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?


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.