by Rob Lopresti
So, a while back my family went to a music camp. Picture almost two hundred people spending a long cold winter weekend in a kid’s summer camp, playing old time music, dancing, and trying to stay warm.
The main building is a long hall with twenty dining tables at one end, a dance floor on the other and, in the middle, a fireplace with several comfy couches. Most of the time the couches were filled with people who didn’t feel like playing or dancing at the moment, and at any given time most of those people were reading.
Regular readers of this space may think I’m about to repeat the gist of this piece, where I reported on all the books I saw on a cross-country plane fight. Sorry, that’s not where we’re going today.
But I will tell you that I was reading Agents of Treachery, the collection of new spy stories edited by Otto Penzler, and my wife was reading The Wind-up Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi, a recent Hugo and Nebula Winner for Best Science Fiction Novel..
One evening the couches were too crowded so we were sitting at one of the tables reading. Eventually we got up and went to play music somewhere else. When we came back an hour later our books were gone.
Now, we didn’t imagine that they had been stolen. It wasn’t that sort of crowd. But with the assorted affluvia of 200 people floating around, things could disappear for a while, and we wanted them back. (Especially my wife who was deep in the mood of I-want-it-to-last-forever-but-I-need-to-know-how-it-ends-right-now that accompanies a great book.)
So we went searching.
I found mine first. A woman at a different table explained that she had seen Lee Child’s name on the cover and just had to read his story. We agreed that it was a pretty good one.
My wife found her book at the other end of the hall. The man who had taken it explained that after reading the first two pages he had purchased it. Went on Amazon and downloaded it to his iPad. My wife pointed out that he could have instead downloaded it through his local bookstore. Apparently that option didn’t interest him.
Later we were discussing these events and my daughter, who had been playing fiddle in the dance band through the whole incident, suggested that a lot of people at the camp leave stuff around for people to use – food, games, etc. – so perhaps it wasn’t surprising that people had walked off with our books.
“I don’t mind them borrowing them,” said my wife, “but I wish they had put them back where they found them.”
“They probably didn’t remember which table they books had been lying on,” I said.
But it still bugged me. Can you tell?
Here are the first half of the quotes from last week with the movie titles attached.
1. –You hear that Gina, your Mama wants Grandchildren!
–You’re a crook. Steal her some! –Aldo Vanucci (Peter Sellers) Gina Vanucci (Britt Ekland) After The Fox
2. Insanity runs in my family . . . It practically gallops. –Mortimer Brester (Cary Grant)Arsenic and Old Lace.
3. –I’m not afraid o’ you, Marty.
–Well, ma’am, if I see him, I’ll sure give him the message. Abby (Frances McDormand) / Visser (M. Emmett Walsh)Blood Simple
4. –What would you do if some miracle happened and we could walk out of here tomorrow morning and start all over again clean? No record and nobody after us, huh?
–Well, uh, I guess I’d do it all different. First off, I wouldn’t live in the same state where we pull our jobs. We’d live in another state. We’d stay clean there and then when we’d take a bank, we’d go into the other state. – Bonnie Parker (Faye Dunaway) / Clyde Barrow (Warren Beatty) Bonnie and Clyde
5. One might propose that I am either insanely brave or quite insane. I’d answer neither. I’d say, insanely loyal. Take your pick. There’s insanity in all the answers. – Robert Hansson (Chris Cooper) Breach
6. Report back to me when it makes sense.– CIA Superior (J.K. Simmons) Burn After Reading
7. –Are you alone?
–Isn’t everybody? – Ida Sessions (Diane Ladd) / Jake Gittes (Jack Nicholson) Chinatown
8. Six hours he’s riding the subway before anybody notices his corpse doing laps around L.A., people on and off sitting next to him. Nobody notices. –Vincent (Tom Cruise)Collateral
9. –Asian Dawn?
–I read about them in Time magazine. –Karl (Alexander Godunov) /Hans (Alan Rickman) Die Hard
10. –I think you’re a very stupid person. You look stupid, you’re in a stupid business, and you’re on a stupid case.
–I get it. I’m stupid. Frances Amthor (Kate Murtagh) / Philip Marlowe (Robert Mitchum) Farewell My Lovely
11. Oh for Pete’s sake, he’s fleeing the interview! He’s fleeing the interview! –Madge Gunderson (Frances McDormand) Fargo
12. Now let me correct you on a couple of things, OK? Aristotle was not Belgian. The central message of Buddhism is not “Every man for himself.” And the London Underground is not a political movement. Those are all mistakes, Otto. I looked them up. –Wanda (Jamie Lee Curtis) A Fish Called Wanda
13. –We have a good life, right?
–Is that a trick question? – Angie Gennaro (Michelle Monaghan) / Patrick Kenzie (Casey Affleck) GoneBaby Gone.
14. One question. Do you want to stick to that story, or do you want to keep your teeth? –Bobo Justus (Pat Hingle) The Grifters
15. Thank you, sir. May I have another? –Mike (Joe Montagna) House of Games
16. I grew up in Dublin. I love Dublin. If I grew up on a farm, and was retarded, Bruges might impress me but I didn’t, so it doesn’t. – Ray, (Colin Farrell) In Bruges
17. Serpentine, Shelly. Serpentine! – Vince Ricardo (Peter Falk). The In–Laws
18. I got the motive which is money and the body which is dead. – Chief Gillespie (Rod Steiger) In the Heat Of The Night
19. I confess my innocence! –The police chief (Gian Maria Volontè) Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion
20. –She opens the door, and she got nothing on but the radio. Yeah, invites me to sit down,sits on my lap, fires up a spliff.
–No. Idiot. –Perr (Val Kilmer)/ Harry (Robert Downey Jr.) Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
21. Boy, it’s really lucky for you that I just happen to be a very self–destructive person. –Margo Sperling (Lily Tomlin) The Late Show
22. –Shotguns? What, like guns that fire shot?
–Oh, you must be the brains of the operation. –Gary (Victor McGuire) / Barry The Baptist (Lenny McLean) Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels
23. –Long story short
–I think we’re well past that point.
–I bet it was that mouth that got you that nose.–The Boss (Morgan Freeman) / Slevin (Josh Hartnett) Lucky Number Slevin
24. You don’t crucify people! Not on Good Friday! –Bob Hoskins The Long Good Friday
25. A crippled newsie took ‘em away from him. I made him give ‘em back. –Sam Spade, (Humphrey Bogart) The Maltese Falcon.