For the short story reader. Updated every Monday.

The Short Form

“The Girl on the Plane”

Mary Gaitskill


“Were you really an alcoholic when you lived in Thorold?” he asked.

“I still am, I just don’t drink now. But then I did. Yeah.”

He had stepped into a conversation that had looked nice and solid, and his foot had gone through the floor and into the basement. But he couldn’t stop. “I guess I drank too much then too. But it wasn’t a problem. We just had a lot of fun.”

She smiled with tight, terse mystery.

“How come you told me that about yourself? It seems kind of personal.” He attached his gaze to hers as he said this; sometimes women said personal things to you as a way of coming on.

But instead of becoming soft and encouraging, her expression turned proper and institutional, like a kid about to recite. “If I’m going to admit it to other alcoholics in the program, I can admit it in regular life too. It humbles you, sort of.”

What a bunch of shit, he thought.

We read it in Because They Wanted To.