Thursday, April 27, 2017

"If You Wasn't a Policeman I'd Arf Murder You"

"The Constable's Move."
By W. W. Jacobs (1863-1943).
First appearance: The Strand Magazine, October 1905.
Reprinted in Cosmopolitan, November 1905.
Collected in Captains All (1909).
Short short story (7 pages, with 5 illos).
Online at (HERE), Project Gutenberg (HERE3 illos), and American Literature (HERE; no illos).
"It's a disgrace to Mulberry Gardens to 'ave a copper come and live in it," said the indignant Grummit; "and to come and live next to me!—that's what I can't get over."
They say you can choose your friends but you can't pick your relatives. For Mr. Bob Grummit, something even worse than that has happened: P. C. Evans, a police constable, has moved in next door—a disaster of the first magnitude. Not that Bob Grummit is a criminal—he isn't (although he has had run-ins with the law in the past); he just doesn't like policemen, that's all. Hostilities escalate as Grummit schemes against his neighbor, but being provocative by vandalizing Evans's yard and turning to wife-beating proves to be of no avail; the final straw, when it snaps, will involve flowers—and an ironic outcome for both of them . . .
- Our author's lasting fame is secure thanks to what is probably the most anthologized 
short story ever written, "The Monkey's Paw" (1902); information about W. W. Jacobs 
is at Wikipedia (HERE), E-notes (HERE), and the ISFDb (HERE).
- "The Constable's Move" was filmed in 1923 (HERE), with obvious major plot alterations; quite a few of Jacobs's stories have been filmed for movies and TV (HERE).

The bottom line: "The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because generally they are the same people."

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