Friday, March 28, 2008

My kind of town . . . for murder!

From The Fabulous Clipjoint (1947), by Fredric Brown
Things like that must happen a dozen times a day in Chicago, I thought. They don't rate ink unless it's a big-shot gangster or somebody important. A drunk rolled in an alley, and the guy who slugged him was muggled up and hit too hard or didn't care how hard the hit.

It didn't rate ink. No gang angle. No love nest.

The morgue gets them by the hundred. Not all murders, of course. Bums who go to sleep on a bench in Bughouse Square and don't wake up. Guys who take ten-cent beds or two-bit partitioned rooms in flophouses and in the morning somebody shakes them to wake them up, and the guy's stiff, and the clerk quickly goes through his pockets to see if he's got two bits or four bits or a dollar left, and then he phones for the city to come and get him out. That's Chicago.

And there's the jig found carved with a shiv in an areaway on South Halsted Street and the girl who took laudanum in a cheap hotel room. And the printer who had too much to drink and had probably been followed out of the tavern because there'd been green in his wallet and yesterday was payday.

If they put things like that in the paper, people would get a bad impression of Chicago, but that wasn't the reason they didn't put them in. They left them out because there were too many of them.
It's a good thing I have to no time this weekend to do anything but stay inside and proofread! (Aside, that is, from a quick break tomorrow morning to visit the lakefront--on which trip, however, I'll be running, and therefore safe from the Criminal Element, most of whom, surveys reveal, are smokers, and thus unable to catch the fleet of foot.)

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