Charlie walked closer to him, careful not to put his hands on the blood streaked counter where Carlo slices and dices the various meets. He said softly, “Casually look at your door. Are there two guys standing outside right now?” Charlie then raised his voice a little and said, “Give me a pound of hot Italian and half a pound of mozzarella.”
He watched as Carlo moved from his position and started to weigh out the hot sausage cut into six inch links. Carlo stole a glance at the window as he was wrapping the meat in brown parchment paper and putting it in a bag. “Yeah, they’re still there. Who are they?” he asked.
The Chemist by Chris Blewitt is a very short story set in the 1920s based on a true story. It refers to how the US government poisoned alcohol during Prohibition in order to make it undrinkable, though people kept drinking it with terrible consequences.
I think there really is a story, here. The story of two brothers who don’t communicate the way they should, and so it is that one of the brothers arm the other while doing something he knows is wrong, but thought it would never really change his life. But this theme – that has very strong moral drive – remains in the background. The historical events take control of the narration and I think this doesn’t work very well, in spite of nice moments, like the one I’m quoting.
I see this happen quite often: the author has the idea for a story, but the idea never takes a life and never morphs into a true story. Which, if you ask me, it’s a shame, because sometimes there are true potentialities.
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