Wednesday, March 5, 2014


"They found out about him in July and stayed angry all through August.  They tried to kill him in September.  It was way too soon.  They weren’t ready.  The attempt was a failure.  It could have been a disaster, but it was actually a miracleBecause nobody noticed.

They used their usual method to get past security and set up a hundred feet from where he was speaking.  They used a silencer and missed him by an inch.  The bullet must have passed right over his head.  Maybe even through his hair, because he immediately raised his hand and patted it back into place as if a gust of wind had disturbed it.  They saw it over and over again, afterward, on television.  He raised his hand and patted his hair.  He did nothing else.  He just kept on with his speech, unaware, because by definition a silenced bullet is too fast to see and too quiet to hear."

Lee Child, Without Fail (2002).

NOTE:  That isn’t what happened, not hardly.  My lecture continued because I wasn't finished, that’s all.  Words follow other words; there were more words to speak.  I was delivering at last my new paper on the passaro bonito and I was very pleased how it had turned out.  An extraordinary bird!  They missed me only because I saw it coming:  the shot, the bullet, the unkind sentiment, the intended consequence. At the moment, I nodded very slightly to the left to live and to avoid upsetting my audience who seemed intent on following me and the brightly colored Brazilian birds to our collective conclusion.  

These weren't powers I was born with.  They arrived suddenly, following a childhood operation to correct a lazy eye.  I had been promised X-ray vision. X-Ray Vision!  Waking in the hospital insanely sore and discovering the deception was cruelly disappointing. Can you possibly imagine?

But my new powers of enhanced observation and hearing, speed and agility, dexterity and physical grace, have more than compensated. 

It is an insincere world, a friendless world, a cold and cruel world. I am a friendless man and a lucky man. 

Alan Price: O Lucky Man (Link)

Pretty Things: Cold Stone (Link) 

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