Fall 2010 • Vol. XXXII No. 4 FictionOctober 1, 2010 |

A Hole in the Head

Strange!---though Dr. Brede wore latex gloves when treating patients and never came into direct contact with their skin, when he peeled off the thin rubber gloves to toss them into the sanitary waste disposal in his examination room, his hands were faintly stained with rust-red streaks---blood? He lifted his hands, spread his fingers to examine them. His hands were those of an average man of his height and weight, though his fingers were slightly longer than average and the tips were discernibly tapered. His nails were clipped short and kept scrupulously clean and yet---how was this possible?---inside the latex gloves, they'd become ridged with the dried rust-red substance he had to suppose was blood. He thought There must be a flaw in the gloves. A tear. It wasn't the first time this had happened---this curiosity. In recent months it seemed to be happening with disconcerting frequency. Lucas considered retrieving the used gloves from the trash to inspect them, to see if he c

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Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Medal of Humanities, the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Book Award, and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction, and has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. She has written some of the most enduring fiction of our time, including We Were the Mulvaneys; Blonde, which was nominated for the National Book Award; and the New York Times bestseller The Accursed. Her memoir The Lost Landscape was published by Ecco in September 2015. She is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University and has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1978.

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Fleuve Bleu

By Joyce Carol Oates

Strange!---though Dr. Brede wore latex gloves when treating patients and never came into direct contact with their skin, when he peeled off the thin rubber gloves to toss them into […]

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