So you can read my books

Monday, December 27, 2010


{"If two people love each other there can be no happy end to it."
— Ernest Hemingway.}

Chandler here. Raymond Chandler. Or rather his ghost.

I started with that quote from Hemingway because it was too damned appropriate not to.

Samuel Clemens and I are tying up the last chapters to the end of Roland's tale.

If you're wondering where Roland is the next few chapters will tell you.

As you've already read he'd been on the run in the Shadowlands, falsely accused of the murder of Hemingway’s ghost.

The same ghost who had been laughing up his sleeve in Roland’s apartment for a week, pontificating on how to write good literature.

Apparently, he forgot how to live a good life or be a good friend.

No, the truth was worse. He was too jealous of how the ghost of Marlene Dietrich felt about Roland. Today, ironically, is Marlene's birthday.

Hemingway had been rubbing his hands in pure joy as the ghosts closed in for revenge and others in the darkness bayed at the kid’s heels,

seeking to tear the secret of how to kill ghosts from him.

Now, where is Hemingway? On his way to Hell if there's any justice. But there isn't.

Word in the Shadowlands is that he is just walking aimlessly into the darkness, his eyes deep holes into nothingness.

I only have the cold comfort that I knocked him on his arrogant ghost-butt. How did a Hollywood hack like me do that? Easy. I cheated.

I surprised him. I walked into Roland's apartment looking clean, neat, and sober, smiling my best "ain't we chums?" smile. Then, I let him have it with the blackjack in my fist.

He went down hard. Not hard enough.

"Good news, boxer," I grunted. "Word in the Shadowlands is that Roland's dead. Died in the arms of Marlene."

His eyes fought to focus. "Is she --"

"Yeah, hero. She's dead, too. Killed by the one who poisoned you. I hope you're --"

I didn't get the chance to finish. The most godawful yowling came from the head of Roland's bed. Then, I saw her -

Gypsy, his cat, all covered in sand. I could have sworn she hadn't been there when I first came in.

Her head was reared back, her eyes full of tears. Hell, his cat was crying. Crying.

And Gypsy howled like her guts were being cut out of her. I can hear it still. It seemed to go on forever.

I pray to God I never hear such a sound again. She stopped abruptly and looked at me with eyes gone sick and insane.

Then she just slowly faded away into the darkness like an old photograph left out too long in the sun. I shivered. And I knew. I knew.

I would never see his cat again.

I turned to Hemingway as he struggled to his feet, and I managed to get out the words. "Roland trusted you."

My grief and anger were battling so inside my heart, it felt as if I was standing outside myself. "You hid in his apartment, knowing he was being blamed for your murder, knowing he was being hunted by things that would make a pit bull puke."

I realized I was literally shaking with my anger. "You could have stopped this. You should have."

He turned hollow eyes to me. "Right on both counts."

And with that he walked out through Roland's door. And I knew something else. I would never see him again either.

So here I am, sitting in the dark at Roland's laptop. What do I write that would express just what the kid meant to me? It's all too fresh. I - I can't.

There are no graves in the Shadowlands. No place where I can lay one black rose. To die there is to disappear utterly both body and spirit. But I have to do something. Something.

I will sit out on Roland's terrace and look out as the night fog slips away from the bordering bayou.

The rains are over. The fields this far south are still green.

And with my ghost eyes I will look out over the vastness of America to the Hollywood Hills and see snow on the high mountains.

The fur stores will be advertising their annual sales. The call houses that specialize in sixteen year-old virgins will be doing a land-office business. In Beverly Hills the jacaranda trees will be slumbering waiting for spring to bloom.

And none of that will matter ... for my friend is dead.

The French have a saying that to say good-bye is to die a little. They are right. I am a ghost, and I thought I was past feeling dead inside. I was wrong.

I think I will always see him driving down lonely roads, sitting in lonely rooms, saddened but never quite defeated.

Down those mean streets he went who was not himself mean, who was neither tarnished nor afraid ... only mortal.


  1. WOW...

    That was an amazing post, Roland. I almost believed you were dead for a moment and that saddened me. What beautiful imagery on the balcony facing the bayou.

    On a lighter note, at least you died in bed with Marlene.
    I hope it was worth it. lol.

    I just dropped over to you for a brief escape. I've been working on my ms all day. I actually managed 1600 words. I'd like to make 2000 before retiring.

    I hope your first day back wasn't too tedious.

    Have a restful evening.


  2. Michael : I am just back from a long on-call in freezing weather. Brrr! Yes, it doesn't look good for my Avatar in the Shadowlands. But to die in the arms of Marlene is something at least! LOL.

  3. Oh, and congrats on the 1600 words, Michael. That is impressive!

  4. I love the line about fading like and old photograph left out in the sun. Such a wonderfully melancholy post...I enjoyed it.

    I DO take exception, however, to your quote about happy endings...or rather, Hemingway's quote.

    As a romance writer...happy endings are my bread and butter! =)
    Edge of Your Seat Romance

  5. Words Crafter : I don't think you'll be disappointed. Life for my avatar gets ... interesting.

    Raquel : Hemingway was rather jaded, having lost his first true love -- I don't think he ever got over that. Have a lovely last week of 2010, Roland