War stories are love stories. Boys unsaved, unburied, unremembered. Violent, emotional, harrowing stories, told and retold and told again, afterwards, of boys too young, too dead, too Vietnam.
As Marcus Aurelius would say, there are good mixtures and bad mixtures.
Consider: A man, a dog, a Ford Explorer.
An American, a surfboard, a wave. Or: an experiment, a scientist, the DOD.
Good or bad?
Koontz doesn’t say. But incredible the speed with which we move to position ourselves
behind the good, or the bad. Koontz is laughing at us, watching
the gymnastics. Scratch. Is this the good or bad mix? Give me my surfboard
and my cape. Bobbiedom or die.
Bobby? Bobby (the friend, the ancillary character, the SECOND) is without a doubt the
most rocking Californian surfer dude in a century of surfer dudes. (What a voice Szarabajka has. And isn’t it always a member of the mobile immigrant army that tells America what it is? Read Marx) Bobby is every immigrant girls dream of an American boy. Bobby is the dude in Apocalypse Now water-skiing behind the PT boat in the Mekong Delta.
Chorus:”Carpe noctum “…Carpe cervisum….” [seize the beer]
I am not forbidden to know the comfort of a woman, but I am denied
all but the most meager light. Therefore, every form of illumination is
imbued with a shimmering, erotic quality….
Among humankind, for every Moe, there are thousands of Curlys and Larrys.
The genetically engineered retro-virus was brilliantly conceived by my mom….who
somehow still had time to make terrific chocolate chip cookies.
Best Words: “bobbiedom” “urinom ania” “skegin”
Best Scene: Elevator
Message: “Absolutely NEVER accept a dinner invitation from a monkey, unless you know precisely what’s on the menu.”
Imagine Frank Muller doing CZ Sakall, the jowly, bespectacled, hysterical Hungarian who cannot stop wiping his spectacles, shaking his head and concocting scenarios of doom … “today… its going to happen today…” etc.
The stammering, anxious NYC diamond dealer calls Jimmy McShane, well heeled ex-cop and private dick, who bodyguards him, makes sure disaster doesn’t happen today, and strolls home. Home: to the walk-up on Christopher Street, to the old hag sitting on her heavy ovaries, to the next ex-girlfriend re-aligning his Chakras in the flat redecorated by his old ex-girlfriend, to the Zelda-esque client who asks him to find her pedophilic father’s killer. Hi, ho. Absolutely funny, absolutely cool, absolutely wonderful.
“Karp leaned back in his chair, swivelled to face the window, chewed on a pencil. Murrow, seeing this, left quietly, closing the door behind him. He knew these were the signs that Karp was entering Karpland . . .” as are we, God bless us, until Tanenbaum decides to make gefilte fish or Marlene (MarLEEYENE!) stops getting into trouble. Here is I LOVE LUCY, 2002, with a Jewish husband and twins. “Giancarlo burst in, grabbed two chocolate covered donuts, . . .snatched up a table knife and stabbed it into Karp’s breakfast cereal, while laughing maniacally. “Guess what I am, Dad.” “An idiot?” stated Karp. ‘No. A CEREAL KILLER!’ …the boy departed, hooting.” (paraphrased) Another typical morning at the Karp feudal ‘menage’ — before Lucy’s boyfriend’s mother and labor leader father get murdered, before Marlene decides to find out who did it, before Karp gets appointed to clean up West Virginia, before Giancarlo gets shot and Marlene calls in the VietCong to exterminate the bad guys. “Kill them. Kill them all.” Yep. Marlene always makes a mess. Can Karp clean this one up? Read and laugh and see.
The voice is everything. Instead of the typical pomposity of a haughty OBE accent, spouting that mixture of bad faith, betrayal, and malice so characteristic of the displaced British upper class, we have a whisper, a tempered, middle brow tone telling a tale about a slightly fat slightly alcoholic Nottingham housewife who falls in love with the burglar who robs her house. The robbery is problematic. Gone is the stash of Coke her failed director-husband was holding for a slightly murderous slightly psychopathic drug thug. The housewife and the thief meet, fuck, and renegotiate the stolen goods. Inspector Charles Resnick, divorced, badly dressed, with bad table manners, figures it out — kind of — but still somehow does the wrong thing. BRILLIANT.
“Grabianski didn’t know…He felt about music what his partners felt about birds. Large ones and small ones. With music it was small ones and fast ones.”
In his thuggy Italian voice, Ferrone rasps the staggeringly funny stretched-out Goombah logic of an ex con from Mulberry Street as he helps an ex-cop burgle a ritzy old-world Hotel and save Democracy.
The two Italians stumble into the sub counter plot of a fanatic Cuban terrorist-doctor with a bad liver, sent by Castro to destroy capitalist Yankee life in upstate New York. Or maybe not. His mad, running commentary on property and land and personality is a war of principalities, which he loses.
“…he marvelled most at the size of the mens room. As he stood in the center of one of the several long lines of urinals, he wondered: Did Yankees have weak bladders? Could there be a real need to accommodate so many men at one time or was there some terrible overproduction of things like urinals, quietly absorbed by the government?”
And then there are the internal ghettos of Capitalism represented by your friendly neighborhood constitutional criminal, Franky Belmonty, who also has difficulty believing in Property.
“I did one course at the New School for Social Research up on 12th Street. The Urban Deviant as Middle America’s Scapegoat, it was called. Taught by a middle American would faint if he ever came within 3 feet of a serious deviant — even a rural one.”
He still thought wistfully of what he might have become… a Carrie Hawes, or a Paul or a Richard, but
more than any of those, the name he most cherished — and he had never
revealed this to a soul — was Lefty, Lefty Hawes. Was there a criminal
anywhere in the world who would not tremble at the very mention of that
dread name: Lefty, Lefty Hawes — even though he was right-handed? Hawes