SST Presents Crane

Short Story Thursdays is a weekly dispatch. Every week you get little known stories in PDF format, accompanied by a short intro and commentary by the guy who runs the whole thing.I started this series called “SST Presents”, so named because that’s the subject title on the emails, to share those stories with you. If you’d like to subscribe, send an email to

You guys.

This week has been a shit show. Seriously. I’m waiting to hear whether I’ve been admitted into grad school. Casually watching the mailman’s every move. Checking the mailbox multiple times a day. They say a watched mailbox never gets any mail, but what do people know anyway? I’m sure if I stare at it long enough shit will happen. Mail will magically appear. Only to tell me I have actually not been accepted, but thanks for trying. Kloveyoubai.

A Mystery of Heroism

by Stephen Crane

This week’s dispatch of SST is all about death and war and something about being thirstily irrational or getting the fuck out of the garrison. It fits in perfectly with this disaster of a week. And the rain. And the humidity. And my generalized dislike of everything.

The story is about a guy, let’s call him Fred Collins because that’s his name, who realizes he’s thirsty and decides to get some water. The problem is they’re in the middle of a war. And the well is in this meadow which has become a battle field. But whatever, he’s thirsty, people are jeering and mocking, and all peer-pressured he gets moving towards the well.

When Collins faced the meadow and walked away from the regiment, he was vaguely conscious that a chasm, the deep valley of all prides, was suddenly between him and his comrades. It was provisional, but the provision was that he return as a victor. He had blindly been led by quaint emotions, and laid himself under an obligation to walk squarely up to the face of death. But he was not sure that he wished to make a retraction, even if he could do so without shame. As a matter of truth, he was sure of very little. He was mainly surprised.

I totally get this guy. Haven’t you ever suddenly found yourselves in a situation without quite knowing how you got there? Except, everyone seems to know what they’re doing and they seem to expect you to know too. You’re just there, making shit up as you go because what else can you do, really? That’s life. I think. Stumbling around blindly and kind of getting things right until someone comes around and knocks your damned bucket over.

Don’t spill other people’s buckets, guys. It’s not cool.

Until next time, readers.

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