Monday, 18 November 2013

Go Dutch

Arthur Flegenheimer had the fairly typical trajectory of a 20th century American gangster: born to a dirt poor immigrant family, he used cunning and incredible brutality to make himself rich and powerful, and was then gunned down and killed by his equally cunning and incredibly brutal business partners while still a relatively young man (34).

Where Flegenheimer - better known as Dutch Schultz - deviated from the script is that he took 21 hours to die and, heavily medicated and suffering from a high fever caused by his injuries and the fact that he had been shot (deliberately) with a rusty bullet, he jabbered and babbled his way to the grave, a stream of unconsciousness diligently recorded by a police stenographer sent to sit by his bed in case he wanted to make a statement.

Amongst other things, the dying Schultz said:

"You get ahead with the dot dash system didn't I speak that time last night. Whose number is that in your pocket book, Phi1 13780. Who was it? Oh- please, please. Reserve decision. Police, police, Henry and Frankie. Oh, oh, dog biscuits and when he is happy he doesn't get happy please, please to do this. Then Henry, Henry, Frankie you didn't even meet me. The glove will fit what I say oh, Kayiyi, oh Kayiyi. Sure who cares when you are through? How do you know this? How do you know this? Well, then oh, Cocoa know thinks he is a grandpa again. He is jumping around. No Hobo and Poboe I think he means the same thing".

As well as --

"Please, look out. The shooting is a bit wild, and that kind of shooting saved a man's life. No payrolls. No wells. No coupons. That would be entirely out. Pardon me, I forgot I am plaintiff and not defendant. Look out. Look out for him. Please. He owed me money; he owes everyone money. Why can't he just pullout and give me control? Please, mother, you pick me up now. Please, you know me. No. Don't you scare me. My friends and I think I do a better job. Police are looking for you allover. Be instrumental in letting us know. They are English-men and they are a type I don't know who is best, they or us. Oh, sir, get the doll a roofing. You can play jacks and girls do that with a soft ball and do tricks with it. I take all events into consideration. No. No. And it is no. It is confused and its says no. A boy has never wept nor dashed a thousand kim. Did you hear me?"

Needless to say, cut up king and notoriously haphazard shot William Burroughs was always absolutely fascinated by Schultz's last words, even writing a film script using the dying Schultz as a narrator. It was never produced in Burrough's surprisingly long lifetime, but, in 2003, Dutch film maker Gerrit van Dijk had a pop at it - with, it has to be said, mixed results. Here it is, as narrated by Rutger Hauer.

It may interest you to know that the Mounds and Circles team would be willing and able to do our own version of the script for only a few million pounds - although that budget assumes that we can break onto the set of 'Boardwalk Empire' and do some filming while everyone is at lunch.
For the record, Schultz's last last words were --

"Look out mamma, look out for her. You can't beat him. Police, mamma, Helen, mother, please take me out. I will settle the indictment. Come on, open the soap duckets. The chimney sweeps. Talk to the sword. Shut up, you got a big mouth! Please help me up, Henry. Max, come over here. French-Canadian bean soup. I want to pay. Let them leave me alone".

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