Monday, March 17, 2014


It's always the same, afterwards: the shattered lamps, the light lying in the dust, dead, or near enough so. Easy enough to take care of the pieces of lamp, though some of them are sharp, and cut fingers are common. The glass parts can be melted and blown into chimneys again, and remounted on the metal parts, which generally don't break. A dent or two, perhaps - easy enough to hammer out.

No, the problem generally comes from the dead light, which tends towards a fretful outlook. Light doesn't like being dead (unlike doornails, say, or vaudeville, both of which find death to be  an easy, undemanding sort of condition). It rests uneasy, and persists in trying to illumine. Of course, being dead, what it mostly illumines are other dead things. For a phantom with weak eyes and a taste for reading, the Dark City must be a pleasant place. For respectable spirits, who like a bit of decent darkness in which to operate, it can be a problem. The skeletons in their closets have given up trying to sleep, whiling away the time with long, acrimonious cribbage matches.

Like any light, too, dead light brings shadows in its train. An ordinary shadow knows it's place; on the ground mostly, or thrown up against a wall. It doesn't hang around bars, trying to cadge drinks, or ride a motorcycle at two in the morning. It doesn't stand in the moonlight, it's hands in its pockets, making rude, overly accurate remarks about the living. Most especially, a nice, normal shadow doesn't sing. Dead light shadows do, and they are partial to being accompanied by instruments that quite obviously hate each other. Gongs, bagpipes and harmonicas were never intended to meet, and certainly not to fight over the soul of a tormented Strauss waltz.

Accidents happen. We know this; we accept this, albeit with an ill grace. It may happen that you - surely not on purpose - will break a lamp while you're here, and find yourself standing with your mouth hanging open (we've seen you in this pose; it's not attractive) over the corpse of the light. All we ask is that, when you leave, you take the dead light with you. Packing materiel is free, at the concierge's desk. We also offer very reasonable rates on shadows.

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