In 1997, my friend Mary Higgins Clark invited me to submit a story for an anthology in aid of literacy. The book would be called The Plot Thickens, and each story would be required to contain three things—a thick steak, a thick fog, and a thick book. If anyone else had made the request, I’d have replied that the whole idea made me thick to my thtomach, but who in the world could possibly say no to Mary?
Good thing. “How Far It Could Go” is a favorite story of mine, and that it grew out of such a gimmicky notion shows the unfathomable nature of the creative process. It was indeed published in The Plot Thickens, and reprinted in EQMM, before being gathered up into my own omnibus collection, Enough Rope.
Then, a couple of years later, someone in the theater pointed out that it would make a workable one-act play. I read it and discovered that it was already a one-act play, that all it required was to be recast in stageplay form. So I sat down to that task, shortened the title, and here’s the result.
I believe it was performed once in Australia. One simple set, two characters—what could be simpler to stage? if anyone out there wants to take a shot at this for local or amateur theater, just get in touch. I’m game.