Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The rhythmic scansion of well-oiled machinery

Mock looked up at his colleague, Herbert Domagalla, who was clattering on the platen of a Torpedo typewriter, transforming the statements given by the prostitute sitting opposite him into the rhythmic scansion of well-oiled machinery. Mock grabbed a pencil and snapped it in two. A small splinter of wood hit the prostitute on the cheek, and she glared at Mock. He was looking at her too, but he did not see her. Instead he saw himself the day before: an energetic police officer who blackmails his chief, gets carte blanche to do what he likes and then, his head brimming with ideas, follows in the murderer's footsteps with his loyal helpers from the criminal underworld. After the death of a prostitute covered in rashes, that same police officer turns into a dried-up, moaning little soul who renounces everything he is doing and at night shakes with terror at imaginary ghosts.

— from Phantoms of Breslau, by Marek Krajewski.


Stefanie said...

I've never heard of a typewriter called torpedo before, but it is a most wonderful and perfect name!

Isabella K said...

The German-manufactured Torpedo came on the market in 1907 and was taken over by Remington in the 30s. This novel is set in 1919 Breslau (then in Germany) - the typewriter is a nice historical detail. The machine in the image is a model from 1911.