For the short story reader. Updated every Monday.

The Short Form

“Goodbye and Good Luck”

Grace Paley


“You! You, a nothing, a rotten hole in a piece of cheese, are you telling me what is life?” she screamed.

Very insulted, I went away from her. But I am good-natured—you know fat people are like that—kind, and I thought to myself, poor Mama... it is true she got more of an idea of life than me. She married who she didn't like, a sick man, his spirit already swallowed up by God. He never washed. He had an unhappy smell. His teeth fell out, his hair disappeared, he got smaller, shriveled up little by little, till goodbye and good luck he was gone and only came to Mama's mind when she went to the mailbox under the stairs to get the electric bill. In memory of him and out of respect for mankind, I decided to live for love. 

We read it in The Collected Stories.