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Donald Dewey

Donald Dewey

Donald Dewey has published 37 books of fiction, nonfiction, and drama for such houses as Little, Brown, HarperCollins, Carroll and Graf, and St. Martin’s Press. He has won numerous awards for his fiction, and several of his books have been translated into other languages. His most recent books—both published in 2014—are the novel: The Bolivian Sailor and the biography: Lee J. Cobb: Characters of an Actor.

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All the Aliens in the Neighborhood by Donald Dewey

 

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All the Aliens in the Neighborhood by Donald Dewey


Father James Mahan has made his peace with not feeling any fervid calling for the priesthood he has embraced. What he has not made his peace with is the nagging sense that he is a mediocre man. A dying mentor, an elusive woman, and a thief call his self-regard to war.

                                                                               Excerpt
Word Count: 25569
Pages to Print: 79
File Format: PDF
Price: $3.99





       
   
   

Excerpts
All the Aliens in the Neighborhood

The silver-red shadows dragged after the sun like chains. As he jogged past the empty park benches toward them, Mahan felt a yearning that usually seized him only when he was near fresh water. The glare of the unwarm sun posed the same deceitful perfection as the muscled stream of a faucet or the glassy placidness of a lake: It was drawing him closer, inviting him inside (into the mysteries of twilights and revolutions around the heavens) at the same time that it was alerting him James Mahan would never penetrate far enough. It was Nature as Tantalization.

His yearning abated only after the sun had dropped down over New Jersey and a further part of the sky that also looked like New Jersey. The rapid purpling of the clouds made Mahan think instead of the skin peeling off the face of a burn victim—specifically off the face of John Kerner, to whom he had administered the last rites three days ago. Now too, in the final minutes before nightfall, there seemed to be only an exasperated survival in what remained.

As Mahan came up out of the park, the flow to his head came faster. Trotting up to the schoolyard, he squeezed out a shiver for the Spaldine he had once watched attain its apogee over his head and then start down again toward his outstretched hands. He remembered how he had wanted that ball to stay in the sky forever, never to reach the point where he had to hear it whipping down to find him and he had to see the growing black marks from scuffing and lettering. The fact that he had caught the scuffing, the lettering, and all the rest of the ball had made no difference then and made no difference today, 21 years later. He had been scared that day in the schoolyard, and he knew he would never forget he had been.

Mahan wiped his face with the towel hanging from his neck and jogged forward. The accumulating saliva in his mouth told him he was almost gone, would need help for the final blocks. He asked for it from the neighborhood stores, imagining them as a human lifeline along which he was progressing one hand after another. Gregory’s saloon, Sumter’s video store, Havermayer’s deli, Tedesco’s fruits and vegetables—he pictured each of the owners standing in his doorway extending a hand toward him as he labored on. They too, he told himself, had a stake in his finishing the course. To himself he blessed them all by name.

The mowed lawn and wider sidewalk space of the church on the block ahead reminded him of the act of humility his run could be if he ended it without applauding his own stamina. Across the darkening sky he strung out Gene McMillan’s advice to him:

MAKE BELIEVE YOU’RE HURRYING BY ALL THE SENSES THAT MIGHT HAVE LIMITED YOU.
MAKE BELIEVE YOU ARE LOSING THE WEIGHT OF ALL THE DISTRACTIONS THAT MIGHT HAVE STAGGERED YOU.
MAKE BELIEVE JAMES MAHAN IS THE MAN YOU WANT HIM TO BE.
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