I think “Moon-Face” by Jack London is my favorite short story that I’ve read so far this year. Who knew that London would be so good at writing black comedy? The story reminds me somewhat of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado” in it’s brevity and creepiness. The comedy puts a slightly different spin on the tale of “getting even”.
The narrator’s only complaints about his acquaintence John Claverhouse, is that he has a moon-shaped face and a positive outlook on life. Oh, and he also doesn’t like his name.
…but Claverhouse! I leave it up to you. Repeat it to yourself – Claverhouse. Just listen to the ridiculous sound of it – Claverhouse! Should a man live with such a name? I ask of you. “No,” you say. And “No” said I.
The narrator begins to belittle Claverhouse and then plots his financial demise. Claverhouse continues to be the bright and sunny optimist throughout all this. The narrator eventually decides there is only one way to permanently put an end to Claverhouse’s maddening happiness. The development and implementation of the narrator’s scheme to squash Claverhouse’s sunny disposition is one of the funniest things I’ve read in a long time. But afterwards, the narrator is able to say that “My days are peaceful now, and my nights sleep deep.”
The story is only about five pages…so go read it. You’ll get a good laugh out of it. Unless of course you are an eternal optimist…then, maybe not so much.