Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Dark Passage by David Goodis (Zebra 1946)

Fellsinger was belly down on the floor, but his face was twisted sideways. His eyes were opened wide, the pupils up high with a lot of white underneath. It was as if he was trying to look back. Either he wanted to see how badly he was hurt or he wanted to see who was banging on his skull with the trumpet. His mouth was halfway open and the tip of his tongue flapped over the side of his mouth.

Without sound, Parry said, "Hello, George."

Without sound, Fellsinger said, "Hello, Vince."

"Are you dead, George?"

"Yes, I'm dead."

"Why are you dead, George?"

"I can't tell you, Vince. I wish I could tell you but I can't."

"Who did it, George?"

"I can't tell you, Vince. Look at me. Look what happened to me. Isn't it awful?"

"George, I didn't do it. You know that."

"Of course, Vince. Of course you didn't do it."

"George, you don't really believe I did it."

"I know you didn't do it."

"I wasn't here, George. I couldn't have done it. Why would I want to kill you, George? You were my friend."

"Yes, Vince. I was your friend."

"George, you were my best friend. You were always a real friend."

"You were my only friend, Vince. My only friend."

"I know that, George. And I know I didn't kill you. I know it I know it I know it I know it I know it."

"Don't carry on like that, Vince."

"George, you're not really dead, are you?"

"Yes, Vince. I'm dead. And it's real, Vince, it's real. I'm really dead. I never thought I'd be important. But now I'm very important. They'll have me in all the papers."

"They'll say I killed you."

"Yes, Vince. That's what they'll say."

"But I didn't do it, George."

"I know, Vince. I know you didn't do it. I know who did it but I can't tell you because I'm dead."

"George, can I do anything for you?"

"No. You can't do a thing for me. I'm dead. Your friend George Fellsinger is dead."

"George, who do you think did it?"

"I tell you I know who did it. But I can't say."

"Give me a hint. Give me an idea."

"Vince, I can't give you anything. I'm dead."

"Maybe if I look around I'll find something."

"Don't do that, Vince. Don't move from where you are now. If you step in the blood you're going to make footprints."

"Footprints won't make any difference one way or another. As soon as they find you here they'll say I did it."

"Yes, Vince. That's what they'll say. You can't do anything about that. But if you give them footprints you'll be throwing everything away. What I mean is, if they have the footprints they'll have more than a conclusion. They'll have you, because they have means of tracing footprints, tracing right through to the store where the shoes were bought. When they get that they'll get her. And if they get her they'll get you, because you can't operate without her."

"George, I can't go back to her."

"What do you mean, you can't go back? You've got to go back. You can't go anyplace else. Where else could you go?"

"I don't know, George. I don't know. But I can't go back to her."

"Jesus Christ."

"I can't help it, George. I can't go back to her. I can't bring her back into it now."

"But she wants to help you, Vince."

"Why, George? How do you make it out? Why does she want to help me?"

"She feels sorry for you."

"There's more to it than that. There's much more. What is it?"

"I don't know, Vince."

"I can't go back to her."

1 comment:

Darren said...

Sorry for the long excerpt. Trust me, I wanted to make it longer. Absolutely wonderful novel by a brilliant writer and it's a bugger to find any cheap copies of his books.