Thesis Title

The City Is a Morgue

Date of Graduation

Spring 2007


Master of Arts in English



Committee Chair

Wayne Blackmon


short story, infantilism, prescriptions, methamphetamines, ice storm

Subject Categories

English Language and Literature


This creative writing project reveals some social concerns by exploring them in four separate grotesque narratives. Each of these short stories is set in towns much like Springfield, MO. The first piece, "Tin Crib," follows the main character's first day of work at a peculiar daycare. His insecurities and stinted emotional development surface in the form a physical regression into childhood known as Infantilism. "Tape," addresses the pervasiveness of prescription medications in a science-fiction mode. The medications are manifested in physical headsets that the characters wear. The second half of this project was intended as Winter Noir. The frozen landscape is a character in itself. "Kitty Litter," the most realistic piece, is a ride through the underworld of the methamphetamine business in a Midwestern college town. Each facet of the miniature drug ring is visited as the protagonist strives to regain a large amount of stolen merchandise for his boss. "The City Is a Morgue," the final narrative, approaches Springfield's 2007 ice storm by placing the reader in the shoes of a young man in search of his missing sister. He finds some unlikely assistance from a local news reporter and a man with an uncanny ability for discovering dead bodies. The four stories are meant to give an impression of helplessness. Each protagonist is in search of the power needed for self-determination.


© Matthew Charles Dampier