Dickens had his chance. Now Cormac McCarthy, author of The Road, The Border Trilogy, Blood Meridian, and other novels, has a go.
(Not necessarily a harbinger of more silliness, I assure you. But better, maybe, than reading yet another article or blog post about the next presidential election?)
The wind blew cold. It was a blear dawn. He cupped the match in his hands and brought it to his face and lit his cigarette and smoked. No trace left of the blood-red daybreak. His match flame the only color in this land of ghosts. Firing orange and yellow against the dull iron gray of that godforsaken morning and then dying away into chill nothingness.
He smoked. He reached up with his other hand and found the single hair at the front of his head and smoothed it. He shifted his weight and his spurs would have jingled if he had been wearing any spurs on his little pancake-shaped shoes. He made his decision.
Buenos dias, she said.
I’ve come to see you.
Si. You’re standing right in front of me. I figured. Sit down.
I got something to say.
So say it.
Aint no place for me.
Where? she asked.
Here, in this world.
She knew him. She saw his melancholy nature and knew him for a dreamer. He dreamed of some world beyond the neat boxes in which he and their entire company of misfits were sketched and made always to do what they did and say what they said, the tomboy who called him Chuck and the pianist-cum-catcher on their baseball team (what a dreamboat!) and his philosophizing little sister (“Some philosophies take a thousand years. I think of them in one minute!”) and the mysterious little red-haired girl, a world with a future and not just an eternal present composed solely of the past, where he no longer had to pitch forward as he padded along, wearing his one shirt with its black zigzag stripe, his eyes fixed on the terrible immutable darkness and the silence and the desolation and abandonment that he saw looming over them all.
She knew only one thing to do for him. It was what she had always done and would always do. And when it was done, when she had loved and honored in her own predictable and tragicomical way this sad sack of a kid, she would accept and enact the final gesture: she would have her nickel off of him.