Zenith Man is a short story from the Inheritance Collection and is inspired by real events.
“This story begins with a 911 call. The first shock was that Harold Pardee’s wife was dead. The second shock was that he had a wife.”
The opening line held so much promise but the drama just continued to deflate right to the end.
While my expectations aren’t high with regards extensive background, character depth and plot complexity in a fictional short story, it is still important to create a story of imagination. I’m a bit lost as to what the real purpose of this story was about. The flow of the narrative was very jolted and none of the action actually led anywhere of interest. The main plot just abruptly ended.
What I did like were the fragments of Harold’s character that we had glimpses of, a socially stifled older man that saw life as he chose to see it, a silent unobtrusive participant in society, with complete ignorance or without concern for other perspectives. He appears apathetic but you suspect that deep down his heart is breaking for the loss of his wife, Barbara Jean Pardee. Harold’s wife suffered from severe epilepsy from ever he knew her and frequently took seizures where she collapsed. As a consequence, she never left the house, never had a job, never had a driver’s license – for all intents and purposes she never existed. When her autopsy was complete it revealed she had received multiple broken bones throughout her life, she died of suffocation and there was a pinkish tinge to her teeth and gums. This led to the assumption that Harold had mistreated and murdered his wife. Harold is charged with murder and his court case is looming.
Sorry to stop so abruptly but what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.
There isn’t much reading in this story of 22 pages so not a lot will be lost if you do decide to read it but it’s difficult for me to recommend.