Dangerous Laughter: 13 Stories by Steven Millhauser

By Steven Millhauser

13 darkly comedian tales, harmful Laughter is a enthralling trip that stretches the limits of the standard global.

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Extra info for Dangerous Laughter: 13 Stories

Sample text

Probably before you were born. ’’ ‘‘That’s a long time ago. ’’ ‘‘Once you have it you don’t forget it,’’ he replied, and as we waited for the EKG he told me the story. He was out in the desert, testing a new heat-seeking missile for the Air Force. The crew was up before dawn, and the ⅐ 33 ⅐ target—burning oil drums—was visible for miles across the flats. He stood in the open with a radio, wearing a white dress shirt because he was expected at the office later that morning. They fired the missile from over the horizon, and it came across the desert at two thousand miles per hour.

Now I could have read anything there. ‘‘It must have been the Word,’’ the attending said, looking down at her, his face grim. For an instant he looked angry, vengeful. And there it was, blue-black, the full size of my thumb, held in the pathologist’s tweezers. The blood clot. ’’ The attending looked solemn, stern, but the anger I had seen was gone. Surprised, we simply nodded as he bowed his head and spoke. Our father who art in heaven Hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

Dull, vague, in his chest, going up into his neck and down his left arm. He felt sick to his stomach. He felt like he couldn’t breathe. ’’ He looked up at me, breathing more easily now on the oxygen, his lips growing pink again. ‘‘I had pain exactly like this thirty years ago,’’ he said. ‘‘Probably before you were born. ’’ ‘‘That’s a long time ago. ’’ ‘‘Once you have it you don’t forget it,’’ he replied, and as we waited for the EKG he told me the story. He was out in the desert, testing a new heat-seeking missile for the Air Force.

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