28 March 2012

Department of Lost Stories

by Robert Lopresti
Tin Foil Hat Area by sictransitdiesoccident
illustration by sictransitdiesoccident

I am writing this piece for purely selfish reasons but, who knows?  Maybe we can perform a public service here if we get enough participation going.

Have you ever remembered a favorite short story, one you were crazy about, but you realize you can't pull up the author or title?  That drives me nuts.  So this is your chance to help me regain my sanity.  I will describe four stories (no spoilers).  If any of them sound familiar, let me know.  And if YOU are missing any great stories put that in the comments as well (again, no spoilers, please)

If Blogger rejects your comments please send them to me at lopresti AT nas DOT com

Here we go.  The titles below are just place holders; I don't know what the real titles were.

1. Tin Foil Hat.   A paranoid gentleman prepares for his day, wrapping his torso in plastic wrap to avoid germs, putting fresh tinfoil in his hat, etc.  He goes for a stroll and gets into an argument with a security guard in front of an office building, with tragic results.  Then we see the events from the viewpoint of the people in the building, which gives us a different perspective.

I thought this story was by  Lawrence Block.  It certainly feels like his kind of piece. But I recently wrote to him and he agreed that it was a good idea, but it was someone else's.

"My Life Is A Soap Opera" by ddpool
illustration by ddpool

2.  Soap Opera.  An actress is about to be written out of a soap opera.  She saves her job by committing -- well, I don't know a name for the crime she commits.  It is that unique.

I think this was in Ellery Queen in the 1980s.

6-20-07 bird shell in nest by nawtydawg 
illustration by nawtydawg
3.  Bird reincarnation.  A man wakes up and realizes he has been reincarnated as a bird and is literally coming out of his shell.  Yes, it's a crime story.

I think I read this in Alfred Hitchcock around 1970.

Carlsad Inn Beach Resort Pool by ResorTime.comillustration by ResorTime.com
4.  Resort love triangle.  I have to be really vague to keep from giving spoilers.  It is a love triangle that ends in murder.  In the last paragraph you find out what sort of institution the people are living in and that changes your perspective.

Again, Hitchcock around 1970.

Any clues?  Any vague bells tinkling?  Any stories of your own to add?


  1. Neil Schofield28 March, 2012 09:09

    Rob, I personally don't know any of these stories. I wish I did. They sound terrific

  2. No clue, but any one of them would make a great story.
    You may lead some of us astray with those plot hints.

  3. I've not read any of these, Rob, sorry. But here's one for the hopper--servant in a sultan's palace offends his master and is relieved of both arms and legs, but not allowed to die. From this woeful situation he plots and carries out the sultan's demise. Anyone?


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