For the short story reader. Updated every Monday.

The Short Form

“Rhoda”

David Vann

Excerpt

“Well that was dumb,” my father said as we got back into the car. Rhoda didn’t say anything. She just drew her coat around her and stared at the road. I fiddled with the ashtray on the armrest of my door. I pulled all the gum wrappers out, then stuffed them back in. I swung the metal cover open and shut a million times.

“Cut the crap, Roy,” my father finally said. He gunned the motor to let me know this threat was real.

When we turned onto the gravel driveway and saw blackberry bushes lining both sides, the red bridge ahead in the lights, he asked, “What exactly did she say?”

“I’m not making things up, Jim.”

“So what did she say?”

Rhoda twisted around and readjusted her seat belt. “She said, ‘I love you, Rhoda. Everything is perfect here. Why don’t you bring the Happy Campers over for a drink?'”

“There’s no call for that, Rhoda.”

“Don’t be an idiot, Jim,” she said very quietly.

My father looked in the rearview to see if I had heard that. I had no idea what to do, so I gave him the thumbs-up.

We read it in Legend of a Suicide.