By Steven Millhauser
13 darkly comedian tales, risky Laughter is a enthralling trip that stretches the bounds of the standard global.
Read or Download Dangerous Laughter: Thirteen Stories (Vintage Contemporaries) PDF
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Additional info for Dangerous Laughter: Thirteen Stories (Vintage Contemporaries)
Two were in the kitchen–living room facing the back, and two in the bedroom facing the back and side. In the bathroom there was a small fifth window, no more than twelve inches in height and width, through which it would have been impossible to enter or exit. Directly below the four main windows grew a row of hydrangea and rhododendron bushes. All four windows were closed, though not locked, and the outer storm windows were in place. It seemed necessary to imagine that Elaine Coleman had deliberately escaped through a second-floor window, fifteen feet up in the air, when she might far more easily have left by the door, or that an intruder had entered through a window and carried her off, taking care to pull both panes back into place.
Slowly it rolls toward the frame, drops over the edge, and lands on the cat’s head. In the cat’s eyes, cash registers ring up NO SALE. The mouse, dressed in a bathrobe and slippers, is sitting in his plump armchair, reading a book. He is tall and slim. His feet rest on a hassock, and a pair of spectacles rest on the end of his long, whiskered nose. Yellow light from a table lamp pours onto the book and dimly illuminates the cozy brown room. On the wall hang a tilted sampler bearing the words HOME SWEET HOME, an oval photograph of the mouse’s mother with her gray hair in a bun, and a reproduction of Seurat’s Sunday Afternoon in which all the figures are mice.
I caught it and tossed it back to the girl, who had started after it but had stopped upon seeing us. I recognized Elaine Coleman. “Thanks,” she said, holding the basketball in two hands and hesitating a moment before she lowered her eyes and turned away. What struck me, as I remembered that afternoon, was the moment of hesitation. ” What troubled my memory was the sense that Elaine had seen that look, that judgment; she must have been skilled at reading dismissive signs. We walked away into the blue afternoon of high autumn, talking about the girl on Gideon Hill, and in the clear air I could hear the sharp, repeated sound of the basketball striking the driveway as Elaine Coleman walked back toward the garage.