A brilliant piece of nanofiction
by David Foster Wallace
, best known for writing Infinite Jest
I've seen two versions of it, one that appeared in Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
, and one that appeared in Ploughshares in 1998.
I'm not entirely sure about copyright issues, but this is the version from Brief Interviews with Hideous Men:
When they were introduced, he made a witticism, hoping to be liked. She laughed very hard, hoping to be liked. Then each drove home alone, staring straight ahead, with the very same twist to their faces.
The man who'd introduced them didn't much like either of them, thouhg he acted as if he did, anxious as he was to preserve good relations at all times. One never knew, after all, now did one.
The version in Ploughshares was the same, except it contained three repetitions of the terminal clause of the ternminal line, viz. One never knew, after all, now did one, now did one, now did one.
I tend to prefer the ploughshares version, because it contains more strongly an intangible quanity that I find is best called "truth". Maybe it's the sense of hopelessness that most of DFW's writings seem to convey.