Lamar Giles
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Monkeys Paw

Half price monkey paws (and other great not-so-great deals)

It’s no secret that “The Monkey’s Paw” by W.W. Jacobs and “The Tragic History of Dr. Faustus” (think Faustian Deal)  are works that have fascinated me from childhood. They’ve directly influenced two of my own stories (LIVE AGAIN and “Wilson’s Pawn & Loan”) and continue to intrigue me to the point that, well, I’m writing about them right now…

There’s something in the idea of THE DEAL. The Ultimate Bargain. Get everything you ever wanted…for a small fee. Have all your dreams come true, even if you’ll have to trade them for nightmares much sooner than you think.

Stories like Paw and Faust are cautionary tales. Whether the writers intended them to be labeled as such (you’d be surprised how little writers–at least the ones I know–consider the possibility of their work having any lasting cultural/social appeal) we may never know, but there are definitely warnings there. Of course we know the obvious signs, but wouldn’t the Devil or the guy selling poisoned wishes adapt with the times?

Sure, we all have sense enough not to wish on that furry, badly preserved paw. And we all know better than to ever shake hands with that horned guy in the suit with the faint wisps of smoke rising off the shoulders. What about the loan officer telling you to get the dream home? What about your new boss who tells you to just ‘massage’ the numbers a little, because, hey, there might be a bonus in it for you?

The things these stories warned us about a century ago are still real threats. Which is why I love the power of such well told tales. They’re timeless. Not just because of the words on the page, but because of the idea behind them. They’ll always be bad deals, and suckers willing to give up everything for them.

That’s why it’s never hard to suspend disbelief when you read/hear/see such stories. We get our kicks out of believing the character is so much more naive/greedy/evil than us. We’d NEVER fall for such a trick. When really, we all have.

Don’t believe me? Fine, fine…you’re too smart for me.

Since I’ve got your attention, though, care to take a look at the items I’ve got right here in my trunk? I’m sure there’s something that will suit your needs.

And the prices are sooooo reasonable. 😉

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