Saturday, September 1, 2007

The Apostles

His paragraphs are like counties in Texas, they are huge, squared off and yet different in their gradual motion. There is dust on his keys, and wind in his prose, but it is not windy or long winded. The draft of the Apostles is out of the Red River.

John Ford would want to film his prose, it is filled with the details of the jolts and moves and startles that men have. The do and do not. His hero broods, and broods upon the details of life large and small. He does not take the time to do more than put things int heir boxes, whether someone's habits or their hobbies. He has a place to fill in the world, and even though his badge is backed by little other than his own sense of right and wrong it is this that makes the draft work.

His characters are raw, and the way he packs dialog into the prose, instead of pulling it out into nice isolated parts, is part of the landscape of his prose. His men talk like guys. It's all about the power and the position, the hierarchy and the prestige. Until those things do not matter at all, and it is down to a man, his gun, and the law he can lay down with them.

Many readers, I think. will be disturbed by the prologue and the events in it. As it should be. In a world where black and white hats are metaphors and not realities, the criminal act itself is the glaring and searing sign of someone who has gone outside the small fragile world.

Jazon writes about people that no one else cares about. His apartment building could be the windswept town with only a single law man to guard it. His victims are quietly suffering alone, like the widows on the forgotten farms. There are people who are right with the world, and people who aren't.

The other painful stream running through this work is one of race, or rather a society which still puts people into those boxes of black, latina, white, without it meaning anything. Everyone major character, and most of the minor ones too, are "outs," and they cling together or not.

Alan stood in front of the main building looking at his watch, it was already ten minutes after five, the next applicant would be arriving shortly, and the first interview hadn't taken place. A car pulled into the parking lot shortly followed by another. The first vehicle pulled into a parking spot in front of Alan, and the second pulled in the spot beside it. Both doors opened and the single occupants of both vehicles stepped out. One was a heavy set Hispanic woman, and the other was a slim Caucasian woman. Alan spoke, "Okay, looking for Tina." The Hispanic woman raised her hand in the air, "I'm Tina." "Sorry Tina, but your interview time has come and gone, and you are disqualified from the position." Tina frowned as she sat back down into her car, started the ignition, and sped off exclaiming, "Fuck you! Fucking flashlight cop!" Alan shook his head as he turned to the other applicant, "That must make you Susan?" "Yes, I'm Susan Keen, and that hardly looks like a flashlight on your right hip."

It's the self-indulgence of the heavy set woman, the lateness, the contempt which makes her "not fit for duty," or whatever the current phrase is. But we can tell that Susan is more than just on time for an interview, she is walking into a life that has purpose only in that its owner claws that purpose out of the day. Much of his time, he is just "working for the man."

And that isolation, that ugly realization that no one offers anything but for an angle hits home at the end of Chapter Three:

Alan returned to his apartment, exhausted again, and his mind wondering on the discoveries that Brad had made. He started his morning routine of mixing a drink, unloading his gun, and sitting in front of Fox news. He reached into his wallet and pulled out Sergeant Harvey's card, debating on if he should call him with this new found information about the card key or not, but then slid the card back into his wallet. "Damn it, Rube." He said to himself. At that moment his cell phone began to ring. He looked on the screen and it was Rachel. "Well howdy fucking do.", He said as he guzzled his Jack and Coke down, then answered, "Well, hello stranger." "Hi baby, what are you doing tonight." Rachel said in a cheerful voice. "Working." he answered. "That's too bad, I was thinking maybe I could come by for a little while." Alan thought to himself, this woman hasn't seen me in a month, and now all of the sudden wants a booty call? "No Rachel, I don't think that would be a good idea. In fact, I don't think you should call me anymore either." Rachel huffed, then answered, "Well fine, just remember when you're jacking off tonight, you could have had some of this golden pussy." "Baby, that pussy ain't even worth another minute on my phone bill." He hung up the phone and tossed it on the other end of his futon. It began to ring again, yet, Alan just stood up, walked into his bedroom, and slid between his sheets.

This is a world where the ultimate villan by be a rapist, but the relations between men and women are about power and pressure, even when they are supposedly consensual. It isn't the chaos from without that is the ultimate threat, it is the chaos from with in. It is too close, to small a step, to delicate a distance.

Up to this point, the main character is in the wilderness, and has only glimpsed the virgin Mary, the smiling saint that will take him out of this place. But he needs a baptism, and he needs to become we, "the apostles" themselves.

I had a dream the other night, it was a paperback bookrack in a small store. It had on it "The Apostles," "Acts of the Apostles," "Letter to the Corinthian," and "The Book of Revelations."

I don't know what that means, but I hope that we get to seem more of the squares of earth in Jazon's world.

No comments:

Post a Comment