Tuesday, April 4, 2017

"A Gurgling Gasp Then, That Was Meant for a Cry but That Was No Louder Than the Whimpering of a Sick Child"

"The Corpse in the 'Tween-Decks."
By Steve Hail (born 1907).
First appearance: Collier's Weekly, January 7, 1950.
Short short short story (4 pages).
Online at UNZ: Start (HERE) and finish (HERE; scroll down to page 58).
(Note: The accompanying illo is illegible.)
"Anthony Raab was a skillful murderer, and his plan of escape was foolproof. But Anthony Raab, with his corrupt soul, was not proof against the frailty of his own heart."
One remarkable thing about people, their uncanny ability to justify to their own satisfaction almost anything they do, regardless of the harm they might cause. Somewhere along the 
way Raab has crossed a line, a boundary beyond which he feels free to do whatever he 
thinks is necessary to survive—not just to lie and cheat but also murder. What he never 
seems to realize is how easy, far too easy, it is to plunge a knife into someone's throat—
"No exertion, really, no excitement"—and feel satisfied that his survival plan is working . . .
- Judging from his FictionMags listing, Steve Hail wrote all kinds of fiction—Westerns, sports, straight adventure, the usual; apart from that, we can find nothing else about him.

The bottom line: "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death."

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