‘A Matter Of Time’ by Frank London Brown

Brown, Frank London 1962

A Matter Of Time by Frank London Brown, 1962

The magic trick:

Telling a very sad story without an ounce of sentimentality

I’d say this is a sad story, but in many ways it is not. Certainly the events it details are sad. The economy is bad. Opportunities are low. Stress is high. And a man pays for it all with his life.

But, remarkably, the story is nearly completely without sentimentality. It is simple and relentless in the way it unfolds the man’s demise. As the title implies, his death can’t be sentimental because there is no sense of surprise to it. There is no way to fight back against the negative momentum once it gets moving. And that’s quite a trick on Brown’s part.

The selection:

He sat down. The pain was back again and it was getting bad. He called his daughter, Florida. Still no more than a croak from his throat. He lay on his back, but that hurt even more. He lay on his side. It was no good. He sat up, and another pain screamed out of the old one. This was worse than any of the others. He pulled his shirt open at the neck.

His stomach started doing something funny. It didn’t feel so hot. He tried to scream, but this time nothing came.

The sky began to move. The trees turned baby blue, and the house wobbled and rippled and went gray.

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