Don’t Watch That Watch #DealMeIn2018

This week, the Deal Me In cards dealt me hearts again. I’ve been reading Sue D. Gelber for hearts, but I’m working on a cold and nothing seemed funny to me. So I reverted to my original hearts source: East of the Web shortstories.

So I read the one that came up, and I thought, “Good voice: the style sounds like the time period of the setting.” Then I thought, “Somewhat derivative, although well done. Sounds like something by Ambrose Bierce.” I read the ending and thought, “Oh, yeah, definitely derivative, in a totally good way.”

I looked at the name of the author. It was Ambrose Bierce, duh.

John Bartine’s Watch

 by Ambrose Bierce

Since the story was written when it was by whom it was, it isn’t derivative, it’s seminal. You know the schtick: Someone has a dread of an object. The object was attached to someone with a dreadful fate or to a fateful place or event. A friend who disbelieves there’s any foundation for the dread forces the object’s owner to confront the dread. The owner drops dead in a way that confirms the validity of the dread. The end.

I’m actually a trifle–just a touch, mind you–disappointed that this was merely a good story and not a masterful homage. But I can’t totally complain about the man who brought my husband and me together.

Yes, Ambrose Bierce.

Charlie was a young teacher (happily married to a woman I believe I would have liked very much but who passed away before I met him as an adult) and I was a high school senior. He and my class’ English teacher swapped classes for a few weeks. They called this Team Teaching for some reason, although they didn’t teach as a team. Don’t ask me, ’cause I don’t know.

ANYWAY, one of the things Mr. Allen did was show us An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, based on a story of the same name by Ambrose Bierce. Mr. Allen said, “There are flics, there are movies, and there are films. Watch whatever one or ones you want, but be aware of which is which. This is a film.” That literally changed my life, that high school challenge to weigh the relative merits of my entertainment choices.

So here you go, in case you feel like watching a film today. About 25 minutes long.

An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge from Raf on Vimeo.
You’re welcome.

If YOU need a short story to read, you can find free ones here on my Free Reads page. I also have four collections for 99 cents each linked from my Short Stories page.

A WRITING PROMPT FROM ME TO YOU: Does your main character weigh the relative merits of their entertainment choices? Why or why not?



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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