The short story was printed in an anthology, possibly between the 60s and 70s, and by a mainstream author in a wacky mood.

The protagonist is constantly upstaged by his neighbor. A nuclear war occurs and humanity is decimated and devolves. The protagonist's descendant is jealous of the bigger, smoother sunning rock used by "other me".

The story is told in a series of narrations beginning in the past, told through the present and into the future described above.

  • Is it told as a series of narrations beginning in the past, through to the present then into the bleak future you've described? If that's so, I'm pretty sure I've read it but can't remember any identifying info either. Commented Aug 12, 2018 at 4:02
  • Yes! And from what I remember it is a "short-short" story (gets to the punchline effeciently). It was in an anthology from the 1960's-1970's maybe. Possibly written by a mainstream author who was in a wacky mood. It brought a grin to my face. Commented Aug 13, 2018 at 2:30
  • A little late to go diving through the collection, but I'm guessing Sheckley or someone like him. Were the narrations perhaps about successive members of the same family or two families? I'm just spitballing here in hopes that I can elicit more info from you to ring the appropriate bell or that we can ring someone else's bell and get you the answer. Commented Aug 13, 2018 at 4:41

1 Answer 1


OK. I asked this question over at SFF Chronicles and a Victoria Silverwolf stated that it might be "Dear Diary" by Richard Matheson. I have that story in his collection "Third from the Sun". It consists of 3 (OK, more like 2.1) narrations. The first begins:

"June 10, 1954 Dear diary: Honest, sometimes I get so sick of this damned furnished room I could absolutely vomit."

The second begins:

"June 10, 3954 Dear factum: Sometimes-yes!-I become so ill of this cursed plastoid dwelling that I could be inclined toward regurgitation."

The third, in its entirety says:

"XXXX Dear slab: Sometimes I get so sick of this damn cave......"

This may be the story you're looking for but I don't think that it's the one that I was thinking about as I remember a male narrator(s) and I also seem to recall that in the final narration he was sending his sons to kill the neighbor for his canned good stash.

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