I again take to the streets with author Sean Beaudoin telling me the tale of “You Killed Wesley Payne.” High school detective Dalton Rev is nearing the end of his investigation, the action is speeding up and some hard questions are starting to be asked as Mr. Beaudoin and I walk around the my neighborhood.
In the story, Rev has made his way to the party where all the high school cliques are gathering. This will be his chance to snoop around not only the yearbook staff’s notes but to make some side deals with the main cliques. The tale is straightforward, but another weirder one is forming in front of myself and Mr. Beaudoin.
At the neighborhood church, several college and high school kids are playing pickup basketball. The weather is nice for it, sunny but not hot in the slightest so everyone feels comfortable on the blacktop. Everyone, including the smallest, skinniest white boy that Superman ever called into existence, and that’s coming from a fellow white boy. What makes this kid notable is that everyone seems to be in on the joke that he is playing with them and that he seems to be actually doing okay.
As Dalton continues to snoop and find evidence that things are amiss, we run across a few college students playing catch in a yard, throwing the football not only to each other, but over the house. Seems the simple game of catch now has the added difficulty of blind throwing and, well, a damn house between you and your target. Truly college is a magical time.
While we have been watching this blind game of catch, the party in the story has been broken up and Dalton has been arrested. As he gets out of jail, I get to the ROTC workout space of the Bannville Polytechnic. Various sets of equipment are set up to simulate a battlefield sceneriou, such as climbing rope up an evil strong hold, or pushing giant tires around a field, or jumping through a field of tires laid out on the ground in a one-two pattern, or climbing small wooden walls that you could simply walk around. The strangest of all these is the wooden post thingie, which I will not go into here, but I have no idea what you are supposed to do with these structures and Mr. Beaudoin stays quiet on the matter.
As Dalton makes his way from the jail and into the car of one of the biggest twists of the novel. I eat BBQ from a local eatery. Nothing special happens and Mr. Beaudoin continues to tell me his tale with no interruption.
Nearing the end of our walk, Mr. Beaudoin puts Dalton Rev in a very interesting postion and has him give an empassioned argument about using bad resources for good means. Using the shortcut of evil to do something good. The passage is one of the better told in the book and lays out the moral code of the traditional private eye. Yes, in this dark world where there’s more gray than black and white, one man stands up and stands in for the forces of good, not because he himself is good, but because he knows the difference and somethings are worth it. If that sounds like a rambling mess, it is. Just remember: in the Maltese Falcon, Spade was sleeping with his partner’s wife but that didn’t make it okay for somebody to kill the guy and get away with it.
And that is the end of our walk. Mr. Beaudoin and I sat for longer and he finished his tale, and even with a few twists and turns that may or may not have confused the message, I hold that last bit as important. What is not worth breaking a moral code for? What is truly important in this world? Is good worth doing bad for?