Typescript of the story "The Number's Up"
From the Bart Auerbach Collection. 20 pages, 4to, the ribbon copy, double-spaced, with revisions (some extensive) in ink by Woolrich. There are about 65 words in his hand on 8 pages (2 and 14 have the majority) and about 30 crossouts/deletions on 7 pages (2 having about half). In very good condition. Item #409530
“The Number’s Up,” a horrific story of a young couple taken for a ride by gangsters, was first published in Beyond the Night (Avon Books, 1959). It was reprinted in Nightwebs in 1971 (also by Avon). Woolrich mate- rial of this nature is very rare on the market (with no typescript or manuscript material appearing at auction in the past century according to records). [BA].
“After that there was silence for a while, only the sound of the shovel biting into the earth, and the hissing splatter of the loose dirt as it sailed off it.
“They stood him up, his back to the well.
“In the dark, desperate sky, just above the scalloped line some treetops made, three stars formed a pleading little constellation. No one looked at them, no one cared. This was the time for death, not the time for mercy.”
In 2005, the book Tonight, Somewhere in New York was published as a follow up to 2004’s Night and Fear, a commemoration of the centenary of Woolrich’s birth. Editor, and Woolrich’s biographer, Francis M. Nevins selected short stories and fragmentary pieces from Woolrich’s writings from his last 20 years, largely spent in hotel rooms and caring for his mother, including “The Number is Up.” “... Nevins tells us, Woolrich had published 11 novels and more than 200 stories of pure suspense that earned him his reputation as the Hitch- cock of the written word.” Their continued reuse by Hitchcock (whose film “Rear Window” was based on a Woolrich short story) and others meant that his financial needs were being met and he could slow his creative output” (Dick Lochte, “Doing Woolrich little justice,” Los Angeles Times, 17 December 2005). “‘The Number Is Up,’ which Nevins suspects may have been an unused chapter intended for Hotel Room, focuses on a young couple facing torture and death. It’s a particularly ugly shocker with a gimmick that Nevins points out was used in Steven Spielberg’s futuristic film noir Minority Report, based on a story by Woolrich contemporary Philip K. Dick.”.