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The Y.P.R. Book Club solicits your spur-of-the-moment, off-the-cuff, split-second, ad-lib snap judgements regarding Malcolm Gladwell's Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking.

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This Is the Week That Is

BTdingbat3.gifIncoming! February 14, 2005
by your humble coëditor, Geoff Wolinetz, over at The Black Table.

& Recently . . .

One Sentence Stories by Timber Masterson

I Play a Jaw-Harp by Thom Verratti

When Yakov Smirnoff Was King by Jonathan Stern

Sasha Frere-Jones, music critic

Brushes with Llamas by J. Sallini-Genovese

The Tragedy of Two Bills by Calvin Liu


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Tuesday, February 22, 2005    |    Fiction

The Tragedy of Two Bills

by Calvin Liu

William, a boy
Billiam, a boy
Six attack dogs (more optional)

Springtime. William and Billiam play stickball in a small, fenced-in yard, with William pitching and Billiam at bat. The fence is about as tall as a very tall adult, and it is completely fire-engine red, except for the white rectangular "strike zone" that looks not unlike what might be painted on a basketball backboard. This "strike zone" is on the portion of the fence just behind Billiam. This fence is lined with young and newly blooming dandelions. The air is calm. William delivers a pitch, and Billiam swings and misses. It is a big miss.

(Pumps his fist.) That's right, snatch!

(Picks the ball up, but doesn't throw it back.) What did you say?


Did you just call me snatch?

Yes. (Pause.) Face on you. (Palms face.)

Oh. (Deflated.) Got me.

Enter attack dogs who crash down the fence. One attack dog is saddled on another, riding it fiercely like a bucking bronco. Two others maul William and Billiam. The rest fight for the ball. The attack dog being ridden like a bronco has a gold chain that slaps wildly around its neck as it tries to buck its rider. Attached to the chain are big diamond-studded letters that, when seen clearly, say, "Play on, player." The diamonds sparkle.

Carnage continues awhile.

When there is some certainty of the boys' death, there is an unusually long pause, and just before the moment of it becoming unbearably silent, a young dandelion decides then to bloom. It is something of a rare thing to see.

Fade out.

Calvin Liu joined the Lamorinda Hotspurs 9-and-under traveling soccer team in 1985. After scoring an astonishing goal with his typically fumbling left foot in an intersquad scrimmage, he was then moved to his new position at right wing, where he scored no more goals for the rest of the season. He now edits Bullfight literary review. and The Glut with a brittle confidence and colorful knee-high socks.

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