Death of a Serious Man

Francis Morgan, retired accountant and former Department Manager for the City of Long Beach Tax Assessment Division, took himself very seriously. Not known for his sense of humor nor for his social skills, Francis Morgan nonetheless prided himself on his ability to think rationally at all times. And Francis thought and wondered a lot about himself. That’s to say that a large proportion of his thoughts and worries were about himself. Call it vanity, but, in defence of Mr. Morgan, it seems that many people, perhaps most people, spend much of their time thinking and worrying about their own selves. However, despite all his thinking and self-analysis, questions about what he now called the “meaning of life” had rarely crossed his mind before. This second heart attack had affected him, though. He had almost died.

As he sat on the porch looking out at the hillside and woods next to the water tower, he found himself wondering about the quality of his own life, evaluating it and the like. Had his life been a good one? Was there anything he should have done differently? Anything to correct? Now that he was at last retired, how should he spend the rest of his time? What is the best or most proper way for a man to spend his time?

“Strange,” he thought to himself, “that I, Francis Morgan, retired city accountant, being, by all accounts, such a rational and serious person, had never considered these sorts of questions before. Perhaps I’m not such a rational and serious guy after all”. Francis smiled to himself and leaned back in his lawn chair. “Whoodda thunk it?” he said out loud, as he folded over the newspaper to reveal the daily crossword puzzle.

The sniper up on top of the water tower had no sympathy and no pity for the charming Mr. Morgan, and drilled a 7.62 x 39 mm bullet into Mr. Morgan’s head. The sniper had not known Francis Morgan. Reportedly, he was “angry about hackers”, and he bought the rifle because he “liked to shoot”.

13 thoughts on “Death of a Serious Man

      1. True, but as with other well conceived pieces of fiction, it captures aspects of the cultural concerns from which it stems. Tight style and O’Henry twist reminds me a bit of the short short stories featured in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, especially those Mysterious Photograph tales. 🙂

    1. Thanks. Thanks for visiting. As for Hollywood lore, I never got taken in by the”glamour” of the stars. As for Jimmy Durante, I was just a kid, but remember him so fondly.

  1. A grim twist at the end but he was probably better off not thinking such thoughts, it just leads to madness and needless worrying. That sniper is something worryingly close to home for you guys these days, I wasn’t allowed a gun though, I enquired just to see if they would but the world escaped unscathed from my bumbling.

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