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Anteaters Don't Dream and Other Stories

Anteaters Don't Dream and Other Stories

Copyright Date: 2007
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  • Book Info
    Anteaters Don't Dream and Other Stories
    Book Description:

    InAnteaters Don't Dream and Other Stories, Louise Hawes deftly portrays lovers at the end of their patience, marriages on the verge of decline, children reeling from abuse, and parents devastated by loss.

    But many of these stories have a sardonic, humorous edge as well: in the title story, a jaded architect learns to take his dream life more seriously when a female co-worker threatens his career. In "Mr. Mix Up," a mother becomes infatuated with the clown at her son's birthday party. In "My Last Indian," a menopausal woman goes native. And in "Salinger's Mistress," a young woman lies about having an affair with J. D. Salinger. . . until Salinger himself calls her on the phone!

    Whether Hawes's protagonists are rich or poor, male or female, young or old, their voices are convincing, varied, and human. With equal portions of wit and pathos,Anteaters Don't Dream and Other Storiesis a versatile collection by a remarkable prose stylist.

    Louise Hawes is a writer and teacher based in Pittsboro, North Carolina. She is the author ofThe Vanishing Point,Rosey in the Present Tense, and other novels.

    eISBN: 978-1-62103-112-3
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-2)
  3. My Last Indian
    (pp. 3-17)

    I WAS ON FIRE when I met Harry Too Tall, and only part of it was passion. Midlife, according to those cheerful self-help books people start gifting you with as you near fifty, is a rich, transitional phase—a perfect time for adventure and romance. What the books don’t mention is that it is incredibly humiliating to get dumped while you’re having hot flashes.

    Now that Harry has left me, I take a whole gang of bony regrets to bed with me every night. We bump elbows and kick each other, and I wake up each morning queasy and bruised....

  4. Halcyon House
    (pp. 18-26)

    MY MOTHER IS A STATUE. They should put a little metal tag on the foot of her bed:Indignation.She faces the window, stares down into the parking lot. I ask her how she is, and she talks to the dumpster two stories below. “You didn’t come yesterday,” she says. “Look how much worse I am.”

    But of course, Ididcome. I sat yesterday as I am now, tentative, petitionary, in the small metal chair between the bathroom door and the bed. “Haven’t the new pills helped?” I study her profile, her savaged gentility. And I remind myself how...

  5. Spring Cleaning
    (pp. 27-31)

    BARBIE DOLLS. That’s what started it. Sandler had wanted to throw them out, and why not? So far, everything they’d put in the pile for the dump had been his: the mildewed album of baseball cards. (How had it gotten in the garage, anyway? Hadn’t he always kept his cards in the chest upstairs?) The broken remote control sailboat he’d never fixed and guessed he’d never use, now that the town had gone and drained the pond down by the highway. He’d even agreed to throw out that print he’d always liked of a farm sunrise. There was an oil...

  6. Anteaters Don’t Dream
    (pp. 32-49)

    MY FRIEND JULIA keeps a dream book. It’s like a diary, only she doesn’t write about the freaks her daughter brings home, or how rough it gets at the office, or the way her marriage is growing fungus. Instead, she records her dreams every night. Her therapist started her doing this, and now she’s convinced dream journals will save the world, especially me.

    Julia says men are insensitive. Every time she tells me this, she looks at me as though I’d been born with an extra head or scales all over my body. “It’s not your fault, Ben,” she says,...

  7. Small Hands
    (pp. 50-62)

    WHEN THE BUS brings me home after school tomorrow, I will open our mailbox, the way I always do. There will be bills and a letter for my father. I will pick Daddy’s letter up, study the handwriting on the envelope. I will feel mysterious, light-bodied, standing where no one inside the house can see me. And I will think for just a minute about letting the letter fall out of my hand, about its being blown far away, lying somewhere all by itself, the writing on the front getting worn until, even squinting, holding it up to the light,...

  8. Mr. Mix-Up
    (pp. 63-81)

    FINNEY KNEW the child was standing behind her, but neither of them said anything. It was as if there were a quota, a certain number of powdery, rubber skins that had to be turned into balloons, before they could acknowledge each other. When she had blown up one of each color, a blue, a yellow, and a pink—definite, bright colors that faded into pale Necco wafer tones as they stretched—she turned around.

    “I want to go home.” He was blond and dour, stiff with urgency.

    “Why, dear?”

    “I need to go potty. I want to go home.”


  9. A Word That Rhymes with Hair
    (pp. 82-94)

    THE DOORBELL RANG three times. I didn’t know it was Gabby until the third ring, a furious electronic howl that persisted even after I’d opened the door. She was wearing her calypso outfit again. She stood on the top step with her backpack slung over her shoulder, one hand on the buzzer, the other on her hip—Carmen Miranda on an off day. “Sue me,” she said, leaning away from the door at last. “I forgot my key.”

    “Hello, yourself,” I told her. “How was school?”

    She walked past me, then collapsed onto the couch. She jettisoned her flats, crossed...

  10. All the Pale Women
    (pp. 95-114)

    RORY TENDED TO FORGET about things at the bottom of her purse. Resurrecting them was like doing an archeological dig, unearthing layers of the past—restaurant checks from ancient celebrations she couldn’t remember, scribbled addresses and phone numbers she could no longer attach to anyone she knew, coupons past the point of saving. When she unfolded the newspaper ad, the paper was brittle and creased as a dried leaf.

    “Partners for New Parents,” the headline read. Underneath was a silhouette, a shadow mother with a shadow baby on her lap. “The miracle of life,” the ad said. “Sometimes it needs...

  11. Dawson’s Folly
    (pp. 115-133)

    THE DAY WE MOVED into this house, I saw the tree house in the middle branches of the sycamore just as clearly as if it were already built.

    I don’t mean I thought, Gee, wouldn’t it be nice to build Brian a tree house. I mean Isawthe whole thing there in front of me. Right down to the balcony off the third floor and the dormer windows on the top. I stood there, holding the box with Meg’s mother’s dishes in it, just staring.

    It drove Meg nuts. “Reg, if you drop that box, you’re out of this...

  12. Salinger’s Mistress
    (pp. 134-140)

    SOME PEOPLE HAVE perfect pitch. Others sew or paint or do square roots in their heads. Me? I lie. I’ve been a semi-professional prevaricator ever since I studied Tall Tales in eighth-grade English with Mrs. Mancuso.

    The way it works is this: I pick an announcement out of the paper—a store opening, a lecture, a benefit. I go, but not as myself. “Hello,” I say, extending my hand to whoever ends up standing or sitting beside me. “My name is Sylvia Cassidy. Perhaps you’ve seen me on daytime TV?” Or, “Glad to meet you. I’m Princess Flavia Wittgenstein, and...

  13. A Fine Mess
    (pp. 141-159)

    FRAN’S VOICE had always reminded him of the sparklers he and his sister used to hold until their fingers burned—full of whispers, husky fits and starts. But the tape on the answering machine made her throatier, her pops and crackles turned to deep, sexy bubbles. It caused Max pain, bloated him with longing, to listen to it. But he couldn’t stop. Any more than he could stop imagining his wife’s last moments, wondering what she’d felt, if she’d called his name.

    The first two weeks after the accident, he played the tape every day. “You have reached 968–4043....

  14. The Knack
    (pp. 160-174)

    “NOT SO HIGH, TARA.” Shading her eyes with her hands, Lettie Sparks watched the four girls shuffle and rearrange themselves by the shoreline. The fold of flesh under her chin was filled with pinpricks of mica and her mascara had begun to run toward the rouged circles on her cheeks. “The camera don’t like elbows.”

    One of the girls frowned, lowered her arm. Lettie studied the cluster of tender fawn legs, nubile breasts. “Keep those lips wet, ladies.” Involuntarily, she licked her own upper lip, then rubbed it against the lower as if she were spreading color between them. The...

  15. Our Lady of Sorrows
    (pp. 175-196)

    PETER ALWAYS TOLD PEOPLE that Adelle was his best friend. He flattered himself that he had mastered her seasons, knew when to press forward, when to hold back. For nearly ten years, the rhythms between them had been easy, almost automatic. Friends said they’d even come to look alike, both tall and blond, both prone to tight, quizzical knots between their brows when they stared into the sun or posed for pictures. They liked the same movies, laughed at the same jokes, and with the exception of turnips (which she loved, but which he thought tasted like shredded construction paper),...

  16. Summerlands
    (pp. 197-210)

    MY SISTER WAS ALIVE nine years before I was born. But only seven years after that. So I guess it makes sense that mostly what I remember about her is the last year. That was when she stopped being Kathleen Haley Norton and made me call her Widdershins. It was the spring she became a witch.

    I don’t mean a broomstick, Halloween kind of witch. I mean almost like church. She had an altar and prayers and this incense that smelled like melons and sawdust. I used to walk on the smallest part of my sneaks I could manage, right...