Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Day in Town by Ernest Haycox

Joe Blunt brings his family to town to ask for a loan from the bank. His crop at Christmas Creek is not coming in and he needs supplies for his children. The banker, McKercher, tries to let Joe down easy, and stalls his refusal by telling Joe to return in an hour. Before he leaves, McKercher notices a slight gesture Joe makes towards his shirt pocket. Knowing he will be refused in an hour, Joe meanders around town while his wife and children wait in the wagon under the hot sun. Joe is refused at every turn, no work available anywhere. When he returns to the bank, he is refused by McKercher, whom notices the gesture towards the pocket once more. The banker offers Joe a cigar, and he refuses. McKercher decides to give Joe a loan.

McKercher explains to a teller that Joe was out of tobacco, and was too proud to take some from him.

Joe returns to his family, surprised he got the money. The wife says they will buy the needed supplies, some nice things for the baby, and some tobacco for Joe.

Fantastic Western. A touching little story about men's hearts, and pride.

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Tale of the Ragged Mountains by Edgar Allan Poe

A tale of mesmerism about a young man named Bedloe who may be the reincarnation of a man who lived years earlier named Oldeb (In his obit, his name was misspelled "Bedlo").

Contains Poe's  sharp tongue, but not his best work. Very ambiguous, which leads to some plot confusion.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Body Snatcher by Robert Louis Stevenson

Three friends are sharing a drink when a well-off doctor named Macfarlane enters. One of the friends, Fettes, is apparently an old acquaintance of Macfarlane and accosts him angrily.

The friends find that the pair attended medical school together years earlier and part of their duties included collecting bodies for dissection and paying the suspicious men who supply them.

Fettes recalls receiving the body of a woman whom he knew, convinced she was murdered. Macfarlane talks Fettes out of reporting the incident.

On a later occasion, Fettes recalls Macfarlane receiving very rude treatment from a man named Gray. On the following night, Macfarlane brings Gray's body for dissection. Again, Macfarlane talks Fettes out of reporting the incident. The two men intricately dissect the body and send it to various institutes for study.

Fettes and Macfarlane are never implicated of the crime and continue their work. With a shortage of bodies, they are asked to extract a recently buried woman from the grave. As they head back from the cemetery, the body between them, they get anxious and nervous. They decide to take a better look at the body and to their horror, it is the body of Gray, which they thought they had destroyed.

Great little macabre tale from Stevenson. Interesting supernatural-esque ending that totally twists the naturalist presentation of the story.