The Devil’s Playground by Charly Cox EPUB & PDF – eBook Details Online
- Status: Available for Free Download
- Author:Charly Cox
- Language: English
- Genre: Murder
- Format: PDF / EPUB
- Size: 2 MB
- Price: Free
It takes hours to find, as he knew it would.
Smooth highway asphalt yields to blacktop cracked into snakeskin scales
by a caustic sun, which in turn yields to powder-dry dirt track. Paul
Conway’s Rambler makes its dust-cloud-waked way across an ocean of
scorched earth navigated by no other cars, unbroken by any truck stop, gas
station, or island of habitation where he can pause to ask directions. The
only other vehicle he encounters is the rusting wreck of a truck on the side
of the road, forsaken, flaked, and faded, slowly being comminuted into the
desert by twenty years of excoriating abandonment.
Other than that, all there is, is the vast, pale, hot-as-hell desert stretching
gray and white, yellow and rust, all the way to where the mountains rumble
dark on the horizon.
Conway remembers someone once saying there was a special beauty to
the desert. But he can’t recall who said it, or even if it had been a real
person or just a character in a movie. It wouldn’t be the first time he’s
gotten the two universes confused. Maybe they hadn’t even been talking
about a real desert, but a set: a cinematographer’s idea of a desert. Whoever
said it, Conway doesn’t see any unique beauty. For him, the desert is empty
of beauty. Empty of anything. Dead space.
Then again, Conway knows he doesn’t see or experience the world the
way others do. He never has, and it led him to the profession he now
pursues, now excels in. Part of that innate otherness means scenes from
movies—whole and flawlessly recalled—play out continuously in his head,
holding up confected celluloid realities against the harsh mundanity of daily
Now, unbidden, as he drives across the desert, the final scene of von
Stroheim’s Greed is projected onto the screen of his mind. For Conway, no
other scene in movie history so confuses the real and the unreal. He knows
that von Stroheim, in his near-insane drive for authenticity, filmed and
refilmed the scene in Death Valley in midsummer, at midday. Actors and
crew returned from the months-long shoot blistered and burned; one died,
many were hospitalized, almost dead from heat exhaustion; co-star Jean
Hersholt began vomiting blood when his insides ruptured in the heat.
But shit, thinks Conway, what a scene: the character McTeague under a
blazing sun, keylessly handcuffed to the man he has just killed, the money
he has schemed and murdered for lying just beyond his reach, the last of his
water spilled and evaporating from his bullet-punctured canteen.
Tantalus in Death Valley.
Maybe that was the truth of the desert. The desert as death, as desolate
judgment and arid purgatory.
Conway pushes the scene from his mind. He scans the road ahead for
any landmark to indicate he’s getting closer to his goal.
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