My greatest fear
is that when my antagonist and protagonist meet,
one of them will be wearing yellow.
(Thanks for the topic prompts to The Writers’ Den, Helmslyseditorial.wordpress.com )
And why that, you ask?
Oh, mon Dieu,
But of course… Monsieur Poirot is, c’est vrai, Belge.
With that oft found European teint that can look so very,
comme on dit…?
bad in yellow.
And his opponents…?
The Detection Club (a group of the most popular Golden age mystery writers-
(gold, not yellow)
Agatha Christie presiding-)
formulated the following rule,
not considered racist at that time,
rule number 5: “no Chinaman must figure in the story.”
By which they meant some mysterious element that sprung,
a la Seven Dials,
unprepared and from out of nowhere,
to mess up all the careful ratiocination.
Somehow, Hercule’s mother must have set someone’s teeth on edge.
Then, of course, there is Sherlock.
Mixing yellow into A Case in Scarlet somehow “just will not do.”
(I must have picked that phrase up somewhere-
perhaps Jeeves, or Bertie Wooster’s Aunt Agatha?)
And other great clashes from the past?
Yellow is the color of youth, communication, journalism.
(“I am curious-yellow”
was a film scandal in the hippie era. )
But it also stands for mellow.
Or is that just because it rhymed?
And, of course, it is the color of serendipity.
(You don’t think anyone actually put that yellow banana peel on the sidewalk so Charlie Chaplin could show off how brilliantly he slips on it on purpose, do you?)
So what happens when a mellow yellow,
tired from all that banana-slipping,
with secret ties to a mysterious Chinaman,
is peacefully chilling in his favorite banana lounger,
in his favorite pale yellow room with pale yellow cafe curtains,
listening to his favorite tunes:
they call me mellow yellow,
or the yellow submarine,
and in walks the protagonist:
violet silk tie,
violet posies in his small vase-shaped lapel pin,
given to him for meritorious service
by the queen of Belgium.
In a word-
well, actually two:
It bears not thinking of, mon ami.
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