Monday, April 22, 2013

84. Rose and Valerie } screaming from the gallery.

Maxwell Edison is a serial killer, his trademark a silver hammer-blow to the head. He convinces Joan, a student of “pataphysical science” to go with him to see a film, but when she answers his knock at the door, he murders her. “Bang bang!” he shouts. Before he murders his teacher, who keeps him after school for acting up in class, he writes, over and over, “I must not be so.” What he must not be is a blank—what is he? He is thorough. He “made sure that she was dead.”

He’s arrested by police constable #31, who, stunned by Maxwell’s foul flat utters, coughing— “We’ve caught a dirty one.”

On trial, Maxwell hardly pays attention, but parodies the courtroom sketch artist by sketching testimonials. Two women, known only as Rose and Valerie, must be removed from the court for shouting, “Max must go free!” As Maxwell is sentenced, he hears the judge bowdlerize the phrase Maxwell wrote on the classroom chalkboard—the judge, “tells them so”—, and Maxwell fantasizes killing the judge with his silver hammer, the head of it shattering the judge’s glass face “as the words are leaving his lips”—“Bang bang.”


  1. This is The Beatles song "Maxwell's Silver Hammer"

  2. I read somewhere that Maxwell was either an MI5 or MI6 handler, following Paul's death. If that is so, then I wonder if there is any significance in "Rose and Valarie".

  3. Ian, After consulting McCartney's The Lyrics, I find no evidence that Maxwell is a secret agent--he's a serial killer. I associate Maxwell with Mac the Knife. As for Rose & Valerie--names that rhyme. If there's more significance than that, I don't know. I'm certainly not the ultimate expert.