I chose Dean Gessie's "Nobody Knows How Much You Love Him" for Bacopa Literary Review 2018's Short Story Prize because of its powerful voice and edgy style. I like the comparison Gessie makes to traditional story structure and the way he inserts his story into that specific structure while discussing it. For example,
We'll call that mood, a rosy blush in the sunroom. It leaves you completely unprepared for the hook.This is a story about two people whose child has difficulty breathing and must be rushed to the ER where:
Suspense accompanies you into the Emergency Room at Southlake.The story is not as much about the child as about the father's response to the life-threatening condition of his child. The story adopts a panoramic, sardonic view of life and what life throws our way. As opposed to a short story where an author has control of the outcome, Gessie relates this narrative as a real event where the outcome is never controlled:
Nobody writes this story... You've won this round, but you can't possibly win them all... hug your baby while you can.The last sentence of the narrative typifies the attitude of the story:
Because Nobody knows how much you love him and Nobody gives a shit.There is an unnerving buzz throughout this narrative, spurned by a frightening supposition that the life of an innocent child lies in the hands of those who "don't give a shit." Whether we agree with this philosophy or not is the challenge Gessie throws in our faces.
* * *
Dean Gessie has been a finalist in ten international fiction competitions. His stories have appeared in anthologies in Ireland, England and the United States. He has also published three novellas: Guantanamo Redux is dystopian fiction; A Brief History of Summer Employment is a fictional memoir; and TrumpeterVille is animal allegory.