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COMPANY OF ANGELS, COMPANY OF MEN
Date: 2018/05/31 13:36 By: bulldust Status: Admin  
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The Bull has not been his most motivated lately. Maybe it’s the weather. The weather actors really hype up every minor weather disturbance. So there is half the state huddled in the bathroom with fifty cases or water and a case of TP waiting for the end. So the Bullmeister is trapped waiting for the weather to pass, thinking ‘crap, I need to board the windows’.

You know what happens next. It just rains a little. Stupid weather nimrods. From now on, National Weather Service only. Screw these local drama queens.

“Company of Angels, Company of Men” is a cap about old war compatriots and the secrets they keep. Coop attends the funeral of his friend Disher. He is accosted by his late friend's widow about why he wasn’t there at the end. Coop is confused by the inquiry until he is pulled aside by Disher’s son-in-law, who has a weird hand missing some fingers. Being a colossal malcontent, I was amused by the following line:

Immediately I wondered about their lovemaking; did he make special use of that odd hand?

Nicholas, the son-in-law, takes Coop aside and explains that Disher started talking at the end and went on about babies, and started yelling the names of French women. Coop goes on to explain the horrors of war and what the pair had to endure. He tells Nicholas what he will say at the funeral, and then the cap ends with:

“There they are, locked up in some more damn secrets I’ll bet.” I didn’t even have to look up to see who was talking. And Disher was probably totally deaf by then.

I have to admit I did not get the last line. I mean, Disher was dead, so of course, he was deaf. Also, I had trouble following the fact that Coop was telling Nicholas the story and not just narrating it in his head. The cap’s grammatical style was not easy to follow. There appear to be dialogue tags missing.

Overall, the cap is okay. It tells a story that is worth reading. But it needs a lot of sorting out. The flow is just off and I found myself rereading the last third just to get what was going on. So no, this does not touch the monkey, even with its odd hand.

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Re:COMPANY OF ANGELS, COMPANY OF MEN
Date: 2018/06/02 14:40 By: rockefeller Status: Admin  
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Yeah, okay, not bad. Lotsa similes, and The Rockster does love himself a good simile. Funny, that among all the descriptions of Nicholas' "awful" right hand (Rocks assumes his right, since it's the one the narrator shook), the hand with only an over-sized thumb and forefinger, is never described as a claw. And even though Rocks read pretty attentively given his limited aptitude and concentrational abilities, he never found out how those three fingers went missing. He would've liked to know. Even if it never rose to metaphor, it's a pretty persistent motif. Rocks bought himself a table saw last year. Took off all the safety shit like the blade guard and anti-kickback pawls because, like a carpenter friend of his said, "It just gets in the way." But also, "Be careful. I've seen a lot of fingers fall." And so Rocks was. But maybe Nicholas wasn't.

When Rocks was a kid, he had a paper route delivering the Chicago Sun and Trib. Used to get up at 2 am when the rolling machines were plentiful and you could snag one of the less squeaky carts (complaints cost 25 cents each, so some weeks Rocks' earnings were in the negative). Anyway, one morning there was a guy out standing on the sidewalk in a fedora, maybe waiting for the greasy spoon next door to open, who looked perfectly normal from the one side, but when he turned his head, lit by a streetlight, he could be seen to be missing most of one side of his face. Like no eye, just a little hole for an ear and not much of a nose. Some ugly scarring, too. Freaked Rocks out a little. For some reason, this Nicholas guy's fucked up hand reminded him. So thanks for dredging up that memory, Mister VC.

This Angels cap's not much on plot arc, but a decent character study in a eulogizing kind of way. There's some war stories involving the deceased, but that could've maybe been fleshed out a bit. His fondest war experience seems to have been boning some French babe in a barn, and his worst seeing her get blown to smitherines by German artillery the next morning. Bummer. Although it did inspire a formidable drunk. Funny how life's best and worst experiences often fall together. Rocks worked with a guy, another orderly, who'd fought for the Russians (who actually defeated the Germans in WW-2), and his fondest memory of the war was banging some housefrau (whose husband was off fighting somewhere else) from behind ("von hinten") standing ("stehen"). Probably a lot of vets have similar happy wartime memories. "War. What is it good for?" Not such a rhetorical question afterall, is it?

The narrative pretty clearly takes place in the US. So it's weird no cities or states or towns (only people's names) are ever mentioned. This, coupled with a slight UK lilt to the prose, makes Rocks wonder if the VC was just too lazy or afraid to Google up these specifics. Not having done so cuts into the credibility. Still, a close call. But no. Not quite Monkey material. Maybe try Glimmer Train. But don't waste your money on their contests. Really, all reading fees are scams. Stick to free submissions. Though probably no one reads those either.
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