Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A Note On Walter Mosley's Six Easy Pieces


I'm reading Six Easy Pieces, six Easy Rawlins stories by Walter Mosley. They are undertied by Easy's personal situation, his job, kids, relationship with his girl friend Bonny, his business interests, the question of and his deep, deep feelings about his best friend Mouse's death  and his central inner conflict. He is conflicted  between his shot at serious, responsible, domestic bourgeois life, and the call of the streets, the wildness, the life and death dangers, and excitement of them. 

The Los Angeles black social history, the concreteness of a class of people in a certain time and place, including fraught black white relations, on top of the actual story telling is illuminating.

One very short part of it all keeps knocking around in my head. 

At one point Easy, who is comprehensively well read, musing on that conflict within himself thinks about that very excitement generating danger, which is the streets' siren call to him. He meditates on the mortal danger to everyone  simmering just below the surface of his now dead best friend Mouse. He places Mouse at one ferocious bookend of kind of a spectrum of the ways black men respond to white men. Mouse never backs down from any man, regardless of his colour. If any man (or woman for that matter) messes with him, then that sets off an explosion in Mouse that burns that man alive. 

Mouse is the worst of the streets, giving back ten fold for whatever they take. He is the embodiment of the darkest, most violent danger of the streets, but a few ticks below wanton. He is loyal unto his own death to his best friend Easy who is loyal to him. He dies trying to help Easy out a life threatening jam with some very bad men. 

In the description of Mouse standing violently up to any man regardless of colour, I thought in way that he prefigured the Black Panthers.

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