Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Bookworm Turns

by Larry Lefkowitz

The detective told Kunzman he could erase the chalk outline once filled with the body of Lieberman, the known literary critic.

“Why did you do it?” he asked Kunzman, Lieberman’s assistant, who sat as if stunned by his own act, staring at the chalk parameters of his late mentor.

“It all began the time that Lieberman stole from my brilliant review of a novel by A.B. Yeshua, which I had left on Lieberman’s desk, and which Lieberman, had blatantly seized with his prehensile hands, read, and published with a minimum of changes under his own name, including my most honed metaphors.”

“Thereafter Lieberman continued to ‘borrow’ (his phrase) from my review articles submitted to him and claim them as his own.” Yesterday he did it once too many. I put a stop to the practice.”

“Yes . . . with a bookend to the back of the head.”

Too bad he couldn’t write the obituary for Lieberman, mused kunzman. He would have ended it with the words “In our field of literary criticism there was one Lieberman. It’s doubtful if ever there will be patience for two,” but felt to do so would be to personify the jackass in the fable who kicked the dead lion; accordingly, he settled for the banal (if alliterative) ”Lieberman has left us and literature lackling.” (Sans the need to specify what.) In employing these words, Kunzman could not escape the odd feeling that he was composing an elegy for himself.

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