I love short stories. I love them so much that I’ve decided to have a regular short story slot on a Saturday.
The idea is that after a busy week (it always seems to be busy) I will sit down with a brew and a biscuit and read at least one short story. Bliss!
To get things started I’ve just read a story called ‘Foes’ by Lorrie Moore, from her collection Bark.
Writer Bake McKurty and his wife, Suzy, are attending the Lunar Lines Literary Journal fundraiser, which is being held in a bank that’s recently gone under. For sixty year old Bake, mingling in this social situation is definitely out of his comfort zone. ‘We’re losing our sense of adventure,’ he says.
Sitting next to an evil lobbyist called Linda, the conversation turns political and racial. ‘His blood pressure flew up; he could feel the pulsing twitch in his temple. ‘You know, I never thought about it before but you’re right! Being black really is the fastest, easiest way to get to the White House!’ She said nothing, and so he added, ‘Unless you’re going by cab, and then, well, it can slow you down a little.”
Within a few minutes of sitting down, Bake has already broken Suzy’s dinner talk rules, ‘No politics, no religion, no portfolio tips. And unless you see the head crowning, never look at a woman’s stomach and ask if she’s pregnant. He had learned all these the hard way.’
As the conversation goes on, Bake realises that Linda may not be the person he originally thought she was. I’m not going to spoil it! You can read the story here.
Moore’s stories are known for combining the tragic and comic of everyday life. This story will make you smile, but it also has darker, contemporary themes that leave you thinking.