Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Short Story Roundup

This is needle in a haystack territory, but I'm trying to remember the titles/authors of two short stories that I read as a kid -- I seem to recall that they were in an elementary school or junior high classroom anthology, though both seem a bit morbid for school.

* two guys are in a car, fleeing a bank robbery (and possibly on drugs). They enter a tunnel, and find themselves deep in gridlock -- and the tunnel never ends, and it turns out they were actually in a car accident, and are now in Hell or something to that effect.

* a woman is approached by a stranger, who gives her a box with a button on it. He tells her "if you press that button, someone you don't know will die, and we will give you a shitload of money." She takes the box, thinks about how horrible it is, thinks about how great the money would be, and finally, after a few days, presses the button. She waits, and gets a phone call: "hey, someone pushed your husband in front of a train." The stranger shows up with a big bag of money, and the woman is pissed -- "you said you'd kill someone I didn't know!" The stranger replies "ah, but did you truly know your husband?" EDIT: the Ski Bum cracked this one -- "Button Button" by Richard Matheson

Neither were great literature, but for some reason, they're both bugging me. Anyone recall these?

3 comments:

fredoluv said...

If you could start synthesizing all the books you read into these little humorous Reader's Digest "Laughter is the Best Medicine" type nuggets, I could become VERY well read.

Anonymous said...

Ah, is there nothing worse than school literature. I am in my last year of school now, and a good read is rare.

Delarius said...

I recall the second story, but it went a bit different. The woman was promised whatever she wished for when she pressed the button, but someone she didn't know would die. She asks for a Million dollars, presses the button and the doorbell rings. It's the guy who gave her the box with the button, he gives her a Million dollars in a suitcase then takes the box with the button. When she protests he says: "You've already used up your button press and someone you didn't know died. Now I'm going to give this box to someone who doesn't know you." Man leaves.