All Stories, Literally Reruns

Literally Reruns – End Home by David Henson

Well Leila did a sterling job sending in a whole batch of Rerun suggestions just before Christmas so we had a lovely supply for the start of the New Year. This is one from a long time friend of the site with an interesting canon of work. This is what she said:

I have a slippery memory for titles. I can remember a story and almost always who wrote it but hardly ever what it is called. This has nothing to do with pedestrian titles, either. I actually managed to forget what “Repent Harlequin!” Said the Tick Tock Man by Harlon Ellison was called, which, I admit, took some doing; but since I usually recall the name of the authorof a story I like, this little problem rarely matters–unless, of course, I have managed to forget the title and the author yet not the story. Which is precisely what happened with David Henson’s fine End Home. But while knocking about looking for something else, I ran into it and said, “Ah, I remember you,” gave it just enough chloroform to ease it into the cart and wheeled it back to town.

Q: I recall spending an entire morning trying to wrap my mind around this story. And I see that its wonderful peculiarity still has the same effect on me. It’s more than up being down and left being right and staircases to nowhere. Maybe I ought to ask you what the hell it means but I think a prosaic explanation would damage its charm. Hmmm…Oh, a question…All right, from what possibly demented place in your imagination did this come?

Q: The ending is absolutely perfect (although I cannot explain it). I expected poor Walter to wind up a waterlogged stiff, yet there was this great scene with the dusty old woman. Did this come to you visually, or was it painstakingly arranged all along?

Leila Allison

***

End Home

Q: I recall spending an entire morning trying to wrap my mind around this story. And I see that its wonderful peculiarity still has the same effect on me. It’s more than up being down and left being right and staircases to nowhere. Maybe I ought to ask you what the hell it means but I think a prosaic explanation would damage its charm. Hmmm…Oh, a question…All right, from what possibly demented place in your imagination did this come?

Thanks for the good questions. I also appreciated your introductory commentary. The basic idea — as was the case with another LS story, The Bracelet — was to take a look at growing older. This piece, though, was more of a social commentary on how people are treated as they age, especially when they get to the point where they are forced in way one or another to give up their cars and, ultimately, leave their homes. The idea of the flooding homes and the Dept. of Water was a bit of a play on Fahrenheit 451. (An astute reader with initials LA alluded to this in a comment when the story was first published!)


Q: The ending is absolutely perfect (although I cannot explain it). I expected poor Walter to wind up a waterlogged stiff, yet there was this great scene with the dusty old woman. Did this come to you visually, or was it painstakingly arranged all along?  

The ending with the folks deteriorating to dust was nowhere in my mind when I started working on the story. It’s a good example of organic writing, which, at least in this case, turned out pretty well. We might save people from drowning in their homes, but in doing so put them someplace where their fate is arguably worse.  Sadly, the end home is coming for poor Walter (pour Walter?), too. 

3 thoughts on “Literally Reruns – End Home by David Henson”

  1. For hell’s sake, I forgot the title again. I saw it and went “what’s that?” Anyway it is still a lovely story, and your replies are first rate.

    I believe that people fear ageing more than they do death. And Goddam if we don’t go out of our way to hate it. For the tiniest example, just watch Retro TV or Decades or any other of the half-ass “networks” that persons of a certain age must turn to because they are no longer wanted by mainstream entertainment and count all the fear-mongering “final expenses” and parasitic Medicare commercials–and that’s just minor stuff.

    Anyway, we seem to hate mom and dad with special intensity despite our protests to the contrary. I can honestly state that I had my mother live with me until a couple weeks before the end, even though I could have easily ware-housed her–and yes, I had a job and all that other shit to do.

    Sometimes, however, evil works out pretty cool. Just stick around and you’ll learn empathy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Leila / Dave,
    It is so good to see you two guys together on the same page (See what I did there) as the two of you are by far the most imaginative and creative writers that we have.
    Leila – A nod to you and your questions as always.
    Dave – Every one of your stories only requires for me to read a few words and they come flooding back (Sorry!)
    I am envious of both you folks – My imagination only bursts forth after bouts of alcohol but by the time I wake up, I’m too thirsty to remember. I think a thirst after drinking loads is irony to the extreme!
    Oh and regarding aging. I love the attitude my 53 years has given me. Not so enthusiastic about the aches and pains though!!

    Brilliant to see both of you today!!!
    Hugh

    Liked by 1 person

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