Back when I was a wee thing, one or two light years ago, an extremely smart smartass who edited the “Goings On About Town” section of The New Yorker got tired of writing new capsule summaries of The Fantasticks, which by that time had been running off Broadway since shortly before the birth of Christ. Much the same problem had manifested itself years before: Robert Benchley, who used to be The New Yorker‘s drama critic, got equally tired of writing capsule summaries of Abie’s Irish Rose, the Fantasticks of the Thirties, and started coming up with cute one-liners like “No worse than a bad cold.” Forty years later, Mr. Anonymous Smartass approached the problem differently. In place of summaries, he serialized Ulysses…one sentence at a time.
I seem to be the only person alive who remembers reading those snippets from Ulysses in “Goings On About Town” (I couldn’t find any reference to them on the Web), so I decided it would be fun to do the same thing in “About Last Night” and see who noticed. Hence “Today’s Installment,” in which I have been serializing a well-known short story one sentence at a time. One reader, Marla S. Carew, noticed and nailed it on the second installment. Another checked in with the right answer an hour or two after Ms. Carew, while a third correspondent guessed the author–but not the story.
Care to give it a go?