At the round earth's imagin'd corners

At the round earths imagin'd corners, blow
Your trumpets, Angells, and arise, arise
From death, you numberlesse infinities
Of soules, and to your scattered bodies goe,
All whom the flood did, and fire shall o'erthrow,
All whom warre, dearth, age, agues, tyrannies,
Despaire, law, chance, hath slaine, and you whose eyes,
Shall behold God, and never tast deaths woe.
But let them sleepe, Lord, and mee mourne a space,
For, if above all these, my sinnes abound,
'Tis late to aske abundance of thy grace,
When wee are there; here on this lowly ground,
Teach mee how to repent; for that's as good
As if thou’hadst seal'd my pardon, with thy blood.

-- John Donne

Saturday, January 30, 2010

03: Cant be Dead

May 25, 1985

Hey dere, Bro,

Nothing happening here. Nada. Dullsville. Damn, Jerry, you did the right thing blowing out of Donnetown after college. Why did I go into the business with Dad?

Hell, we just nailed down a five-year contract for the defense perimeter at the Blackgall Creamery, but I'd just as soon chuck it and go live the fast life down in Key West like you did.

Remember Dan Cant, let us drive City Hall that time? Dead. Upside-down balloon hanging. Funeral was yesterday. Nice turn-out, and an extra-long coffin -- donated by Galen Regale, used to be PPRU center (you remember that shaman incident). I'll enclose a clipping with the Mayor's eulogy.

Gotta go see how they're coming with the earthworks. Say hi to Nate, I guess. (And I get that having a roommate saves money, but you don't have to hang out with him all the damn time. You're 25, Dude -- 'bout time you had a girlfriend, dontcha think!)

Later, Schmuck! -- Mick

PS: No stamps. Great -- Screw it, Dude, I'm gonna fax this to you at the dental office. Someday all correspondence will be by fax. I'll tape the clipping to the sheet.

02: Alabaster

"That trial was big news in Donnetown all right. First off, it was a woman. Just a second -- two more Cutty Sarks, amigo, we're dry!"

Herbert Sorbet had reported on local murders for thirty years. "Shootings, machete hack-em-ups, the '89 backhoe spree. That pastor decapitating his organist on the church bus. Cyanide gas, drowning granny in the soup, tv in the bathtub. Dough-hooks. Mercury fulminate suppository. Gila monster. Like any small town.

"Yvette Vervoot, now: First she hangs him from a tree, then she ties his feet to a 30-foot helium balloon. 900 pounds of lift. Stretched him from six feet to seven. You practically never see a woman charged with that."

He emptied his glass, chewed on the ice and continued.

"Cool? Cool as a cucumber salad with liquid nitrogen dressing. The sketch artists loved her alabaster statue face. By the fourth week -- and this was a ten-week trial, mind you -- they went from using pencil on brown paper to pastels on cotton, the good stuff. I ask you this: how many days can you hold a poker face? She smiled exactly once. Rickhauser looked her right in the eyes and said 'guilty' and she smiled at him. Hey buddy! Can a man wet his whistle?"

01: A Long Sentence

It was a long sentence, all agreed (once Judge Rickhauser, following hours of deliberation, finally appeared and perched in his chair behind the bench and gazed stony-eyed at the courtroom, looking with his narrow hairless head like a bird of prey, hungry and eager to tear and devour flesh, and spent ten minutes excoriating the defendant, then thirty seconds reading the sentence, flashing an unwonted smile toward the end as he pronounced the word "maximum"); a long, perhaps vindictively long sentence, some said -- including of course Mr. Jawry, counsel for the defense, but also several in the gallery, and even, it was said later -- for it is with the perspective of years, and with the sad knowledge of the momentous events that were to follow (events that no one, not even Dr. Szpetsmund, the prosecution's charismatic expert witness, with his narrow clever eyes and precision of movement, word and thought, and his old-money manners and his degrees from Europe, could ever have anticipated -- events that affected, astounded, even devastated and forever changed all who found themselves involved) that this account is set down -- several members of the jury; yes, an unusually long, perhaps unjustly long sentence.