Thursday, June 17, 2010

Magpie #19

“Whaddya mean, have I ever seen it before? It’s a very common knife, an Opinel. They’re known all over the world.”
“We’re only interested in this one, Frank. And we think you can help us. And maybe we’ll be able to help you.”
“Help me? I don’t need no help. When you don’t do nothin’ wrong, you don’t need help from cops. Why are you so interested in this shiv?”
“Well, it was involved in a little event a couple of days ago. Sort of a homicide. Ever hear of a girl named Jenny Towler?”
“Yeah; heard of her. Seen her around. Why? She in trouble?”
“Worse. She’s dead.”
“So that’s the homicide. I don’t suppose it’s worth pointing out that I had nothin’ to do with it.”
“No, but we think you know who did.”
“Tell me, maybe I seen too much TV, but are you the good cop or the bad cop?”
“Oh, I’m a switch-hitter – good or bad, whatever the situation calls for. Look, let’s cut to the chase. We’re looking for your pal Mac. All we want to do is ask a few questions. You’ll actually be helping him if you let us know where he is because we’ll be able to clear him that much faster.”
“Yeah, sure, I’d bet on that: all you want to do is clear him.”
“And by the way, you know that Meier robbery that’s been in all the papers? We’re pretty sure Mac pulled that off. So there’s a hefty reward if you want to cooperate.”
“I’ll tell you a funny thing about Mac, but maybe you know it already. He does some heavy stuff – why do you think they call him ‘Mac the Knife’? – but no one ever pins anything on him and whenever they question him he knows nothin’ about nothin’. You got your work cut out, man.”
“But you had your disagreements, to say the least, with Mac in the past. This is a chance to get back at him.”
“Take a good look at a shark. He’s got all his teeth right up there in his face. Mac, on the other hand, usually walks around with a knife, like this Opinel, but you’d never see it – until it was too late. So I guess I’ll have to turn down your offer.”
(This is my attempt to use “The Threepenny Opera,” which opened in Berlin in 1928, and especially its famous song “Mack the Knife,” as inspiration for my 19th Magpie tale.)

“Und der Haifish, der hat Zahne
Und die tragt er im Gesicht.
Und Macheath, der hat ein Messer
Doch das Messer sieht man nicht.”
“Oh, the shark has pretty teeth, dear,
And he shows ‘em, pearly white.
Just a jackknife has Macheath, dear,
And he keeps it out of sight.”


Paul C said...

Good cop, bad cop- I'm a switch hitter. Love this tale.

Robert Lloyd said...

“Tell me, maybe I seen too much TV, but are you the good cop or the bad cop?”

I loved where you went with this photo I was hooked till the end and the man was smart to turn them down.

willow said...

Uh-oh. I always pick up the strangest earworms over here! I don't know why, but this one is a most persistent little booger.

Anonymous said...

I can hear Bobby Darin singing as I read this...well done...bkm

Rinkly Rimes said...

Mack the Knife! A good idea for the meme, and the story grips as well.

nana_ang_poppaphil said...

As always a great Magpie. As soon as you mentioned Mac I started singing "Mac the Knife".

Berowne said...

willow "Uh-oh. I always pick up the strangest earworms over here!"
Did anyone else have this problem?

Berowne said...

Robert Lloyd: "I loved where you went with this photo."
And I loved where you went with this comment.
P.S. I don't feel dull, I don't feel hollow,
I found myself on your "Blogs I Follow." :-)

Berowne said...

"As always a great Magpie."
My sincere thanks, Angela.

Derrick said...

I can hear Lotte Lenya now!

Berowne said...

Derrick: "I can hear Lotte Lenya now!"
Her "Pirate Jenny" was unforgettable.

Alexis said...

This is good...seriously, good!!! "Oh, I'm a switch hitter"
Loved that part.
I'da kept my mouth shut too....

Sam Liu said...

Brilliant Magpie Tale, I really admire and enjoy the dialogue in your posts - it is always so natural and striking. Have you ever considered play writing?

Helen said...

Well ... I kept thinking Sandra Dee might make an appearance. Well done, well done!

Berowne said...

Thanx to Alexis, Sam Liu and Helen for some welcome comments.

Carrie Burtt said...

Mac the knife....just love this one! :-)

AngelMay said...

This was a delicious little slice of life. Thoroughly enjoyable!

Yemalla said...

It is so refreshing to read great dialogue between characters. I love your little forays into the psyche! I'll bet you're a people-watcher!

ds said...

So, I'll have Bobby Darin singing in my ear for a while. This was great--you channelled your inner Raymond Chandler, too. Thanks!

Linda said...

Great story. Well done!

Anonymous said...

"There are some who are in darkness
And the others are in light
And you see the ones in brightness
Those in darkness drop from sight" B.Brecht

Great Magpie, the dialogue makes the song immediately begin playing in my head.

RA said...

Very vivid! I highly appreciated your expressions, such as switch-hitter, they made the story tremendously enjoyable.

Berowne said...

"There are some who are in darkness
And the others are in light
And you see the ones in brightness
Those in darkness drop from sight" B.Brecht <<
Or as Bertolt himself used to say:
"Und die einen sind im Dunkeln
Und die anderen sind im Licht.
Doch man sieht nur die im Lichte
Die im Dunklen sieht man nicht."

sheri said...

oh my, berowne, you are the clever one! your magpie is fabulous and regardless of what the coppers said i would be inclined to agree with frank about keeping quiet!
your german is quite it your natural tongue? or, perhaps you have a fraulein who has taught you? hmmm, sounds like a story to me ;)

Lena said...

Entertaining and vibrant! Mac The Knife is a song my father loved and we grew up to love it, too! One of life's true classics...!

Berowne said...

sheri: "Your German is quite it your natural tongue?"
No, I'm just one of those geeks who enjoy languages.

The Bug said...

I always loved Mack the Knife - I think my mom had Bobbie Darin singing it. I enjoyed this story a lot!

Berowne said...

Special thanks to The Bug, Lena, RA, Linda, ds, Yemalla, AgelMay and Carrie Burtt for their friendly comments.

Stafford Ray said...

Great fun connecting the knife with Mac(k). Witty and nostalgic for old TV cops.

Jeanne said...

Mack the Knife was in The Threepenny Opera?

Oh, the things I learn over here!

Madame DeFarge said...

Good combo of Bobby Darren and film noire there. I always like your takes on these meme objects.

Berowne said...

Jeanne: "Mack the Knife was in The Threepenny Opera?"
Where he was known as Mackie Messer.

Tumblewords: said...

Wonderful! I always loved Mackie and all.

kathew said...

too too sharp you clever man! Great take on the photo! and I now have that tune stuck in my head!

Peggy Jo said...

Berowne...I love your stories!!! And, yes... the tune of 'Mac The Knife' is now stuck in my head too.

chiccoreal said...

Dear Berowne: Your characters are always richly embellished with much liveliness and spunk. Also I appreciate your technique of setting the scene, place, etc., through the dialogue. Very masterfully conducted! Mac The Knife reminds me of Jack the Ripper. I will check out the Three Penny Opera presently! You are a font of knowledge. Wonders if TPO part of vaudeville.

Aoife.Troxel said...

Great Magpie. And I'd tend to agree with Frank...If you haven't squealed, there's no need to look for the knife.

Berowne said...

chiccoreal: "Wonders if TPO part of vaudeville."
Let's see, by TPO you must mean Three-Penny Opera -- or maybe Transylvanian Post Office :-) -- but we can certainly say that Brecht used vaudeville methods and techniques in his plays.

Anonymous said...

This is just great. Mac the Knife. TPO makes me want to go back and look it up for sure. Great Maggie as usual.

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