Expressing your reactions to the ending of "55 Miles to the Gas Pump."
"55 Miles to the Gas Pump:
Rancher Croom in handmade boots and filthy hat, that walleyed cattleman, stray hairs like curling fiddle string ends, that warm-handed, quick-foot dancer on splintery boards or down the cellar stairs to a rack of bottles of his own strange beer, yeasty, cloudy, bursting out in garlands of foam, Rancher Croom at night galloping drunk over the dark plain, turning off at a place he knows to arrive at a canyon brink where he dismounts and looks down on tumbled rock, waits, then steps out, parting the air with his last roar, sleeves surging up windmill arms, jeans riding over boot tops, but before he hits he rises again to the top of the cliff like a cork in a bucket of milk.
Mrs. Croom on the roof with a saw cutting a hole into the attic where she has not been for twelve years thanks to old Croom's padlocks and warnings, whets to her desire, and the sweat flies as she exchanges the saw for a chisel and hammer until a ragged slab of peak is free and she can see inside: just as she thought: the corpses of Mr. Croom's paramours - she recognizes them from their photographs in the paper: MISSING WOMAN - some desiccated as jerky and much the same color, some moldy from lying beneath roof leaks, and all of them used hard, covered with tarry handprints, the marks of boot heels, some bright blue with the remnants of paint used on the shutters years ago, one wrapped in newspaper nipple to knee.
When you live a long way out you make your own fun."
"When you live a long way out, you make your own fun" is the best line in this short story. The author could have built a memorable tale around this one line but I believe the opportunity has been wasted.
The primary deficiency lies in the fact that the reader has not been emotionally engaged in the story. There are dozens of unanswered questions that should be addressed in order to draw the reader in. What drives Mr. Croom? Is it psychosis, boredom, a lack of desire for Mrs. Croom? Regardless of which of these was chosen it would elicit some response from the reader. As it is the reader is left with ...
This post is an analysis and reaction to the short story entitled, "55 Miles to the Gas Pump". This does not apply to all short stories but is a specific analysis of this particular short story. Original short story as well as over 400 words of analysis and reaction.