So this week I’m reading Ramage, by Dudley Pope. No, “Ramage” is not Scooby-Doo trying to say “Damage”; it’s the first book in a 1960s-era naval series along the lines of the “Horatio Hornblower” novels — at least, I assume it’s along those lines, since I never read the “Hornblower” books or saw the television series. But look! Boats!
The knife blade flashed for a moment before thudding into the door, the hilt vibrating for a few moments.
“No,” he replied, walking over to pull it out of the wood. “Not to cheat: just to win. Too many kings, courtiers, courtesans and politicians think war’s just a game of cards and realize their mistake only when they find an uncouth Corsican artilleryman has strolled across the Alps and trumped all their aces.”
This is, of course, a reference to Napoleon, but, hmm, there’s still no shortage of uncouthness strolling around, is there? And speaking of going out for a stroll, this editing pass of Television Man is (finally!) finished, and now I have a nice clean printout waiting for one last run through with the pen for excising the excessive and explicating the insufficiently explained. But for now, here we are, back at the beginning:
Remember the six of us as we were, before everything went crazy?
We sit in a corner booth at the Raincoat Cafe in Old Forge, where we had just finished a lunch of salads and soup, cheeseburgers and club sandwiches, French fries and apple pie: Extravagant, compared to the food we get now, but unremarkable at the time, ordinary. The dishes have been cleared away. Chuck’s map is spread across the top of the table―so quaint, a paper map; but then, Chuck always was a late adopter of technology―showing the Adirondack Park, the vast mountain preserve of northern New York, where the wild things still lived then. Where they live even now.
Ah, yes, Chuck and company are going to where the wild things are. They just don’t know it yet.