Selected Shorts: Surprising Discoveries

Unexpected revelations, emotions, and plot twists in three tales ranging from contemporary to crime classic.

In Karen Russell’s “Disco Papa,” a granddaughter learns more about her disco-dancing grandfather than she ever knew.  The reader is the California-based actress Susanna Thompson, whose television credits include work on "Law and Order: SVU," "Jake in Progress," "Without a Trace," and "CSI."

In our next story, Andrew Porter’s “Departure,” urban and Amish teens clash in a Pennsylvania suburb, but the narrator and his buddy are surprised by the close relationships they form with some Amish girls.   Years later they recall the sense of mutual mystery and regret.  The reader is Khris Lewin, whose New York and regional theater credits include “Hamlet;” “Peer Gynt;” “The Skin of Our Teeth;” and Suzan-Lori Parks’ “365 Days/365 Plays.”

“Departure” is featured in Andrew Porter’s collection The Theory of Light and Matter and Porter ( spoke with SHORTS host Isaiah Sheffer about the genesis of this unusual story, which imaginatively extends some of his childhood memories. 

Our final story on this program, William Cole’s “Waiting for Rusty,” is a vintage histoire noir piece, first published in Black Mask Magazine in 1939.  The characters waiting for Rusty, their leader, after a bank heist, include Rusty’s moll, Dotty, the sultry but tough protagonist of this surprising tale of crime, loyalty, and betrayal.  The reader is Ted Marcoux, whose television appearances include roles on “24,” “NYPD Blue,” and “Boston Legal.”

The musical interlude in this program is “Building the Barn” from Maurice Jarre’s score for the film “Witness.”  The SELECTED SHORTS theme is Roger Kellaway’s “Come to the Meadow.”

“Disco Papa,” by Karen Russell, read by Susanna Thompson  

“Departure,” by Andrew Porter, read by Khris Lewin

“Waiting for Rusty,” by William Cole read by Ted Marcoux

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