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tearing the rag off the bush again
Max Jacob: Fantomas, translated by Pat Nolan PDF E-mail
Was Max Jacob Fantomas? Read Pat Nolan's renditions!




On the burnished silver door knocker, soiled with age, grimed with the dust of time, some sort of sculpted Buddha with an unusually high forehead, pendulous ears, and the look of a sailor or a gorilla; it’s Fantomas.  He was pulling on two ropes to haul up I don’t know what.  His foot slips; hung by a thread; the summoning knob must be answered, before the rat has a chance to bore through the rubber ball.  But, it’s nothing more than a sculpted silver door knocker.






There were also a couple of stuffed shirt epicureans, a man and a woman.  The first time the head chef, bonnet in hand, came to ask “Is everything satisfactory?” they replied “We’ll apprise the maitre d’ of our opinion.”  The second time, they said nothing.  The third time, they wished him away, but that wouldn’t do as he was one of a kind.  The fourth time (my God, they’d forever haunt the doorways of Paris, they’d always be alone, they’d be so lonesome), the fourth time they began with “the caper sauce was tasty but the partridge canapé was a little hard.” Then they fell to talking sports, politics, religion.  That’s what the head chef, who was none other than Fantomas, had wanted, because he was none other than Fantomas.


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