‘A Sense Of Story’ by James Alan McPherson

A Sense Of Story by James Alan McPherson, 1977

The magic trick:

Using a court transcript to tell a story

We wrap up James Alan McPherson Week on SSMT with a strange story. It’s a murder case without much mystery. It’s pretty clear who did what. The question of motive remains, though, and the story outlines the particulars for the reader by going through the transcript of the court case. It’s a neat way to lay everything out. And that’s quite a trick on McPherson’s part.

The selection:

MR. GRANT: Now, Mr. Pinkett, please repeat, as clearly as you can recall, the defendant’s words on that occasion.

MR. PINKETT: He said he had gived up on life. He said he didn’t understand things he thought he understood. We were in the john at the time. I was taking a pee and he was in the stall. I couldn’t see his face but I could hear him. He said, “Mr. Johnson has hurt me so bad, Otis, till I don’t want to live.” He said to me, “There ain’t nothing more I want than to get out of life.”

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