Edited By Timothy K. Nixon
“Speed, a Story”
This is the end.
There is no escape. I am ruined. No hope, any more. I am through.
I used to lead an orderly life. That was a long time ago…. I was a respectable man—an Austrian citizen. Why did I leave my country? Why did I cross the ocean? How did I get into this mess…?
Mr. Prokoff says it’s not as bad as all that. Mr. Prokoff says they are just trying to scare me. The summons is probably forged. If it were a legal warrant, the police would hardly send those fellows to fetch me. It might be a private summons, of course…but Mr. Prokoff says they could obtain such a private summons only if I owed them money or if I had mistreated them. I mistreat Speed? What a preposterous idea!
Yet, they produced the document—or, in any case, they brandished a piece of paper that looked to Mr. Prokoff very much like a summons. So he advised me not to enter my room as long as they keep lying in wait for me—out there, in the street. It was very nice of Mr. Prokoff to offer me this unused chamber as a hiding place. It’s just a sort of a closet, really: a squalid box, dark and narrow as a prison cell….
The odd thing about those private summonses is that they only assume legal validity if and when...
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