Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Hurrah for Karamazov

"It's all part of my theory," Kinderman said.

"Lieutenant?", said Atkins, holding up a forefinger, pausing to chew, and then swallow a mouthful. He pulled a little white paper napkin from its dispenser, wiped his lips, and then leaned his face in closer to Kinderman's; the babble in the room had grown excited. " Would you do me a favour, Liuetenant?" 

"I am here but to serve, Mister Chips. I am eating, and therefore expansive. Let me have your petition. Is it properly sealed?"

"Would you please explain your theory?"

"Impossible, Atkins. You will put me under House Arrest."

"You cant't tell me?"

"Absolutely not." Kinderman took another bite of his burger, washed it down with a swaow of Pepsi and then turned to the sergeant. "But since you insist. Are you insisting?"


"I thought so. First take off the tie."

Atkins smiled. He unknotted the tie, and slipped it off.

"Good." Said Kinderman. "I cannot tell this to a perfect stranger. It's so huge. It's so incredible." His eyes were agglitter.

"You're familiar with The Brothers Karamazov?", he asked.

"No, I'm not," Atkins lied. He wanted to sustain the detective's giving mood.

"Three brothers," said Kinderman; "Dmitri, Ivan and Alyosha. Dmitri is the body of man, Ivan represents his mind, and Alyosha his heart. At the end - the very end - Alyosha takes some very young boys to a cemetery a d the grave of their classmate, Ilusha. This Ilusha they treated very meanly once because - well, because he was strange, there was no doubt about it. But then later when he died they understood why he acted the way he had and how truly brave and loving he was. So now Alyosha - he's a monk, by the way - he makes a speech to the boys at the gravesite and mainly he's telling them that when they're grown up and face the evils of the world they should always reach back and remember this day, remember the goodness of their childhood, Atkins; this good was that is basic in all of them; this goodness that hasn't been spoiled. Just one good memory in the world. What's the line?" 

The detective's eyes rolled upwards and his fingertips touched his lips, which were smiling already in anticipation. He looked down at Atkins. "Yes, I have it! 'Perhaps that one memory will keep us from evil and we will reflect and say : Yes, I was brave and good and honest then.' Then Alyosha tells them something that is vitally important. 'First, and above all, be kind,' he says, and the boys - they all love him - they all shout, 'Hurrah for Karamzov'"  

Kinderman felt himself choking up. "I always weep when I think of this," he said, "it's so beautiful, Atkins. So touching."

The students were collecting their bags of hamburgers now and Kinderman watched them leaving. "This is what Christ must have meant," he reflected, "about needing to become little children before we can enter the kingdom of heaven. I don't know. It could be." 

He watched the counterman lay out some patties on the grill in preparation for another possible influx, then sit on his chair and begin to read a newspaper. Kinderman returned his attention to Atkins. 

"I don't know how to say this," he said. "I mean, the crazy, incredible part. But nothing else makes sense, nothing else can explain things, Atkins. Nothing. I'm convinced its the truth. But getting back to Karamazov for a moment. The main thing is Alyosha, when he says 'Be kind'. Unless we do this evolution will not work; we will not get there", Kinderman said.

"Get where?" asked Atkins.

"The White Tower" was quiet now; there was only sizzling from the grill and the sound of the newspaper turning now and then. Kinderman's stare was firm and even. 

"The physicists are now certain," he said, "that all the known processes in nature were once part of a single, unified force." Kinderman paused and then spoke quietly. " I believe that this force was a person who long ago tore himself into pieces because of his longing to be his own being. That was The Fall.", he said : "the 'Big Bang' : the beginning of time and the material universe when one became many - legion. And that's why God can of interfere : evolution is this person grow it back into himself."

The sergeant's eyes were a crinkle of puzzlement. "Who is his person?" he asked the detective .

"Can't you guess?"
Kinderman's eyes were alive and smiling. " I have given you most of the clues long before"

Atkins shook his head and waited for the answer.

"We are The Fallen Angel," said Kinderman. "We are the Bearer of Light. We are Lucifer."

Kinderman and Atkins held each other's gaze. When the door chime sounded, they glanced to the door. A disheveled derelict walked in. His clothing was shredded and thick with soil. He walks towards the counterman, and then stood with his eyes upon him in a meek and silent plea. The counterman glowered at him over his newspaper, stood up, prepared some hamburgers, bagged them, and gave them to the bum who silently shuffled out of the shop.

"Hurrah for Karamazov", Kinderman murmured.

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