Monday, January 9, 2023

It Was A Cool & Somewhat Dark But Stormless Night... I sat on my small back patio that was dimly illuminated by the somewhat less than (for reading) adequate patio light and a set of Christmas lights around the patio privacy fence. I had been reading, in that barely sufficient light, and was almost finished with chapter six of the last of Dashiel Hammett's mystery novels - The Thin Man. I had finished the fourth, of his other four novels, maybe three weeks ago, that one was The Glass Key. So far the best of the four I have read all the way through has been the superb classic The Maltese Falcon but none of the others were bad at all. The screen adaptation of that one happens to be one of my favorite Bogart (as in Humphrey Bogart) movies.  
I was quite hesitant to begin reading The Thin Man. Its film version is also one of my all time favorite films noir. I sometimes debate if it or The Maltese Falcon should be named the best ever film noir - both were that good. The only movie I have seen, that was made within my lifetime, that even comes close to either of them as far as films noir go was The Usual Suspects. All of those and many others of the same genre contain some of the best character actor portrayals ever. 
I finally started read The Thin man tonight despite my hesitancy, a bit of procrastination that I suppose was based upon my reluctance to read the last of Hammett's works because there would be no others to follow and because I was somewhat fearful that it would be nothing like the movie. Then again, I was hopeful it and the movie would be alike since the film The Maltese Falcon was a truly magnificent and was very true adaptation of the book.
Anyway this is not as much about how much I like Dashiel Hammett's stories or how much I feel the moods and think the thoughts of each of the characters whom he chose to fill the stories & tell those tales but is more about what happened as I was reading. That event - though insignificant for me but possibly not for someone else - fit right into the shadowy and puzzling mood in which the reader is enveloped as the clever sleuth and his witty wife use their cunning wits to bring us through the dizzying maze of baffling clues to arrive at the solution to the mystery. 
What happened tonight was, that as I was near to the end of chapter six, there were three of four gunshots, in rapid succession, near to the backside of my apartment. I immediately took what cover I could and as I was moving to get inside, there were about seven to eight more shots fired. They sounded, to me, to have all come from the same gun. My guess, it it was likely a pistol in the mid caliber range - maybe a 9mm or a 380 or something close to one of those. I doubt it was a revolver because there were too many sots for almost anything except a 22 and these shots did not sound as if they came from a 22 caliber handgun. Sooner than later, with agile swiftness that my aged joints no longer normally allow, I was inside with my door locked and barred. I called 911 and gave them what little info I had; the 911 operator said several others had called in the same and that the police were on their way. I saw zero police response over the course of the next 15 minutes but it does not mean they did not respond, if they did they could have just been out of my sight. 
Shots fired fit right in with the mood of each and everyone of Hammett's detective stories but kind of ruined it all a bit too because I stopped reading for the night. I was not about to stay outside reading on my back patio and once inside decided to wait to read more tomorrow. What was very nice about it though was that I was able to think -  'Look Ma, top of the world - no bullet holes in me'. I am looking forward to finding out what happened tomorrow when I check the local news. If all involved were lucky, there will be little to nothing to be reported because no one got injured. Of course, if I counted right and 10 - 12 shots actually were fired, then chances are someone either was shot or maybe got lucky and merely crapped their drawers when fired at.

All the best,
Glenn B