It took me a while to figure out what the story was all about. The author was very subtle about it, which seems to have affected his rating quite severely. It seems most readers didn’t take the time to figure it out. I think it’s praiseworthy that Karl K. Gallagher interested me enough to make me do the extra work. I, too, often give up on these things fast. This author doesn’t treat you like you’re stupid and need everything given to you. He gives you a uncut stone and expects you to do the rest.
The story itself is well written. It has good pacing and tension. But the real story,–what is really going on–is left out. Gallagher doesn’t give you much of the backstory or the detail, it’s up to you to figure it out. Usually, I am fiercely against this sort of thing, but this time it really worked for me. Part of this is likely due to the fact that I knew just enough to make a guess, which I could confirm with a quick internet search. If you don’t get that basic point, you’ll probably be lost and think the piece is mostly nonsense.
The rest of this post is going to be filled with SPOILERS, so if you’d like to read the story in its raw, uninfluenced form, you can find it: HERE .
Okay, did you read it? Did you figure it all out on your own? If so, congratualtions, you are smarter than I (or maybe just more versed in this particular mythology). Still don’t know what the heck that was about beyond some sort of moral judgement/justice thing? I will offer my thoughts. Let me preface this by saying that I never talked to the author to get the true and honest answer, but I feel confident enough in my conclusion to share it.
First, you should look at THIS .
So, yeah, the guy with the eye patch is Odin. And he gave up his eye in a bargain, in order to gain wisdom. Likewise, the narrator here offered some sort of bargain in his drunkedness to a person with no legs (or no ability to walk, it’s ambiguous). Odin arrives to complete the bargain, to take the man’s legs which will give him the wisdom to understand the crippled man he shamed.
Such an awesome way to twist the original Odin myth, right?
The only thing we cannot know for sure is what he said to the guy in the wheelchair, but I imagine it was something like, “You have no idea what pain is. I lost my child. I would happily trade places with you!” But that will probably remain a mystery, and in the end, it isn’t essential.
I’m kind of mad that this story is rated so low on the site. It is really much better than a lot of the drivel they post there that gets rated above 4s and 5s. So I’d like to ask you to visit the site and give the guy some rockets. He deserves it.
Below you will find the regular excerpt and link to the story. Enjoy!