clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Given a Pen

Uncle Joe at left. Looks a lot like Barney Fife holding a gun to me.

"Giving Jack a pen is a lot like giving a kid with an ant farm a magnifying glass. He's going to kill a lot of 'em before he gets bored." - Ex-Best Man ( that's what you call the bastard that didn't stop you from making that mistake the time before).

I like my villains as dyed in the wool smiling murders. I'm comfortable with folks that smile and lie and kill. I've voted for several. It's the job and I want folks who can do it well.

Oh , sure. I'll take an air of disappointment over launching a tomahawk strike at an intelligence headquarters.

I want the killing done straight away though, regrets or no. 

I think that's why I like crime in fiction. There's the search for justice in prose - very popular. There's the evil as a sickness (in bad stuff) which is also very popular (he's just a bad man and does this because he's a bad man).

Then, there's the sport of it. There is a sense of finality. There's the knowledge that $.37 is the price of a life. Hell, use two. They're cheap enough to make sure. (Double Tap).

In fiction, we can adopt any perspective we desire. The killer in the closet? Been there. The victim scrawling the clue in blood (Rache). Done that. The surprised bystander - oh, this one is good. "He pulled out the pistol and fired three times. I was shocked."

I'd been told in fifth grade after a schoolyard fight that "violence never solved anything." I'm not sure Emma Causey ever recovered from me retorting that martyrs are dead people and that Hiroshima seems to solve a whole pile of problems.

She beat me soundly. Then my parents beat me soundly for making them have to talk to the principal - not for the schoolyard fight. That retribution made perfect sense. I didn't like her either.

I'm not so interested in the mystery. It isn't the element of justice which entices me (I read my Plato, thank you very much). It is the useful or wasteful employment of violence and destruction which interests me. It has such interesting effects on the bystanders.

A killing is a gravity well for the survivors. They're unable to escape the transformation that comes without the application of great force. That's the heart of it for me.

Sticks and stones ... but words ...

Unless the words about the weekend in Miami with the mistress, then those things will hurt you plenty. It's all a matter of the application of force. As writers, we get to control that application. Love that.

Where'd my magnifying glass get to?

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