June 15, 2022

It’s a run-down former saloon.  Working guys come here for cheap grub.  The evening special is roast pork with apple sauce and mashed potatoes.

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About 5:20, two tough, contemptuous men show up to wait for something.  They don’t care what anybody might guess about their plans or who else might walk in.

The two men are professional killers, one of them armed with a sawed-off shotgun.  They are casual about insulting regular people and bossing them around.  One killer goes in the back, the kitchen, and ties up the cook and another fellow who happens to be there.

The mood is somber.  The guy they’re waiting for, a big Swede, is a heavyweight boxer who could seem invincible to most people.  The killers don’t care.  It’s just a matter of time before the boxer appears and is cut down. 

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This is a story by Ernest Hemingway known as The Killers.  It is regarded as one of his best stories, spare and emotional at the same time.  Toward the end, the narrator sums up the story.

What’s he going to do?”


“They’ll kill him.”

“I guess they will.

This story also happens to be a perfect description of K–12.  The killers are the school officials and self-appointed experts who cow everybody into silence and surrender.  And the big boxer, the helpless giant — he’s like the millions of kids and millions of parents who should be powerful but are nothing.