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Nearing death, Gideon Fruitman desperately tries to figure out what has gone wrong with his life. He recalls the slap on his rear that heralded his entrance into the world but realizes that had he known then what he knows now, he would have “turned around and never emerged.” His five-decade pilgrimage concludes with the arrival of an ambulance and paramedics trying to encourage Guideon to “take one more shot” as his mind darkens slowly to the strains of the Bee Gees singing “I Started a Joke.”

“Til I finally died, which started the whole world living.
Oh, if I’d only seen that the joke was on me.”

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RICHARD FINEGOLD is a product of the post-World War II generation, grew up in Massachusetts, started writing in high school, and continued into college taking creative writing classes at Cornell University during the turbulent ’60s. He graduated in 1967 with a degree in Political Science with a minor in English. In 1971 he received a law degree from Boston University and began practicing law in the San Diego area. He and his wife, Gail, have three children: Erin, Todd, and Jared. Richard now works only part time writing legal briefs and continues to ply his writing skills in fiction.