Quick looks at two stories today. Neither is a typical Lovecraft tale yet both have their merits.

First up is Memory which was written in 1919. There’s… just not much to this story. He paints a poetic picture of a nature setting juxtaposed with ancient ruins and this description takes up most of the story. It’s lovely and dreamlike in its prose. The two characters are the Daemon of the Valley who has a conversation with the Genie “that haunts the moonbeams”. The Genie wonders who built the ruins and the Daemon replies that it was creatures “like to that of the little apes in the trees… These beings of yesterday were called Man.”

And that’s it. Memory is a nice story but there’s not much to it. One thing I do appreciate is that it is short. Many of Lovecraft’s stories rely on a “Holy crap!” twist at the end and this one is no exception. Sometimes it is nice to get right to the point. Go ahead and read Memory. It’ll take about 2 minutes if you take your time.

Old Bugs was also written in 1919 and is a horse of a different color. It is a type of morality tale about the evils of alcohol. It tells of a bar and a young man who comes to take his first drink. In the bar is a strange man, an alcoholic named Old Bugs and when the young man is served liquor, Old Bugs takes a mop and knocks the alcohol to the floor where it spills.

Numbers of men, or things which had been men, dropped to the floor and began lapping at the puddles of spilled liquor, but most remained immovable, watching the unprecedented actions of the barroom drudge and derelict. Old Bugs straightened up before the astonished Trever, and in a mild and cultivated voice said, “Do not do this thing. I was like you once, and I did it. Now I am like – this.”

Then Old Bugs goes crazy and throws a fit and drops to the floor, dead. In his possession is a picture which the young man examines and discovers that “the gentle and noble features were those of his own mother.”

The moral of the story: drinkin’ will ruin yer life, son. Old Bugs is an amusing story but doesn’t have much to recommend it other than as a stepping-stone on the way to bigger and brighter stories to come.

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