SmokeLong Quarterly

Share This f l Translate this page

Rehearsal for Dinner Party Theater

Story by Pamela Painter (Read author interview) June 26, 2012

art by Pamela Painter

She said they will be here in an hour, so what are we going to argue over tonight? He said I chose last time. Your turn. She said what about this: “Did your interfering mother need to extend her annual visit by one whole week?” He said please, don’t remind me. She said well, I could do “You’re drinking too much.” You are so good at offended outrage. He said no, that won’t play because they drink far more than we do. She said if we were taking them out to dinner I could scream “You’re driving too fast.” He said and I could splutter on about “Where did you hear this restaurant was any good.” She said or “You’re tipping way too little—or too much.” He said why don’t we play it by ear tonight? She said the last time we tried that you started off great with the thousands I spent on the privet hedge but then you ran out of steam. He said your garden is such an easy target. She said like your golf clubs in the middle of the floor. He said what about “No more cats?” She said or “Can’t you keep that dog in your study?” He said they were just here a month ago so they’ve heard that one before. She said our friends have all heard them all before. He said yeah, at least they know not to take sides. She said I’m getting tired of this show. He said but everyone expects it. She said do we do this because we find people boring? He said maybe we’re afraid they find us boring. She said oh. So, what about the dead bird? What about Corky? He said You’re still upset about Corky?

About the Author

Pamela Painter is the author of two story collections, Getting to Know the Weather, which won the GLCA Award for First Fiction, and The Long and Short of It. She is also the co-author of What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers. Her stories have appeared in The Atlantic, Harpers, Kenyon Review, Mid-American Review, Ploughshares, and Quick Fiction, among others and in numerous anthologies, such as Sudden Fiction, Flash Fiction, Flash Fiction Forward and MicroFiction. A recent interview and essay appear in Iron Horse, and The Field Guide to Flash Fiction. She has received grants from The Massachusetts Artists Foundation and the National Endowment of the Arts, has won three Pushcart Prizes and Agni Reviews The John Cheever Award for Fiction. Painter’s stories have been presented on stage by Word Theatre, Stage Turner, and Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre. A recent prize-winning story was recorded on a Norton CD titled Love Hurts. Painter lives in Boston and teaches in the Writing, Literature and Publishing Program at Emerson College.

This story appeared in Issue Thirty-Six of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Thirty-Six

Support SmokeLong Quarterly

Your donation helps writers and artists get paid for their work. If you’re enjoying what you read here, please consider donating to SmokeLong Quarterly today.

SmokeLong Fitness--The Community Workshop

Book Now!

Included in the price of SmokeLong Fitness:

The Community Workshop in small groups
One live Zoom webinar each month with killer workshop leaders (recorded for participants unable to attend).
One open-mic party each month (or other live Zoom events)
Discounts on intensive workshops
Discounts on senior editor feedback
Surprises (good ones)