The Selection: “I Can Hear the clicking at Night” – from Punchnel’s – an online magazine founded in 2011 and based in Indianapolis. This story appeared in June 2014. I admit that I may have only chosen it because I found the title intriguing. 🙂 It’s one of the shortest works I’ve ever read for Deal Me In and would more properly be classified as Flash Fiction.
The Author: Ann Gamble (check out her website at annmariegamble.com)
The Suit: This year for Deal Me “IN”, Hearts are my suit featuring selections from Indiana magazines, or Midwestern magazines featuring Indiana authors.
What is Deal Me “IN” 2016? (For an explanation of the Deal Me In challenge, see the sign up post. For a look at my deck of cards/story roster see here. Since 2016 is my home state’s bicentennial, in this year’s edition of my annual Deal Me In challenge, I’m reading only stories that have an Indiana “connection”of some kind. )
“The control panel’s in there—that’s why the door is behind the desk. There’s only one man allowed in that office, and he reads all our files. Then he decides.”
“I Can Hear the Clicking at Night”
I’m always impressed when a “whole story” can be effectively told in a very abbreviated manner – the aim of flash fiction. Clocking in at just about twenty paragraphs, “I Can Hear the Clicking at Night” encompasses a woman’s visit to her grandfather in the hospital. Though not in an “intensive care” unit yet, he is clearly approaching the end of the line.
“The End of the Line” – Do you ever wonder about where you will find yourself at “the end of the line” in your life? It seems the older I get the more I think about it. Like I’m sure just about all of us I hope, when my time comes, to “go quickly” and not after a prolonged illness which ends up being the fate of many.
On arriving for her latest visit the man’s granddaughter, Kate (though he mistakenly introduces her to a nurse as “Loretta”), finds on his bed table “one of those books about the secrets on the back of the dollar bill” and “grits her teeth.” The grandfather’s world has shrunk to a few rooms in the hospital and the few people the work there or visit him. Already with a mind easily seduced by ’conspiracy theories’ he constructs his own about death at his own end of the line…
Certainly not a happy story, but one I found interesting and thought-provoking. The story may be read online at http://www.punchnels.com/2014/06/22/i-can-hear-the-clicking-at-night/
(Five of heart image found at http://playingcardcollector.net/2013/07/18/kashmir-playing-cards-by-printissa/ )
Other works from Punchnel’s I’ve posted about:
“The Man on the Monon” by Ben H. Winters
“The Gods of Indianapolis” by Jason de Koff