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Reviewed by Stefan Vucak for Readers' Favorite
A strange man keeps coming to a bar, orders vodka with water, and just stares at the TV, whether on or off. After a few days of this routine, customers start taunting the stranger, but he simply ignores them. One night, he refuses to order and is thrown out of the bar. They find him back on his seat in the bar, staring at the TV. No one knows how he got in. They throw him out again…and he is back on his seat. Getting tired of this, the barman gets his friend to beat up the man. When he appears again, there is not a scratch on him to show he’d been beaten up. The next day they do a real number on him, but he is suddenly in the bar on his stool, staring at the TV, without a mark. That night, a group of them beat him up with baseball bats, leaving him for dead. The following night, he is back in the bar as if nothing had happened. Then, he is gone.
With Bartleby the Invincible, Murray Peters gives the reader a short story that is amusing, thoughtful and provocative. The ending left me chuckling and shaking my head. A little more depth in the story would have made the work more powerful. Peters has an engaging writing style, which would come across much better if he applied standard punctuation with his dialogue. Some rules cannot be broken. I wouldn’t mind seeing more of this writer’s work.