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The Short Form

“Everything I Know”

Gordon Lish

Excerpt

“I went to our bedroom next,” the husband said.

He said he saw the bed empty and the bathroom door closed.

“Good God,” I said, “the rapist is in there!”

My wife said, “For pity's sake, let him tell it.”

The husband said he went weak with shock. He said he understood it was useless to stand there exhorting himself to open the bathroom door. He said he was simply certain of it–the wife would be in there, dead.

“Can you blame him?” the wife said.

The husband said, “So I sat down on the bed and called the police.”

Then they both smiled.

Please,” my wife said.

The husband said he could barely talk. He said the police kept urging him to speak up.

“My wife's missing!”

This is what the husband said he screamed into the telephone, but that the police said no, not to worry, she's in a phone booth just blocks from the house.

We read it in What I Know So Far.