The Blaze of Glory
He presented himself at the reading room and found a seat where he could observe the workings of this vast assembly line for learning. He saw that everything revolved around the catalogues. Readers made a beeline for them, thumbed through the cards, scribbled something, handed it in at the desk, sat
down and the books arrived. He studied the system, even mastering the staff rota for tea and cigarette breaks.
The index of author names drew him to his own. He was amazed to find it in file 48, not only his name but also the titles of his three published chapbooks. Seeing the World in the Dark, Firefly Press (1942), Flamengo, Rare Books (1943), and The Naphtha Tree: Petrol and Me, Private Editions (1949).
Dicky O requested copies and in less than an hour the library assistant brought him three dust encrusted slim volumes. He fondled them remembering their creation: burning the midnight oil, raging for expression with an ardor oblivious to the outside world. Then the pride of publication. Bur his joy fell to earth. The pages were uncut. It brought back the deadly silence after the books came out, not a word from anyone. And now the one record of their public life confirmed the worst. Nobody had troubled to read them.
Dicky O wished he was as dead as his writings. But since they hadn’t an existence in the minds of others, his suicide wouldn’t mean anything. It couldn’t be put down to literary ...
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