Copy Cats

Copy Cats

Copyright Date: 2005
Pages: 252
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Copy Cats
    Book Description:

    Featuring seven stories and a novella, David Crouse's powerful debut collection depicts people staring down the complicated mysteries of their own identities. "Who are you?" a homeless man asks his would-be benefactor in the title story. On the surface it's a simple question, but one that would stump many of the characters who inhabit these carefully rendered tales. In the edgy novella "Click" Jonathan's ongoing photo-documentary of a prostitute exposes how little intensity remains between him and his fiancée, Margaret. While Jonathan is plagued with doubts about his motivations and abilities as an artist, Margaret is worn out by her obligations not just to her needy husband-to-be but to all the men in her life. In "The Ugliest Boy," Justin develops an odd friendship with Steven, his girlfriend's brother. Steven was disfigured by fire in a childhood accident. Justin bears wounds more deeply hidden. The two forge a strange bond based on their anger and pain. Crouse's stories often involve people trapped on the margins of society, confronted by diminishing possibilities and various forms of mental illness. The junior executive in "Code" worries about his job--and his sanity--amid a sudden and wide-sweeping corporate layoff. A manic-depressive father and his teenage daughter dress as vampires and embark on a strange Halloween journey through their suburban neighborhood in the darkly humorous "Morte Infinita." In "Swimming in the Dark" a family gives up on itself. Shredded slowly over the years since the accidental drowning of the eldest son, the remaining family members seek their own separate peace, however imperfect. The men and women in Copy Cats are unwilling and often unable to differentiate reality from fantasy. Cursed with what one of them calls "a pollution of ideas," these are people at war with their own imaginations.

    eISBN: 978-0-8203-3078-5
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xii)
    (pp. 1-18)

    “There are real stories in the world,” Yorick said.

    This was not the kind of thing Anthony wanted to hear on a rainy Saturday morning before the requisite dose of caffeine had pumped its way through his system. It sounded like the opening sentence of an hour-long, barely coherent rant—and not even an interesting one.

    The fluorescent light above Anthony’s head had been sputtering since he arrived, his temples were throbbing from those stupid candy-flavored mixed drinks he had guzzled down the night before, and Yorick was droning on like he had just won a Nobel Prize. “You have...

    (pp. 19-44)

    On the last Halloween Kristen spent with her father they dressed as vampires, and when he hefted the rock that would shatter the Eisensteins’ bay window and send their dog yelping into the woods, he smiled a sad vicious smile, and his face became the face of a vampire too.

    “There are two kinds of people in this world,” he said. Then he side-armed the rock, and the street exploded in noise, and she was running and he was not. He just stood there in his cloak and black shirt and white Converse All-Stars, as if he were not afraid...

  6. CLICK
    (pp. 45-114)

    A close-up of Stephanie’s face. The pockmarks in her cheeks, a slender scar on her temple, lips puckered like a model’s, but something dangerous in the eyes. Stephanie standing in front of a white drop cloth. Stephanie naked with her arms above her head so that she looks flat chested and boyish. Stephanie blowing smoke into the camera.

    She said, “None of these pictures look like me.”

    He said, “How about this one?”

    He showed her another close-up, one where she was looking to the right and grinning so that crow’s-feet formed at the corners of her eyes. She looked...

    (pp. 115-138)

    Candy was lost and I hoped I might find him somewhere in the graffiti-scribbled buildings of our youth. Or it was me who was lost. So I left my wife and daughter and drove north through six states back to that ruined Victorian house on the hill where Cheryl was throwing her never ending party.

    I entered through the wide-open back door, walked into the smoke filled pantry, found a beer, and held it like I belonged. People wandered from room to room, sat on the floors, passed around black bottles of wine, pills wrapped in strips of cellophane. Most...

    (pp. 139-162)

    When I was young my mother sometimes woke in the middle of the night, the way people do in small houses where noise doesn’t have far to travel. She would pull her bathrobe tight around her, walk downstairs, and find my brother at the kitchen table hunched over a book. I don’t think they talked much, although she might have put some water on to boil, or turned the thermostat up, or poured him a glass of orange juice. Then she’d sit down with her cup of coffee and watch him read.

    “Alex was always working hard,” she told me...

  9. CODE
    (pp. 163-188)

    My office did not look like my office. I had asked the department secretary to redecorate it while I was on vacation, and she had filled it with hanging plants—spidery things with long sharp leaves. All the green made me nervous. The increased feeling of responsibility depressed me. The plants would die and it would be my fault. Still it was good to be back, better than being at home where life’s only choices seemed to be the noise of the television or a serene suburban quiet that made me feel like something horrible was going to happen.


    (pp. 189-214)

    Justin was in love with a girl whose brother had been disfigured by fire. The kids called him Barbecue, but only behind his back, because he stood over six feet tall, with thick biceps, a stomach hard from a regimen of sit-ups, and crossed daggers tattooed on his throat just below the scars. The face itself was a sort of tattoo as well—the smudged gray red of the skin around the cheeks, the even furrows across the forehead. The symmetry of the burns seemed artful, almost intentional. His sunken left eye was sealed closed, something white collected around the...

    (pp. 215-238)

    Sometimes I wake in the middle of the night. Maybe it’s some nocturnal animal scrambling along the gutter or an error in my body clock or the way my husband moves next to me, but something opens my eyes. There’s a clock radio on my side of the bed, and one on the other side too, set ten minutes fast so that Nicholas won’t be late for work in the mornings. I turn my head and note the time: midnight, one o’clock, two-thirty. Then I pull the sheets back. Nicholas is sleeping soundly. He is already past this moment, out...

  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 239-240)