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“The World’s Shortest Stories” yearly contest

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The Philanthropist

(2004)
Zell Kravinsky is a Philadelphian who donated his $45 million real estate portfolio and a kidney to people he does not know. He engendered the most outrage for the latter. Well, in this story I part him out like a used car.
an excerpt from this contemporary short story …

The clapboard exterior makes the house look uneducated, Nell thought as she kneed open the screen door and brought the mayonnaise jar inside one of two bags she carried in her arms down on the thumb depressor of the front door handle which caused the door to pop open and the living room in all its polluted glory to burst into view.

You’d never know a psychiatrist lived in a place like this, she said under her breath.

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Nondescript would be an overstatement. Undescript would better describe the single family home with its wide unpainted porch that sported a dilapidated swinging chaise and broken photocopying machine, until you got inside, she thought as she crossed the threshold. Inside it was too small, the place was just plain cramped and crammed with the detritus of a lifetime. Correct that, four life times if you counted the boys who were just barely in their teens.

Even though it was broad daylight outside, it was cave dweller dark inside and it took a few seconds for her pupils to dilate, time she did not want to waste standing there with the groceries in her arms and the phone answering machine light winking at her like a devil’s red eye while a dozen other compelling reasons to get quickly into the kitchen rose from different parts of her mind at the same time.

Freud had it right, she muttered. The unconscious really is wide awake when you least expect it.

She crossed the room in the half light left over after the front door came to and banged her shin hard against a short table that had not been there when she left for the supermarket two hours ago.

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