Welcome to the latest of The Mark Steyn Club's Tales for Our Time, in which we serialize some classic fiction I've mentioned in my books and columns over the years. This new audio adventure is the second half of our Scott Fitzgerald double-bill, of which Club member Scott Drew heartily approves:
Thank you Mark for another great choice in your Tales selection. Ever since being assigned The Great Gatsby in school Fitzgerald has been a favorite. He was truly the great American novelist imho ...something not taken away by his novels being bastardized by too many overblown Hollywood productions.
Hey, don't overlook the Great American Short Story, Scott. The Rubber Check was first published in 1932 in The Saturday Evening Post. As you can see from the August 6th edition at top right, Fitzgerald was a long way from his Jazz Age celebrity: the Post didn't think it worth even mentioning his name on the cover.
Yet I have always enjoyed this story, and I hope you do, too. In this second episode young Val has all but forgotten about the unfortunate business with the check - until he discovers that he is no longer a desirable dance partner:
Cutting in on one of the newest and prettiest, he was struck by a curious expression that passed over her face. As they moved off together her body seemed to follow him with such reluctance that he asked:
'Is something the matter?'
'Oh, Val -' She hesitated in obvious embarrassment. 'Would you mind not dancing with me any more tonight?'
He stopped in surprise.
'Why, what's the matter?'
She was on the verge of tears.
'Mother told me she didn't want me to...'
In five minutes another girl made him the same request.
'But what's the matter?' he demanded desperately.
'Oh, I don't know, Val. It's something you're supposed to have done.'
And what he is "supposed to have done" will have long-term consequences. To listen to the second episode of The Rubber Check, please click here.
Tales for Our Time is an experimental feature we introduced as a bonus for Mark Steyn Club members, and, as you know, I said if it was a total stinkeroo, we'd eighty-six the thing and speak no more of it. But I'm thrilled to say it's proving very popular, and looks like it'll be around a while. If you're a Club member and you incline more to the stinkeroo view of it, give it your best in the Comments Section below.
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If you've enjoyed our monthly Steyn Club radio serials and you're looking for a Yuletide present for someone special, I hope you'll consider our limited-time-only Christmas Gift Membership, which includes your choice of a personally autographed book or CD from yours truly. And, aside from Tales for Our Time, The Mark Steyn Club does come with other benefits:
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