fatman Find the clues!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Time stands still.

It is the moment in between heartbeats, a polaroid picture that somehow captures every crime and every sin in that instant. There is a thin mist of blood in the air. This probably has something to do with the bullet that is currently sailing through the head of a secret agent who will tumble to the floor, dead, as soon as time lurches back to its plodding normality. The air smells of cordite- the smell of ejector seats and discharged firearms. And in the centre of this room, sitting casually in an armchair, is Leopold Grimshawe-known also as the Alchemist- who holds in his hands a weapon, an old breech-loading British army service rifle, courtesy of Messers James Paris Lee and William Ellis Metford. A puff of smoke sneaks out from the barrel of the rifle suggesting that the bullet emerged from there.

Grimshawe looks like a retired Oxford professor. He wears a tweed coat and a checkered vest where a fob watch sits snugly in a pocket. He looks utterly at home in this room filled with dead bodies, as if he's listening to a gramophone in a smoking room, puffing on a pipe. The only giveaway to the beast that resides within his soul are his eyes. They are the eyes of a predator-black and merciless with flecks of grey. It is like looking into the face of Azrael. Grimshawe looks up from what he is doing (i.e. killing someone) as if I've interrupted him pondering a crossword clue and says in a slow, deliberate voice, 'So....you've finally arrived.'

Each word feels like its a teak furniture or a Chippendale cabinet being placed in a hallway. I know I am moments away from dying.


Blogger Fatman said...

When I first envisaged the encounter between the Alchemist and Fatman I thought it'd be neat to do a "glimpse into the future"-type thang. My thoughts turned to a passage in E.L. Doctrow's The Waterworks where the narrator introduces us to the villain of the piece, Dr. Sartorius, several chapters before he actually meets him:

" I had not seen him, at this point, you understand, but I hold his image in my mind and I will assign it to him here, out of the chronology of things...to suggest the force of him...as if we were able to derive him from the disaster he had brought about.

A commanding figure, not tall, but military in his bearing...slender stature with the stillness of consumate self-confidence...wearing the customary frock coat, slightly puffed at the shoulder seams, and the vest with fabric-covered buttons, and the wide loosely tied cravat with stickpin. The overall impression is of neatness, self-containment. Thick black hair cut short. His cheeks and upper lip are clean-shaven, but burnsides frame his jaw and continue under the chin and curl around the throat like a woolen scarf tucked in under the collar. Black, implacable eyes, surprisingly opaque, with a kind of desolation in them...a harsh impersonality, reminding me of Sherman, William Tecumseh Sherman. Good round forehead, slightly domed, thin, straight nose, thin-lipped, abstemious mouth. I'll animate him with an action: He holds a watch on a fob, glances at it, and slips it back into his vest pocket."

3:36 pm  

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