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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 372 Response

“Octavio’s Last Act”

by Carmen Ruggero

In what way might “Octavio’s Last Act” be considered a companion story to Michael E. Lloyd’s “Drop to Drink,” in issue 216?

I can think of a couple of elements that indicate this could be a companion piece to Mike’s “Drop to Drink.”

  1. Both stories share a flood.

  2. Both characters share a few things in common:

    1. They both live on a hill.
    2. They’re both in denial.

      This is not really happening. We know it, but we keep cracking jokes. The kids will be okay... or “I’ll go find them” not even considering the fact that Fran may not make it another couple of blocks.

There’s another parallel. In “Drop to Drink,” the character, realizing what’s happening, puts a note inside a bottle and drops it out the window. The story ends with the following words:

“I can roll the paper into a tube and pop it in the bottle, then screw it up tight and just toss it out the window.”
“Then I’ll have another little think.”

He’s still not giving it up.

Octavio’s endless attempts at poking fun are just like that note: a way of holding on or leaving something personal behind — his humor, in this case.

Also, he had planned to tell stories to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren and that also ties in with denial. They’re all going to die.

Octavio laughs in the end, and that’s good. Perhaps that’s his acceptance... or maybe he’s just having “another little think.”

Copyright © 2010 by Carmen Ruggero

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