Dorothy Parker is known for witty short stories, some of which have characters who are self-absorbed or who have inefficient communication styles.
A Telephone Call
A woman frets over a late phone call and wonders if she should call him instead.
Arrangement in Black and White
A woman at a party accosts her host to ask a favor. She wants to meet the guest of honor, Walter Williams, an African American singer. She assures her host she doesn’t care at all that Williams is colored, unlike her husband who isn’t as open-minded as she is.
This is the first story in the preview of Here Lies: The Collected Stories of Dorothy Parker.
Hazel Morse was a beautiful blonde, an ex model who was fun and popular with men. When she starts showing signs of her age, she wants to marry a man, Herbie, but he isn’t interested. She starts drinking and hanging out with a new group of people.
The narrator describes a race of people, Good Souls, who, while looking like everyone else, are actually quite different.
Here We Are
A newly-married couple is riding a train. They talk about their wedding and what they’re going to do. Everything that comes up leads them into a petty disagreement.
This can be read as a short story or a play.
The Last Tea
A young man arrives late for a lunch date. The woman has been waiting but pretends she was also late. The man is feeling the effects of staying up late and drinking the night before. He met a woman, Carol, at a party and raves about how wonderful she is.
The Standard of Living
Annabel and Midge work for the same firm and spend a lot of time together. They both still live with their respective families, and have half their incomes to themselves. When they walk on Fifth Avenue, they like to play a game. They imagine they’ve been left a million dollars on the condition that they spend it all on themselves.
This is the third story in the preview of 50 Great Short Stories. (Pg. 27)
A woman talks to a young man at a party who has been in Arabia for almost two years. She loves traveling and wants to hear all about his trip.
A woman agrees to dance with a man even though she doesn’t want to. Although she is annoyed with his clumsiness, she is extremely tactful.
You Were Perfectly Fine
A young man eases himself into a chair after getting up at 4PM. A young woman offers him a drink, but he says he is finished with alcohol. He claims to feel great, but he can’t remember last night; she fills in the details for him.