It was in an anthology, the kind of little book (pocket-sized, not magazine sized) you used to find in the checkout lanes in grocery stores. I think Frederick Pohl's story "Spending a day at the Lottery Fair" was also in that book, but it might not be. Trust me, I have scanned any list of a Pohl anthology to no avail!

What I can recall is that the protagonist was an adult recalling a childhood memory of an odd reclusive man who lived on his street when he was a kid. The man's appearance (dark glasses, frail, blue-ish lips) had adults thinking he had a heart condition but the kids just knew there was something not right with the man. The final lines are the now-adult recalling a conversation wherein the man removed his dark glasses and squinted his eyes shut and said "I will never get used to the brightness of your sun".

Any help would be appreciated.

  • If by 'little book' by the checkout lanes you are referring to sf magazines, we can start with the Pohl story. ISFDB says it was published in Oct 1983 in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Have you checked the other titles there? isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?61405 – ImaginaryEvents Feb 7 '14 at 16:30
  • By "little book" I mean the small pocket-sized books, like the ones that have horoscopes and the like. Thanks though! – Jaji Feb 7 '14 at 18:00
  • Thanks! Where I read it was not in that magazine but that's the story! – Jaji Feb 26 '14 at 14:31

The story in question is "The Scorch on Wetzel's Hill" by Sherwood Springer, originally published in the Spring 1977 edition of Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine.

Mr. Porter was looking at his watch for the third time. When he had hauled it out the first time I thought from its shape it was a compass. But then I heard it tick, and who ever heard of a com- pass that ticked? It even ticked funny for a watch.

He put it away and stared down toward the gap, where the brown tip of the Scorch could be seen through the trees. Some- thing must have been on his glasses, for he took them off and began cleaning them with a handkerchief.

"I never will become used to the brightness of your sun," he said, and I noticed he kept his eyes closed until the glasses were back on his nose. Then he nodded toward Wetzel's Hill.

Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine Spring 1977

You can find a full copy of the text here

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