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5 Short Stories That You Should Read

2012/12/05

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“A good short story would take me out of myself and then stuff me back in, outsized, now, and uneasy with the fit.”
― David Sedaris

  1. A Dog’s Life – Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker.  The dog’s owner, his wife, and their little boy were all very attached to Belker and they were hoping for a miracle. I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family there were no miracles left for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.  As we made arrangements, the owners told me they thought it would be good for the four-year-old boy to observe the procedure. They felt he could learn something from the experience.  The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker’s family surrounded him. The little boy seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on.  Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion.  We sat together for a while after Belker’s death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.  The little boy, who had been listening quietly, piped up, “I know why.”  Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I’d never heard a more comforting explanation. He said, “Everybody is born so that they can learn how to live a good life – like loving everybody and being nice, right?” The four-year- old continued, “Well, animals already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.
  2. A Hanging – It was about forty yards to the gallows. I watched the bare back of the prisoner marching in front of me. He walked clumsily with his bound arms, but quite steadily, with that bobbing gait of the Indian who never straightens his knees. At each step his muscles slid neatly into place, the lock of hair on his scalp danced up and down, his feet printed themselves on the wet gravel. And once, in spite of the men who gripped him by each shoulder, he stepped slightly aside to avoid a puddle on the path.
    It is curious, but till that moment I had never realized what it means to destroy a healthy, conscious man. When I saw the prisoner step aside to avoid the puddle, I saw the mystery, the unspeakable wrongness, of cutting a life short when it is in full tide. This man was not dying, he was alive just as we were alive. All the organs of his body were working –bowels digesting food, skin renewing itself, nails growing, tissues forming–all toiling away in solemn foolery. His nails would still be growing when he stood on the drop, when he was falling through the air with a tenth of a second to live. His eyes saw the yellow gravel and the grey walls, and his brain still remembered, foresaw, reasoned–reasoned even about puddles. He and we were a party of men walking together, seeing, hearing, feeling, understanding the same world; and in two minutes, with a sudden snap, one of us would be gone–one mind less, one world less.
  3. Two Wolves –

    An old Cherokee told his grandson,“My Son, there is a battle between two wolves inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, inferiority, lies and ego. The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy and truth.”The boy thought about it, and asked,

    “Grandfather, which wolf wins?” The old man quietly replied,

    “The one you feed.”

  4. Young Love – I had it bad for a girl in high school. And she rejected me. I was crushed, and my dad found me crying. He listened to my story, nodded, and said, “Son, i know you’re hurting now, and nothing will fix that quick. But I promise you that in a few years you’ll look back on this moment and you’ll be ashamed that you let someone who cares for you so little hurt you so bad.”
  5. Last Words – This one requires A bit of back story: There was a ship loaded with explosives that was burning in a port in Halifax Nova Scotia, 1917. Vince Coleman went back to the telegraph to send out a Morse code message saying this to stop the trains from coming into the port that had 300 people on board. Because of this, he was killed in the explosion, but managed to get the trains to stop and saved their lives. The final message that ended his life and saved 300 was:”Hold up the train. Munitions ship on fire and making for Pier 6… Goodbye boys.”

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One Comment leave one →
  1. 2012/12/05 10:24 am

    I thought the 5 stories picked to read were wonderful. The insightful comments of a young child, the wisdom of the elderly, the frustration of taking a life, the unsung hero and the wisdom of NOT falling in love with someone who doesn’t care about you. Too many times, we don’t listen to the young or elderly, our hearts or even notice the heros in our midst.

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