Dashiell Hammett worked for the Pinkerton Agency as a private investigator and one of his cases was silent film star Fatty Arbuckle’s alleged rape of Virginia Rappe, an aspiring actress who died from a ruptured bladder two days later. Although Arbuckle was acquitted, his career never recovered. Hammett, however, went on to become one of the greatest hard-boiled detective pulp fiction novelists and film noir screenplay writers of all-time.
“Cool summer nights. Windows open. Lamps burning.
Fruit in the bowl. And your head on my shoulder.
These the happiest moments in the day.
Next to the early morning hours, of course.
And the time just before lunch. And the afternoon,
and early evening hours. But I do love these
summer nights. Even more, I think, than those other
times. The work finished for the day.
And no one who can reach us now. Or ever.”
To exist is to defy all that threatens you. To be a rebel is not to accumulate a library of subversive books or to dream of fantastic conspiracies or of taking to the hills. It is to make yourself your own law. To find in yourself what counts. To make sure that you’re never “cured” of your youth. To prefer to put everyone up against the wall rather than to remain supine. To pillage whatever can be converted to your law, without concern for appearance.