Max the cutthroat

Maxence had once been a cutthroat but murdering was long behind him. Now, at 78, he was a bellman at the Marbol Hotel.

He was sitting on this dark night, 2 a.m., at the hotel bar sipping a Guinness Stout and talking to Bo the barman. Maxence’s shift had just ended, and big black LeRoy had taken over the baggage cart till 10 in the morning.

Maxence always ended his nights at the Marbol bar. Nobody was waiting at home. It was ever the same. He would talk to Bo a bit, and he would ponder the past even more. Maxence had been born in France — Sant-Amant, a small town south of Paris — and had been a mercenary man.

First, it was the Legion. Later, he freelanced.

After the second Guinness, perhaps even sooner, his thoughts always turned to Chloë Jomo-Gbomo, his long-gone lover from Sierra Leone who had been killed by a berserk jitney bus driven by a Mende man high on ganja along the main avenue of Freetown.

Maxence later killed that Mende man out of pure fury, but he didn’t feel any better for it because Chloë was still dead and gone. He cried and cried.

Maxence liked Guinness Stout because it was dark and savory like the women of the African men he murdered which was how he met Chloë Jomo-Gbomo.

Chloë’s man at that time had missed Maxence’s Jeep with a bazooka shell during a dustup in the Congo. Maxence’s aim was better with his .45.

Chloë dashed out of a nearby hut and kicked her man’s dead body and spit on it. Maxence knew right away there had been no love there, and Chloë was very beautiful. He immediately made her his own, and she was happy with that.

__________

The two of them fled the Congo together and moved to Freetown where they lived six years in a third-floor walk-up. Chloë found work plaiting hair while Maxence drank blazing café and smoked Gauloises.

a0a97920-1af1-012d-b949-0050569428b1Nights were spent naked and sweaty under the ceiling fan.

Maxence drank Castle Lager in those days because Guinness Stout was not sold in Freetown. It didn’t matter, he thought, because he already had something dark and delicious with Chloë Jomo-Gbomo.

On Chloë’s free day they often picknicked at Siaka Stevens Park where they would spread a blanket under the African sun shaded by a cercropia tree.

They drank Castle and ate cans of cashews. And sandwiches.

He would rub her silky bare legs beneath the skirt of kuba cloth, and she would caress the scar on his cheek.

Our spirits call you ghosts, she said one day, white and unsolid. But the scar is a good thing because it proves you’re a protective man.

He fell deeply in love for the first time in his brutal life.

And then she was dead on the main drag of Freetown as the jitney driver tried to escape, but a jitney jammed with passengers makes a lousy getaway vehicle.

She had only stepped out for a pack of Gauloises.

__________

Maxence wandered some years through Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean picking up piecemeal murders till one day he realized he was too old for that game. He retired to hotels, luggage and tips.

The Marbol was a good gig, and he intended to stay as long as they’d let him.

Later, he would kill himself. He knew the ropes.

Another Guinness, Bo. 

Coming up, Max.

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(The above is an excerpt from the longest and strangest thing I’ve ever written, The Old Marbol — Skullduggery in Dark City and Beyond, which was published hereabouts perhaps a decade ago. I just reread it for the first time in a very long time, was impressed with myself, so I put this here. The Old Marbol contains a cast of bizarre characters rivaled only by those in the famous barroom scene in the first Star Wars movie. Maybe I’ll do more excerpts here in the future.)

My first hummer

In memory of Jack Brock.

FOR A FEW years, since I purchased my Canon, whenever I sat on the Jesus Patio to read my Kindle, I always toted the camera and rested it on the glass-top table.

One might wonder, Why does he do that? The answer is this: I wanted a photo of a hummer. Though the little buggers are commonplace in the Hacienda yard, photographing one has proved impossible. Till yesterday, that is.

The midday was overcast. Perhaps that explains my little friend’s relative lack of shimmering color, something often seen in hummer photos. Or maybe he’s a she and, like many birds, perhaps the hummer ladies are a bit drabber.

He (or she) is puffed up a bit too, a nippy afternoon.

No matter. Like Hemingway kneeling beside an African rhino, high-powered rifle aimed skyward, I have shot my prey. There will be no more safaris. I will read my books in peace.

Life goes on.

‘Unbridled nonsense’

(The adulation of “diversity” and multiculturalism is a given in high-end Western society. Schools, corporations, clubs, you name it, all bow daily to the Goddess of Diversity. This Goddess also goes by the name of Multiculturalism.

(For years I have pointed out that multiculturalism is a problem to be confronted in the kindest way possible. It is not something to be pushed and promoted. A multicultural society is a troubled, often violent, society. This is patently obvious today in the United States and Western Europe.

(In spite of my frequent mentions of this, I don’t recall even one person passing by here who touched on the subject negatively or positively. It is a no-go zone enforced by fear. To question the glories of multiculturalism is to risk banishment from polite society and your gainful employment too.

(A recent example was Diversity’s Paradox. There were 27 comments and not one soul touched on the topic at hand in spite of my mentioning that no one was addressing the topic.

(The mailed fist of the Left enforces this stance with the same ferocity that Adolf Hitler compelled hatred of Jews.

(No matter. It is nonsense. Here is a guest post by Walter E. Williams, who is black so he gets a small, temporary, pass from Polite Society for his horrendous opinions.)

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williams
Williams

German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared that multiculturalism has “utterly failed,” adding that it was an illusion to think Germans and foreign workers could “live happily side by side.”

The failure of multiculturalism is also seen in Denmark, Sweden, the United Kingdom, France, Belgium and other European countries. Immigrants coming from Africa and the Middle East refuse to assimilate and instead seek to import the failed cultures they fled.

Leftist diversity advocates and multiculturalists are right to argue that people of all races, religions and cultures should be equal in the eyes of the law. But their argument borders on idiocy when they argue that one culture cannot be judged superior to another and that to do so is Eurocentrism.

That’s unbridled nonsense. Ask a diversity/multiculturalism advocate: Is forcible female genital mutilation, as practiced in nearly 30 sub-Saharan African and Middle Eastern countries, a morally equivalent cultural value?

Slavery is practiced in northern Sudan.

In most of the Middle East, there are numerous limits placed on women, such as prohibitions on driving, employment and education. Under Islamic law, in some countries, female adulterers face death by stoning, and thieves are punished by having their hand severed.

In some African and Middle Eastern countries, homosexuality is a crime, in some cases punishable by death. Are all these cultural values morally equivalent to those of the West?

The vital achievement of the West was the concept of individual rights, which saw its birth with the Magna Carta in 1215. The idea emerged that individuals have certain inalienable rights. Individuals do not exist to serve government; governments exist to protect their rights.

But it was not until the 19th century that ideas of liberty received broad recognition. In the West, it was mostly through the works of British philosophers, such as John Locke, David Hume, Adam Smith and John Stuart Mill.

Personal liberty implies toleration of differences among people, whether those differences are racial, sexual, ideological or political. Liberty also implies a willingness to permit others who disagree with you to go their separate ways.

This is not the vision of the new immigrants.

In some parts of Britain, Christians are threatened with violence for merely handing out Bibles. Trying to convert Muslims to Christianity is seen as a hate crime. Women are accosted by Muslim men for “improper” dress.

Many women are sexually assaulted. In many European countries, no-go zones where civil authorities will not enter, in which Sharia is practiced, have been established.

According to the Express, “London, Paris, Stockholm and Berlin are among the major European cities that feature on a bombshell list of 900 lawless zones with large immigrant populations.”

Both in Europe and in the U.S., multiculturalism is a leftist elitist vision with its roots in academia. The intellectual elite, courts and government agencies push an agenda that is anything but a defense of individual rights, freedom from conformity and a live-and-let-live philosophy.

Instead, multiculturalism/diversity is an agenda for all kinds of conformity — conformity in ideas, actions and speech. It calls for re-education programs where diversity managers indoctrinate students, faculty members, employees, managers and executives on what’s politically correct thinking.

Part of that lesson is non-judgmentalism, where one is taught that one lifestyle is just as worthy as another and all cultures and their values are morally equivalent.

Western values are superior to all others. But one need not be a Westerner to hold Western values. A person can be Chinese, Japanese, Jewish, African or Arab and hold Western values.

By the way, it is no accident that Western values of reason and individual rights have produced unprecedented health, life expectancy, wealth and comfort for the ordinary person.

There’s an indisputable positive relationship between liberty and standards of living.

There is also indisputable evidence that we in the West are unwilling to defend ourselves from barbarians. Just look at our response to the recent Orlando massacre, in which we’ve focused our energies on guns rather than on terrorists.

* * * *

Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University.