundred twenty-five, maybe a hundred thirty-five--I haven't had my interest posted in a long time, but no more than that, even with it," when he had about four hundred, and she said "You take your hundred twenty-five or more, if there's more--you'll have to close your account, that's all. And I'll get my hundred and a few dollars and have to scrape together another fifty, and we'll do it even-Steven: if I contribute more than you, then you owe me. But you'll come with me for it, won't you? Because if you don't I'll be afraid and mad, very mad, and you should be with me there and to take me home and this has never happened to me, so I'll need someone like you," and he said "Sure, what do you think?" but didn't want to but would because if he didn't she'd stop speaking to him, he was almost sure of that, or just stop sleeping with him, and he really was mostly going out with her to get laid, and if he did what she wanted she'd feel even better to him after that, not that she could do any more for him than she was or he'd even want her to. So she made the appointment, they went to the doctor's office, the doctor said "Good, right on time," and told him to go out for two hours and come back. He said "I thought I was supposed to stay--she wanted me to," and then to her, since he really would rather be away from her during it, "Is it okay with you?" and she said "I don't know, I don't like it," and the doctor said "Whether it's okay with her or she likes it or not, it's what you have to do, I don't want any other person here during the procedures, for our own safety," and he said "How do you mean, we in any danger?" and he said "Please, young man, valuable time's wasting and if a minute more of it does I'll have to ask the both of you to go," so he left, said before he did "You'll be all right?" and she said "I'm sure I will," and gave him a scared, or maybe for his sake, a reassuring smile--he couldn't tell which--went to a movie theater a few blocks away which he'd seen when they'd climbed out of the subway station, left in half an hour because he couldn't sit there when he was feeling he wasn't sure what, jittery, unhappy, guilty, not only worried for her but that they'd be caught by the police, sick in the stomach a little at what she was probably going through now, that she was there, legs strapped in, she'd told him what it'd probably be like and on something like an operating table, while he was watching a so-called serious art movie with people, when he looked around, looking at the screen so intently, walked around the neighborhood for about an hour and went back to the doctor's building, knew he'd come back too soon but wanted to be there if just sitting in the waiting room while she was being finished up, buzzed the office from the lobby and the doctor said on the intercom "Yes?" and he said "It's me, I'd like to be rung in, please," and the doctor said "I'll be done with my work in half an hour, sir, have a coffee someplace," so he walked around some more, had a soda at a coffee shop, bought a paperback and read a few pages, went back; "Your friend is resting in the next room," the doctor said, "but not to worry; she's been there long enough and I think we can disturb her now," and went into a room, came out with her with his hand supporting her elbow, she looked as if she'd been crying and said "I hurt so down there, but the doctor said it'll all pass. I wasn't out during it--not even a painkiller. He said the medical problems might really begin if he did one of those and he wanted me alert when I left and also so I'd be attentive to any bad symptoms. So I was altogether awake and it felt like I was having my guts scooped out," and the doctor said "If it felt like that, young lady, it could only have been momentarily. I didn't touch anything that didn't need to be touched. You'll be sore for a while, but that's all," and told her what to look out for: blood, hemorrhaging, severe cramps, and where to go if anything went wrong--"Not here but to a hospital, and just say you did it yourselves," and Gould said at the door "Just one question, Doctor. When do you think, meaning in how long, we'll be able to have sex again?--I'm only asking so she doesn't take any chances with her body healing," and she said "What a question.--Forget he asked that," to the doctor, and to him "How could you, Gould? I'll know myself when I feel better, if I'll ever even want to do it again after what I went through," and he looked at her sharply, they'd given phony names and here she was using his real one, and she said "What's the look for? Okay, okay, so I used your last name, I'm sorry," and the doctor said "Not to worry, dear. Nobody gives me his right name and I could care less about it. And to me this 'Gould' could be yet another alias in a carefully concocted collaboration between the two of you to steer me away from your real names, and that could be par for the course too. Believe me, though: once you're out of here I don't know you and have never seen you and same, as far as it can be done, the other way around.


Excerpted from Gould by Stephen Dixon Copyright © 1998 by Stephen Dixon. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2013

    2 twisted stories author

    I love your story! Can I get in? Name: Eliza Lovegood. Age:11. (Dunno if I should put my house...) but can you put me in Ravenclaw? Look: shoulder length violet hair, ( Tonks Rules!) Grey-purple eyes. Wand: Sycamore w/ unicorn hair core, 3"/4, slightly springy. And I have a girl for Half-Blood too. Name: Racer Lee. Mom: Athena. Looks: shoulder length brown hair, grey eyes, and a white satchel I carrie everywhere. Thanks! Hope I get in!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2013

    Join The New Camp SWIFTA!

    Go to camp res 1 for more information.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2013

    To author

    The character i would like u to add is a half blood but is also an american wizard who ends up getting caught up with the main character as one of the rivals in the story.
    Description: name Cloud Sharp age 19 race black son of hecate goddes of magic and mischief

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2013



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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2006

    I found it unreadable

    The 'stream of consciousness' quickly became distracting and intrusive. Approximately 20 pages into the story, I hated the characters and the storyline. Still tried to give it a chance. Suddenly noticed that each novella is not only one big chapter, but one long sentence! I couldn't take it any longer and gave up.

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