Sunday, July 29, 2012

Day Two Hundred Eleven: "Last Night" by James Salter


A man and his wife make a pact to help the wife commit suicide by morphine injection. On her last night, the man and his wife go to a fancy restaurant, buy an expensive wine, all to make sure her last evening is a memorable one, a fitting way to end her life. But, the catch is that they don't want to do it alone so they take a young girl that the woman had met in a gardening class. The young woman was to be the witness, the person to keep the husband from being alone once the assisted suicide was complete.

This was the setup.

But...something goes wrong. The man gives his wife the injection and she drifts away. He goes back downstairs to the young girl and he basically forces her to have sex with him but in the end, she seems to consent and they wake up the next morning in a sort of agreement about their relationship. They are content, having coffee when the wife stumbles down the staircase, the assisted suicide having apparently failed.

This was the downfall. The man loses the girl at this point, a girl who realizes that her connection to this man is now shattered. It's sick and twisted in a way but when the reader realizes that this man will have to go through this again and alone to boot, it's actually rather sad.

From a writing standpoint, this story was well written and there was a flow about it that made it seem much shorter upon reading than it actually was. Nice job by an author that I'll read more of.

A link to the story online is here:

No comments: