There is probably not another writer who could make me read a Shakespeare play. Jeanette Winterson, whose writing always excites me, has filled the role that no English teacher ever played for me during my school days. Because I had not realized she included a summary of The Winter’s Tale at the beginning of her retelling, I read the play first and enjoyed it more than I expected I would. That in turn enhanced the sheer fun of reading The Gap of Time.
When Darby Doppler saw that his favorite comedian had a new vehicle premiering in the fall, he knew he would be writing a fan letter. He’d watched the old Grady Myers show from the second season, before it really got popular, and he felt a connection. But this new lineup seemed so far off Darby wanted to quit living his days. The last Grady Myers show had such a good run. Nine Seasons! And that loveable old show gave him a feeling of nostalgia that he wished he better shared with his wife, since he was a fan before he knew her. They watched reruns together, because she knew how he loved it, and she would always agree when he commented, “This show is so well written.” So the new Grady Myers show was too much to hope for. When he saw the preview, it was one of the moments in his life that seemed unreal. Like the time when he was a boy, outside during the eclipse that no one had told him about. And the neighbor came over and told him to play inside. “Go on now,” he said. “You go play inside.” Darby had never known darkness in the middle of the day. Or for the blinding sun to beckon so convincingly. So it was like that, only he knew it was coming now. He knew the date and time to watch, the network made sure of that.
We’d just started our second week of basic training at Fort Benning when they flicked on the TV and we watched the plane go into the skyscraper. It was silky-smooth, the way the building swallowed the jetliner, and I remember thinking it was pretty good for a movie special effect. Yeah, I thought I was pretty smart, the real badass of the platoon, but as it turned out, I didn’t know jack shit.
The dog runs into traffic, its tail tucked under its body, its whimpering audible even from where my wife and I stand across the road—even with all those cars slamming on their breaks to avoid hitting the animal. We’re 30 minutes southeast of Houston, on the Farm-to-Market Road where our new home—an apartment complex—is located. Living here feels like living on a highway: There’s nothing worth walking to and every drive—even just to the Target down the road—takes forever.