Death by Scrabble – Review

Book: Death by Scrabble
Author: Charlie Fish
Year: 2006

Well, look at the publishing date guys. This one isn’t a relic from the past. It’s as recent as 6 years ago! Like, half a dozen years! That’s it?

Death by Scrabble is a short story which won’t take more than 3 minutes to finish and understand. But I bet that everyone goes back immediately to re-read it and to connect the dots, in a matter of speaking!

Death by Scrabble’s scene: A game of Scrabble, a hot and sweaty day, a wife, a husband, an air conditioner, a fly, cups of tea and… a sudden death in the midst of it all. The story is in the 1st person, the husband, and, this much is obvious from the very first word, he HATES his wife. The reason for his hatred is not clear though. Fish hasn’t bothered to explain the hatred. Maybe it’s just the heat and sweat; maybe it’s just an unhappy marriage or what ever fancies you.

Coming back, the 42 year old man is just not in a mood to play Scrabble. He’s in a mood to do nothing as long as it means he has to do it with his wife. His anger and frustration is apparent with the words he’s forming. He wants MURDER and KILL and SLAY and SLASH but can manage only a ZAP. It is then that he realises what’s happening.

The wife is “zapped” by the air conditioner. The thrilling discovery makes him sweat some more. He’s thrilled with the discovery and the fact that his wife is unaware of his sudden super power. He tests it and finds out to be true. With the power of disbursing Death and doling it out at his preference the husband arms himself with likely tiles (he cheats too) and goes for the kill.

That is not all there is to the story as Fish ends it with a twisted sense of morbid humour. It was my first time that I read a little story which has dealt with death, or murder (?), so nonchalantly, He’s made it funny, unassumingly funny, and makes you smile in spite of seeing a character die.

If there is any more Fish’s coming my way I’m lapping it up!



7 thoughts on “Death by Scrabble – Review

Add yours

  1. I thought that the guy is bed-ridden and is angry on his wife, somewhere blaming him for his helplessness.
    But I kinda got irritated at the end of the story. Yes, I kept going to check the words and was excited about was gonna come up.. But the ending only elicited the reaction “Ah.” than, “Ah!”
    SO personally, I was bummed about the ending.

    Maybe this would be more fun as a short film, with all the visuals of the heat/the silence/the anger and the scrabble board!

    1. There is a short film made. If I’m not mistaken Fish himself wrote the screenplay.
      What I liked was how it ended. It had the twist in the last sentence.

      Thanks for reading and the feedback. It helps. A lot 🙂

    2. Sorry I forgot to add this.
      Blaming her for his helplessness… That’s an opinion. Although I’m not sure about the bed-ridden part but it does make sense if you think about what all he wanted to do…

      That was an insight!!!

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