What an extremely sweet story.
I should probably reblog this story at some point, so this works. I thought the story’d been bouncing around forever, but apparently it was just rediscovered and everybody else was working off the description in his papers—nearly every Fitzgerald biography gives a brief synopsis, mentions that the New Yorker found it weird and turned it down, and moves on, because this is the darkest point in Fitzgerald’s career and they have a ton of depressing anecdotes still to get to. The descriptions were always keen to mention how strange it was, so I’m glad to finally get the chance to read it.
There’s a great critical article about his unpublished works in one of those Fitzgerald/Hemingway annuals from the 1970s, but I’d have to get it back out of the library to remember which one.
(Basically in the mid-30s he lost the ability to write for the Post and markets like that, and his rejected attempts to work in the giddy, playful romantic mode he basically invented for them are increasingly stilted and creepy and are much more forthcoming than he must have thought they were about how depressed and broken-down he was before he started The Last Tycoon. [In one of them, “I’d Die for You,” characters keep threatening to commit very unromantic suicides.] This, though, is just lovely.)