-- Discussion Of Chapter 6
Having given Robert so central a position in the story I knew that criticism would be hot.
"Not much of a story", said Bunny aggressively. "All that bit about the gangsters was just a crib from the Ed. Jenkins yarns, for Ed. always gets one gangster to kill another for doublecrossing him."
"Ed. never carries a gat", said I.
"But Race Williams does", said Gordon. "It was a crib from Race Williams."
"I don't think so", said Robert.
"'Cos you got it all to do", said Jean. "It wasn't fair for you to be the hero and Betty the heroine all the time."
"I wasn't a heroine", grumbled Betty. "Making me say I loved Pirrolo."
"That", I explained hastily, "was your cleverness. You had to think quickly how to stay and help Robert."
"Could of done without her help", growled Robert.
"I didn't mind Robert getting it all to do", said Michael, "but there were too many mistakes in it for it to be a good story."
"Yes?" I said.
"Well, when Robert said that about the stool pigeon you said that Pirrolo took a chair and smashed the electric light. How could there be electric light when there was no mains power on?"
"Ah!" I said, "didn't I mention that, being in the suburbs, Pyecraft had his own generating plant?"
"All right then", said Michael, "we'll let you off with that one, but laugh this one off...how could his gang pass the house in curtained cars, taking statues for a ride, when you said yourself that the streets were blocked by wrecked cars?"
This required some thought.
"That", said I, "brings in the time factor. London certainly was full of wrecked cars because it was eleven o'clock in the morning when the cloud came. America is in the west, gets the sun later, six hours later, hence it was five in the morning and very little traffic on the streets."
"You wriggle out of everything", said Michael with disgust.
"I think it was silly", said Jean. "How did Steve and Alf come to have banknotes in their pockets?"
"I fancy", said I, "that Robert could explain that", and I looked over at him.
He thought for a little, then a light dawned in his eyes.
"Got it!" he cried. "I put them in their pockets that time they were shoving me from the room when I went over the street."
"Where did you get them?" asked Jean sharply.
"I dunno", said Robert. "Where did I get them from, Neill?"
"That", I said, "would be a long story, but briefly it was so. You knew that the best way to fight the gang would be to make them suspicious of each other, and knowing they had fled because of the Central Bank hold up, you went secretly to the bank on your way to the brewery."
"That wasn't clear in the story", said David critically.
"Good heavens!" I cried, "can't you leave something to the imagination? Next time I see I'll have to tell you a story like this... It was summer and the grass was green. The trees had leaves on. Pyecraft gazed at a house which is a place people, and he said with his mouth... and so on."
"Getting annoyed because you know it was a rotten story", said Gordon, "and the rottenest thing in it was the language of the gangsters."
"Say, lissen, waffler", I said, "I'll put you wise why I've got yer goat when Robert hijacked the dough and stashed the rib, you stir-bird hadn't an out, so you lammed, and when Robert chiselled in -- "
"You don't know what 'chisel in' means", said Gordon.
I arose with dignity and walked out of the room, but I must really ask some American what exactly 'chisel in' does mean.
On to Chapter 7
Discussion of chapter 6 of 'The Last Man Alive' by A. S. Neill. This page is copyrighted.