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Best American Short Stories series

The Cowboy Tango

When Mr. Glen Otterbausch hired Sammy Boone she was sixteen and so skinny that the whole of her beanpole body fit neatly inside the circle of shade cast by her hat. 

Death Defier

Graves had been sick for three days when, on the long, straight highway between Mazar and Kunduz, a dark blue truck coming toward them shed its rear wheel in a spray of orange-yellow sparks. The wheel, as though excited by its sudden liberty, bounced twice not very high and once very high and hit their windshield with a damp crack.

All Saints Day

Word was that the missionary kid had a demon, though no one was supposed to know. The Boyd family was visiting East Winder only for the weekend, and already eight-year-old Prudence had heard it from her younger sister, Grace, who heard it from her new friend, Anna, whose father was going to cast it out. 

Morphine

Despite tests and retests—her mammogram dittoed across clinic walls like some sick Warhol print—Sarah had not understood her disease until she'd sketched the body it was quickly dismantling. Yet facets of dying remain welcome. There is the peculiar silence. No one can understand what she is going through. No one is fool enough to try.