Tuesday, March 06, 2007

"Open a map...point your finger--maybe that's it"

OK, now that we've got all that childhood reminiscence out of the way, and now that I've had my first official Law School Classmate In Cold Blood Encounter, in which she approached me in the library upon seeing my paperback on the table in front of me and we entered into a discussion about how this isn't really a true crime book ("I realized," she said, "that this is what all those other true crime writers are trying, and failing, to do"), yes, now that all that is done -- can we just talk about how awesome is the landlady of the Las Vegas rooming house?!

She is just fantastic. "Uh-huh. Came all the way from Kansas on a parole case. Well, I'm just a dizzy blonde. I believe you. But I wouldn't tell that tale to any brunettes." -- p. 176 I love it. She's so funny. She also, apparently, misjudged Perry. (Or did she?) She, even though she chugs her beer and gives it some thought, doesn't think whatever they want Perry for can be anything too big. She thought he was a little punk, is all.

So, did Dick corrupt him? Or what? I know, I'm not there yet. Then again, maybe I am. I don't know if we ever get to delve as deeply into Dick as we do into Perry. Also, I found myself impressed, almost like pleased, that the prisoner friend decided to inform. I picture him so vividly, lying there in his cell hearing the news reports, and knowing that the information he handed on to Dick about the Clutter family has in some way led to their deaths. I am aware that snitching is much to the dismay of hooligans everywhere. Alas, part of his fear was that he might be an accessory to the crime. Of course I look at that differently after taking Criminal Law last semester. The difference between knowing about a crime, as opposed to knowledge plus aid and purpose, which is to say, wanting it to succeed, can be a huge difference. Capote points out that the Kansas investigators would have soon made their way to this fellow anyway, as they tracked lead after lead after lead. Well, whatever. I was somehow proud of him. I wonder how it would have turned out differently had he not told?

Like - how would it have changed the encounter with my new favorite character, the skanky rooming house landlady in Vegas?! I think she's eclipsed Mrs. Myrtle Clare the postmistress, at least until we wend our way back to Holcomb and Garden City. But now, in the far western states, we're on our way to go see sister Barbara in California. Dear sister. Dear, dear sister of the not-quite-a-lecture letter.

It would seem that two of the characters in whom I most delight -- Myrtle and Ms Landlady Thang -- are kind of similar. Sassy, tough, middle-aged, seen a lot of shit pass them by in their day, laughed at most of it, remembered some fondly. But where does Perry fit in? Does everyone - or anyone - relate to him, too? Is it just me?

My kick-ass law library has a new thing: law-related feature films that we can check out! The other day, a cart appeared with a selection of DVDs, everything from Inherit the Wind to Erin Brockovich. And, guess what, In Cold Blood is among them. That is so fun! I love the law library. (Remember last semester when I rejoiced as they urged people to chill out for two seconds of their stressbag rising blood pressure legal lives?) I am excited to check out the movie, once I finish reading the book. This week, I checked out Regarding Henry instead. I applaud my law library. It's up there with Torts and the LIRR in contention for the Best Thing About Life Since Coming to Hofstra award. I really just want to go read In Cold Blood instead of, say, all the pages of Contracts and Property I should read for tomorrow...

What--I was supposed to be writing some appellate brief this week? You want me to think about school? With Al Dewey and Perry Smith and Dick Hickock galavanting about the nation variously chasing and escaping each other? And themselves?

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