After all your great responses to Monday’s Nano Tip post, I though I’d spend one more post looking at the story. So many of you had cool interpretations and in interesting questions, so I thought I’d give you my own version.
Now, the author’s interpretation is privileged in some ways (people tend to give it extra weight) but that doesn’t mean that my version is “right” and any that differs from mine is “wrong.”
But here’s what I was thinking as I wrote the story:
- Yes, there is a dead person and a live person. The dead one has no quote marks.
- I kept the genders non-specific. Either of the two could be male or female, and they could be a hetero pairing or not. I sort of had a picture in my mind, but I don’t see the point in declaring it, given that there was no clear consensus in your comments. The rest works no matter which way you fall with the gender stereotypes/readings.
- Yes, the live person was driving in the accident, which was few days ago. The ghost was in the passenger seat without seatbelt. And it’s the day of the ghost’s funeral.
- The live person is having lunch in town, skipping the funeral out of shame. (You didnâ€™t expect to see anyone in town today. Least of all me.)
- It’s not a huge town, but it’s a 30-60-minute drive from the funeral, which is out in the country.
- No one else can see/hear the ghost. (Tell him black.//â€œBlack, please.â€)
- They were having an affair. (And Iâ€™d have worn one if youâ€™d asked. I did a lot of things for you.)
- The affair was secret, because the living person is somewhat older, and was friends with the ghost’s parents (as stated). Some markers of age: drinking gin, eating cold salmon, general fussiness, and mostly: â€œBut itâ€™s not as though . . . youâ€™re eighteen, after all.â€//Ah. Youâ€™ve been practicing that line, havenâ€™t you?//â€œDonâ€™t be crass.â€
- The affair was more or less revealed because of the crash, even if the ghosts’ parents haven’t said anything about it yet. So the living person feels guilty about a lot more than just driving that night.
- The ghost is plotting the living person’s death. (I wish I could hold a knife.//You’ll have to drive fast.//Drive safely.//etc.) This is partly out of a need for revenge (a dish best “Served Cold”) but it’s mostly that the ghost is still in love and is angry that the living person’s survival has separated them. (Donâ€™t let me go down there alone.)
- You can also read the story as being entirely inside the living person’s head. It doesn’t seem as though anyone can hear either side of the conversation, after all. So maybe the survivor is changing their mind about going to the funeral, and convincing themselves to do something dramatic and unsafe to make amends.
- You should always wear your seatbelt.
Okay, that’s all I got. Thanks again for being such good readers.
Also, note that I didn’t even notice the resonance of “Donâ€™t let me go down there alone” until El pointed it out in Comment 14. w00t!
See you in Montreal tomorrow!
Wednesday, November 4th 7:00PM
6321 Trans-Canada Highway, unit 1410
And don’t forget that my lovely wife Justine is in Chicago this week, talking about her new book Liar:
Wednesday, 4 November, 7:00PM
5112 Main St
â€¨Downers Grove, IL