I read a great book at my catering shift today (it was in some atrium of the Glenrose hospital, which housed a very small library). The book contained the memoirs of some Canadian journalist called Charles Lynch who had among other things, such as following Che Guevara as he stomped out of a speech by the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury right into the bathroom where he relieved himself and gave a hearty “LIBERDAD,” been a war correspondent during World War II.
The most interesting chapter was about the liberation of a small French town called Grenade Sur Mer. Upon entering the town the Germans had just evacuated the night before, the two Canadian journalists found themselves a hotel and, after exploring the streets for awhile, soon came across a line-up of American troops waiting to get inside a small French whorehouse. Knowing French, one member of the journalists’ party, Cornfold, yelled something to the Madame allowing the two Canadians to be brought right to the front of the line. The Madame was so relieved to be able to speak to somebody in a language she could understand she requested to spend the night with Cornfold drinking tea and having a pleasant conversation. The only problem was that somebody needed to run the cash register and ring the bell when the guests’ two minutes were up. Fortunately for Lynch’s future story-telling opportunities that responsiblity fell to him. He was quickly told that the American’s were to be let in three at a time, one for each of the three girls, that they could only be upstairs for two minutes max and that the price doubled every half-hour. So, Lynch played clerk and Cornfold spoke French with the Madame until 4am when the American Military Police shut the place down to the public. The lucky non-public being the Military Police who took the opportunity to check out the services for themselves (for longer than two minutes).
The next day Lynch and Cornfold were to meet the rest of their group in another French town further along the German front (Mon St Marche I think). When they arrived it was a truly idyllic place and upon reflection Lynch realized that they were probably among the very few people to ever see the town quiet and empty during June in the last 500 years. The most interesting part of this trek was when they came across a large Mercedes convertible filled with all kinds of weapons and ammunition including rockets meant to destroy tanks and fancy German machine guns, not the kind of crap the Canadians had to make do with, parked outside a French pub. Inside was another Canadian journalist, Matt Halton, having an argument with his old friend Ernest Hemingway. Apparently Halton thinks the world of Heminway’s writing but he made the mistake of telling him that his passages about fucking weren’t as good as the rest of his novels, probably because he hadn’t done it as much as the rest of the stuff he writes about. Hemingway, of course, replied with “NOBODY KNOWS MORE ABOUT FUCKING THAN I DO, AND NOBODY FUCKING WRITES ABOUT FUCKING LIKE I DO.” Hemingway took his friend (not Halton) and walked out of the bar right into the Mercedes parked out front and drove off towards Germany. Apparently he was a good friend of the American General Patton and was given the Mercedes as a gift and was told that he could have whatever he wanted. He said that he wanted guns and ammunition because he was going to drive ahead of the liberating Americans and supply the French resistance with some real weaponry. Needless to say, a few weeks later when Lynch reached Hemingway’s destination with the rest of the military he found the best equipped resistance one could find and a pipe smoking Hemingway right on top of them.
Such were the contents of one chapter, or about 15 pages, of Charles Lynch’s You Can’t Print That!
I should have stolen it.