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

Friday, March 26, 2010

09: Fix-Em-Up Day

[Gretel Bosch; third entry.]

May 21, 2006

Sunday, my favorite. Papa called it Fix-Em-Up Day. If they weren't already mutilated, we'd give them horrific wounds, and then draw names to see who would hone his skills on whom. Pieter took a three-pound hammer to Mrs. Willmont, I drew her name, and that's how I found my joy.

The boys hated to admit that I was the best. Axe murder? No problem. Gouged-out eyeball? Here's looking at you. Testicles torched? Wouldn't show, but I took care of it anyway.

Deacon Spetz's whole face was missing -- I outdid Madame Tussaud with the new one. (Not even to mention routine adjustments, like making Mrs. Baumgartner fit her dress, rather than the other way around.)

That scoutmaster had the opposite problem -- his face was all they ever did find. That was a good hard two-day job. The casket was a surprise for the mourners, and when they saw his face -- wow. The widow dropped dead on the spot. Massive, massive stroke. She'd prearranged, and the Coroner was already there paying his respects to the guy's flesh face glued onto my handiwork. In under an hour she was on my slab and I was giving her the nose she always possibly dreamed of while the pump was flushing her out. Nice.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

08: Third Person

"Everybody's got a point of view, is what I'm saying. Your point of view isn't better or worse than mine, but it's just as important."

Herbert Sorbet was speaking in equal parts to the bartender (Mathilde Clerval, mixing equal parts orange liqueur and lemon juice) and to his newly-met drinking companion, who had been plying Sorbet with booze and questions for an hour.

Sorbet now turned to directly face this third person. "Your point of view is limited, of course, and it's subjective -- of course. But it counts like anybody else's."

His listener, Bernie Wicket, accepted his sidecar from Mathilde and sipped it quickly to hide a small smile. My point of view is getting subjective and whoozy, he thought. Should have known I couldn't keep up with a 30-year print man.

But the evening was bearing fruit. He had to focus. "How late can you stay, Herb? I'm curious about that Vervoot murder."


"Maybe another time?"

"No, the Cant murder. I call a murder case by the victim's name, not the killer's. Especially when there's doubt." Sorbet looked at his watch. "Sure thing, let's get a table. Got an hour before my AA meeting. I'm a sponsor."

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

07: M.D., M.E., D.O.A.

[Gretel Bosch; second entry.]

May 15, 2006

Jesus God, do I hate Mondays. Don't have to go to work, of course, no job, don't need one thanks to Dr. Dorn's custom tummy. And I do thank it every Monday when I get well hammered. God knows I'm not likely to forget how much it looked like one of those goddamn yellow smiley faces. With green stones spilling out like shiny hard vomit. Just a few emeralds a year keep me comfortable.

That was my last bad fit. Episode, whatever.

If County M.E. Vern Dorn had done Dan right, so many things would have been different. You can blame his meningovascular syphilis if you want -- he always had an excuse. He used that syphilis as a crutch. He used his actual crutch as a weapon and gave me a plateau fracture below the right knee and I had to stand up with a splint clamped around my leg and prosect the man's thorax and abdomen. Okay fine, since it's just you and me, diary, I'll say it: I cut him open. I killed him. If I had it to do over ... well, I'd reverse the order of those actions.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

06: van den Dorpe

The Weird, The Wild, The Southeast: a Tourist's Guide
by Jonas Birdsong
(Copyright 2006)

[Excerpt from entry on Donnetown.]

Diederic van den Dorpe led a bizarre life, exhaustively examined elsewhere by people with letters after their names. But all you, the tourist of the odd, need to know is: 1) Van den Dorpe came in 1661 to what was then Virginia, and immediately bought a donkey and a large wooden cart; 2) He founded Donnetown in 1666, the first and only Flemish settlement in the English colony of Carolina (using the English naming style in deference to his poetic idol); 3) He established all essential elements of government in that same wooden cart, which his faithful donkey Libertine hauled all over the settlement thrice weekly; 4) Donnetown did not legally exist until 1690, when for obscure reasons James II granted it a charter.

And, 5), which is the entertaining part. The charter included provisions for "the continuance of such peripatetic governance." To this day, Donnetown City Hall is contained in a 59-foot long semi, driven around the town's single freeway loop by Deputy Mayor Ricky Ticcavi (infamous for responding to irate citizens by parking City Hall in front of their house and leaning on the air horn until they come out).