(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

“The Moor” tells of a man and a woman whose paths cross again after thirty years. Warren Low, a middle-age plumbing supplies sales representative, and two buddies, one in real estate, the other in car sales, are heading for drinks after taking part in an induction ceremony at the Masonic Hall. Warren’s face still shows traces of the makeup he wore for his role as an Arab prince. His red-painted lips and black-smeared cheeks elicit teasing racial slurs from the two, which the narrator, self-admittedly less prejudiced than they, dismisses as just idle, unthinking talk.

On entering the Greek restaurant, they head to the bar in back, enjoying the comfort that comes from being regulars and ordering the usual. They pass a table of celebrants, with an elderly, lively eyed woman, four dour but dutiful adults, and a bored teenager. A spark of recognition passes between Warren and the woman, but she is old, with thin silvery blue hair, liver-spotted cheeks, and wattled jowls, and he cannot imagine any kind of acquaintance with her. He checks to see if the bartender knows her, but not even the information that the men are named Fortunata and they are celebrating their mother’s eightieth birthday helps.

The three men have their drinks and talk about the weather and their wives and former wives and grown children, comfortable and familiar with one another, out late and guiltfree, and then prepare to leave. Warren passes the woman, who tugs at his sleeve...

(The entire section is 601 words.)