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Short Story: "Gertrude Stein Is Dead" at "The Collidescope"

Updated: May 20, 2023

Nearly 30 years ago, I was lucky enough to work a couple of times with Imago Theatre, a company whose artistic directors and founders, Carol Triffle and Jerry Mouawad, became lifelong friends. Our first collaboration was Phoenicians in the house (1994), a Robert Wilsonesque retelling of the Orpheus myth for which I played the Lord of the Underworld. I vividly remember writing this monologue in my head one night when walking home after rehearsal. (It wasn't a short hike; Imago's historic performance space, an old Masonic temple, was quite a distance from where I was living.) Not long after, the piece transitioned to print when editor Kevin Sampsell let me include it in my first short story collection, Publick Spanking, published by his small press Future Tense Books. Here's how it starts:

There is only one end in life and an end is by its very nature abrupt, short, curt, final. Anything that is not is a lingering and eventually that lingering must end. There is no such thing as a long drawn out end for a long drawn out end has an end to it and that is the end of the ending, the end to all ends, and hence, the true end. The rest is not the end at all but merely time passing—a life perhaps—before the end. But what if I were asleep at the end. What if I were unconscious. Then has it really ever ended. Click here to read the rest of the story over at The Collidescope.

First published in Publick Spanking (Jan. 1, 1996). Republished in The Collidescope (May 7, 2023). Photo of Phoenicians in the house courtesy of Imago Theatre.

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