What do Fatty Arbuckle, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Irving Berlin, Joan Crawford, Mario Cuomo, Judy Garland, John Lennon, Jackie Kennedy Onasis, Igor Stravinsky, Mae West, The Notorious B.I.G, Heath Ledger, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ayn Rand all have in common? A funeral service at the Frank Campbell Funeral Chapel on the corner of Madison and 81st Street – just two blocks from Central Park and the Metropolitan Museum. As far as funerals go, this appears to be the last place to be seen.
Silent, alone, sans escort, with one behind/ And one before, as Friars Minor use,/ We journeyed. The present fracas turned my mind To Aesop’s fable of the frog and the mouse:/Now and this moment are not more similar/Than did the tale resemble the newer case,
If one is conscientious to compare/Their ends and their beginning, Then as one thought/ Springs from one before it, this now bore
Another which redoubled my terror: that-/ Having been fooled because of us, with wounds/ And mockery to make them the more irate With anger added to their malice- the fiends/ More fiercely than a dog attacks a hare,/ Would soon come after us.
The economical prose of Patricia Highsmith compel the reader to not only read on, but more importantly, to empathize with the mind of a killer:
The white, taut sheet of his berth on the train seemed the most wonderful luxury he had ever known. He caressed them with his hands before he turned the light out. And the clean blue-gray blankets, the spanking efficiency of the little black net over his head – Tom had an ecstatic moment when he thought of all the pleasures that lay before him now with Dickie’s money, other beds, tables, seas, ships, suitcases, shirts, years of freedom, years of pleasure. Then he turned the light out and put his head down and almost at once fell asleep, happy, content, and utterly, utterly confident, as he had never been before in his life.