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+ What is the main character afraid of?
I think Walter is afraid of really living… and failing at it.  He’d rather let alcohol take control of, and all the blame for, his mediocre life than actually take a crack at it, himself.

+ Who are the real "whores" of the story?
It would seem that all the local townspeople, including and especially Walter, were whores for choosing money and a comfortable, uneventful life over following their hearts and dreams that might lead them down rocky roads and to heartbreak as easily, or more so, than to glory and true love.

+ There are some very beautiful lines in this story. Tell us your favorite.
I loved the line where Walter first introduces the idea of “Mexico!”  I could see and feel the word picture there more brilliantly than in any other part of the story.  It reminded me of my own feelings and reactions when someone says, “Montrose.”  That word, the name of an Inner Loop community in Houston, Texas, is a reminder of my youth, my first exposure to the sins and kinks of the big city – as an observer only, of course (unless you count my first viewing of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” as participation), but that was enough to awaken this small town, good-little-Baptist-girl to a whole new world of lifestyles and choices.  I’ve been a City Girl ever since.  And while I can no longer live in Montrose, and even just driving through breaks my heart to see how the wild and eclectic has been replaced with the trendy and expensive, Montrose will always live on in my heart as it was then and those memories will forever make me grin like the not-yet-naughty 16-year-old, bolstered by the presence of my older, wiser cousin, sneaking into places that Mama wouldn’t want me in.

Of course, I also liked the line, “I think I’ll go to Mexico and get fucked.”  For once, some blunt, naked honesty!

+ What role does Lacy play in the story?
I think Lacy represents everything Walter fears.  He’s the man who aimed higher and fell short – even with the beautiful wife he professes to love.  With Elena, Lacy again aims for more, but cannot hit the target.  Walter refuses to give in to the temptation of wanting more because he doesn’t want to be like Lacy.

+ What are we to get from the way the department chairman dies?
It was very like the lives of everyone else around him, and so, I would assume, very much like his own life… uneventful.  He could have called out for help.  He could have crawled back onto the porch and knocked at the door.  He could have just lain where he fell and hoped someone would notice before it was too late.  Instead, he didn’t want to make a fuss.  I wonder if he gave any thought to how he would be discovered or the trauma it would cause Marsha to find him, alone and unsuspecting and completely helpless to do anything but cry and lose her mind?  I suppose mediocre people don’t think about much outside their own comfort – if they did, they might realize that the world could be a better place if they just put a little effort into it.


+ Give your thoughts on the last paragraph of the story.
Walter will continue to avoid anything resembling REAL living.  Without Lacy, he needs a companion in his misery, so he’ll marry someone he doesn’t love and who won’t try to change him and he’ll never, ever give himself any reason to truly care about anything for the rest of his mediocre life.

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