We get information in clumps, tangles, bunches. There are facts, mixed up with opinions, references, foreign words, sounds and descriptions referring to where we are talking, what is going on where we are talking, the distraction-ridden machinery of a technologically frenzied environment, analogies dragged in from confused personal archives, elaborations drawing on gossip, rumours, and mother disciplines, percentages, abbreviations, brand-names, phrases in mixed tongues, side notes referencing the inaccuracies of the company we keep and the associations we accumulate.
Dialogue. Which is what McBain does. Consider Carella and Parker questioning an ex-boyfriend:
So tell us how you happened to break up?
It was the Passion. The Mel Gibson movie. I told Alicia it was Anti-semitic. She disagreed. I’m Jewish; we got into an argument.
So whose idea was it to split up?
My mother’s. I live with my mother. She said if we were going to fight already over a farkaktmovie that was just the beginning…..I hate Mel Gibson.
Thirty seconds to peel a character like an egg.
Ollie Weeks is asking Parker for advise because Ollie was kissed in the mouth by Patricia the other night after he played piano for her family. Yes, this is the fat, suspicious, comical sociopath who hates everyone equally. Except that now he has a sweet piano teacher, and a sweet girlfriend and is looking ten pounds less hateful.
Kling, meanwhile, is asking Carella for advise. About Sharon, who he loves and whom he followed and who now refuses to talk to him.
“Everybody’s always innocent, Brown said. Nobody ever did anything. Catch ’em with the bloody hatchet in their hands they say this ain’t my hatchet this is my uncle’s hatchet…Wonder anybody’s in jail at all there’s so many innocent people around….
Brown and Kling are interviewing the head of Baldwin University’s English Department who is wearing a purple butterfly bow tie and telling Brown that “we’ve never anything like this happen before….”. Brown is wondering if his wife Caroline would go for him in a tie like that one…
Because conversations are never just about information and even information is never just about information. Because even cops hear by drifting in and out of their own conversations. Hearing from where they are being heard.