For the short story reader. Updated every Monday.

The Short Form

“Ghostly Father, I Confess”

Mary McCarthy


The eyes gleamed benevolently behind the glasses. If she turned her head on the cushion, she could see them, and she kept doing this from time to time, hoping to surprise them in an expression of disapproval, of astonishment or regret–anything but that kindly neutrality. But they did not change, and finally she gave it up, dropped her head back on the cushion, and tried to relax. It was really against the rules (she supposed) to be flopping around there like a fish. He had never scolded her for it; now and then he would say gently, “Don't worry about what I think. Just let your own thoughts come.”

“I dreamed I was seventeen,” she said, “and I was matriculating at a place called Eggshell College.” She could not resist a teasing smile and another glance up at him. “I must have dreamed that just to please you. It's custom-made. The womb fantasy.”

We read it in The Company She Keeps.