On the deadly explosion in West, Texas.
A series of hallucination-like memories in the aftermath of a car accident.
"The accident happened at sunset, so that is when I felt this way the most. The man I had met the week before was driving me to dinner when it happened. The place was at the beach, a beach on a bay that you can look across and see the city lights, a place where you can see everything without having to listen to any of it. A long time later I went to that beach myself. I drove the car. It was the first good beach day; I wore shorts."
A surreal, minimalist exploration of dating, longing, accidents, and keen observations.
"The next day Brandon woke up to the bright morning sun shining through his bedroom window. He walked to his couch and napped until lunch. After lunch Brandon looked for jobs on the Internet. He read: Financial Analyst, Portfolio Associate, Dental Receptionist, Detention Services Officer, Helicopter Repair. Just like the day before, and the day before that, and the day before that, and the day before that, etc., there were no listings for Ethnomusicologist."
A philandering newspaper reporter documents a small town's economic collapse.
"But, very late at night, other men and women walk the small streets alone, shuffling slowly along the leaf-filled gutters that border the roads, sometimes a constable stopping them as they walk, shining flashlights in their faces, saying little or nothing before nodding and driving away from the distant, fading stare of a man or woman fearing that their life is falling apart.
'This kind of rapid breakdown generally only occurs in times of war, famine or plague,' a Stanford economics professor tells me as I take notes, a group of six strikingly healthy grad students unloading knapsacks, tape recorders and clear plastic clipboards from a Land Rover parked nearby."
"The next morning, Tuesday, it was still raining and the cat still wasn’t back when I left for work. I drove to the office under the gloomy, gray skies listening to the rain beating on the windshield and the ripping sound the car tires made on the wet streets, thinking. I have crooked little feelings, I guess, nothing you could write a magazine article about. Not like these people with these giant, rectangular emotions that sound like volumes of an encyclopedia. Guilt, Hysteria, Independence, Joy, Loss, Zed. Rot."
A town suffers two afflictions: a young girl who goes missing, and a curious homeowner who decides to build a moat.
"Diane Miller didn't watch the news. Diane Miller didn't sleep. She shoveled. She filled a wheelbarrow with dirt and carted it into her garage. She used a thick iron bar to pry around large rocks and roll them to the edge of her property. Her skin darkened under the sun during the day and glinted pale-blue in the moonlight. If we opened the window, we could hear her shovel biting into the ground with regular, crisp barks. We watched her until we started to fall asleep, or grew ashamed at our spying, and went back to bed. We always went to sleep before she stopped."