Due North: A Cosmopolitan Novelette

Mon 1/15/2007 11:26 am. Page 58 Cosmopolitan 6/37. ... A truly spooky story about the poor little Idaho reg’lar girl who meets a guy on the train, and things are obviously sparking but then her appendicitis kicks-in, and she never gets to romantic New Jersey for the high school Christian conference — and, presumably, canoodling with the rich guy who has a boat — but instead lives her life out in Dullsville Idaho marrying, of all people, the local baritone. ... He is beloved by all the girls who chase him day and night, but he goes for her, but turns out to be a complete waster. ... Well, not complete. ... At the last day, she learns (1.) she is pregnant and therefore does not want to live, because pretty-much (2.) she hates “Sylvester” the baritone, and (3.) Sylvester and his dreary musician buddy have, against all likelihood and long-standing tradition, landed a big contract with the radio station doing his new “mixed quartet” gimmick, which involves them playing and singing numerous different parts simulating a quartet, presumably to huge hilarious effect. ... Our heroine reports that Sylvester could switch from baritone to a high falsetto with great facility, and anyone would think it was a soprano. ... I felt this part was overkill on the author’s part, but it certainly presents a chilling picture. ... Anyway, she decides to do herself in, but then realizes she can’t do it here in Dullsville because there would be an autopsy and poor Sylvester would find-out she was pregnant and that she had killed herself because she was pregnant, and she can’t bear to do that even to the idiot Sylvester. ... Earlier it was related how she attended a meeting with a progressive preacher who pretty-much pooh-poohed this life-after-death guff and claimed, in the standard liberal doxology, that our eternal life will be worked-out in our descendants; being fully convinced by the atheist sermon, she remarks to a girlfriend “thank goodness; when it’s over it’s over” — because, thank the nullity that surrounds us, she has no child — until the fateful day....

... So anyway she takes the train to romantic New Jersey and plans to off herself at Atlantic City where, she saw in the newspaper just that day or recently, the rich sailor boy from the train of her youth is launching forth on a polar expedition with his beautiful wife and adorable child, and she just hoped to catch a glimpse of him before killing herself. ... No such luck, but she takes some pill she’s been secreting already anyway and jumps into the freezing waters. ... And wakes up in the sailor boy’s boat, where she has somehow been miraculously transformed into the sailor’s wifey and the mommy of the lovable tousled-haired boy, and they’re headed “Due North”. ... Back on planet Earth, the Atlantic City coroner delivers some mish-mosh explaining the liberal view of Heaven as something you sort-of delude yourself about in the moments before and during death. ... I still get shivers down my spine when I think of this thing....