Seiner Frau widmete der Mann der sparsamen Worte eines seiner schrägsten Bücher: „Freaky Deaky“ von 1988, in dem halbwegs bürgerlich gewordene, sprengstoffkundige Untergrundrevoluzzer und auch Musikgruppen wie MC 5 auftauchen. Jene Band, die ihr Publikum mit dem Ruf zu begrüßen pflegte „Who you are? ‒ Are you part of the problem? ‒ Or are you part of the solution?“, ein dem Black-Panther-Mitbegründer Eldridge Cleaver zugeschriebener Spruch. Einen gewissen Blick würde sie ihm immer geben, seine Frau, wenn er zu viele Worte fürs Schreiben verwende:
„To my wife Joan for giving me the title and a certain look when I write too many words.“
Vielleicht aber genießt Elmore Leonard sie ja irgendwie doch, die vielen Worte, die ihm jetzt aus aller Welt zu seinem Tod zufallen. Die Internet-Seite „The Rapsheet“ hat das Kompendium der internationalen Nachrufe von Schriftstellerkollegen in zwei Teile splitten müssen, so zahlreich sind die Farewells. Erstaunlich, wie viele Kriminalautoren sich dazu bekennen, von Leonard inspiriert und angespornt worden zu sein, wie viele sich vor dem Edgar-Grandmaster verneigen.
Hier nun die zweite Lieferung von Zitaten aus seinen Büchern: meist der erste Satz und einige weitere, dazu mindestens fünf Namen aus dem Roman. Die Auswahl ist pure Willkür und soll nichts mehr als einfach Lust machen, Elmore Leonard zu lesen.
“The night Vincent got shot he saw it coming.
(…) He wasn’t going to drop half a gallon of Gallo Hearty Burgundy, a bottle of prune juice and ja jar of Ragu spaghetti sauce on the sidewalk. Not even when the guy showed a gun, called him a mothermother through his teeth and said he wanted Vincent’s wallet and all the money he had on him… He said, ‚You see that car? Standrad Plymouth, nothing on it, not even wheel covers… You think I’d go out and buy a car like that? … It’s a police car, asshole. Now gimme the gun and go lean against it.’“ (Der Typ schiesst ihn nieder.)
„When Moosleh Haijim Jabara was sixteen years old, in his second year at Southeastern High School in Detroit, he changed his name to DeLeon Johnson. So people would look at his name and know he was American.
‚It’s like you’re in a hotel in Star Trek’, Vincent said. ‚You know what I mean? It’s so modern you don’t know how to open anything or turn the lights on.’“
Sieben Namen: Vincent Mora, Buck Torres, Iris Ruiz, Teddy Magyk, Linda Moon, Jackie Garbo, Modesta Manosduros.
Blurb von George Will: „O.K. Here’s what you do. Stand in the bookstore and read the first chapter of Freaky Deaky. Won’t take long. Only ten pages. The store owner won’t mind because he knows you will then buy the book.“
Widmung: „To my wife Joan for giving me the title and a certain look when I write too many words.“
Erster Satz: “Chris Mankowski’s last day on the job, two in the afternoon, two hours to go, he got a call to dispose of a bomb.“ „You put on Jane Fonda’s Workout“, Robin said, „all you have to do is sit and watch it, you stay in shape.“ Skip said: I knew yo’d bei into something. Just don’t tell me you’ve become a women’s lib vegetarian lesbian, okay?“
„You know what organization she belonged to? Was she in the Weatermen?“ „Yes, but in and out“, Dizsi said. „She was in the White Panthers at one time helping the Black ones. There were so many different groups. The Yippies, The Revolutionary Youth Movement, the Action Fraction, The Crazies, the Progressive Labor Party, strict maoist. The Black Panthers were known here als the National Committee to Combat Fascism, and the White Panthers became the Rainbow People’s Party. I was younger then, I knew what I believed. I ask these people, what’s the matter with the friendly Socialist Labor Party, uh? I don’t know, I think it was because we didn’t drop acid und practice kundalini yoga. It turned them off.“
„Yes, that’s Skip. He came out of prison and went to Hollywood, someone told me, to work in the movies. In Special Effects.“ „You’re kidding.“ „Sure, he knows how to blow up things.“
Chris hat time to kill, so he walked a few blocks from 1300 to the Renaissance Center and went to the show. He saw Lethal Weapon and watched how Mel Gibson took care oft he bad guys; Chris thinking, So what’s what you do, you shoot em… Though he couldn’t imagine a homicide cop being allowed to dress that scruffy, even in L.A. Homicide cops were dudes.
Fünf Namen: Jerry Baker, Emerson „Skip“ Gibbs, Robin Abbott, Greta Wyatt, Juicy Mouth.
“The Blackbird told himself he was drinking too much because he lived in this hotel and the Silver Dollar was close by, right downstairs. The ten stitches in his chin didn’t keep Richie from Talking. Onyl now he barely opened his mouth when he spoke and was hard to understand. Armand was getting tired of saying ‚What?’ every time Richie asked him something. ‚What you’re saying’, Wayne said, ‚you want us to change our names cause you can’t find these assholes? Is that it?’
McAllen said, ‚Wayne, you have to let John finish. The regulation states it’s to establish a new identiy or otherwise protect the person, so we’re flexible in this area.’
Donna startet talking about Elvis. She said, ‚If Elvis was Jesus, you know who I think some of his apostles would be? I think Engelbert would be one. I think Tom Jones would be one. And I think, going way back, the Jordanaires and the Blackwood Brothers. What do you think?’ Armand said he’d never thought about it before.
‚I always loved birds’, Leonore said. ‚My mother named me from a poem about a bird. I guess I just love nature.’
‚I was a telephone operator twenty-five years. I don’t dial wrong numbers.’“
Fünf Namen: Armand Degas (Blackbird), Richie Nix, Carmen Colson, Bob Brown, Ferris Britton.
Ist dem Filmproduzenten Walter Mirisch gewidmet, „one of the good guys“.
Erster Satz: “When Chili first came to Miami Beach twelve years ago they were having one of their off-and-on cold winters: thirty-four degrees the day he met Tommy Carlo for lunch at Vesuvio’s on South Collins and had his leather jacket ripped off.
Ernesto Palmer got the name Chili originally because he was hot-tempered as a kid growing up… Now he was Chili, because had chilled down and didn’t need the hot temper. All he had to do was turn his eyes dead when je looked at a slow pay, not say more than three words, and the guy would sell his wife’s car to make the payment. Chili said the secret was in how you prepped the loan customer.
‚I asked him one time what type of writing brought the most money and the agent says, ‚Ransom notes‘“.
Der letzte Satz: „Karen said, ‚Uh-huh…’ Harry sayd he wanted a drink and Karen said that wasn’t a bad idea. Chili didn’t say anything, giving it some more thought. Fucking endings, man, they weren‘t as easy as the looked.“
Fünf Namen: Chilip Palmer, Ray Bones, Leo Devoe, Bo Catlett, Karen Weir.
“Sunday morning, Ordell took Louis to watch the white-power demonstration in downtown Palm Beach.
Ordell said, ‚It was like that monster in the movie Alien, the one ate people? He’s looking at Sigourney Weaver in her underwear and it doesn’t mean shit to him. You want to yell at him ‚Thats Sigourney Weaver in her underwear, man. What’s wrong with you?‘“
Fünf Namen: Jackie Burke, Max Cherry, Ordell Robbie, Louis Gara, Beaumont Livingston.
“One evening, it was toward the end of October, Harry Arno said to the woman he’d been seeing on and off past few years ‚I’ve made a decision. I’m going to tell you something I’ve never told anyone before in my life.’
Joyce said, ‚You mean something you did when you were in the war?’
It stopped him. ‚How’d you know that?’
‚Two boys, I wanted to call the first one Hank and the next one George, after Hank Williams and George Jones, old Possum, the greatest country singers ever were. But when the babies were born, Winona got her way as usual and named them Ricky and Randy…’ Joyce said: ‚You know what happens when you play a country tune backwards? You get your girl and your truck back, your’ne not drunk anymore and your hound dog comes back to life.’ She said, ‚I was born in Nashville.’
Plan something for forty-seven years and all of a sudden you’re out of time. Do it now, this minute, or maybe never get another chance. He took the .45 from the shelf in the closet and cleaned it…“
In „Pronto“ hat U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens seinen ersten Auftritt, der es dann ab 2010, verkörpert von Timothy Oliphant, zu der knarzig-toughen TV-Serie „Justified“ brachte. Raylan weiß, was Harry 1945 in Italien tat, und hat noch ein Hühnchen mit ihm zu rupfen, war er ihm doch vor ein paar Jahren auf dem Weg zu einer Gerichtsanhörung entkommen. Also folgt er ihm nach Italien, wo „Pronto“ hauptsächlich spielt – und mit den Augen Elmore Leonards geschildert wird.
„Saturday, November 28, Raylan Givens stepped out of a taxi in front oft he Central Station in Milan and thought the driver hat made a mistake. It looked more like an art museum than a railroad station: the biggest one de’e ever seen, all marble and statues and full of different kind of shops. Across the street was a Wendy’s.“
Zum ersten Mal sieht er Carabinieri mit ihren Säbeln, den schwarzen Stiefeln, den hellblauen Hosen mit dem roten Streifen an der Seite: “Raylan walked over to them, took out his ID, and held it up to show his star. They looked at it, both of them taller than he was, without any kind of recognition or acknowledgment that he was in law enforcement the same as they were. Or more so. ’The Marshals Service’, Raylan said. ‚I’m a deputy United States marshal. The same kind they used to have out in the Wild West.’ Both the carabinieri nodded at the star but didn’t seem too impressed. But then with those swords and boots, why would they be? Raylan said, ‚You guys ever use your swords? I wouldn’t imagine though, you run into many offenders you can have sword fights with, huh?’ So much for trying a lttle humor. They didn’t have any idea what he was talking about. Raylan touched the curved brim of his Stetson and went across the street to Wendy’s to get a couple of burgers fort he trip.“
Fünf Namen: Raylan Givens, Harry Arno, Buck Torres, Tommy Bucks (the Zip), Jimmy Cap.
“Ocala Police picked up Dale Crowe Junior for weaving, two o’clock in the morning, crossing the center line and having a busted taillight.“
Marshal Raylan Givens hat Crowe innerhalb des Justizsystems von Florida zu überführen, holt den wegen Trunkenheit Festgenommen aus der Zelle und sagt: „I know you think you can drive when you’ve had a few. How good are you when you’re sober?“ Dale ist froh, solch einen scheinbar netten Gesetzeshüter zu begegnen und fängt an zu babbeln. Raylan bremst ihn: „If you’re gonna talk I’ll put you in the trunk and I’ll drive.“ (Dale baut einen kleinen Unfall, der aber war von zwei Typen provoziert, die es auf ihr Auto abgesehen haben. Dumm nur, dass sie auf Raylan treffen.) “Raylan put the shotgun on the two guys and did something every lawman knew guaranteed attention and respect. He racked the pump on the shotgun, back and forward, and that metallic sound, better than blowing a whistle, brought the two guy around to see they were out of business. ’Let go oft he pistol’, Raylan said. ‚Being dumb don’t mean you want to get shot.’“
(Jetzt sitzen die zwei auf der Rückbank, Dale fährt wieder. Es ist still im Auto, erst recht nachdem Raylan zur Rückbank sagt:) „I don’t take what you did personally. You understand? Want to lean on you. Or wish you any more state time’n you deserve. What you’ll have to do now is ride the rap, as they say. It’s all anybody has to do.“
„You like to help people. I see you taking someone by the arm“, sagt die Hellseherin Dawn Navarro zu Raylan.
„’You have two years coming for that illegal weapon’, Raylan said. ‚I won’t discus the kidnapping with you at this time. Put the gun down and come over here, your hands behind your head.’ ’You telling me that’, Louis said, ‚you don’t even have a gun pointing at me.’ ’If I pull it’, Raylan, said, ‚I’ll use it. You understand? You make a threatening move I’ll shoot you through the heart.’ Louis held the sawedoff pointed down and against hid leg. He said, ‚Man, all I got to do is raise this thing.’ ’I have to advise you, though, to put it down.’ Louis said, ‚We like in the movies, huh? The two hombres facing each other out in the street?’ ’That’s the only place it ever happend’, Raylan said. ‚In the movies. You ever shot a man?’“
Fünf Namen: Chip Ganz, Bobby Deo, Dawn Navarro, Rudi Braga, Louis Lewis.
“Foley had never seen a prison where you could walk right up tot he fence without getting shot.
Foley (gerade ausgebrochen) saying to her: ‚Why you’re just a girl. What do you do for a living you pack a shotgun?’ She said to him, ‚I’m a federal marshal and you’re under arrest, both of you guys.’
Foley (mit Karen im Kofferraum des Fluchtautos) let his breath out and she felt it on her neck, almost like a sigh. He said, ‚I still think if we met under different circumstances, like in a bar …’ Karen said, ‚You have to be kidding.’ After that, for a few minutes, neither oft hem spoke until Foley said, ‚Another one Faye Dunaway was in I liked, Three Days of the Condor.’ ’With Robert Redford’, Karen said, ‚when he was young. I loved it, the lines were so good.’ Faye Dunaway says – it’s the next morning after they’ve slept together, even though she barley knows him, he asks if she’ll do him a favor? And she says, ‚Have I ever denied you anything?‘
‚Look at it another way’, Buddy said, ‚There’s nothing like work to take your mind off your worries.’
She knew his voice from the trunk of the Chevy and the look in his eyes before that, in a glare of headlights, the quiet look in his eyes as he said: ‚Why, you’re just a girl.’“
Fünf Namen: Jack Foley, Karen Sisco, Daniel Burdon, Adele Delisi, White Boy Bob.
Erster Satz: “Tyler arrived with the horses, February eighteenth, three days after the battlship Maine blew up in Havana harbor.“
“They sat at one of the sidewalk tables at Swingers, on the side of the coffee shop along Beverly Boulevard: Chili Palmer with the Cobb salad and iced tea, Tommy Athens the grilled pesto chicken and a bottle of Evian.
‚Karen Flores. She married a screenwriter.’ ’Fuckin screenwriter. Those guys, most of em don’t even know where the commas go. You have to rewrite half their stuff.#“
‚He wore a rug.’ ’You sure?’ ’I can tell a rug. This one didn’t fit him, it was too big. I don’t know why but it reminded me of that story – I think it was Robert Mitchum, he sees this actor come on the set wearing a rug and he says to one of the grips, ‚See this guy’s toupee? It looks just like Joan Crawfords’s bush.’
‚What happens next?’ Chili (der an einem Drehbuch arbeitet) shrugged. ‚I wait for characters to show up, ones I can use.’ In Chilis mind, though, Linda was the star. She had the talent, she had the cool expression on her face, like a good stripper who doesn’t overdo it, just gives enough of a come-on.
Elaine said, ‚You’re going to fast.’ Chili said, ‚What do you want me to do, learn to stutter?’ And Elaine said, ‚Bogart in The Maltese Falcon. That’s the best line in the picture.’“
Fünf Namen: Linda Moon, Darey Holmes, Edie Athens, Joe Loop, Hy Gordon.
Erster Satz: “The church had become a tomb where forty-seven bodies turned to leather and stains had been lying on the concrete floor the past five years, though not lying where they had been shot with Kalashnikovs or hacked to death with machetes.“
Erster Satz: “Dennis Lenahan the high diver would tell people that if you put a fifty-cent piece on the floor and looked down at it, that’s what the tank looked like from the top of that eighty-foot steel ladder.“
„Here was Antwan, living the life of a young coyote up in the Hollywood Hills, loving it, but careful to keep out of the way of humans.“
Mr. Paradise (2004)
“Late afternoon Chloe and Kelly were having cocktails at the Rattlesnake Club, the two seated on the far side of the dining room by themselves: Chloe talking, Kelly listening, Chloe trying to get Kelly to help entertain Anthony Paradiso, an eighty-four-year-old guy who was paying her five thousand a week to be his girlfriend.
‚Remember she asked if I modeled’, Chloe said, ‚and I told her now and then but mostly I did hands? She said, Oh.’ ’You called it hand jobs. Show her your Playboy spread, she’ll freak’, Emily said.
Emily gave her the catalog and a Sharpie. ‚Sixteen, the Second Skin Collection. Could you sign it like right above your navel?’ ’I’m in the Seamless Collection’, Kelly said, ‚Second Skin’s the next page’, and wrote Kelly in black over bare flesh. ‚I’m in another one somewhere.’ ’Page forty-two’, Emily said, ‚the new lowrise bikini. And on the next page, the low-rise v-string amd low-rise thong?’ Kelly turned pages until she was looking at herself in white panties. ‚You want each one signed?’“
Fünf Namen: Kelly Barr, Tony Paradiso, Frank Delsa, Carl Fontana, Avern Cohn.
“Carlos Webster was fifteen the day he witnessed the robbery and killig at Deering’s dugstore. This was in the fall of 1921 in Okmulgee, Oklahoma.
‚You want to know’, Carl said, ‚who shot the Wycliff boy, me or that one-eyed bouncer. I’ll tell you. I think by the time Boo got around to shooting him rigor had already set in.’
Jack Belmont was the only man Heidi had ever known who put on a bathrobe when he got up in the morning. She thought he might have picked it up from the movies.
‚You want to shoot that marshal’, Walter said, ‚do it some other time. I saw him knock off four armed men in less than five seconds. You know the best time to shoot him?’ He waited, making Jack ask, ‚When?’ ’When he’s in bed sleeping.’
McMahon looked down at the magazine and read, ‚Nestor Lott brought up both of his crome-plated .45s at the same time and Marshal Carl Webster‘, McMahon looked up again, his eyes on Carl, ‘with lightning responses shot him through the chest ‘There’s one more word at the end oft he sentence’, McMahon said. ‘Bam‘. ’He wrote ‚Bam?’, Carl grinning now. ‘Bam‘. ’I told him to write what he saw. He had the best seat in the house.’“
Fünf Namen: Carl Webster, Louly Brown, Jack Belmont, Tony Antonelli, Bob McMahon.
Erster Satz: “A German prisoner of war at the camp called Deep Fork had taken his own life, hanged himself two nights ago in the compound’s washroom.“
“Honey phoned her sister-in-law Muriel, still living in Harlan County, Kentucky, to tell her she’s left Walter Schoen, calling him Valter, and was on her way to being Honey Deal again. She said to Muriel, ‚I honestly thought I could turn him around, but the man still acts like a Nazi. I couldn’t budge him.’
This time she said, ‚Wow’, impressed, and said, ‚You think there’s a chance you really are Himmler’s twin?’ ’The same hospital, the same day, the same time of birth and, as you see, the same likeness. The question I ask myself’, Walter said, ‚if Himmler and I are of he same blood, from the loin of he same woman, why were we separated?’“
Fünf Namen: Honey Deal, Carl Webster, Vera Mezwa, Bohdan Kravchenko, Joe Foss.
“They put Foley and the Cuban together in the backseat oft he van and took them from the Palm Beach County jail on Gun Club to Glades Correctional, the old redbrick prison at the south end of Lake Okeechobee.
‚See, what we did, Karen and I took a time-out from who we are and spent the night together in Detroit. At a hotel.’ Cundo said, ‚Jesus Christ, you took the chick marshal to bed?’ ’We made love’, Foley said. ‚There was nothing else we could do.’ ’Man, you fucked a U.S. marshal?’ ’A deputy marshal. It was real, not like a score. We both felt it, but knew there was no future in it.’ ’No – but you gonna remember her as long as you live.’ ’The next day’, Foley said, „she shot me.’
(Ein Prieser fragt einen schwulen Gangster über seine Gefängniszeit): ‚Up to this time you’ve been chaste?’ ’You mean, Father, by dudes? If I like a guy he don’t have to chase me.’”
Fünf Namen: Jack Foley, Cundo Rey, Dawn Navarro, Karen Sisco, Lou Adams.
“Xavier watched two Legionnaires stroll out form the terminal to wait for the flight: dude soldiers in round white kepis straight on their heads, red epaulets on their shoulders, a wide blue sash around their waist, looking like they from some old-time regiment except for the short pants and assault rifles.
Idris said, ‚Why do I want to go to heaven? I’m experiencing my reward here.’ ’I hate to tell you’, Helene said, ‚but it’s been a while since we were virgins.’“
Fünf Namen: Dara Barr, Xavier LeBo, Billy Wynn, Jama Raisuli, Harry Bakar
Erster Satz: “Raylan Givens was holding a federal warrant to serve on a man in the marijuana trade known as Angel Arenas, forty-seven, born in the U.S. but 100 percent of him Hispanic.“
Fire in the Hole (short story, 2010)
“They had dug coal together as young men and then lost touch over the years.“ Aus dieser Story und dem Charakter aus „Pronto“ und „Rinding the Rap“ entwickelte sich die TV-Serie „Justified“ mit US-Marshal Raylan Givens, einem Charaktertypen, der purer Leonard ist. Elmore meinte dazu: „My favorite character is Raylan. Raylan’s perfect because there are not many actors who have delivered the lines the way I heard them when I was writing them. George Clooney was close, and Tarantino was faithful. Richard Boone was in two movies of mine, and every word he said was the way I heard it when I wrote it. I think it’s great.“
Den Namen hatte Leonard bei einer Buchmesse in Amarillo, Texas, gefunden: „It was at a book distributor convention sponsored by Western Merchandisers in Amarillo, Texas, on a Saturday in June 1991. I was the guest speaker at a sales conference luncheon. I remember standing between a Ninja Turtle and a Miss Texas from a few years back. Don’t ask me why. But what I remember most is the young man sitting next to me on the dais during lunch. He introduced himself. ‚Hello, Mr. Leonard. My name’s Raylan Davis.‘ I didn’t even hear the last name, I just heard ‚Raylan‘ and knew I wanted to use it. I asked him, ‚How would you like to be the star of my next book?‘“
Elmore Leonard in drei Worten
Und dann ist da noch der Satz: „Raylan got ready.“
Er fällt, als Raylan den Gefangenen Dale Crowe Junior in ein Gefängnis transportiert und der dabei babbelt und babbelt.
Dann kommt der Satz. Drei Worte: Raylan war bereit. Sie genügen, um klar zu machen, Dale Crow schwatz nur, um den Marshall unaufmerksam zu machen und ihn entwaffnen zu können. Drei Worte genügen, um uns wissen zu lassen: Raylan hat das längst durchschaut. Falls Crowe es versucht, wird es ihm verdammt leid tun.
Elmores Frau Joan hat dieser Satz sicher gut gefallen.
Alf Mayer, culturmag.de 07.09.2013
Eine Zitaten-Reise durch Elmore Leonards Werk (Teil 1) hier
- Katherine Mansfield / Ingrid Mylo:„Alles, was ich schreibe – alles, was ich bin. Texte einer Unbeugsamen.“ - 13. Februar 2023
- Richard Condon: The Manchurian Candidate - 18. Januar 2017
- Ross Macdonald – einer der besten amerikanischen Kriminalautoren des 20. Jahrhunderts - 22. September 2016