The Trap

I recently enjoyed a book by Lawrence Block called – A Drop of the Hard Stuff.

It’s a story about a former cop turned unofficial private eye who also happens to be in his first year in AA. It centers on one of his childhood friends whom took a different path than he did and ended up in a life of crime and even serving time for something. That friend is also in AA, with a little more time than our hero and he’s out there making amends for the wrongs he has done (Steps 8 and 9) when he’s killed – shot once in the head and after once in the mouth – a clear message, shut up. Matthew, our hero of the story, goes out at the request of the dead guys sponsor (a gay jewelry designer) to see if any of the names still on his eighth step list would be viable suspects for the murder – it’s actually quite interesting.

One of the suspects sets a trap for Matthew – when he returns to his room at the hotel he finds a glass of scotch sitting on the table staring at him – and a full opened bottle next to it. Not only that but the smell of that glass seems overwhelming. There are moments when we think this guy’s going to relapse right there the way the author is describing his mind. Seems the bad guy also dumped an entire bottle of the stuff on his bed too for the smell. That’s just not nice at all, but the killer knew if he could get Matthew drunk he’d win, knew the alcoholic obsession and a good bender would get him off the case.

The whole book was good, but I found that particular scene really good and frightening.

Reminded me of a comic book story that I read a while back – Flash Thompson is Spider-man’s biggest fan, but a bully to Peter Parker. He becomes friends with Spidey over the years and it becomes known. Flash is also a recovering alcoholic (so is Tony Stark a.k.a. Iron Man in case you didn’t know). Well bad guys decide to use Flash against Spidey and tie him up in a chair, force his mouth open and pout alcohol down his throat until he’s drunk enough to want to drink on his own again – I can’t recall how much time sober Flash had at the time, but it was a frightening scene for me when I read it. Damn that’s not a nice thing to do to an alcoholic.

I have a wicked mind I guess and often think of horrible things – I think that spiking a punch bowl or the like at an AA round-up would make a great story, lots of little stories would crop up as a result of that one event and many lives stand the chance of being ruined for good – but there is also the chance for change and growth for people that were spiked. I wouldn’t do that, today, but it would make an interesting story and maybe someday I’ll write that.



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