The Dull Earth, the second half of Affected Grandeur, is a dark narrative centered on a pair of unpleasant guys scouting France for a film on Napoleon. There are few, if any, redeeming qualities of either; they are base and self-obsessed.
Carnie was surprised at how tired he was of France. Maybe it was just the wandering and drinking and the arguments with Andrew. Maybe it was just Andrew. He shouldn’t have let him come. The film would probably never get off the ground. He could get rid of him and head down to Corsica. Film or no film, he really should go there. They had topless beaches. Carnie stopped at a delicatessen.
“Bonjour, Monsieur.” A pretty woman stood behind the counter.
“Bonjour.” Carnie examined the food through the glass. “Uh…trois tranches de jambon, et une piece de brie, une grand piece…” Just as the woman reached into the counter, there was an explosion. Carnie fell to the floor with his arms over his head. And then it was silent. He opened his eyes. The woman stared out the window. He watched her for a moment. There wasn’t anyone in sight. He realized the car was gone. He went out the door. A truck was across the road, the car crushed beneath the front. There was a point, black, twisted, where the car vanished beneath the truck, and the machines were obscenely connected. The woman from the delicatessen was beside him; she was talking and he couldn’t understand.