The continued existence of this site depends entirely on contributions from its readers. If you're able to, please consider donating or subscribing to CF. Thanks!



Moar serendipity, pleez!

In the course of re-reading a novel by the best detective noir writer you never heard of—Chester Himes, creator of the baddest detective team north of 125th Street and south of the Bronx, Grave Digger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson—I ran across mention of another all-timer you probably never heard of: blues singer Lil Green.

Green is backed on this track by some legendary names, Big Bill Broonzy on guitar to name just one. The song was written by Kansas Joe McCoy, going on to be a pop hit for Peggy Lee backed by the Benny Goodman Orchestra two years after the Green version was cut. Anyone familiar with the tune probably knows it for Lee’s version—those few who know of it at all, that is.

Update! Below the fold, a little excursion into the world of Grave Digger and Coffin Ed.

Grave Digger sat back on the stool, breathing hard, struggling to control his rage. Veins stood out in his temples, growing out of his short-cropped kinky hair like strange roots climbing toward the brim of his misshapen hat. His brown eyes laced with red veins generated a steady white heat.

The white manager, who’d been working the front end of the bar, hastened down toward them with a face full of outrage.

“Get back,” Grave Digger said thickly.

The manager got back.

Grave Digger stabbed at Big Smiley with his left forefinger and said in a voice so thick it was hard to understand, “Smiley, all I want from you is the truth. And I ain’t got long to get it.”

Big Smiley didn’t look at Ready any more. He didn’t smile. He didn’t whine.

He said, “Just ask the questions, Chief, and I’ll answer ’em the best of my knowledge.”

Grave Digger looked around at the teenagers in the booth. They were listening with open mouths, staring at him with popping eyes. His breath burned from his flaring nostrils. He turned back to Big Smiley. But he sat quietly for a moment to give the blood time to recede from his head.

“Who killed him?” he finally asked.

“I don’t know, Chief.”

“He was killed on your street.”

“Yas suh, but I don’t know who done it.”

“Do Sissie and Sugartit come in here?”

“Yas suh, sometimes.”

Out of the corners of his eyes Grave Digger noticed Ready’s shoulders begin to sag as though his spine were melting.

“Sit up straight, God damn it,” he said. “You’ll have plenty of time to lie down if I find out you’ve been lying.”

Ready sat up straight.

Grave Digger addressed Big Smiley. “Galen met them in here?”

“Naw suh, he met Sissie in here once but I never seen him with Sugartit.”

“What was she doing in here then?”

“She come in here twice with Sissie.”

Big Smiley took out a blue bandana handkerchief and mopped his sweating black face.

The four school girls in the booth began going through the motions of leaving. Grave Digger wheeled toward them.

“Sit down! I want to talk to you later,” he ordered.

They began a shrill protest: “We got to get home…Got to be at school tomorrow at nine o’clock…Haven’t finished homework … Can’t stay out this late…Get into trouble…”

He got up and went over to show them his gold badge. “You’re already in trouble. Now I want you to sit down and keep quiet.”

He took hold of the two girls who were standing and forced them back into their seats.

“He can’t hold you ’less he’s got a warrant,” the boy in the aisle seat said.

Grave Digger slapped him out of his seat, reached down and lifted him from the floor by his coat lapels and slammed him back into his seat.

“Now say that again,” he suggested.

The boy didn’t speak.

Of course he didn’t. Not if he knew what was good for him, he didn’t. From The Real Cool Killers, part 2 of Himes’s Harlem Cycle of short novels–all damned good stuff for any fan of the noir sub-genre.

1 thought on “Moar serendipity, pleez!

  1. I remember the old Seventies  movie Cotton comedy to Harlem with those characters I can’t remember the name of the sequel.

Comments are closed.

Latest Posts

Latest Comments

CF Archives


Comments policy

NOTE: In order to comment, you must be registered and approved as a CF user. Since so many user-registrations are attempted by spam-bots for their own nefarious purposes, YOUR REGISTRATION MAY BE ERRONEOUSLY DENIED.

If you are in fact a legit hooman bean desirous of registering yourself a CF user name so as to be able to comment only to find yourself caught up as collateral damage in one of my irregularly (un)scheduled sweeps for hinky registration attempts, please shoot me a kite at the email addy over in the right sidebar and let me know so’s I can get ya fixed up manually.

ALSO NOTE: You MUST use a valid, legit email address in order to successfully register, the new anti-spam software I installed last night requires it. My thanks to Barry for all his help sorting this mess out last night.

Comments appear entirely at the whim of the guy who pays the bills for this site and may be deleted, ridiculed, maliciously edited for purposes of mockery, or otherwise pissed over as he in his capricious fancy sees fit. The CF comments section is pretty free-form and rough and tumble; tolerance level for rowdiness and misbehavior is fairly high here, but is NOT without limit.

Management is under no obligation whatever to allow the comments section to be taken over and ruined by trolls, Leftists, and/or other oxygen thieves, and will take any measures deemed necessary to prevent such. Conduct yourself with the merest modicum of decorum, courtesy, and respect and you'll be fine. Pick pointless squabbles with other commenters, fling provocative personal insults, issue threats, or annoy the host (me) won't.

Should you find yourself sanctioned after running afoul of the CF comments policy as stated and feel you have been wronged, please download and complete the Butthurt Report form below in quadruplicate; retain one copy for your personal records and send the others to the email address posted in the right sidebar.

Please refrain from whining, sniveling, and/or bursting into tears and waving your chubby fists around in frustrated rage, lest you suffer an aneurysm or stroke unnecessarily. Your completed form will be reviewed and your complaint addressed whenever management feels like getting around to it. Thank you.

Ye Aulde CF Blogrolle–now with RSS feeds! (where available)

"Mike Hendrix is, without a doubt, the greatest one-legged blogger in the world." ‐Henry Chinaski

Subscribe to CF!

Support options

Shameless begging

If you enjoy the site, please consider donating:

Become a CF member!


Email addy: mike-at-this-url dot etc
All e-mails assumed to be legitimate fodder for publication, scorn, ridicule, or other public mockery unless specified as private by the sender

Allied territory

Alternatives to shitlib social media: A few people worth following on Gab:

Fuck you

Kill one for mommy today! Click to embiggen

Notable Quotes

"America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards."
Claire Wolfe, 101 Things to Do 'Til the Revolution

Claire's Cabal—The Freedom Forums


"There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters."
Daniel Webster

“When I was young I was depressed all the time. But suicide no longer seemed a possibility in my life. At my age there was very little left to kill.”
Charles Bukowski

“A slave is one who waits for someone to come and free him.”
Ezra Pound

“The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.”
Frank Zappa

“The right of a nation to kill a tyrant in case of necessity can no more be doubted than to hang a robber, or kill a flea.”
John Adams

"A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves."
Bertrand de Jouvenel

"It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged."
GK Chesterton

"I predict that the Bush administration will be seen by freedom-wishing Americans a generation or two hence as the hinge on the cell door locking up our freedom. When my children are my age, they will not be free in any recognizably traditional American meaning of the word. I’d tell them to emigrate, but there’s nowhere left to go. I am left with nauseating near-conviction that I am a member of the last generation in the history of the world that is minimally truly free."
Donald Surber

"The only way to live free is to live unobserved."
Etienne de la Boiete

"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid."
Dwight D. Eisenhower

"To put it simply, the Left is the stupid and the insane, led by the evil. You can’t persuade the stupid or the insane and you had damn well better fight the evil."

"There is no better way to stamp your power on people than through the dead hand of bureaucracy. You cannot reason with paperwork."
David Black, from Turn Left For Gibraltar

"If the laws of God and men, are therefore of no effect, when the magistracy is left at liberty to break them; and if the lusts of those who are too strong for the tribunals of justice, cannot be otherwise restrained than by sedition, tumults and war, those seditions, tumults and wars, are justified by the laws of God and man."
John Adams

"The limits of tyranny are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress."
Frederick Douglass

"Give me the media and I will make of any nation a herd of swine."
Joseph Goebbels

“I hope we once again have reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts.”
Ronald Reagan

"Ain't no misunderstanding this war. They want to rule us and aim to do it. We aim not to allow it. All there is to it."
NC Reed, from Parno's Peril

"I just want a government that fits in the box it originally came in."
Bill Whittle

Best of the best

Finest hosting service

Image swiped from The Last Refuge

2016 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

RSS feed

RSS - entries - Entries
RSS - entries - Comments

Boycott the New York Times -- Read the Real News at Larwyn's Linx

Copyright © 2024