Saturday, 15 May 2010

Hammett Time: break it down

There's a story within a story in one of Dashiell Hammett's hard-boiled novels - I forget which one; I can't be bothered digging through the various piles of books stacked on every conceivable horizontal ledge (L-shaped edge) within my apartment - about a suburban family man making his way to work, by way of a construction site, when a steely girder crashes to the ground within a living inch of his half-frozen flinch. And nearly killing him really dead. A second earlier and he would have been human kebab. The man keeps walking. Doesn't stop walking. Moves to another city. Takes up another job. Continues along the same career trajectory. Marries. Has kids. Again. It goes on. He goes on. Life goes on. Again.

But supposing, just supposing, instead, when that girder buried itself into the sidewalk, a tiny fragment of projectile concrete shrapnel penetrates his skull and gradually slivers its way into his brain. Nestling among the network of calculating neurons. Let's further suppose that his name is Maurice. Maurice changes his name to “Mauricicle the Musical Pimpernel” and goes on to enter various TV talent shows performing uncanny impressions of already established dead, dead stars. His success creates a platform of popular popularity and that platform raises his profile sufficiently to position himself for public office. And time. And motion. He ends up the President of the United States.

Like Dashiell, I like to drink and think.

If what?


So what.

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