Forwarded from www.mjmelneck.com--Not All Are Dated--Sorry For the Migration Hiccup

January 08, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Noisier and Dirtier

In an unprecedented and savage attack on all Democrats, the Republican party has en masse accused Democrats of conspiring to make Donald Trump the 2016 Republican Presidential nominee. "There is a clear and present danger," one old white haired wise man said, "in foisting the world's leading fatuous blabbermouth off on the American people." "Once the thinking population come to their senses as election day approaches, it will be clear that money like the Koch brothers' has a snowball's chance in hell of making any candidate the President. Why, Trump has his own money and his candidacy will force the GOP to consider returning to the dignified days of old. It's just not fair! The country will have never seen such a landslide--the elephant cartel is doomed!"

 

Bill Harrison

We lost Bill Harrison a year ago today, October 22nd. He was first my teacher, then my mentor, and from the first day, my friend. The world is far smaller without him. I wrote this piece for his memorial service:

 

Fayetteville, December 15, 2013

I drove into Fayetteville on Labor Day weekend, 1969, in a 1956 Ford Crown Victoria that I’d bought from Jim Crumley for $325 that I didn’t have. Pretty much everything I owned fit in the car, including a wad of bad poetry and a couple of mediocre short stories. I had that, and a dog in Montana. Bill had Merlee, three kids, two golden retrievers, The Theologian and In a Wild Sanctuary.

The workshops began, and the first thing I learned from Bill was that there are only eight colors in the Crayola box, “And f*%$#ng ‘burnt sienna’ isn’t one of them,” he said one afternoon. I don’t remember who tried to use that color; I was just glad it wasn’t me. We were “allowed” two adjectives per 50 pages. Nouns and verbs, verbs and nouns. “Understatement is the particularization of art.” The workshops went on; we newbies took and taught Faulkner Grammar, staying only a couple of pages ahead of the students. At a gathering one night Paul Williams’ wife complained to Bill that Paul wanted to write 15 hours a week. Bill looked her in the eye and said, “Dina, I erase 15 hours a week.”

My assistantship paid $144 a month, and September’s $75 rent degraded to my 1/4th part of a cinderblock hovel down the hill from the student union--$30. I was miserable, took Incompletes, and drove back to Montana, never looking in the rear view mirror because I knew too well what I’d left behind.

Bill published Lessons in Paradise in ‘71, the Rollerball book of stories in ’75, and in the summer of ‘76 I got married while Bill published Africana. The first paragraphs of that novel are still, to me, one of the greatest “Oh, shit, here it comes” openings I’ve ever known. I fell in love with Val too, but of course she was too beautiful for ordinary men. I had a finished manuscript of my own Old Music, though it would take three agents and 20+ years to get it published. I sent Bill 50 or so pages and he invited Pat and me to come back to finish my MFA. Hello, Fayetteville, 1978. Make up the Incompletes, teach, write, adopt three Special Needs kids, and watch Bill put out Savannah Blue, then Burton and Speke. In the midst of that came A Shining Season, for which he won a prize. I took the MFA in two years, got a three-year no-tenure teaching gig, and went to work for President Martin. Bill was writing Three Hunters.

I did this; Bill published The Buddha in Malibu. I did that; Bill gave us The Blood Latitudes. I had a “necktie life.” Bill gave us Texas Heat, and Black August, the Rollerball and Mountains of the Moon scripts.

You’ll notice that the constant in my past 44 years—isn’t me. It’s Bill Harrison. The writer. The guy who got it done. Again and again. He told us one day, in a workshop that hadn’t gone all that well, “You people don’t want to write—you want to have written.” The gap is something like the distance between the near side of this Universe, and the far side of another one. Bill knew the gap like none of us could, then or perhaps now.

Bill made me—makes me—a better writer, more by inspiration than by instruction. And if there’s a better self somewhere inside me, Bill has made me aware of it and leaves me a great deal to strive toward. Our visits grew farther apart, as did our phone calls, but I’ve known no stronger bond.

Bill Harrison changed me, quite for the better. And if he hasn’t changed you, you aren’t paying attention. Bill’s beacon will shine for me all of my own days, and if I can pay it forward as he did so beautifully, long past my time. Because of him I am blessed far beyond my deserving.

Rest easy, Bill—you are much loved.

 

Mike Melneck

MFA ‘80

 

Apple and I Are Getting A Divorce

I spent years as the world's most obnoxious Apple hater--back in the day when the "busy signal" on the screen, meaning some process was in progress, was the Mario Brothers goobering their way back and forth, back and forth. This was in the heyday of "Donkey Kong" and "Pac Man," making me about the same age as Noah. It got worse when my wife worked in education and her team had those translucent, egg-shaped Macs, one or more of which failed for some undiagnosable reason at least twice a week. I drove half-way across Denver to fix loose cables, reboot printers, adjust monitors...I'm not a techie by any stretch, but I do have a chromosome for serendipitous luck. Then the white iMac came along and my life changed. Years later I actually banged on a black MacBook for six years, and never had it hiccup--not once.

But things change in Cupertino, and today I decided I've had enough. My take is that Steve Jobs, for all the good he and Apple have brought the world, had the notion that if he did it, that's all you needed and his way was how you needed it. What he did and how he did it are etched in stone. 14 months ago I bought a MacBook Air, partly to avoid the many-pound laptop luggable I use at work (there is essentially zero compatibility between the OS X and Windows 7 Enterprise platforms), and partly to cure my lust for an iPad. Well, the MacBook has been to the Apple hospital in Houston four times in six months (I'm going to buy FedEx stock tomorrow) and Apple won't replace it. They keep putting in new parts: memory, video cables, wifi card...the list goes on, but the MacBook continues to exhibit eccentric quirks I don't need to live with. All the Apple techs have graduated from charm school--they're professional, polite, and eternally sorry for my troubles. I learned a few days ago that the acceptable failure rate on certain Apple products is now in the 15% sphere, where it was less than 5% not that long ago. The culprit seems to be their decision to buy cheaper parts. But there's more than that. Apple Mail is possibly the weakest email client in The Local Group, that cluster of a few billion galaxies to which the Milky Way belongs, and few of us get by without email these days. I've asked Apple for nearly 10 years to simply integrate a "Block Sender" button or tab, thereby to get rid of the junk mail that gets thicker by the day. But, NO! You have to write a rule...a new one for each new iteration of some sports betting scam or other piece of bait intent only on sucking the life out of your wallet. Don't get me started about their junk mail filter--a placebo if ever there was one. And good luck should the day come when you want to move the contents of your iPhoto or iTunes library to a PC.

Then there's the iPhone, that ubiquitous contraption where you can actually find people watching football games on a three inch screen while they stand in line at Verizon, AT&T or wherever, waiting for an undertrained "Support Specialist" to help them figure out what won't or can't work. First, Siri is an idiot. Case in point--we recently went to a family wedding near Spokane, Washington. The combo bachelor/bachelorette picnic was in a park near downtown, and we stayed at a nice resort hotel a few miles away. On the way to the picnic I said to Siri, "Directions to Manito Park." Siri said, "I found 12 parking lots for you in Spokane, Washington." I tried to get her attention thus: "Manito Park! Manito Park!" Luckily, my brother-in-law was driving, else we should have driven straight up a tree. Siri, ever wishing to please, calmly replied, "I found 15 parking lots for you in Spokane, Washington." I of course thought of Hal, the evil computer in "2001: A Space Odyssy--'I can't do that, Dave,' in a voice softer than a mouse's ear." Blessed are such feeble minded contrivances, for their stock price shall forever rise, no matter what. If you want music for your ringtone, getting it from a track you bought at iTunes is not much of a trick--but God forbid if you want music you loaded from your own CD collection--best you should become a neurosurgeon--it's easier and takes less time. Bitch #3, and the deal breaker between the iPhone and me--every upgrade of any kind (I have no more than three apps on my phone) kills my office calendar and email and I have to reconnect. Every time.

Such angst is beyond my capacity. I have a good friend whom I respect and admire for his many gifts and skills. He is in the "Apple can do no wrong camp," from which I am escaping as we speak.

 

What Ever Happened to Salted-in-the-shell Peanuts?

            Once upon a time, I sold salted-in-the-shell peanuts at American Legion baseball games in Miles City, Montana. My first dive into entrepreneurship lasted several summers during my fifth through eighth grade stint at Sacred Heart School. I played Little League ball in the daytime, and the Legion games were at night.

            A bag of Circus Peanuts—good sized—cost a quarter, and I got to keep a dime. If the stands were packed, as they might be for a game against Glendive, I could make five or more dollars, a dime at a time. You had to work the stands, find parents with kids, or find the town elders who clustered near the top of the stands and blathered among themselves more than they watched the game. “Not as fast as Billy Post,” one might say, to be answered by “Got a better arm than that weenie from Forsyth, though.”

             Baseball was life in Miles City, Montana. The essence of culture. The core of civilization. I sold peanuts for a quarter, and kept a dime.

The trigger for this brief meander down Nostalgia Lane is an article in the USA Weekend insert in the Sunday Denver Post, March 23rd, 2014, 60+ years after my introduction to sales.

             At Miller Park in Milwaukee you might challenge your arteries with “The Beast,” a hot dog, inside a brat, wrapped in bacon, in a pretzel roll. It costs $9.00. It’s unlikely these things are sold out in the stands.

             I’ll argue that the best food in Kansas City is the BBQ at Arthur Bryant’s—the original location way, way downtown. But at Kauffman Stadium you can buy…for $10.50!...the Cheesy Corn Brisket-acho. Here you go: tortilla chips, smothered with brisket, cheesy corn, baked beans, coleslaw and BBQ sauce. No doubt the price includes a beach towel sized bib and a side order of Alka Seltzer.

            Then there’s the seemingly simple grilled crab sandwich at AT&T Park in San Francisco. Simple—and from the picture, as big as a volleyball. Oh. It costs $16.00!

             There are more—Boog’s BBQ in Baltimore, Garlic Fries (a serving for the 3rd Battalion) in Arlington, Texas, the Fried Chicken Sandwich at Citi Field in New York, a Meatball Parm Sandwich (family sized, by the picture) at Yankee Stadium, the Half Smoke (a sausage the size of my forearm) in Washington--I have to think that, standing near the concession stand, you’d miss a good two innings eating any one of these things.

            In Miles City, Montana I sold salted-in-the-shell peanuts for a quarter, and kept a dime.

 

Friday, 2/28/14, Main Street, Grand Junction, Colorado, Mid-day.

I'm at a trade show with colleagues, and it's my turn to break for lunch. I find a retro 50s diner, the Main Street Cafe, where the music is poignant, the waitstaff are in full period regalia, and the Reuben sandwich is so big I leave with half of it in a go-box.

But it's on the way back to the Expo hall that the day takes on a special air. Sauntering along the sidewalk in front of me is a nattily dressed older man, steadied at the elbow by a younger woman I take to be his daughter. He wears a freshly pressed (you can tell) suit, and a bowler hat. As they turn to look into a shop window, I notice his crisp white shirt and bow tie. I assess his age at 90+ and smile at his clear, happy eyes. And here's where this brief interlude makes my day. His suit pants are just so slightly too short, and he's not wearing socks. Beautiful.

 

Pick Your Poison, Please

First there was the cyanide in the apple seeds, and if you ate four bushels a day for 30 years to get an equivalent dosage you might get the cancer the lab people found in the rats. Then there was a diet “candy” called Ayds. They were about the size of little caramel cubes, and if you ate 15 or so pounds a day to get an equivalent dosage—my mother gorged on them--for decades, you might get the cancer the lab people found in the rats. Heaven forbid we should learn that lab rats are genetically predisposed to get cancer, without any help.

Quantum leap here—to the early 21st Century. We’re told that corn isn’t corn any more, that it’s been so adulterated with yield-enhancing chemicals that it should glow in the dark. That about 80% of the corn grown in Nebraska becomes cattle feed means the beef most can’t live without is also a science project. Never mind how much water it takes to grow two ears per stalk—that’s another rant. Then there’s what used to be wheat. Once upon a time wheat grew in fields that knew no chemicals, and sprang up given enough rain and sun in time for harvest. Flour got milled, bread got made, and no one knew what diabetes meant. Today I’ll bet you can grow wheat in a vacuum on the back side of the moon. “Whole grain?” Don’t even go there.

We play a cyclic heaven-hell game with our food, ostensibly to sell more magazines and diet cook books. Eggs are bad, no, eggs are good. Only organic milk is good, or is it only skim milk is good? Buy tomatoes in a glass jar, not a can. Skin all vegetables—after you wash them. Wash your hands after you peel a banana. Give your potatoes to a surgeon to scrub the way he or she “scrubs in” for a procedure. Don’t eat anything white.

The latest culprit lurking to kill us early—is gluten. So no wheat, barley…peanut butter, bbq sauce, shampoo…hiding from gluten is like hiding from Santa. Gluten sees all, knows all. Gluten will find you and give you Celiac Disease, or stomach cramps, diarrhea, blurred vision and a lethal craving for Queen Anne cherries. Gluten seems to be a legitimate threat to many people’s health and I have great compassion for them, but that’s not the point.

Too much broccoli will make your hair fall out. Velveeta should only be available by prescription. Dark chocolate is good, but in weekly amounts that can only be seen under an electron microscope.

As soon as I learn that white bread will end cancer, improve gas mileage, bring peace to all nations and save us from eternal damnation--and find the equivalent dosage, I’m going to stop reading.

 

I Love George Will

I am neither Liberal nor Conservative, being very comfortable as a Kindly Curmudgeon, registered to vote as an Obnoxious Independent, where such is allowed (still waiting). But I love George Will. Firmly stanced in the Conservative column, George brings more common sense and dignified opinions to the page than anyone I know. Brief digression: the last dignified Conservative in my [feeble] memory is Elliot Richardson (d. 1999) who, you may remember, essentially told President Nixon to crawl off and die when Nixon demanded that he (as Attorney General) fire Archibald Cox because the fire under the Watergate debacle was getting too hot. Richardson resigned rather than fire Cox, as did his successor, William Ruckelshaus.

Back to George Will. George and his son Jon (there are other children) are baseball nuts after my own heart. Enough of all that. In his column yesterday (Jan 6, 2013), Will wrote about how Immigration established a taproot (my take) in the U.S. with The Homestead Act, and mentioned the national monument and grounds just outside of Beatrice (he didn't note that Beatrice is in Nebraska). But the line that got me--one or another usually does--was his stating that two United States Institutions should never be subject to budget cuts "for all eternity" and those Institutions are the National Park Service and the U.S. Marine Band. It's his adding the band that is ever so slightly off center, but it points to wit, which he has in abundance, to the impoverishment of most of the rest of the Conservative camp. You go, George!

 

Livingston, Montana. Christmas. 4th Grade.

My father managed the F.W. Woolworth store (51 years worth overall), and to make more money we kept moving to towns that had bigger Woolworth stores. What my father got out of all that was four hernia operations, high blood pressure, diabetes and the three-pack-a-day habit that killed him at 64. Oh--and four kids, I have three younger sisters…more to come…

 

The Cardboard is Out

The cardboard is out. The homeless, the panhandlers, the scammers--they stand on corners and at the edges of parking lots and freeway onramps. Nearly every one of them has a dog. Nearly every one of them dresses in layers. Translation: they're wearing everything they own. They sit on sleeping bags, duffel bags, boxes. There might be a bicycle. Each needs a shower. Stringy hair, scruffy beards. Hands that have known work hold the cardboard. "Just need a little help. God bless." "Trying to get home. Thank you." "Have three kids. Need help." "Homeless Vet. God loves you." "Just a little food. Blessings." "John 3:16." If you're stuck at a light they'll stare you down, then drop their head as you pull away. Their eyes are far back. Glazed over, yet dull. Despair can't see very far. The fingers rub the signs. The worn, help-me signs. It's Spring in Montana, and the cardboard is out.

 

The Old Saloon

Emigrant, Montana sits in the Paradise Valley, about half way between Livingston and Gardner. There's really nothing there except an everything called The Old Saloon. The fishing shop and cafe don't count. At the Old Saloon the omelets are as big as footballs and if you can eat an entire cinnamon roll they'll have to take you out in a wheelbarrow. The beer is near freezing and nine different rums line the backbar. Rum seems a bit out of place, but that's the kind of place it is. The pool table still leans to the southwest after 40+ years. I borrowed the bar and "moved" it about 200 miles to a spot between Great Falls and Helena on the Missouri River in my first novel, OLD MUSIC. It's dark, usually crowded, and the ATM and video machines are SO out of place. Is nothing sacred any more? The Yellowstone River jumps out of Yellowstone Park at Gardner, and just north is about a three mile stretch called Yankee Jim Canyon. "Yankee Jim" refers to a grizzled old prospector and legendary bullshit artist named James George, who claimed ownership of a toll road into the park. He charged wagon and horse fees and when the railroad sucked up everything in its path, including the road, he sued. He lost. Anyway, for a few short weeks in late spring, if there's been a good enough winter snow in the mountains above, Yankee Jim Canyon is home to a great stretch of legitimate Class IV whitewater. Run it till you nearly drop, then drive north to the Old Saloon, lick your wounds, create your tall tales for the day, and take some of the weight out of the beer coolers. Leave the Old Saloon and cross Hwy 89 on the East River Road. It leads past Chico Hot Springs, where the owners dedicated an entire wing to the memory of their friend, the actor Warren Oates. Well worth the trip in itself. Great articles, movie stills and other photos of Warren, friends and family. The East River Road meanders north past the ranch Dennis Quaid wants to sell for a mere $14.2M, and past the little road that leads back into the woods to Peter and Becky Fonda's home. Marian Hjortsberg, William's ex-wife, lives across the road a bit farther up--she is elegant and engaging; I met her one summer morning when Beef Torrey and I did the breakfast thing at the Old Saloon. Beef drives up every summer from Crete, Nebraska, to see his friends Tom McGuane and Jim Harrison. The Paradise Valley is a very heady area (McGuane lives near McLeod these days). This is the location for the filming of "Rancho Deluxe," as fine a "Montana" film as was ever made. The East River Road wanders past homes that can be all glass on the sides that look at the mountains. An amazing 1/2 hour or so ride past an eclectic little "resort" at Pine Creek--the store has one each of everything ever made and if they don't have it you don't need it. The road finally butts back into Hwy 89 and you turn north back to Livingston, an entirely other reality, home to Dan Bailey's Fly Shop and, once, Russell Chatham's gallery. So yesterday was St. Patrick's Day, 2012, and Pat, Molly 1.0 (the world's most spoiled rotten dog) and I stuffed my Nikons and Pat’s Canon into the car, and went to breakfast. Nothing green in sight except the trash barrel, the screen door frame, and the Explorer that was in the way. Sorry 'bout that. Richard Hugo wrote of another place, "You might come here Sunday on a whim..." in his great poem, "Degrees of Grey in Phillipsburg." The Old Saloon, whether you go there on a whim or not, is part of our collective soul. Enjoy.

 

I Have Failed As a Wino

Lord knows I tried. Red wine is supposed to be good for you. Antioxidants and all that. So my latest attempt included testing (not all at once...) a Merlot, a Malbec, a Siraz (sp?), a Cab...and a couple of whites that tasted suspiciously like kerosene or the dragster fuel we used to mix out of grain alcohol and nitromethane. No, I haven't tasted kerosene or dragster fuel--just have this metaphysical connection from yon times of yore. Anyway...except for one of the Malbecs (this was several labels of each variety over the past three or four months)--it all tastes the same. Admitting that my palate may be made of some ceramic byproduct, I nevertheless surrender. I'm going back to beer.

 

I Don’t Get It

My youngest sister's son and daughter-in-law lost their baby about 3AM this morning--in the delivery room. This 6-pounder, one Joseph Patrick Kiel III, seemed to enter earth and heaven simultaneously. He strangled on the umbilical chord as he came out. Everything had been fine with mother and child for nine months.

So. If, and I mean <strong>IF</strong>, we could understand God, would we like what we'd learned? Feedback, please, because I don't get it.

 

A Line to Live By, Courtesy of Kingsland, TX

My favorite philosopher is Bertrand Russell. A bit of a curmudgeon, but the first volume of his autobiography is a book I read every few years. Cleanest prose I've ever known. So I thought of a line of his after a very recent inquiry. Russell once said, "Every man has a price, and it will be a damned lucky fellow who should have died without having learned what it was." I haven't heard my price and certainly hope not to--just thought of the line when a little breeze blew up from Texas.

 

My Favorite Darwin Award

This moron discovered that his truck radio didn't work because of a blown fuse. He didn't have a fuse, but had in his possession a .22 long hollow point round--which he wedged into the space reserved for the fuse. Viola! The radio worked...but when the bullet got hot, it went off--he shot himself in the groin and bled to death trying to drive to a hospital. Stupid costs extra!

 

“Official” This and That

My God! There's an "official" this or that for every breath we take. The Official Beer of the '98 Ford F150 Pickup. The Official Handcream of Steelworkers Local #448. The Official...you get it.</p><p>I hereby therefore propose, with all respect and empathy for those affected, that Gorilla Glue be the Official Denture Adhesive of AARP.</p><p>Wears you out, doesn't it?

 

The U-Haul Trip From Hell

It began innocently enough, as such things do. Then...first I left the big door open when we pulled away from the motel, and "stuff" fell out on the road. Hey--could happen to anybody.

But at a nice man's motel in Ogallala the next morning, the nice man said, "Oh, there's plenty of room to turn that thing around--just pull under the portico." That "thing," was our 26' truck towing our Buick. There wasn't quite "plenty" enough and I scrapped a bit of brick off the corner of the building. Cosmetic to be sure, but it bent the fender on the tow dolly and that cost us 2-1/2 hours waiting for U-Haul to send a guy with a spud bar to take about 45 seconds to pry the finder away from the tire...and off we went toward Montana. Then the real fun began.

About 20 miles short of Casper, Wyoming, the left inside dual shredded--tire all over the freeway! The fun part was the seven!!!! hours it took U-Haul to fix it because, first, they sent the tire guy off in the wrong direction, and when he finally showed up, U-Haul had ordered the wrong tire. The tire guy, who was otherwise a good man, invented some new profanity strings, and we wound up in a Casper hotel overnight--at this point about 11 hours behind schedule in a 16 hour trip.

My favorite call to U-Haul went something like this: Me: You said three hours--they've come and gone. Where's the tire guy? U-Haul: He's on his way--he's at exit 25. Me: Lady--do you realize that Exit 25 is about 140 miles from here? I'm at exit 165! U-Haul: I'll call him back...U-Haul: He's on his way, he's about 30 minutes away. Me: Thank you, U-Haul lady.

The tire guy was supposed to call us when he was 30 minutes away so we could meet him. No call. When we got back to the truck he was already there, loud and profane over the wrong direction and wrong tire. No one told him to call.

When we finally got to Bozeman, late Sunday afternoon instead of early Saturday morning, the realtor hadn't held our house, so our stuff sat in the U-Haul truck for two extra weeks. U-Haul did pay for the hotel and dinner, and gave us some extra days...when the smoke cleared they owed us $.61! Sixty-one cents. Like that made everything OK.

I leave you by introducing myself as U-Haul's new ad agency. We'll see how they like it.

 

…Time Out

Have just endured the worst haircut in the entire universal history of the tonsorial arts. Told Pat to just drop me off at the Army recruiter. Six months and I'll be back to my shaggy self; in the meantime it's more buzz on one side and Freddy Kruger (sp?) slasher job on the other. Will wear a bag on my head for weeks (some think that's a good idea in any case).

Onward, ever onward. Will get back to the U-Haul trip from Hell as soon as we get truly planted.

 

At the “Find It” Cafe

In the meantime...two mornings at IH0P amount to two more than anyone should have to bear. Our temporary host, Lee, suggested three good breakfast spots in Bozeman, and we found the Stockyard Cafe. Two tables and maybe 22 stools. It's open Fri, Sat and Sun from early till 1 (2 w/ lunch on Fri). Indescribable until you go there to see for yourself. The ad in the phone book just says "Find It." It's really the Stockyard Cafe, and it's one of those greasy spoons you go to when you've been out all night and the night didn't go all that well. Rules on the back of the menu include nuggets like, "Save your fork," "If you have a spoon you don't need a fork," "Stir your coffee w/ your fork," "Don't ask for ice--we don't have any," and, my favorite so far, "Leave when you're done."

The menu is eclectic, one chef wears a do-rag, nearly everyone has facial hair (not the women), and we sang Happy Birthday to a complete stranger, who left when Kristin (I think) told him and his two friends they'd been babbling long enough and she needed to turn the stools. Perfect. You don't need a tetanus shot, but you do need a right attitude. We'll go back.

 

Hollywood Thinks We’re Stupid

We've watched a few of the "Castle" episodes over the past two years--last night's season premier was a stinker. If you're older than any dirt, most, perhaps, you'll remember that Alfred Hitchcock hated continuity editors, married his then fired her. She could get a job on "Castle." Becket, you see, took a sniper round in the chest at Montgomery's funeral. Much hubub in the operating room where they trach'd her and cracked her chest. That she went back to work in something like three months is OK, but she wore some open neck blouses--NO SCARS! And not a line of dialogue about reconstructive work to hid them. Oh--and the round from that sniper's rifle would have left an exit wound big enough to stick you fist in, and would have likely taken out the next two people standing behind her. Hitchcock would have been proud.

 

 


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