Friday, July 10, 2009

Entry #27

One Last Drink
by Laurel Montgomery


I greatly desired the man’s death, even imagined it; he could not be suffered to live. You, who so well know me, know it was not covetousness, as my wife ventured to suggest- that she should utter such against her own husband! Her slander against me proved the poison in the man’s deranged poem that haunted and taunted, incessant, unceasing.

I had his acquaintance years prior but dreamed not of meeting again. Such simplicity, such justice in the path set before me as my eyes knew him in the street. He wore the greyness that came on him in his younger days, marking the madness consuming his soul. Madness he inflicted upon us all with his writings. Nevermore. You must understand my course predetermined. What just man, sane man, could deny it? Not you, certainly.

He had a weakness, this supposed genius of our age.

"Mr. Poe! Mr. Poe! How luckily met!" He could not guess my revulsion at touching the vessel of such insanity as dwelt within him.

"Reynolds?"

"The very same! Join me. You must not walk alone on Election Day in Baltimore. Here we are at Gunner’s Hall. Come, have a drink. I’ll see you safely home."

"I should not. I am-I should not."

"You cannot deny me the pleasure of raising a glass together in celebration of your accomplishments. It is many years passed. Come, one drink."

"Ahh. One last drink." So you see, it truly was he, not I, that chose his manner of death.

30 comments:

Catvibe said...

Interesting take. The sinister tone throughout really made the piece very believable.

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

Love the sinister tone and the style of language - a creepily good piece of writing!

laughingwolf said...

laurel, good to see you here... a great tale, too :)

Hadley said...

Laurel, very nicely done...I love the last line...

Karen said...

Excellent, Laurel! This one, I love.

JR's Thumbprints said...

You've captured the tormented genius of Poe. He certainly did suffer from too much drink.

Laurel said...

Thanks so much, ya'll!

Catvibe and Absolute Vanilla: I'm glad you found it "sinister".

LW: Thanks! I went to sleep last night with an unfortunate flashback of Damian, BTW. Scary little bugger, that one.

Hadley and Karen: Thanks for the kind words.

JR's Thumbprints: Wow. High praise and exactly what I was shooting for. It was quite an exercise in words. He was quite rhythmic, even in prose, and used a lot of tricks current writers avoid deliberately. Thanks so much.

Laurel said...

Karen:

Is your profile picture a Waterhouse?

Aniket said...

Ohh. I wondered where this was gonna go at the start.

But absolutely loved the end. And the charm of the piece lies in its tone. The words make all the emotions jump out.

Smooth shift from narrative to dialogue too. Something I find very hard to pull off.

Very nicely written.

Laurel said...

Thank you, Aniket!

Chris Eldin said...

It's hard to do sinister without going over the top, but this one reaches that balance perfectly!! I love the tribute to Poe!! A thoughtful and creative piece, nicely written.
:-)

Tessa said...

Completely engrossing - a unique and very clever take on the prompt. Stylish and exceptionally well written. This has to be a top contender!

Karen said...

Hi, Laurel - It is a Waterhouse ("The Missal"). I love his work and keep changing my picture to different damsels. I only wish!

Laurel said...

Chris: Thanks bunches!

Tessa: Wow. Thanks. I really appreciate it.

Karen: Love me some Waterhouse!

Mona said...

great tale Laurel , I love the twist in the end. Well told!

Laurel said...

Tkx, Mona!

BernardL said...

This definitely had a 'Poe' like flavor.

Laurel said...

BernardL:

Glad I was able to communicate that feel to you. That being said, it was hard as sh!+. I don't think the man could have said "good morning" in less than 250 words.

Thanks!

pjd said...

I am not a student of Poe's life, so I guess I learned something here. Isn't one of the marks of a sociopath that they blame their victims for their own actions?

verification word: nopsi
synonym for "flat tire"

Laurel said...

Hey, pjd!

Thanks for reading. And Poe recognized that somehow. He often wrote from the sociopath's POV. We credit Hitchcock with being the groundbreaker on that because Psyco was the first movie to show a murder scene from the POV of the killer but I bet if Poe had lived in the age of movies he would have done it first.

FYI, the details are all factual except for "Reynolds," which is speculation. That was a name he muttered during his delerium in the clinic where he was taken.

No one really knows his cause of death. He was reputed to be a heavy drinker with a weak heart and he was found, wearing clothes not his own, in the street. He did not regain clarity before his death so it was assumed that alcohol played a large part in his demise.

aditi said...

The narrative made it all so eery, I loved how the narrator so believes in the sanity of his own actions. And the climax was "gripping" :)

joaquin carvel said...

fittingly, perversely ominous - a wicked little tale - and a worthy tribute to one of the masters.

Ello said...

I adore Poe - and I think you really captured his essence in this little 250 piece vignette. Now I find that an amazing talent!

Laurel said...

Thanks, Ello! You made my day!

Sarah Laurenson said...

Still amazing the second time around. I'm glad you entered the contest.

JaneyV said...

Laurel - this is a very strong piece of writing. I love the language you used and how it defined the setting. I didn't know anything about Poe before this but i did a bit of googling after reading your piece. Consider yourself not just a fine writer but an educator too.

Jade L Blackwater said...

Nice nod to Poe and his talent for torment.

Rabid Fox said...

While I didn't get a chance to read all 158 entries, I did get to read this one. And it ended up being the one I voted for in the Reader's Choice. Nicely done.

Laurel said...

Rabid Fox:

If you let me know when and where I swear I'll dance at your wedding. You absolutely made my WEEK!

I feel like I won something already.

Thanks to everyone who read, BTW. I was very afraid when I submitted this that no one would "get it" and I had erred on the side of waaaaay too high concept.

jason evans said...

Very intriguing. Very unique. To dive into Poe's thoughts. Reynolds, the scoundrel!!

High marks overall.

Welcome to The Forties Club!!