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Tribute to Elmore Leonard

August 25, 2013

Prologue

The man told Luke Wilson he loved him then hung up.

‘Huh?’ said Luke Wilson.

Chapter 1

The Sun cradles the sky, or perhaps the other way round, burning, roasting then simmering the blue air around it.

It’s not raining, but it might later.

Wind? There’s a little, but not enough to knock anyone over.

Some people are predicting snow this winter.

Thirty-five degree heat is hot.

A garrulous, balding man in his early forties, with two divorces and no kids and no job, who once had a one night stand with Luke Wilson and doesn’t regret it despite all the unreturned phone calls, hurries rapidly through the streets, looking at no-one in particular. He’s thinking about the nature of man and if it’s really a glorious thing to still be a socialist after all these years. What is a man? What is socialism? What is the connective tissue between the two? Is there…can there truly be true correlation between the temporary kindness of man and the eternal constant of continuous good deeds that socialism demands?

‘Oh, stars and sky, what plans you must have for simple mortals like us,’ the man laments furiously to both the stars and the sky.

Suddenly, some mist descends over the street and a demon appears.

‘Mortal being,’ the demon booms malevolently.

‘Oh no, a demon! What are you doing here?’ enquires the man suspiciously.

‘Do not be so suspicious, man. I am here simply to guide you.’

‘Oh.’

‘To help you write good fiction.’

‘Ah.’ The man thinks about this line and then scratches his chin. ‘But I don’t write.’

‘No, but you should.’

‘Really…I’ve never written a word in my life.’

‘Wrong. You’ve written e-mails, have you not?’

‘Si, I’za writ’na-few’a-dem in muh time.’

‘Then you should put them all together, put a few murders in and submit it to big publishers,’ alleged the demon assuredly.

‘Can it work?’ asked the man incredulously.

‘Yup.’

‘Hmm…maybe I can do it.’

‘You surely can. Now, give me your blood!’

‘!!!!’

Suddenly, out of nowhere there appears Elmore Leonard with a large knife and a depressed look on his face.

‘This is my blood collector…’ boasts the demon.

‘I hate death,’ mutters Elmore Leonard despondently.

‘But I don’t want to give any blood,’ protests the man defiantly. ‘I need it for myself, damnit!’

‘Give me blood, mortal!!’ cries the demon.

‘Never!!’ responds the man passionately.

‘Fuck’s sake,’ says Elmore Leonard.

Suddenly, out of the blue, with no warning whatsoever, Elmore Leonard stabs them both then walks away into the night before adverbs can catch him.

It starts to rain.

The Sun is gone because it’s now Detroit.

Robocop sits on the ledge of a tall building, contemplating the sharp division in morality between man and machine. What if machine is morally stronger than man? Does the Universe stop for dilemmas such as these? Does the soul, if such a beast exists, soar above my metal head and attempt intervention on all the bad things I’ve done? Did that man really deserve to be thrown through that window? Could I have shot Dick Jones in the leg? Will that rapist ever make love again? Oh, woe betide the metal man who ignores his true nature, whatever that may be…is nature not the fruitful bearing of all things against all other things? Do the scales not shift for us all, we sacks of flesh and atoms?

Suddenly, William Faulkner appears.

‘I want you to read my delineation of Detroit, metal man!’

‘Oh.’

‘It is 900 pages long!’

‘Great!!!’

William Faulkner smiles and takes Robocop by the hand, looking up at the sky and wondering how many different ways there can be to describe the shitty grey skies of Detroit.

Suddenly, even though there are no clouds, it rains.

 

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