Today, I have the honor to review / analyze a flash fiction story by M.C. Tuggle, titled A Good Couple, published by Idle Ink ( ⇺ Read the story here, before proceeding to the review. It’s not long, less than 1000 words ). This crafty work captures the essence of tragedy, a protagonist is employed in a profession of passion and is at least partly responsible for, not realizing that something very bad will happen that he could have possibly prevented, even should have done something about it. Possibly, a talk could have prevented the tragedy. Or, does it mean more than that?
So, here we have an “officiant”, not a preacher as displayed by example from the officiant himself by rejecting the title of preacher verbally. He is on a job to marry a couple at a nature preserve in the wonderful state of North Carolina, USA. Alan McCrae is early and angry. A nap in his car seems like the right thing to do after passing an assumed homeless ( by judgement ) couple on the way in, not thinking twice about it. The homeless man seems to be sleeping, wrapped in the arms of the woman. Nothing wrong with that, right? At first glance, maybe not, but the officiant notices a very important detail about the way they are clothed, indicating a solid hint at a deeper problem that is subsequently ignored and leads to great tragedy.
The story is well written and for me, provides several different metaphorical lessons that we can use to guide us in the future, the biggest one being: Everything means something and we should pay close attention. Even sometimes, we tell ourselves things in our head without realizing a deeper connection.
If you wish to make your own interpretation and insight I would love to hear your interpretation in the comments below. Let’s leave it at that, but if you wish to hear me ramble a bit, let’s continue on with some analysis.
( NOTE: It is best to talk in “I” statements for these kinds of talks, but let’s make an exception here. 😀) Let me ask you a question: If you were driving through McDonald’s parking lot and there was an elderly lady attempting to get in her car and at the very last glance, at the tip of the corner of your eye, you thought you saw her falling. Would you stop and make sure the woman didn’t need help? I hope you would. Now, if you had something you needed to get done and you are feeling some kind of way, possibly anxiety or stress or even maybe feeling very well and happy – would this prevent you from realizing what is really going on? Maybe you are so in your comfort zone, possibly on a high-horse and determined to only do what you are getting paid for, lazer focused only on your ego ( which is a joke, in my opinion. Ego is nothing more than your focus of attention ) goals, that you miss an important detail and then tragedy happens?
Maybe so! And, hindsight is 20/20, right? Well, it’s not very much hindsight if you already told yourself about the things that should have triggered a caring, understanding reaction to the situation.
Now, it’s not indicated in the story on whether or not the homeless man has already took the drugs or not. Or, if it was drugs at all. For all we know, he woke up from what really was a nap, shot the drugs, then overdosed. Who knows? I’m sure his female friend does.
I could see where it could be offensive that this is portrayed with a protagonist that is a preacher a.k.a officiant. But, I believe that makes the story resonate that much more. Now, we don’t know exactly what happened, do we? We only know about what the officiant and the photographer are speculating about based on the evidence that is presented.
Society is falling deeper than ever before. For one, because we have created so many different aspects of life. We simply cannot keep up. We want coffee, cell phones, Facebook, child time, TV time, nap time, Bible time, movie time, creative time balance and much, much more to keep up with our professional duties as well as personal. Does that affect how much we pay attention to, of the things that really matter such as care for others? I’ll let you decide. ★★★★★ – 5 stars, bravo. Life changing!!
What else does this story mean for you? Let’s have a discussion about it.
Guys, until next time – may you find all the happiness that your life can fit in it’s happy spot – S.D. McKinley.