“Some of Us Had Been Threatening Our Friend Colby,” by Donald Barthelme
Appeared in the New Yorker, May 26th, 1973 (subscribers can read here); collected in Amateurs (Farrar, 1976), and in Forty Stories (G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1987), and in a collection of the same title (Penguin Books, 2011); read online here and here; also read on Miette’s Bedtime Story Podcast
1,634 words—I would have guessed much shorter
I enjoy Barthelme’s occasional rambling absurdity. “It didn’t rain, the event was well attended, and we didn’t run out of Scotch, or anything.” That “or anything” is good. The last line, with that mention of gratitude, is wonderful.
Note that all the characters seem to be adults, since one of them “runs a car-and-truck-rental business” and the others seem to drink Scotch and know a lot about event planning. They’re all men.
Satire? I dunno, maybe, maybe not. I notice the characters live in a country where the death penalty has been abolished.