Friday, February 04, 2005

The Tale of the Closet by Susan Brassfield Cogan

"The Tale of the Closet" by Susan Brassfield Cogan, Hardluck Stories, Winter 2005

This very short tale follows two guys who want to get rich quickly. Better living through burglary.

Harry and Mike break into an uninhabited house where Harry used to work. The house belongs to a rich old man who supposedly ran off to South America with a young woman, the daughter of his butler. Harry, the professional housebreaker and safe cracker, knows the old man kept large amounts of cash in a safe hidden in a room behind his closet. He figures the house has been put in mothballs awaiting the old man's pleasure, thus the money must still be there.

In due course, very quickly in fact, they find what they expected. They also find a couple of things they didn't expect.

Technically speaking, the story is well written and easy to read. There are even a couple of instances of engaging imagery. Unfortunately the story isn't long enough to provide more than just a couple.

I must admit to a personal bias here. I don't find many stories this short to my liking. There's no space to develop plot or characters. Take, for instance, Mike. Mike is a schlub, and a little dimmer than your average schlub to boot. I can't figure any reason for him to be there other than to serve as an expositional foil. Maybe with a little more room, Ms. Cogan could have given us a reason that a professional housebreaker would bring a dimwit along on a job. Or maybe not.

In short, it's too short for me.