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Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Jim Thompson: Justice in the Eye of the Storm ('to punish the heck out of people for bein' people")


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http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1a/Dszpics1.jpg

Tornado near Anadarko, central Oklahoma: thin
tube-like condensation funnel attached to rotating cloud base, with lower part of funnel surrounded by a translucent dust cloud stirred up by strong surface winds; one of several tornadoes in the area, 3 May 1999: photo by Daphne Zaras, NOA/NSSL VORTEX-99 team; image by Runningonbrains, 30 July 2006 (National Severe Storms Laboratory/NOAA Photo Library)


“Just because I put temptation in front of people, it don’t mean they got to pick it up.”




http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f2/Tornado0_-_NOAA.jpg

Tornado with dust and debris cloud forming at surface, Cordell, Oklahoma, 22 May 1981: photo by NOAA /National Severe Storms Laboratory; image by Saperaud, 11 November 2005 (NOAA Photo Library/OAR/ERL/NSSL)



“I asked you a question, damn you! Who planned those murders? Who tells a lie every time he draws a breath? Who the hell is it that’s been fornicating with me, and God knows how many others?”





http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/05/Tornado_near_Minco%2C_Oklahoma_-_NOAA.jpg

Tornado near Minco, Oklahoma, 3 May 1999; this storm later produced the F4 tornado in Mulhall, Oklahoma: photo by Project Vortex-99, NOAA /National Severe Storms Laboratory; image by Saperaud, 11 November 2005 (NOAA Photo Library/OAR/ERL/NSSL)


“Oh, well,” I said. “It don’t count when I do those things.”




http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/ef/Occluded_mesocyclone_tornado5_-_NOAA.jpg

Occluded mesocyclone tornado seven miles south of Anadarko, Oklahoma, 3 May 1999: photo by Project VORTEX-99, NOAA/National Severe Storms Laboratory; image by Saperaud, 11 November 2005 (NOAA Photo Library/OAR/ERL/NSSL)

“It don’t count! What the hell do you mean?”



http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/12/Occluded_mesocyclone_tornado2_-_NOAA.jpg

Occluded mesocyclone tornado eight miles south of Anadarko, Oklahoma, 3 May 1999: photo by Project VORTEX-99, NOAA/National Severe Storms Laboratory; image by Saperaud, 11 November 2005 (NOAA Photo Library/OAR/ERL/NSSL)


I said I meant I was just doing my job, following the holy precepts laid down in the Bible.



http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c3/Alfalfa_Tornado_-_NOAA.jpg

Tornado, Alfalfa, Oklahoma, 22 May 1981: photo by NOAA /National Severe Storms Laboratory; image by Saperaud, 11 November 2005 (NOAA Photo Library/OAR/ERL/NSSL)


“It’s what I’m supposed to do, you know, to punish the heck out of people for bein’ people. To coax them into revealin’ theirselves, an’ then kick the crap out of ‘em. And it’s a god-danged hard job, Rose, honey, and I figure if I can get a little pleasure in the process of trappin’ folks I’m mighty well entitled to it."




http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/ab/Mayfield_Tornado2_-_NOAA.jpg

Tornado near Mayfield, Oklahoma, 16 May 1977: photo by NOAA; image by Saperaud, 11 November 2005 (NOAA/OAR/ERL/NSSL)

Jim Thompson (b. Anadarko, Oklahoma Territory, 27 September 1906; d. 1977)): from Pop. 1280, 1964

6 comments:

STEPHEN RATCLIFFE said...

Tom,

What the heck (amazing clouds). . . .

5.25

first grey light in cloud against still
shadowed ridge, robin calling on branch
in foreground, wave sounding in channel

that itself as such is after,
but is grounded in it

to inhabit, space or pattern,
the surface of events

cloudless blue sky reflected in channel,
sunlit green of pine on tip of sandspit

Robb said...

That sounds about right.

"recobl"

curtisroberts said...

Jim Thompson and these photos are both discoveries for me. Thanks very much.

aditya said...

The ashtray has been upturned
but it don't count. Your lambs lie covered in ash.

ps- fornicating is an excellent choice of word in these times of civic distress

TC said...

Jim Thompson came from Tornado Alley and had a dad who made the Old Testament God of Punishment seem like Mary's Little Lamb in comparison.

TC said...

By the by, talking of Jim Thompson, God and religion... the great Bertrand Tavernier film Coup de Torchon (1981) is an adaptation of the novel from which the lines in this post are taken, Pop. 1280.