Words I Wish I’d Written: Bad Language

“Dang Brodell,” Emmett said. Actually that isn’t what he said. But about a year ago I got a four-page letter from a woman in Wichita, Kansas, saying that she had read all of my reports and that as each of her fourteen grandchildren reached his or her twelfth birthday she gave him or her copies of three of them just to get them started. If I go ahead and report what Emmett Lake actually said I would almost certainly lose that nice old lady, and what about the grandchildren who aren’t twelve yet? I don’t like censorship any better than you do, and if the payoff was going to be that it was Emmett who shot Brodell, I would have to report him straight and kiss Wichita good-by. But he just happened to be around because it was a ranch and he was a cowhand, so I’ll edit him. Those of you who like the kind of words he liked can stick them in yourselves, and don’t skimp.

— Rex Stout, Death of a Dude

Monkey Typing

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