Posted by: jamesthethickheaded | July 26, 2011

and then… And Then…AND THEN…

Gotta love a mystery. In my world, there ain’t much of one very often. So yeah, I’m reading “Crime and Punishment”:  My back knows the punishment… we just haven’t decided what the crime was that “we” committed …besides getting old.  And I’m hoping that this time, I’ll get it, I’ll like it and swing with the Ol’ Dos’ a bit more than I did with the “Brothers K”… which by the way, in the non-Orthodox world, polling seems to run pretty much dead against it as more than a good door stop. Fact is, people would drive by in rush hour, slow down, roll their windows down and yell at me, “I hated that book!” Yeah… like how’d they know it was lying face down on the seat?

It’s like last night, I’m coming off the highway and when I stop at the light, there’s a guy with a sign. Sign says, “Brothers K reader. ‘Nuff said.”  His clothes were ragged. He looked underfed. I looked again. He was running his finger over the words like some bouncing ball in an animated sing-a-long, and went straight to the small print under the first line where I read, “Tsar Nicholas…. next time, stick with the plan.” That’s suffering even Dickens could respect. And my heart went out to him. I rolled down the window and gave him a few bucks.

For the record, I didn’t hate the “Bro’s K” book. It just ran on a little too long. As my kids would say, “It had this annoying 19th-century Dickens kind of a thing… y’know… like the sob story sentimental kid thing. Bob Crachety and all.” You know what I’m talking about. And the truth is that the whole section was added to the “Brothers K” during sweeps week to try to get the publisher’s ratings up so he could sell more ads on the inside covers of the book. Wait.. no… really? You thought Google was the first to think of…nah, you’re kidding? Well… truth is they put those nice endpapers in hard backs to cover up the ads they were tired or reading. You think the 20th century invented mind-numbing serial re-runs? Ever wonder what those second, third and ump-tee-ump printings really meant?  Yep. Same people going for a re-run. After a while, people got so sick of looking at the ads, you could follow up with selling them endpapers. And if that didn’t work, heck… you give the book to the library, a school or some place where folks would never look for anything decent.  Say the word “edjukayshunal” and it’ll keep people away in droves…? Never mind.

And y’know the scene where the guy goes off with the drinking and dancing before the arrest? Dos’ stole it from some “live” text event. Yeah… another sweet week. But the Grand Inquisitor scene? What can I say? Pretty decent. Might even make a good book someday… somewhere. Like give it to Hemingway: “If you’re honest and true and like to shoot guns because you’re a man and it’s good, then you’ll shoot straight… and you’ll write about a Grand Inquisitor…he’d be a man., and he’d shoot straight, kill elephants and big sharks in the Gulf Stream. That would be good.” And he’d do a great job… wouldn’t even hack it up. ‘Course he won’t even think of it now… being dead’n all. This of course is why our church stands against suicide: You can’t write so good afterwards (sic)… even when we need you. So while the Dos and his “Bro’s K” might have strung things out a tad longish for two minute American attention spans, it was very, very good before it jumped the shark. Where’d it jump the shark? Immediately after the Grand Inquisitor. But hey… if everyone read “The Bro’s” like I read Thucydidididididies in college… then it’d be no problem. You skip to the GI, you read the line, you’re out….what… thirty minutes tops. Apparently, not many peeps got the word, so there you are. Unpopularity unfairly unearned by default.

Of course all of this is prelude to a fawn… or postlude to a sidetrack. What I meant to write was a review of “Crime and Punishment“… so let’s get to it. Of course I haven’t actually finished it yet, but what of it? Has any college senior actually bought much less read the books for class? Has he-or-she even been to class? Still… those finished papers mysteriously turn up, now don’t they? Reading the actual text… can be just so…. limiting. It’s like unfair, and an infringement of rights. So without further constraint, let me say that the Dos’ is clearly in his element and surpasses himself without even a downshift. First of all, his editor came back from vacation which is a plus. Further, said editor trimmed 200 pages off that puppy BEFORE publication! Very impressive. Way to go! And so far… only one crazy 19th century kid. We’re looking good, and I’m not kidding. Hear me: Tiny Tim hasn’t even popped by… (“Please sir…”) Aieeee!! Okay… but he’s not staying… he’s definitely not staying…or he better not. I mean so far, we’re talking winner. And assuming the Dos’s girl friend doesn’t morph into the story from some “reading couch” and start stealing scenes so she can try to grab a role in an upcoming book elsewhere:

“Should I tilt my head back like this so it catches the moonlight and shows its wave?”
“Nah… We’re good. Call you if we need you. Next?”

All of which is merely to set the scene where I fall asleep reading this puppy… but it’s not because it’s bad; in fact, the reason I’m falling asleep is that I’ve stayed with it way past my bedtime. I’m simply worn out with the bad back and all. And I’m lying there… the lights are out, the house is quiet… except for this loud breathing… which for once isn’t the dog. And in that moment on the edge of sleep, my awareness rises… there’s someone… I have no idea who… and he’s much too close to me… I really can hear this breathing, heated, tense as if to spring on me… and it’s starting to creep me out. So I start to reach under the bed for the baseball bat… just in case… but like a dingbat, I realize it’s my own breath. And for a moment, I gotta say I toyed with clobbering myself with the bat anyway… just because… well… to save you the trouble. Call it my inner Pavlov and all that. But then I came a little clearer, and I was thankful for being slow on the draw or the whack ’cause that’s what it would have been.

So while I’d love to fill this picture out a little more, my cell phone’s ringing. Seems the house phone was ringing a minute ago, but I whacked it with the baseball bat. Whoah… into voice mail already… and it sounds like ‘nother Russian writing dude…Fyodorick of York or some such. Something ’bout another sweep week, and would I mind standing in for a village idiot? Don’t mind tellin’ you I’m not too keen on the job… what with the tendency to typecasting these days. But if the rates are good, hey…who’s to get picky about a role they don’t even see you in? Only thing is, I’m wondering where he got my number.. and who gave him to think I’d be such a perfect fit and all that? I mean… huh?

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