Shane by Jack Schaefer is good.
Not great. But good enough.
The film is clearly more influential (I’ve probably seen it, but I’ve drank a lot since then). Clint Eastwood was inspired by it. That’s obvious in Pale Rider, but Unforgiven has some echoes of it. Logan was also heavily under its influence but I don’t watch that kind of shit.
I’m intrigued by the subject of reality meeting myth. Which is why it’s high time for the book or film be updated into a “neo-western”, or whatever buzzword the kids are using, albeit with a more pessimistic ending.
The story is told from the perspective of a kid. And when we think of our childhood, we recall the magical times we had. But when we think objectively about it, we miss all the fucked up shit around us.
Remember that cool neighbor that would let you shoot his Glock? He was a registered sex offender.
Of course none of that occurs to you because you assume everyone is nice and pure.
Now I’d never write an updated version of Shane, I’d instantly lose interest. But maybe someone with more discipline would be willing to put pen to paper.
I imagine a story set during the Great Depression or some shit, where banks are harassing farmers and threatening to take their land. Then a mysterious stranger with a dark past comes into town and befriends a family.
The boy is instantly taken by the stranger. The father is handicapped in some form or fashion, unable to tend to his land properly, so the stranger steps up. The boy eventually begins to look up to the stranger more so than his father.
Then, of course, the banks and henchmen come in, threaten the townsfolk, blah blah blah…we all know the story: Shane essentially sacrifices himself, his death is ambiguous, and he achieves mythical status in the town.
But I’d like to see a more pessimistic conclusion. And as I think about it, my ending sort of resembles that of Blood Meridian: decades later, like the 1960s, the boy runs into Shane, very much alive, but the truth about him is revealed. Shane was nothing more than a drunken murderous hitman who actually cuckholded the father.
Naturally all of this went unnoticed by the boy, now a man, but he chooses instead to remember that summer as a magical time when a stranger came into town.
I’m sure that story has been told a million times. But good stories are worth retelling.
Of course I ain’t retelling it. I’ve got fart and cum jokes to write.