At a post-war suburban party, a man retreats to the kitchen and unexpectedly meets a teenage girl. There is the usual coffee and small talk, but then the conversation takes a startling turn. He resists it with condescending statements, but she calmly persists, and visions of a post-apocalyptic America follow one after another - destruction and chaos coolly, but vividly, described by her youthful voice.
Shirley Jackson's ability to create a sense of unease is masterfully displayed in this commonplace but haunting exchange. Blending horror with the ordinary, it disrupts the comfort of the familiar and introduces a lurking disquiet that endures well beyond the close of the conversation.