Monthly Archives: March 2017

Excerpt from “The Maltese Falcon” by Dashiell Hammett ~~Take it and like it~~

Brigid O’Shaughnessy smiled at him and said: “But I haven’t got the falcon.”
Cairo’s face was darkened by a flush of annoyance. He put an ugly hand on either arm of his chair, holding his small-boned body erect and stiff between them. His dark eyes were angry.
He did not say anything.
The girl made a mock-placatory face at him. “I’ll have it in a week at the most, though,” she said.
“Where is it?” Cairo used politeness of mien to express scepticism.
“Where Floyd hid it.”
“Floyd? Thursby?”
She nodded.
“And you know where that is?” he asked. “I think I do.”
“Then why must we wait a week?”
“Perhaps not a whole week. Whom are you buying it for, Joe?”
Cairo raised his eyebrows. “I told Mr. Spade. For its owner.”
Surprise illuminated the girl’s face. “So you went back to him?”
“Naturally I did.”
She laughed softly in her throat and said: “I should have liked to have seen that.”
Cairo shrugged. “That was the logical development.” He rubbed the back of one hand with the palm of the other. His upper lids came down to shade his eyes. “Why, if I in turn may ask a question, are you willing to sell to me?”
“I’m afraid,” she said simply, “after what happened to Floyd. That’s why I haven’t it now.
I’m afraid to touch it except to turn it over to somebody else right away.”
Spade, propped on an elbow on the sofa, looked at and listened to them impartially. In the comfortable slackness of his body, in the easy stillness of his features, there was no indication of either curiosity or impatience.
“Exactly what,” Cairo asked in a low voice, “happened to Floyd?”
The tip of Brigid O’Shaughnessy’s right forefinger traced a swift G in the air.
Cairo said, “I see,” but there was something doubting in his smile. “Is he here?”
“I don’t know.” She spoke impatiently. “What difference does it make?”
The doubt in Cairo’s smile deepened. “It might make a world of difference,” he said, and rearranged his hands in his lap so that, intentionally or not, a blunt forefinger pointed at Spade.
The girl glanced at the pointing finger and made an impatient motion with her head. “Or me,” she said, “or you.”
“Exactly, and shall we add more certainly the boy outside?”
“Yes,” she agreed and laughed. “Yes, unless he’s the one you had in Constantinople.”
Sudden blood mottled Cairo’s face. In a shrill enraged voice he cried: “The one you couldn’t make?”
Brigid O’Shaughnessy jumped up from her chair. Her lower lip was between her teeth.
Her eyes were dark and wide in a tense white face. She took two quick steps towards Cairo. He started to rise. Her right hand went out and cracked sharply against his cheek, leaving the imprint of fingers there.
Cairo grunted and slapped her cheek, staggering her side-wise, bringing from her mouth a brief muffled scream.
Spade, wooden of face, was up from the sofa and close to them by then. He caught Cairo by the throat and shook him. Cairo gurgled and put a hand inside his coat. Spade grasped the Levantine’s wrist, wrenched it away from the coat, forced it straight out to the side, and twisted it until the clumsy flaccid fingers opened to let the black pistol fall down on the rug.
Brigid O’Shaughnessy quickly picked up the pistol.
Cairo, speaking with difficulty because of the fingers on his throat, said: “This is the second time you’ve put your hands on me.” His eyes, though the throttling pressure on his throat made them bulge, were cold and menacing.
“Yes,” Spade growled. “And when you’re slapped you’ll take it and like it.” He released Cairo’s wrist and with a thick open hand struck the side of his face three times, savagely. Cairo tried to spit in Spade’s face, but the dryness of the Levantine’s mouth made it only an angry gesture. Spade slapped the mouth, cutting the lower lip.
The door-bell rang.

The 1941 film featured Humphrey Bogart as “Sam Spade”, Mary Astor as “Brigid O’Shaughnessy”, and Peter Lorre as “Joel Cairo”.

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Dialogue – G.I. Blues ~~Wooden Heart~~

Tulsa McLean (Elvis Presley) and Lili (Juliet Prowse) are out on a date and approach a crowd of children.

Tulsa:
What are they excited about?
The circus in town?

Lili:
Better than that. A puppet show.

Tulsa:
Yeah? I’ve never seen one before.

Lili:
Sometimes I wish I was seven years old.

Tulsa:
Come on, let’s be seven again.

Lili:
If the soldier really loves her, he’ll never give up.

Tulsa:
10-1 he chickens out.
– Bet?

Lili:
Bet.

(They watch the show)

Tulsa:
Happy ending. You win.

Lili:
It’s not over yet, now he sings to her.

Tulsa:
No music.
It’s a full orchestra.
I’ll get that thing going.

(Sound of wind-up gramophone band breaking)

Tulsa:
Was los?

Musician: (Showing broken gramophone band)
Kaput!

Tulsa:
You know this tune?

Tulsa:
You think that you can play it on yer squeezebox?

Musician:
Oh, ja!

Tulsa:
What say we give it a whirl?

Musician:
Lets’ how-you-say, ‘Give it a whirl’

Tulsa:
I’ll try anything, once!

(A Puppet show ensues with Elvis singing ‘Wooden Heart’, to a single blonde female puppet)

Can’t you see
I love you
Please don’t break my heart in two
That’s not hard to do
Cause I don’t have a wooden heart
And if you say goodbye
Then I know that I would cry
Maybe I would die
Cause I don’t have a wooden heart
There’s no strings upon this love of mine
It was always you from the start
Treat me nice
Treat me good
Treat me like you really should
Cause I’m not made of wood
And I don’t have a wooden heart

Muss i denn, muss i denn
Zum stadtele hinaus
Stadtele hinaus
Und du, mein schat, bleibst hier?

Muss i denn, muss i denn
Zum stadtele hinaus
Stadtele hinaus
Und du, mein schat, bleibst hier?

There’s no strings upon this love of mine
It was always you from the start
Sei mir gut
Sei mir gut
Sei mir wie du wirklich sollst
Wie du wirklich sollst
Cause I don’t have a wooden heart

(To the sound of the puppet’s father, tapping Elvis’ head and shoulders down and out)

Tulsa: “Oh-oww, Oh-oww”

(The Puppet Theatre Curtain falls)

 

~Translation ~

Because I must, because I must,
Leave this city, leave this city.
And you, my treasure, remain here?

There’s no strings upon this love of mine,
It was always you from the start.

Be good to me, Be good to me,
Be (good to) me, how you really should.
How you really should,
‘Cause I don’t have a wooden heart!”

 

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Excerpt from “Further Adventures of a New Guinea Resident Magistrate” by Captain C. A. W. Monckton ~~Rain-makers~~

Sorcery among New Guinea natives may be divided into two kinds: the sorcerer practising the first kind belongs to a class of wicked, malevolent assassins, doing evil for the sake of evil; he is prepared to perform his devilry, administer poison, or commit any crime for any person paying him to do so. This class of sorcerer does not pretend to perform anything but black magic, or to work anything but harm; and the shadow of the fear of the brute is over the whole tribal life. Sorcerers practising the second kind are men who make use of a benevolent and kindly magic for good only. These pretend to possess powers of rain-making, wind or fish-bringing, bone-setting, the charming away of sickness, or charming the spot upon which a garden is to be made to render it productive. They understand massage to a certain extent, and are usually highly respected and estimable members of the community to which they belong; and to interfere with this second class in the practice of their arts, would be not only cruelly unjust but decidedly unwise.
Once I had a frantic row with a Missionary Society over a member of the class of rain-makers. This old fellow I knew to be an eminently respectable old gentleman, and famed for many miles as a rain-maker; in fact, I had more than a suspicion that upon occasions my own police had paid for his services in connection with the Station garden. Well, to my amazement, I one day received a complaint from a European missionary, that the old fellow was practising sorcery and levying blackmail. I knew the charge to be all nonsense, and my village constables laughed at it; in fact, they regarded the story in much the same light as a London bobby would a tale to the effect that the Archbishop of Canterbury was running a sly grog shop in Wapping; but missionaries always made such a noise that I had to investigate. I found that there had been a drought in a Mission village, miles away from where the old boy lived, and the natives’ gardens were perishing: the local rain-makers tried their hands, but with no result; the missionary turned on prayers for rain, no result; then the people got desperate, and decided that the services of my estimable friend must be engaged. Accordingly, to the wrath of the missionary, they collected pigs and a varied assortment of New Guinea valuables, and sent them with a deputation to beg him to save their gardens. He accepted the gifts, and oracularly replied to his petitioners, “When the southeast wind stops, the rain will come.” They went off home satisfied; as a matter of fact, the wind had dropped before they got back and the welcome rain set in. Having ascertained the facts, I of course refused to interfere with the rain-maker; whereupon the missionary complained to Headquarters that the R M. was undermining the work of the Mission by encouraging sorcery, and I was called upon for the usual report. I reported that my time was already so fully occupied that I had none to spare in “attending to harmless disputes due to the professional jealousy of rival rain-makers.” The missionary choked with outraged and offended pride at being put on the same plane as a native rain-maker, and Muzzy squeaked about “contemptuous levity” in official correspondence.

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Excerpt from “A Fortunate Life” by A. B. Facey ~~Gallipoli~~

We left the harbour – Mudros Harbour I had found it was called – on the afternoon of the twenty-fourth of April. We were nervous and excited, knowing that we were finally on our way into action. We sailed all afternoon through a calm sea. That night we turned in to sleep in hammocks. I was very tired and despite the excitement, went to sleep.
The next thing I knew, I was being shaken awake by a corporal. The ship was moving slowly, some lights were on, and everyone was busy packing up and getting into battle dress. I noticed that stripes and rank markings had been removed from uniforms. One of the sergeants said, ‘It’s not far now. All portholes are blacked out and no lights on deck.’
The officers and sergeants were called to report to the Company Commander. Now excitement ran high. A few minutes later they returned and told us that we were to land on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey.
When we were called to our sections our officer gave us a briefing on the proper instructions for landing. We were told that our ship would move as close as possible into shore but would keep out of range of the enemy’s shelling. He said, ‘They will throw everything they’ve got at us as soon as they wake up to what we’re doing. Now when the ship stops you will be called to the side and lined up. On the side of the ship is a rope net already in place. A destroyer will come alongside and you will climb over the side and down the rope onto the deck of the destroyer when ordered. When the destroyer has enough men it will pull away and go towards where you are to land. Close to shore you will be met by a small motor boat towing rowing-beats. You will climb into the rowing-boats and the motor boats will take you as close to shore as possible. There will be sailors in the rowing-boats and they will take you into the beach. Now you are to get ashore as best you can and then line up on the beach and await further instructions.
This was it. We were scared stiff – I know I was – but keyed up and eager to be on our way. We thought we would tear right through the Turks and keep going to Constantinople.
Troops were taken off both sides of the ship onto destroyers. My platoon and other “D” Company men were on the same destroyer. All went well until we were making the change into rowing-boats.
Suddenly all hell broke loose; heavy shelling and shrapnel fire commenced. The ships that were protecting our troops returned fire. Bullets were thumping into us in the rowing-boat. Men were being hit and killed all around me.
When we were cut loose to make our way to the shore was the worst period. I was terribly frightened. The boat touched bottom some thirty yards from shore so we had to jump out and wade into the beach. The water in some places was up to my shoulders. The Turks had machine-guns sweeping the strip of beach where we landed – there were many dead already when we got there. Bodies of men who had reached the beach ahead of us were lying all along the beach and wounded men were screaming for help. We couldn’t stop for them – the Turkish fire was terrible and mowing into us. The order to line up on the beach was forgotten. We all ran for our lives over the strip of beach and got into the scrub and bush. Men were falling all around me. We were stumbling over bodies – running blind.
The sight of the bodies on the beach was shocking. It worried me for days that I couldn’t stop to help the men calling out. (This was one of the hardest things of the war for me and I’m sure for many of the others. There were to be other times under fire when we couldn’t help those that were hit. I would think for days, ‘I should have helped that poor beggar.’)
We used our trenching tools to dig mounds of earth and sheltered from the firing until daylight – the Turks never let up. Their machine guns were sweeping the scrub. The slaughter was terrible.
I am sure that there wouldn’t have been one of us left if we had obeyed that damn fool order to line up on the beach.

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“Sad Sack” by George Baker ~~Big Heart~~

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Excerpt from “Record of Service” by Bruce Robinson ~~R.A.P.~~

The following event occurred during the Sanananda campaign in Papua New Guinea around December 1942.

On the morning of our first action I left most of my gear at our overnight camp, and set up a temporary R.A.P. at one of the near corners of the oblong, and was soon kept busy dealing with incoming casualties. Later on the scene of battle changed, and I moved with my staff to join forces with Captain Jim Fotheringham, who was the R.M.O. of the other battalion that was in action with us, and we occupied a joint R.A.P. just inside the jungle beside the road. We were soon very busy, as the casualties were numerous by now. In fact, “Dum” Norris, the senior medical officer of the division, who had come up and was lending a hand, said he had never seen a busier R.A.P. in this war, or the last.
In jungle warfare there is no real front line as in more orthodox wars, and the scene of battle fluctuated throughout the day. We would hear firing on our left, and this would die down. Then it would break out to the right, and next it would be close alongside us, wherever, in fact, an enemy machine-gun post or sniper was found by our lads. On one occasion during the mid-afternoon we heard firing close at hand, and we were disturbed to see some of our green-clad boys falling back through the trees towards us, and eventually through us and past us. “Look out, there are the Japs,” cried one of my boys, pointing to shadowy figures in the undergrowth across the clearing. We had no arms, so we jumped into nearby holes. There were four of us in mine as tightly packed as on a half-past-five city bus. Lead was flying over our heads from both directions. I thought, “This is a fine way to end my military career; some blasted Jap will throw a grenade into our hole, and then good-bye.”
However, our boys rallied and held their ground, and the firing died down in a few minutes, so I thought I would crawl out and try the air, if only to get some weapon and my tin hat which I had taken off when we were busy. Nothing happened when I emerged, so I called my boys and we hastily collected our gear and made an orderly, if rapid, withdrawal. Jim Fotheringham and his boys appeared later, having had a similar experience, and together we selected a new combined R.A.P. site a couple of hundred yards farther back – our fourth for the day. This one was to become my permanent home during the next few weeks, though Jim Fotheringham had several other moves. By this time we had passed the busiest part of the day, but a trickle of casualties kept arriving all through the evening and night.

*R.A.P. – Regimental Aid Post
*R.M.O. – Regimental Medical Officer

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Excerpt from “Throwim Way Leg” by Tim Flannery ~~Swallet~~

The flight from Wamena to Kwiyawagi is unforgettable. As the aircraft climbs slowly to the west, mountains rise sharply from the valleys, their upper slopes clothed in beech forest of the darkest green, while their summits stand out above the vegetation as pointy limestone peaks and spires. Below, the Baliem River rushes through yellow grassland, past hundreds of settlements and gardens. There is something very ‘Irian’ about the view with its round houses and limestone topography. I could never mistake it for somewhere in Papua New Guinea.
Soon the aircraft enters a narrow valley where the river becomes a foaming torrent. At the head of the valley stands an abrupt limestone wall. It was astonishing to see that huge river we had been following was issuing from a fissure at the base of this cliff.
Our aircraft struggled to gain elevation to clear the 3,000 metre-high limestone crest above the fissure. It did so with the barest of margins, and we swooped over tree-tops and spires of jagged, grey limestone karst which seemed to be just a few metres below us.
The conical limestone towers and dark trees soon dropped away abruptly at yet another steep cliff-face. Beyond it lay a glorious, undulating valley, stretching away to the east and west. This great, isolated valley is a gentle and fertile land dotted with hamlets. Two vast rivers cut their way through it. Even though the rivers are at nearly 3,000 metres of elevation, they are lazy, meandering and muddy, resembling the type more often seen at sea-level than at such altitudes.
These are the East and West Baliem rivers. They converge just a few kilometres from the base of the cliff we had just passed. Looking back, I saw one of the most extraordinary natural features ever encountered in a lifetime of travel – the Baliem swallet – a vast hole in the earth which lies at the cliff’s base. Into it disappears the entire combined flow of the East and West Baliem rivers. To see such an enormous volume of water disappear from the face of the earth, as if it was entering some great plug-hole, is awesome. The water swirls furiously sending up great spurts of spray as the river and all it carries enter an underground cavern. It exits on the other side of the range, at the great spring we had flown over.
The swallet is made all the more striking by evidence that this sink-hole occasionally clogs up. Around it, in ever wider concentric rings are ridges which mark the shorelines of old lakes. These form whenever debris, such as trees, boulders, and mud, temporarily clogs the entrance. The water forms ponds until the blockage is breached. Then the lake is emptied by a vast, sucking whirlpool in what must surely be one of nature’s great spectacles.

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