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The Cat at Light's End (stories)

By Dickinson, Charlie

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Book Id: WPLBN0100301977
Format Type: PDF (eBook)
File Size: 838.48 KB.
Reproduction Date: 8/4/2019

Title: The Cat at Light's End (stories)  
Author: Dickinson, Charlie
Language: English
Subject: Fiction, Drama and Literature, Short Stories-Fiction Portland, Or.-Fiction Irvington Neighborhood-Fiction
Collections: Literature, Authors Community, Education
Publication Date:
Publisher: Cetus Editions
Member Page: Charlie Dickinson


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Dickinson, C. (2019). The Cat at Light's End (stories). Retrieved from

THE CAT AT LIGHT'S END is made up of fourteen stories set against the backdrop of Irvington, an inner-city neighborhood in Portland, Oregon, usually noted for its fine old homes ("like living in the 1920s") and political activism. The stories reveal moments from the lives of diverse protagonists, ranging in age from fourteen weeks to 102 years. Characters sometimes appear in more than one story.

The fourteen stories in THE CAT AT LIGHT'S END collection are as follows: * In "The Cat at Light's End," a family lives at Irvington's edges in a van. Jayne gains new hope from the example of their cat asleep on the dashboard. * Bruised by life, Kim walks through fog to a Broadway Bridge jump. What would have been a one-night stand with a passing motorist in "Zigzag" changes Kim's plans. * A responsible and devout Christian, Webb Rowalski panics after his car strikes a pedestrian. At his civil trial in "Fear & Trembling," Webb renews his faith. * Benno of "Marbles on the Loose" throws out his marbles in a desperate giveaway to regain friends. But how does he win his marbles back? * Pliny, out walking to shake up his 102-year-old bones in "The President, He Slept Here," falls. While unconscious, he talks with Jimmy Carter, visiting Irvington in 1978. * In "Red Ball," a fourteen-week-old boy discovers, among his playthings, a self. * Trinity watches her parents separate and longs to make right what is the heartbreak of "Valentines in Valhalla." * With Sisyphean endurance, retiree Laura in "La Mosca" accepts she has but months to live. She remembers la mosca, the human fly from years before who showed her grace-filled acceptance. * The high-tech metaphor of "Timed Out" changes the familiar December-May adultery story. The errant husband discovers, a second time, the woman he first loved. * Having left hippie-era parents, now working produce at a natural foods grocery, Austin finds something to give others with a Diggers-like gesture in "Talking Cabbage Heads." * In "Past Perfect," a busy realtor, Kyla, anxiously awaits the return of her son Alex from college, not knowing he intends to step off the treadmill of education. * MiniDisc money to play mp3s is reason enough for teenage Cydney to get a job. In "Cydney's Bent," she learns customer service the hard way. * "Espresso'd" relates a cautionary tale: Cripplingly self-focussed, computer guy Nelse pursues a feminine fantasy--CaraJo, the coffee barista--only to be hoisted on his lookist petard. * Insurance actuary Marsha Ngo in "Steps" knows risk. Away from work, though, can she accept that life's joys and risks are often inseparable?

"On their hands, The Human Flies have special polymer suction devices. Tremendous holding power," the radio announcer said. "That's how they can risk their lives. And their tennis shoes, custom-manufactured, have got dozens of small suction cups." Laura squinted. Why would anybody do this? The precise diamond pattern Las Moscas kept on the pink glass must have inviolably attached them to the sheer side of the glass monolith. Laura had to believe that. But her back thrilled with fear. Now to the tenth floor, their apparent size rendered them insects. Shrinking minute by minute, they seemed ultralight and the waving red, blue, and yellow robes, wings that might fly them to the top. The Human Flies kept on the move in a strict sequence. Each moved in turn, left hand pneumatically clamping the glass with suction, then right hand, then each foot. Then another did the same. Agape, she could barely breathe and her mouth had gone dry. -- from "La Mosca," Amarillo Bay, May 2001. Nominated for e2ink-1, The Best of Online Journals 2002.

Table of Contents
The Cat at Light's End 1 Zigzag 13 Fear & Trembling 25 Marbles on the Loose 41 The President, He Slept Here 58 Valentines in Valhalla 69 Red Ball 85 Timed Out 95 La Mosca 108 Talking Cabbage Heads 122 Past Perfect 128 Cydney's Bent 137 Espresso'd 152 Steps 163 About the Author 181


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