The first Monday each month is the day I devote to a story by F. Scott Fitzgerald. This month's entry is called An Alcoholic Case, a late story of only seven pages.
I am constantly amazed at how quickly and how deeply I get into a short story. There is a concentration that is very different from reading a book. From the first words, I am completely focused on the story.
This could as easily have been called, 'A Sad Case,' for it truly is. The gist is that a nurse is taking care of an alcoholic. She really doesn't like to handle cases such as this, but:
She was going to take care of him because nobody else would, and because the best people of her profession had been interested in taking care of the cases that nobody else wanted.
The story makes me sad for all alcoholics, but especially for Fitzgerald. It was written just three years before he died. Compare this photo:
with the one I used for October's short story. He is an old man at forty-one years old. To think of him seeing himself with such clarity, such truth is just heartbreaking. Many people are able to delude themselves, but in this story we see the writer really knows what is going on.
He signaled to her, in one second, his Will to Die.
He was looking at the corner where he had thrown the bottle the night before. She stared at his handsome face, weak and defiant - afraid to turn even half-way because she knew that death was in that corner where he was looking. ... she knew this man saw it in the corner of the bathroom; that it was standing there looking at him while he spit from a feeble cough and rubbed the result into the braid of his trousers.
An Alcoholic Case is in my book, The Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald published by Scriber, but I found it online, if you would like to read this sad, yet excellent story. Oh, how I love his writing.
You may visit The Book Mine Set to read other reviews of short stories this Monday.