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The Shootist

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In "The Shootist", J.B. Books is not feeling up to snuff. He has cancer. What are the concerns of a man dying. To die commensurate with the way he lived his life. Books dies in a gunfight. McIntosh dies in the desert, under a broken wagon, fighting Indians. Norman Thayer will die of heart failure by the side of his wife, Ethel. Two police officers die investigating a stolen moped at a gas station in the Bronx. One buys it between the eyes, the other in the back. The killer out on early parole from a manslaughter rap. The DA blames the judge, the judge blames the parole board, and the board says the jails are overcrowded. What should I be doing, old turtle. Devote myself to re-order the world or crawl off to a lonely spot and preserve myself. We are trying to educate everyone to their individual capacities and see that all are fed, clothed and sheltered adequately. Because the suffering of one citizen makes suffering for another, the slow death of one sometimes makes the sudden murder of another. There is this black rock we live on and its lovely mantle of green. It is all that is perfect. And everything of it is perfect that respects its integrity. On the subway I was amused to find, hidden in the confused mass of anonymous, bleak graffiti, unseen by the studied, expressionless passengers, in pink, delicate script, vertically written, the word *****. People are the element I live in. The world is pushy, we are bone, the numbers of us overwhelm. It is going to be hot again soon and the Bronx will actively resent it. Books dies in Carson City, only two or three people will miss him at all. He died alone as he lived, with his enemies.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2015




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