"And then next day there came a message in plain Morse from an unknown station, a message followed by Terner's initials, A.V.T.: several stations got it and many private sets, and no one knew where it came from: and Jorkens got it on Terner's own set, that he had kept for him all those weeks, fixed at a certain wave-length that Terner had given him, and with the stop out night and day. It said: 'Victory. Victory. Victory.'"
(Excerpt from "The Slugly Beast" by Lord Dunsany.)
In case you're wondering: yes. I did just give away the absolute ending of one of Dunsany's short stories. Take that. But it's still worth a read even if I DID just give it away. You know how things out of context sound pretty normal (or even boring), but IN context can give you the happy shivers? I promise, if you ever read "The Slugly Beast", the quoted paragraph above will give you an amazing amount of delight, even to the point of smiling and chuckling openly in the empty staffroom on your 15-minute break. (Hypothetically speaking, of course.)
Seriously, I think I'm having a literary love affair with Edward Plunkett. It's getting a little ridiculous how much he satisfies my intellectual needs. (Could this train of thought get any creepier?) He always knows how to twist the story just-so. Not overly much. No deus ex machina for Dunsany. Just a fable well-told, and sentences that make no sense suddenly coming alive with hilarious meaning.
Like this one...
"'The difficulty,' said Jorkens, 'was getting enough ducks.'" ("The Escape from the Valley)
I mean, how could you resist that?
I think I'd like to write a few short stories, like Dunsany did. I liked short story writing. Maybe that'll be my next project...