Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Day 87: A Desperate Adventure

This is a short story by Max Adeler, an author I had never heard of before. It begins with an advertisement printed thus: "Three people bent on suicide see Captain Cowgill in his office after nine o'clock in the morning." Five men and two women appear. He chooses four (3 men and 1 woman) and tells them about a dangerous venture to the North Pole by weather balloon. The Captain then tells them to meet him the day after next and they will take off. That morning, as they are about to depart, an intruder appears who insists on going with them because "He has as much reason as any of them to commit suicide." And so they depart. At first, not much happens during their journey, but then one of them suggests that they each tell the group their sad tales. They do so, and discover that had they known each other before this adventure, they could have all helped at least one person in the party...Then an important discussion ensues. I will not tell you the rest, because that would give it all away; but when you finish reading it, I want you to answer this question for me: Did Captain Cowgill intend for what ended up happening, or was it all just circumstance? Riddle me this, riddle me that...I would love to hear any thoughts on this, so please read the story (It's only a few pages long) and tell me what you think.

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