‘Blow’ by Susan Minot

“He called in the middle of the day to ask if he could come over.” The end, alas, is drawing near. Do I have many more tales of regret and loss and melancholy, and all the rest, to hand? Ah, well, for a slight (insultingly slight; forgive me) change of pace, here’s a (AHEM) sexy little number by Susan Minot (and from a hardback that, oh I admit, calamitous though it is, that I bought for the title and the sexy author photo! Well, what can I say? I was young(er) and foolish(er) then; and as for now . . .). In ‘Blow’, Bill drops by. The narrator notes what a mess he is: “He was like a hunted man”. He jitters around. It’s a fairly short short story. The gift, the sting, the killer blow is in the last line. Susan Minot: not just a pretty face, you dubious, desperate, positively stupid, semi-literate boy. I’m troubled by the place this story has in the world.

from Lust and other stories, William Heinemann