Hammersmith, Hark and Bailey on Morality

The demon Hammersmith with hair below the ears

Hammersmith the demon.

‘Man may not live by bread alone,’ said Hammersmith, ‘but he’ll get a damn sight further with it than he will by The Word. You can’t eat The Word, Hark. The Word can’t keep you dry, or safe, or alive until tomorrow.’

‘I dunno,’ said Bailey, belching quietly again. ‘Doesn’t “The Word” inspire charity? Doesn’t The Word make people help their fellow man? Give him shelter? A roof? A meal?’

Hark looked at him, frowning.

‘No,’ said Hammersmith. ‘Being alive does that. Look at it this way – you’re out for a drive, and you come across a guy whose car has gone off the road, and he’s hanging off the edge of a cliff. If you walk away, he’ll fall to his death. What do you do? Do you help him, or do you look up Ecclesiastes, Chapter Four, to see whether it says you should help strangers hanging from the edges of cliffs?’


‘You help him, because that’s what people do for people. People that don’t do that are psychopaths. Or bankers. Or believe it’s the will of their deity that the other man dies. If you think you need The Word to make you act that way, you’re missing the opportunity that being alive gives you.’


It’s been a good writing day – d was supportive when, early in the morning, I suggested we might, in fact, not spend our Saturday together, but instead that I might dash to Starbucks to write. Which I did – got about 5,000 new words written, and more importantly, conquered a scene that troubled me the last time I tried to write this book, to the point that I stopped writing.

The snippet above is of course still very raw, but it’s part of a conversation in which Hammersmith the demon, Hark the angel and Bailey the suicidal human sort out the business of morality and religion’s part in it. As I say, still raw, but I’m feeling rather pleased with it in the immediate aftermath of writing it. On to tomorrow, which should involve interrupting the Moon landing.


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