full belly

p. 75:

Then he went out on the sidewalk and they shot him three times in his full belly and drove away.

Meyer Wolfshiem compact tale of his friend’s execution takes less than a page. The words Fitzgerald puts in his mouth are creatively efficient. For example, instead of describing the restaurant’s windows as darkened against the slowly rising sun, he says ‘if we’d of raised the blinds we’d of seen daylight‘ – conveying not only that the hour was so late that it was early, but that they’d had the blinds down all through the feast.

It wasn’t enough to say that Rosy was shot in the stomach – he was shot in a full belly, a belly full of the repast shared through a long evening with friends who knew their time together would end, and probably not pleasantly. I like the way this small detail reinforces the extended pleasures of the night even as it marks the fatal delivery of the executioners’ bullets.

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