By Chris Crutcher

Those six tales from acclaimed writer Chris Crutcher are approximately athletes, yet aren't easily activities tales. right here he provides characters from a few of his best–loved novels, in addition to developing a few unforgettable new personalities, in stories of affection, loss of life, bigotry, heroism, and coming of age. a while eleven+

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I lightly tap my fingers to what I perceive to be the beat, blowing my cover to smithereens. I see Melissa on the dance floor with her boyfriend—a real jerk in my book, Rick Sanford—and my heart bursts against the walls of my chest, like in Alien. I order it back. A sophomore server leaves a glass of punch on the table, and I sip it slowly through the next song, after which the lead singer announces that the “royal couple” and their court are due behind the stage curtain in five minutes. Tributaries of perspiration join at my rib cage to form a raging torrent of sweat rushing toward my shoes as I silently hyperventilate, listening for my grandfather’s voice, telling me to screw ’em, telling me once again I can do anything I want.

Superman’s not brave,” he says. I look up. ” “Superman. ” Alexander smiles. “You don’t understand. Superman’s not brave. He’s smart. He’s handsome. He’s even decent. ” I look at the tux, spread beside me, waiting. ” “He’s indestructible,” Alexander says. “You can’t be brave when you’re indestructible. It’s guys like you and me that are brave, Angus. ” I looked at the tux. ” Alexander put his hand on my shoulder. ” He left. So now I stand at the door to the gym. The temperature is near zero, but I wear no coat because once inside, I want to stay cool as long as possible, to reduce the risk of the dike-bursting perspiration that has become my trademark.

The heat of humiliation floods up through my collar, and I fear the worst will follow. I fear I’ll cry. If I do, Rick’s in danger because it’s a Bethunian law that rage follows my tears as surely as baby chicks trail after their mama. “Don’t you go be puttin’ your puffy meat hooks on my girl,” he says, and starts to poke me in the chest; but I look at his finger, and he thinks better. ” I turn, feeling Melissa’s urgent tug, pulling me toward the stage. ” I ask quietly, knowing full well what he means by that.

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