All the Girls He Wanted

THE JOHN O'HARA SOCIETY

On October 1, 1934, publication of "All the Girls He Wanted." Harper's Bazaar. Files on Parade.

Frances Denby, twenty years old and married (of course), has a brief encounter at a party with Cliff Kizer. ("If anyone had everything, he had. A nice father and mother, plenty of money, good looks, all the girls - all the girls he wanted."): 

"And then he had looked at her and smiled, and came over to the bed, where she was sitting, and kissed her. It was a single long kiss, and when it began she still had her drink in her hand. But she had put it on the floor, partly to keep from spilling it, partly to enable her to put her arm around Cliff. He did not paw her, except a very little, and that was when she put her hand under his coat, between his shoulder-blades. She was still thinking that it was not at all like what she expected, when he was suddenly gone, staggering down the hall. Lovely. She had stayed there awhile, presently lighting a cigarette and sipping her drink, and as she lay there she kept thinking about how they could have gone somewhere and been by themselves. She kept thinking plans, long after he had gone."

Frances shares her feelings with her friend Elise, thirty years old and divorced.

Then one morning Frances reads that Cliff Kizer's been murdered. "They'd killed him. They had fractured his skull, broken several ribs. broken both legs, bunged him up so that he died before the arrival of the St. Mary's Hospital ambulance."

Great story. Surprise ending.

1 comment:

Steven Goldleaf said...

A little too elliptical for my own tastes--O'Hara's pov a tad too subjective and show-offy, I think. This is one of the early stories that has me scratching my head.