Short Story #348: Marihuana and a Pistol by Chester B. Himes

Title: Marihuana and a Pistol

Author:  Chester B. Himes


Book cover to The Best Short Stories by Negro Writers - Langston Hughes.
"Red" Caldwell sits in his room with the weed he bought a gun.  He smokes up as a means of disconnecting from his recent split with his girlfriend.  In this state, he decided he would go stick up a c company. His mind wanders back and forth from having a clear plan on what he will do to being completely confused about what he is trying to do.  In this distracted state, he finds himself in a candy store and thinking he might rob it or even just start shooting people.  By the time, the owner addresses Red, he is so lost in his mind about what he is going to do that he shoots the man five times.  He drops the gun, forgetting what he has done.  When he hears it clatter, he looks at it and begins to giggle, wondering why someone would leave the gun there.  He proceeds to vomit and it's then that he sees the dead man.  He flees the scene but is soon apprehended by the cops but is clueless as to his crime.


It's a decent commentary on the nature of a mind and body disconnection as a result of drugs but it feels rather insubstantial.  The message is clear but it doesn't feel that substantive.  It makes me wonder if some background about the stories would do well for this anthology.
Short Story #348 out of 365
Rating: 2 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read:  12/1/2014
Source:  The Best Short Stories by Negro Writers, ed. by Langston Hughes.  Little, Brown, and Company, 1967.    

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.

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