Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Who Killed Edward Europe?

Cast of Characters

Edward Europe – deceased
Philip Marlowe – narrator/ detective
Flora Plato – later calls herself “Susan Christian” – hat-check girl and dance hall floozie
Aristotle Smarty Pants – Number two man in the Big S’s operation. A very clever fellow.
Big Tom Aquinas – A mug working for Smarty Pants
Willie Teilhard – Nicknamed “Slick Willie” – a two-bit confidence man and mug – also working for Smarty Pants
The Big S – the number one man in the operation – his street address is Hell, but he gets around.
William Papal – a hit man who works for Mr. S

My name is Philip Marlowe and I’m a private eye. But I’m not working on the Europe case for money. Ed Europe was my best friend. I want to find out who killed him. And when I do find the ones that killed him, they won’t be turned over to the law. I’ll deal with them myself. It’s part of the code; at least, my code.

Edward Europe was one hell of a man. He hit the ground running in the late 300’s. Seeing through his eye rather than with it, he immediately grasped the implications of the Old Testament prophecies and the New Testament story of the God-Man. He was truly remarkable. He had a sixth sense about things, but he was not an egghead. His mind was only a tool that he used, like his broadsword, to serve his heart. I loved the guy. He was the type of man you always hoped you could be. Even if you knew you weren’t like him, it was good to know that there was a guy like him.

But there were some dark clouds in Ed Europe’s sky. The darkest cloud was a dame – it seems like it’s always a dame. This one had baby blue, innocent eyes and a face and figure that wouldn’t quit. But she was far from innocent. I tried to warn Ed about her, but it was no use; he wouldn’t hear anything against her. She was subtle and very slick. She had started out as a hat-check girl at a night club. Her name was Flora Plato, but when she met Ed, she claimed her name was Susan Christian.

She never said anything that was against Ed’s European faith; she just kept telling him how much he could improve his understanding of his faith if he only got smarter. She introduced him to a friend of hers – his name was Mr. Aristotle Smarty Pants. Ed started attending classes with the two of them. And through them, he started meeting all sorts of questionable characters – mugs like Big Tom Aquinas and Slick Willie Teilhard. I knew he was heading for a fall. But what could I do? He loved that dame, but she done him wrong.

Watching Ed sink lower and lower into the abyss was more than I could bear. When I found I couldn’t get him to break with Susan and her friends, I moved cross-country to get a fresh start in life. But things were never the same. I took heart from Ed’s integralness. He was the real deal. When he was going strong, you had hope that just maybe everything in this wacky world would turn out to make some sense.

I hadn’t seen Ed Europe for three years when I got a telegram from him. “Need help. Please come” was all it said. I took the first plane I could get but it was too late. I saw Ed all right, but he was in the morgue with a .45 slug in his head. The coroner said it was suicide, but I know different…

12 years later –
It took some time but I got them all. Well, all but the guy they call the Big S. He’s still out there somewhere. He ordered the hit on my pal, Ed Europe. For years I thought it was old Aristotle Smarty Pants who was running the show, but even he worked for the Big S man.

As you probably guessed, Ed’s death was not suicide. The actual slug was fired by a mug named William Papal. He’s dead now too. I took care of that. But don’t worry, he got an even break. I put the revolver on the table between us. It was slightly closer to him than me. I was a shade quicker though.

Susie was in on the murder plot, but she didn’t live much longer than Ed. Smarty Pants had Tom Aquinas kill her. She was in the way. Teilhard got too pushy and tried to take over the whole operation, so Smarty Pants had him eliminated too. But when Big Tom refused to kill Teilhard (it turned out they were half-brothers), Smarty Pants had him rubbed out.

I finally caught up with Smarty Pants last month. At first I didn’t believe him when he insisted that he wasn’t Mr. Big. It certainly had always seemed liked he was running the show. But he showed me some evidence that convinced me that Mr. S is and was behind the whole anti-Europe movement. Yes, I said, ‘is’ as well as ‘was.’ Ed may be dead, but his reputation and his legacy are still alive. The Big S wants that legacy and reputation to stand for racism, militarism, sexism and stupidity. But I want Ed Europe’s legacy to reflect what Ed was: the only integral Christian man I ever knew.

Yes, he was weak, because he was human, more human than the rest of us. And he never sold out to the Big S. That’s why the Big S had to destroy him and why the Big S wants to smear his memory. But I won’t forget Ed Europe. As long as I have breath in my body, I will tell the truth about Ed despite the Big S and all of his new recruits.

I’ve cut out the bourbon and cigarettes and replaced them with pushups, running, and constant target practice with my .45. Oh, I almost forget to mention – I did kill Smarty Pants as well.

I’ve never been a big reader, but there are a few books and poems that stick in my mind. There are two lines by Thomas Moore which express my feelings about Ed Europe:

“One sword, at least, thy rights shall guard,
One faithful harp shall praise thee!”

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