Ultimatum: The Westlake Review and World Domination–Greenland Edition

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It was just a bit over three years ago I informed you all that my blog stats, so helpfully supplied by WordPress (how could I ever have considered Blogger?)  indicated that I’d gotten hits from a hundred different countries, each represented by its own flag. I am here today to inform you the flag count is now 165.  I think.  I don’t feel like recounting.

Okay, in many cases we’re not talking countries so much as regions.  Dependencies, semi-autonomous domains, remote and nebulously affiliated territories (the kind you might light out for, maybe).

Often islands.  Really tiny islands, the kind Gilligan & Co. might find a tad confining, however entertaining the guest stars might be.  Like for example, Anguilla.  Be pretty bad if I couldn’t get Anguilla, since Westlake wrote one of the very few books in all history about it, but thing is, there’s not even 15,000 people living there, and they have lives, you know.  The odds of anyone with a life ever learning of this blog’s (or any blog’s) existence–not great.  But I’ve had 23 visits from Anguilla.  An independent-minded dependency of the UK, which is mindful of Anguilla in much the same way a dog is mindful of a flea, but fleas don’t build good boats like Anguilla does.  (And it better keep building them.)

Guernsey.  After which I would assume the cow is named.  A self-governing crown dependency, one of the Channel Islands, though what they are channeling I could not possibly say.  Two visits from them, two from Jersey, and what is it with the Channel Islands and cows?  Four from the Isle of Man, which makes do with a tail-less cat.

Do you sell Seychelles by the seashore?  I’ve had 35 visits from that now-independent member of the Commonwealth and various other international groupings, the inner workings of which most of us are a bit vague about.  That’s a lot of islands all bunched together, and very well they’re doing at present, but sea levels are rising, as the Dutch will tell you.  (513 visits from the Netherlands, which currently administers another sometimes-visitor here, Curacao.)

Two visits from the Cayman Islands, from whence our rescue mutt came, and to whence what ought to be our tax revenue goes.  A sort of import-export arrangement, you might say.   But the dog worked out great.


(This is Burren.  She is a very good girl.  Remember the name, it figures into the scheme me and J.C. Taylor cooked up over some bourbon.)

The Aland Islands, believe it or not, are not to be found in any George R.R. Martin novel yet published, but are to be found in the Baltic, all 6,700 or so, where they are yet another self-governing dependency, this time of Finland.  Even though they mainly speak Swedish.  Don’t even ask.  Anyway, they only came here once.  I think I was out of vodka that day.  Sorry guys.

So as you can see, I now control most of the known world, as well the parts nobody knows.  Not bragging or anything, but take a gander at the map up top.  Still a bit of mopping up do in Africa and Asia (Little Rocket Man is proving a minor obstacle on the Korean peninsula), but by and large, my suzerainty is achieved.  If only Alexander the Great had run a blog.  (He didn’t, right?)  All significant land masses are now claimed for Fred-onia.  Save one.

Yeah.  That one.  You see where I’m going with this.

Greenland, what is your problem with me?  Denmark, your mother country (kind of), came along like a lamb.  1,563 visits–#6 on my hit parade.  More than Australia, which is a continent (or so it claims).  And yet you remain this vast empty space on my map.  Not.  One.  Visit.  (And you never write either.)

Yes, I understand you’re mostly frozen wasteland, now rapidly turning into melting wasteland, but that is neither here nor there.  Resistance, as they say, is futile.  You shall be assimilated.  But by whom?   Ah, there’s the question.  Here is one potential answer–


Don’t look at me, wasn’t my idea.  This reality’s Max Fairbanks has fixed his covetous eye upon you, for reasons future historians and psychiatrists shall long debate, and never mind what that nice lady in Copenhagen says.  How many divisions does she have?  That many?  Well, she needs them all to keep an eye on the Shirtless One, who just snatched up The Crimea (of all things) with no regard whatsoever for historical anachronism.  Forward into the Valley of Dumb ride the 56,000–unless something saves you.  But what?

Democracy, you say?  The sound even-tempered reliable judgment of the American voter?  I somehow feel no editorial comment is needed here. Anyway, that’s over 15 months off.  He could annex you between the election and the inauguration.  Probably put John Bolton in charge, just so he doesn’t have to look at that mustache anymore.  (You have walruses there, right?  Like that, but worse.)

No, my tiny reindeer.  What you need is John Dortmunder.  (And maybe Parker for some of the wetwork.)   You need The Westlake Review.  I hereby offer you sanctuary beneath my vaulted ceiling.  (Notre Dame being presently indisposed.)

And if you accept my gracious offer, as indeed you must, I shall appoint Burren (see above) as your territorial governor.  I mean, she won’t live there, obviously.  But she shall speak eloquently for your interests in the world community.  And never once use the word “huge.”   (Also, no pussy-grabbing.  She’s a bit wary of cats.)  An islander  herself, please recall.  She’ll get you.

The choice is yours, Greenland.  My benevolent sway.  Or–


And if you think it’s less than credible for some threadbare blogger to make such an offer of protection–you guys get the news where you are, right?  What does ‘credible’ even mean anymore?

And the best thing about my offer is, you don’t even have to formally agree to it.  You just have to visit this blog and read about it.  Even once.  And Greenland will no longer be a white empty space on my map, as of course it already is on most other maps.  And in reality.  Though global warming will fix that.  As Andy Kelp predicted.  I think I’ll put him in charge of your Ministry of Nature and Environment.  Maybe don’t leave any valuables there.  Or park any vehicles with MD plates outside.  Welcome to the family.   God save us, every one.



Filed under Donald Westlake, Under An English Heaven

8 responses to “Ultimatum: The Westlake Review and World Domination–Greenland Edition

  1. Susan Luraschi

    Fine work, my man. I’m all a-tingle with goose-bumpy pleasure on reading your reviews on The Ax. Why do I keep thinking of Richard Yates, another guy who covered the underbelly and received much less than a full applause for uncovering our deepest secrets.
    From under the burnt timbers of Notre Dame, a Parisian dame

    • Merci, Susan. I keep meaning to obtain a DVD of Costa-Gavras’ film Le Couperet, but it’s even harder to see than Mise a Sac, now that somebody put that on YouTube. I keep wondering when TCM is going to air it. And why no US DVD now? Some problem with the rights? I have a region-free player, but would, alas, require subtitles. Though I suppose I could follow it well enough without.

      And if anyone’s wondering, Greenland remains a large blank space on my map. Elusive buggers. They obviously figured they could escape the clutches of Trump without me, and seems they were right. Curses.

  2. Robert Lopresti

    Fred, maybe you can help me out? I am trying to find a passage in one of the Master’s Works. Dortmunder refuses to participate in a caper and May is talking to Andy (and possibly the rest of the gang) about it. She suggests Andy could do the planning and and Andy explains that he sometimes has great ideas but a few great ideas is not the same as a plan. Does that ring a bell? I assumed it was in Drowned Hopes, but I can’t find it there. Thanks!

  3. Robert Lopresti

    Thanks, Fred! I must have looked past that five times.

    • My kindle editions of books I have reviewed, or vainly aspire to review someday, are full of bookmarks–every time I see a quote I might need later.

      But nothing in this world would ever make me take a highlighter to a physical edition, let alone underline passages in pen. You can do that in kindle editions now, and share your emphases with the planet. In some cases, it’s useful. Most of the time, just annoying.

  4. Tom

    You should mention that Hard Case Crime is putting out Westlake’s ‘Enough’ as a book called ‘Double Feature’ in February of 2020. Normally I buy older paperbacks because of the nostalgia factor, but I love Hard Case Crime covers so I may just buy this one.

  5. I knew about that–was a bit vague about when it was coming out, so thanks for the reminder.

    That reduces the stack of unavailable Westlake’s by a jot–quite a few more important works still out of print, and I’m not optimistic about Hard Case getting to most of them (my understanding is this might be their last Westlake re-offering for quite a while).

    It is amazing, though, how much Westlake you can download now. By far the bulk of his novels, including several that were never published until ebooks were a thing. And The Getaway Car. All this without a single successful movie or TV series to boost his profile. Just his faithful fans, gradually making their way about the elephant that is his oeuvre.

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