- Edward Thompson, “Moses and Mr. Aiken,” Collier’s Magazine, 8 March 1952.
- Reprinted in Modern Stories for Modern Schools, ed. E. F. Kingston, Toronto: J.M. Dent & Sons, 1953, pp. 111-230.
- Filmed for the television series Fireside Theatre, 5 January 1954.
- Rating: 7/10.
- "Moses and Mr. Aiken" at the Internet Book List.
“Moses and Mr. Aiken” is a short story by forgotten Memphis author Edward Thompson. Primarily a novelist, Thompson gained some recognition during his career, garnering a Pulitzer prize nomination for his 1948 novel A Seed in Spring. Other novels include Listen for the Laughter (1942) and Take Away the Darkness (1944). These works have all fallen into obscurity, long since out-of-print, and I have been unable to locate a copy of A Seed in Spring in any of my local libraries. I have also been unable to find reference to a collection of stories for Thompson (a frustrating search since the name has proven incredibly common), though I suspect one may have been published at some time. It appears that Thompson started up a production company in 1948 with producer Al Lewis, the aim of which was to film adaptations of Thompson’s own work, including A Seed in Spring. Information on IMDb is sparse, but Thompson’s Golden Girl was filmed in 1951.
There is nothing complex or even complicated about the story, though it is well conceived and plotted. Today it appears nostalgic and, in light of modern short story conventions, refreshing, and I can’t help but liken it to a Frank Capra film. Mr. Elwood Aiken, a crotchety Associate Cashier at a bank, is concerned that the recently vacated post of Cashier has not been offered to him, and is dismayed that a competition for the post has arisen between him and the younger, affable Warren Hastey. Aiken dislikes Hastey simply because the younger man is easy-going and openly friendly. Aiken himself is serious and reserved, and undoubtedly a little envious of the other man’s natural ability to make people like him.