Mental Suicide – A short story by Arnold Peters

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Mental Suicide - Table of Contents

“I was the caretaker on this old farm fro many years,” he began, “there was little to do and life was good to me. One day a tram came along and asked me for a hand-out. I was lonely and liked his looks so I invited him into the small cottage I used. He was very tired and listless and I noticed by his clothes that he was or had been in better circumstances. Any inquiring I did only seemed to puzzle him so I just called him Mac. He was very helpful around the farm so I let him stay. Soon he had devised a unique plan for a tourist home but it was only for his amusement, or so I thought at least. It was the custom of Mr. Cunningham, the owner of the farm, to come up with his family each fall to hunt grouse. That year he arrived and brought his lovely daughter Diana, and the hunting began.”

“I was startled to see Mr. Cunningham several times in earnest conversation with Mac, and I began to fear that I might lose my job. I was not prepared for the surprise I received when Mr. Cunningham approached me and said: ‘Fred, I expect to makes some changes here. Next spring this will be a summer resort, no expense will be spared. That friend of yours is a wonder and I have made him a partner in the new project.’ Diana also was taking an active part in this drama. Many times she tried to flirt with Mac but he didn’t seem to notice her. You can easily imagine the result of that. She was all out to make him notice her but the hunting season was soon over and as I saw it she had accomplished nothing.”

“Spring came early that year and the last of march found us busily engaged in building the cottages necessary for the resort. The house was renovated and became a lovely dining room with a comfortable lounge. The result of our activities made Mac a new man. He was full of ambition. Early till late you could find him busily engaged rushing the camp to completion. Diana was often found wandering through the resort and her suggestions were both helpful and surprising. She had never been the type of girl to offer her assistance to anyone. I had reason to suspect there was a better cause than her desire to have her father’s project proceed into the paying bracket as soon as possible. As for Mac, he came to depend on her suggestions for furnishing and decoration; she really was a wonder at creating a homelike atmosphere.”

“One small item Diana never overlooked but seemed unable to cope with was Mac’s disregard for her as a woman. I for one thought him rather stupid and wished on those spring nights, I had been younger. Fate must have been at work again for with the added responsibility, Mac had made a great recovery. He overcame his