Tom Harris is a 30-year-old salesman who has trouble connecting with any one person, any one place, any one emotion. He is restless. He seems cold, though it’s not certain that he is. He picks up two hitch-hikers, one of whom ends up slamming the other on the head with a blunt object, injuring him fatally. Harris goes to a party while the victim agonizes, and he stays in a hotel where the assailant is kept in a separate room, because there’s a black man at the jail’s only cell. During the night, the victim dies.Harris had had a “date,” a strange date, at the party, but did not connect with the girl. He leaves the next day.
Southern Review, Autumn 1939