Wednesday 6 July 2022




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.

Dorothy meets Billy in a restaurant. They're strangers to each other, but Billy might be able to help Dorothy with a problem with her ex who is being a bit of a tool. We follow the progress of their discussions where things get resolved perhaps and we learn a bit about each of them. By the end of the scene there might be some romance in the air.

I really liked this one. It was good fun seeing the situation with the ex-boyfriend discussed and extrapolated and various scenarios played out over the course of a drink. A real understanding develops between Dorothy and Billy in our one-act play. We get their histories - potted versions obviously and we know that they are serious people insofar as they can stand up for themselves, but they have a fun side too.

It left me wanting a second act, just to see where the relationship went - if anywhere at all. 

4 from 5

Read - April, 2022
Published - 2011
Page count - 31
Source - Kindle Unlimited
Format - Kindle


  1. Now, that's intriguing, Col - a sort of microcosm of these people and their lives. I give Block a lot of credit for putting it together this way - I'll bet it wasn't easy! And the story does sound appealing. Is there anything (novella, play, short story, novel) that Block hasn't done well?

    1. Margot, I don't think there is anything he hasn't turned his hand to and done well.