‘They Shall Know Me By My Signs’ was a story I wrote well back in the yonder years of fortunes past. I rediscovered it today whilst searching for my IRD number (I’m a tax-paying citizen again and pround of it… Well, I will be for the five weeks of employment I have). It’s a weird little tale; I like some of the character’s dialogue and might one day try to rewrite it as the plot is interesting (although you can tell that ‘The Name of the Rose’ had a deep effect upon me as a child). I actually wrote a sequel to it set at the turn of the last millennium, which was also a sequel to another story set the year before (at the turn of the false millennium). Not entirely sure as to why I am slinging it up here today; I suspect I feel slightly guilty that the other blog is getting all the attention at the moment.
It’s not the most auspicious name for a young man’s home town. Indeed, if pressed, Rising Bollard wouldn’t make it on to a top ten list of attractions, but at least it’s not in the bottom fifty of places you wouldn’t want to live. Not easily locatable on a map, nor desirous to be when you find it, Rising Bollard is a one cafe-type of town, with a meagre higher education college, one hill of reasonable note and a population bordering on the thousands.
Still, it’s home. We have our own crazy cult leader, Brother Morthos, a preponderance of retired couples who move here for reasons as yet unidentified and, despite being way up river, it hasn’t stopped Capt’n Dick from setting up shop with his tales of piracy on the Waitemata.
Our stories are not great nor are they epic. People don’t live and die in Rising Bollard… Well, not in the dramatic sense. Romance hardly blossoms here and childbirth is the norm rather than a miracle. Men are men, women are women and the influx of metrosexuals is doing little to change anything.
We persist, and in persistence things stay the same in what we might hesitantly call excitement.
Rising Bollard. Let’s share the love.
There is a serial killer prowling the streets of New York, killing seemingly unconnected people. A rookie cop is teamed up with a grizzled old hand on his last case. He thinks the killer is a sicko but the rookie finds something suspicious about the victims. Following a hunch she discovers that the serial killer is preying on fellow serial killers. Trailing a potential victim she is killed by the man she is ostensibly protecting. The villain of the piece then kills him as the old hand arrives on the scene. The serial killer pleads for his life, saying that he is only doing good. The film ends with the cop holding a gun to the head of the serial killer whilst backup arrives. As the credits scroll a single gunshot is heard.
‘Murder, She Wrote’ was, for a time, a common subject for memes on the internet. Most of them revolved around the ‘Jessica Fletcher’ is a plague of death that descends upon towns and cities; an apt commentary on the subject, I might add. I’ve been rewatching a lot of the series over the last few weeks (God bless daytime TV). It’s not exactly dire; if you only ever watched one episode you would think it fun. Two episodes; okay entertainment. More than three in one week? Well, it’s a bit of a weird show, really.
Everyone makes fun of William Shatner’s shirt-ripping in ‘Star Trek;’ I say lets make fun of the fact that Angela Lansbury’s character must always end each show laughing or smiling, despite the death(s) of those around her. Without fail a silly joke will be made and people will break into large smiles, even if they were recently widowed or they have found out that their partner was a murdering bastard. It’s a sloppy conceit; an appropiate wisecrack every so often is a natural reaction to death but Jessica Fletcher just doesn’t seem fazed by death at all. She is the nice Miss Marple; so nice that the stain of death does not touch her. She never seems troubled by the fact that wherever she goes people die or that the friends she makes are often not only victims but purpatrators of terrible crimes.
Still, all of this is the symptons of a show that ran too long. ‘Murder, She Wrote’ only ever had one plot device; every episode someone must die and Jessica Fletcher (ignoring the season where she only guest-starred in here own show) must solve the crime. You can only do so much with murder and with no plot-arc or want to sustain a change in personality every episode must be treated as the first one an audience member might see. It is a show with limited value; decreasing returns to the viewer each and every episode.
Yet I keep on watching it.