Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Prone Gunman by Jean-Patrick Manchette (City Lights Books 1981)

Martin Terrier had no visible reaction when he grasped that Anne had left for good (if indeed he grasped it). During the night, he had audible reactions: he moaned or maybe groaned in his sleep, making that noise that others had called blabbering and had even tried to decode.

Every now and then, these days, Terrier still blabbers in his sleep. Otherwise, as a waiter in a brasserie, he is normal. He performs his duties properly, even if he is sometimes physically clumsy. It has recently been noted that his clumsiness increases when he drinks. Late at night, young people occasionally have fun buying him drinks until he behaves in an eccentric manner. He has even climbed up on a table and bleated like a sheep, interspersing this with grand operatic arias. Each time he is brought to such extremes, he gets angry and violent immediately afterward. But he is not dangerous, for he has indeed become so very clumsy that when he tries to hit someone, he succeeds only in falling on his face.

He lives in a small apartment.