She said I think we’re lost. He said we’re not lost. She said we should be there by now. He said we left late. She said on purpose. He said relax. We’re somewhere. That’s not lost. She said so “somewhere” is found? He said eventually. She said we’re going to be late because we’re lost. He said okay, I’ll stop and ask someone. She said I thought men never ask directions. He said I ask you for directions all the time. She said that’s not quite accurate. I give you directions. I supply you with answers before you ask. He said it’s good of you. She said don’t be sarcastic. How did we come to this? He said “lost and found.” She said what made you think of that? He said true, those words weren’t in the same sentence. She said slow down. We’re getting more lost. He said lost is just lost. She said there’s an exit coming up. Take that. He said with pleasure. She said I told you we should have sprung for the GPS. He said I don’t want some stranger telling me where to go. She said, you can get the kind that doesn’t talk. He said nobody ever told me that. She said are you taking the exit or not. He said that’s the one I’d buy.
Pamela Painter’s first collection of stories,Getting to Know the Weather, won the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award, and was reissued as A Carnegie Mellon Classic Contemporary in 2008. Her second collection of stories, also from Carnegie Mellon, is titled The Long and Short of It. Painter is co-author, with Anne Bernays, of the widely-used textbookWhat If? Fiction Exercises for Fiction Writers. Painter’s individual stories have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, Kenyon Review, North American Review, and Ploughshares, and in numerous anthologies, including Sudden Fiction, Flash Fiction, Flash Fiction Forward, and Microfiction. She has work forthcoming in Kenyon Review and Smokelong Quarterly. And from Word Theatre.