Archive for August 23, 2021

Page Seventeen II: Electric Boogaloo

Posted in FILM, literature with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 23, 2021 by dcairns

The handmaid of the Inn looks in before going to bed, ‘just to see if you wanted anything, sir.’ Finding he does not, she wishes him good-night, and retires hesitatingly to the door, then turns; ‘I would no sit up to-night, master. ‘Taint good to keep awake o’ nights now. Maybe ye’ld sleep and hear naught of it.”Naught of what?’ ‘Eh? ’tis more than I can tell and maybe ye’d say ’tis the wind.’ The door closes abruptly and she is gone.

‘He pays regular,’ was the rejoinder. ‘But come, it’s getting dreadful late, you had better be turning flukes – it’s a nice bed, Sal and me slept in that ‘ere bed the night we were spliced. There’s plenty room for two to kick about in that bed; it’s a almighty big bed that. Why, afore we give it up, Sal used to put our Sam and little Johnny in the foot of it. But I got a dreaming and sprawling about one night, and somehow, Sam got pitched on the floor, and came near breaking his arm. Arter that, Sal said it wouldn’t do. Come along here, I’ll give ye a glim in a jiffy;’ and so saying he lighted a candle and held it towards me, offering to lead the way. But I stood irresolute; when looking at a clock in the corner he exclaimed, ‘I vum it’s Sunday – you won’t see that harpooneer to-night; he’s come to anchor somewhere – come along then; do come; won’t ye come?’

Haber nodded judiciously and stroked his beard. What had seemed a mild drug-habituation case now appeared to be a severe aberration, but he had never had a delusion system presented to him quite so straightforwardly. Orr might be an intelligent schizophrenic, feeding him a line, putting him on, with schizoid inventiveness and deviousness; but he lacked the faint inward arrogance of such people, to which Haber was extremely sensitive.

‘If they were going to let Martino go anyway,’ Rogers asked, ‘why would they go to so much trouble with him? He wouldn’t have needed all that hardware just to keep him alive. Why did they carefully make an exhibition piece out of him?’

Miss Duveen ignored the question. “I am not uttering one word of blame,” she went on rapidly; “I am perfectly aware that such things confuse me. Miss Coppin tells me not to think. She tells me that I can have no opinions worth the mention. She says, ‘Shut up your mouth.’ I must keep silence then. All that I am merely trying to express to you, Arthur, knowing you will regard it as sacred between us – all that I am expressing is that my dear sister, Caroline, was a gifted creature with not a shadow or vestige or tinge or taint of confusion in her mind. Nothing. And yet, when they dragged her our of the water and laid her there on the bank, looking -” She stooped herself double in a sudden dreadful fit of gasping, and I feared for an instant she was about to die.

Mickey took the glass from Arthur’s hand and as he walked to the card table he brushed against the wires that hung down from the central light socket. They swayed towards Arthur. He leant away from them as though they were poisonous snakes about to bite. Which, in a manner of speaking, they were.

‘Thunder!’ he cried, ‘A week! I can’t do that; they’d have the black spot on me by then. The lubbers is going about to get the wind of me this blessed moment; lubbers as couldn’t keep what they got, and want to nail what is another’s. Is that seamanly behaviour now, I want to know? But I’m a saving soul, I never wasted good money of mine, nor lost it neither; and I’ll trick ’em again, I’m not afraid of ’em. I’ll shake out another reef, matey. and daddle ’em again.

An Indian Ghost in England from The Mark of the Beast and Other Fantastical Tales by Rudyard Kipling; Moby-Dick by Herman Melville; The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. LeGuin; Who? by Algis Budrys; Miss Duveen, from The Picnic and Other Stories by Walter de la Mare; GBH by Ted Lewis; Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson.