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11:57 am: Another Snippet of Operation Renfield!

From Operation Renfield 

by Steven Johnson,

Chapter One: King In the Morning

keep of glass

A different book by Steven G. Johnson here.

“You are Sergeant First Class Murphy?” said a healthy specimen in spatter-camouflaged overalls. He carried a machine rifle and had a bunch of little boxes slung over his back – tin can, leather box, some long skinny cartridge cases, and something that looked like a giant stick grenade. He had a knife in his left hand, which he was using to sharpen a big stick.

“Martin Brenner,” he said. “I am to guide you into Hassberg.”

I pointed to the lightning bolts on his collar.

“You Weather Corps? What are you doing running around in the woods?”

“Nein. The letters are SS.”

I saw it now. Felt kinda stupid. But Martin was explaining:

“It means … protection squadron, you would say. We started as bodyguards for our leader.”

“But you ain’t any more?” David asked.

“Nein. He died.”

“So, uh, what do you do now?” I asked.

He grinned. “We make sure his escort to Hell is as crowded as possible.”

David exploded.

“Hey, watch with the language, buddy! You know what you’re doing, cursing the guy’s name like that?”

“Oh, he knows. We are all going there. But we will have many, many servants when we arrive.”

David couldn’t let it go.

“So when you kill a guy, he has to work for you in the afterlife?” he asked. “You better be right. What if it turns out you owe him, instead of him owing you?”

“Then Hell will be unpleasant,” he said after a moment of thought. “And so?”

“That’s what my uncle used to say.” Dave was off and rolling. “If you’re going to be punished anyway, why not give in to temptation? What can they do, hang you twice? You see where that leads, Marty? Once you slip, just once, you might as well be the worst son of a bulldog anybody ever saw, you follow me? Thinking like that leads to a whole world of psychos.”

“But if you are damned, Corporal, and you know it? What then?”

“Hey, there’s always hope,” David said.

“That is not your people’s view,” Martin said. “Perhaps you do not agree with them?”

“Jews?”

“Dwarves.”

“What, like your grave has to be on granite? Like slate is bad luck? Like you gotta braid copper into your beard with your left hand, but if you do it with your right hand, you gotta eat a peck of coal to wash away the taboo? Who can even keep track of what the dirt farmers believe, back in the Old Country? My opa came over to Brooklyn to get away from all that.”

“But you are ‘back in the Old Country’ now,” Martin pointed out. “You do not share your kinsmen’s views?”

“Hey, buddy, look at the patch,” David said, jabbing his shoulder at him. “I’m an American, got that? Everything else is just ancient history.”

“You do not like the old things, then?”

David smiled tightly.

“You could sum it up that way, yeah.”

Martin smiled back and resumed sharpening his stake.

“Good. For I do not like the old things either.”

Comments

 

Originally posted to Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)

Comments

From:Katie Cross
Date:December 10th, 2014 04:53 pm (UTC)

Reality

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The reality is that even those small moments of grace, as fast as they can be, and as redeeming as they usually are in the moments of blackness, can add a depth and new "reality" to the story that would make it better.

There will be some that say that in their moments of despair and darkness there is no grace. Perhaps that may be. But often when I thought there was no light, or would never be again, I can look back now and see that I just didn't let myself recognize them.

Awesome, awesome post.
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From:arhyalon
Date:December 10th, 2014 04:59 pm (UTC)

Re: Reality

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Thanks!

The angel photo above is one I took last weekend at another funeral...that again reminded me of this same truth.

I think you are entirely right about us not always recognizing the light until we look back.
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From:juliet_winters
Date:December 10th, 2014 06:47 pm (UTC)

The Angel of Marye's Heights

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That was the nickname given a young soldier who broke out from his side during the breaks at the Battle of Fredericksburg to give water to the grievously wounded enemy soldiers as well as friendly ones.
The next time you are in town, we shall have to visit it:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Rowland_Kirkland
From:April Freeman
Date:December 11th, 2014 06:05 pm (UTC)
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Short and sweet, brilliant Mrs Wright.
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From:arhyalon
Date:December 11th, 2014 06:39 pm (UTC)
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That's not me, April! That's Steve Johnson...moderator of the Hard Magic game.
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From:Sarah Pierzchala
Date:December 14th, 2014 01:10 am (UTC)

Reality of Grace

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I think you've done a good job of encapsulating the problem with type of fiction. One of the things I've noticed in reading Near Death accounts is how frequently victims of accidents or violent deaths (however temporary), are instantly comforted and at peace DURING the suffering experience. Not always, of course, but enough that now when I'm watching a death scene during a movie I'll think, 'well, this is right about where'd he see the tunnel of light or his guardian angel or grandmother, etc.'

Which makes movies or stories that DON'T account for this level of reality ironically less realistic to me. Of course, fiction that goes all gooey and preachy in the other direct isn't particularly good, either...!
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From:arhyalon
Date:December 14th, 2014 02:47 am (UTC)

Re: Reality of Grace

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Well put and I really like your point.
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From:persephone_kore
Date:February 6th, 2015 05:40 pm (UTC)
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Please excuse me, but I just read Keep of Glass last night and, while I enjoyed it, I have one comment that I would prefer to send privately rather than announce to all and sundry in the Amazon review. Would it be intrusive to ask if there is any public contact information?
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From:arhyalon
Date:February 6th, 2015 06:02 pm (UTC)
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Send to Steve, you mean?

You can send it to me, and I'll forward it, if you like.

You can reach me at gmail. User name: arhyalon.

Does that help?
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From:persephone_kore
Date:February 6th, 2015 07:59 pm (UTC)
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Thank you!
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