Tuesday, June 2, 2009

From the Favorite Books Bookshelf--#3

The American handed Leamas another cup of coffee and said, “Why don’t you go back and sleep? We can ring you if he shows up.”

Leamas said nothing, just stared through the window of the checkpoint, along the empty street.

“You can’t wait for ever, sir. Maybe he’ll come some other time. We can have the polizei contact the Agency: you can be back here in twenty minutes.”

“No,” said Leamas, “it’s nearly dark now.”

“But you can’t wait for ever; he’s nine hours over schedule.”

“If you want to go, go. You’ve been very good,” Leamas added. “I’ll tell Kramer you’ve been damn good.”

“But how long will you wait?”

“Until he comes.” Leamas walked to the observation window and stood between the two motionless policemen. Their binoculars were trained on the Eastern checkpoint.


It’s hard to jump into a book or story with only dialogue, but this is tight, terse dialogue--and because we immediately see that we’re in a tense situation, we keep reading. Right from the start we know fthat this is a man who does his job, who sticks to the plan. What usually happens to those people in the end?


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.