Friday, December 22, 2017


I don't "blog" anymore. You may think I do but I assure you that I do not. Sometimes you need an update, though, don't you? I know how you worry! So the other evening I was at Ace Atkins's office and I thought I'd see if he had a copy of THE GREEN RIPPER. He said he probably had several. THE GREEN RIPPER is a novel by John D. MacDonald. You will recall that I gave up on John D. MacDonald. I don't get the appeal of John D. MacDonald. If you "click" here you can read some of the reasons why. But I know you won't. What is wrong with you? You beg me to "blog" but you can't take the time to "click" on the "links." Well! It is really none of my business. But John Hodgman was saying all these nice things about John D. MacDonald in the New York Times some weeks ago, and in particular THE GREEN RIPPER, and although this did not change my feelings about John D. MacDonald I was made sufficiently curious for the actions related above to be the result. Anyhow, Ace contacted me yesterday to say he had located THE GREEN RIPPER and I could come by to fetch it. So I did. Now I took Ace's copy of THE GREEN RIPPER with me across the street from his office to Square Books. As I made a purchase there, I remarked to the cashier that this was Ace's copy of THE GREEN RIPPER and not part of my haul. We got into a little discussion (Bill C. wondered whether it might be a first edition of THE GREEN RIPPER) and it was at this time that I opened the book and discovered it to be, if not a first edition, at least an edition signed by the author. I couldn't imagine that Ace wanted me to drag this copy around town with me! You may recall, though I doubt you will "click" on it to refresh your memory, the time I spilled rye all over Ace's copy of LA BRAVA. So I went back over to Ace's office and returned the signed copy of THE GREEN RIPPER. He was surprised! He had no idea it had been signed, but he looked at the signature and confirmed it - thanks to his expertise - as John D. MacDonald's very own. Ace quickly produced yet another copy of THE GREEN RIPPER to replace the one I had brought back. Copies of THE GREEN RIPPER are just scattered around Ace's office like so many throw pillows in a film by Nancy Meyers. Okay! Now it was time for me to go back to Square Books and meet my pal McKay McFadden, whom I had not seen in the flesh in some years. Before McKay arrived I had time to note that Travis McGee (hero of the John D. MacDonald novels) refers to fat people as "fatties" on the second page of THE GREEN RIPPER, not raising my hopes. (A few pages later, though I did not make it this far at the time, McGee's girlfriend boards his famous houseboat and announces, "Today I jogged with four sets of fatties." There are shady goings-on at her place of employment, which makes me think she will be dead shortly. As Ace once revealed the key to the Travis McGee novels: "The woman always dies." [Further along: "Last week I had a batch of fatties down by the barns" - ed.]) I also read (in another book entirely) about the time U. S. Grant wanted to give his coach driver a Christmas present, so he hurried back down the steps and fell and experienced the debilitating leg injury that was just the start of all the troubles and misfortunes shortly to snowball on him, culminating in his death. Then McKay appeared on the stairs! We greeted one another warmly and McKay said, "I'm sorry I'm late. I just had an encounter with a pig in the woods." I can quote her accurately because I immediately leapt up to borrow a napkin and a pen from the Square Books coffee counter, as seen here:
She went on to describe the "encounter," which was much more horrific, grisly, tragic, and bloody than anything I would call an "encounter," and I shan't disturb you with it on this festive occasion. Conversation moved on to pleasanter subjects and we found before we knew it that we had spent some number of hours catching up, a sufficient number of hours for me to happily inform McKay that it was just about time for John T. Edge's yearly ritualistic dispersal of sausage balls at the City Grocery Bar on the occasion of his birthday. McKay and I, having arrived perhaps five minutes before the party officially began, were, I believe, the first to retrieve sausage balls from the traditional brown paper bag, pellucid as it was with delicious grease. (It occurs to me that I have used the phrase "pellucid with grease" in my "professional" writing at some point - perhaps on more than one occasion; I know it has assaulted my brain repeatedly, in any case - and I apologize for the lazy repetition. I must think it's quite the literary turn of phrase! How I sicken myself.) "I miss my Oxford life," said McKay. I replied with some observation about the many charms of San Francisco, where McKay now finds herself most days. "Oh, it's DAZZLING," she replied, employing a theatrical hand gesture to indicate bedazzlement. And yet her tone belied her adjective! I have never heard the word "dazzling" to drip with such venom, nor seen it accompanied by such bitterly flashing eyes! Not long thereafter, Dr. Theresa arrived, arrayed in silver.
We were able to boast to Tom Franklin (another recent arrival) that we had taken his picture off the TV screen. You see, he was once an extra in DEADWOOD, a show that Dr. Theresa and I are currently watching for the very first time. We proudly described the scene in which Dr. Theresa spotted Tom with her eagle eye and the pains we took to catch his fleeting image, and it was his sad duty to inform us that - although he indeed appears as an extra on the show - the person we thought was him was not him. Later at home we realized that the extra we thought was Tom had long hair and a graying beard, both of which Tom has at the present moment, but neither of which he would have had during the physical production of DEADWOOD. This is not Tom Franklin.