(urth) 5HOC - no. 5, Marsch, Eastwind and Sandwalker

Adam Stephanides adamsteph at earthlink.net
Wed May 9 08:32:28 PDT 2007

Tony Ellis wrote:

>I don't think the cat bites anyone. When 'Marsch' reports the incident
>in his journal, he does so to explain why his handwriting has suddenly
>become so bad. But if Marsch is no longer Marsch but one of the
>Annese, then of course his handwriting would be bad - he can't use

Rereading this passage, I noticed something odd. Like you, I had believed that the Apr. 23 entry, as well as the note preceding it, were written by V.R.T. (as the officer's behavior seems to confirm) and that the cat-bite story was V.R.T.'s invention. But the big change in the entries comes a day later: the Apr. 23 entry could easily have been written by Marsch, whereas the Apr. 24 and later entries were clearly written by V.R.T. Stylistically, too, the Apr. 23 entry and preceding note are more like Marsch's entries than the post-Apr. 23 entries. Moreover, the Apr. 23 entry talks of shooting the tire-tiger, but V.R.T. can't use a rifle. (Of course V.R.T. could have made that up too, but in the rest of his entries he does a very poor job of pretending to be Marsch.)

If the Apr. 23 entry and preceding note are in Marsch's words, then what happened must have been something like this: On Apr. 22 Marsch is bitten by the cat. On Apr. 23 Marsch writes the original version of the entry we see: the cat's bite affects his handwriting, though it doesn't look like V.R.T.'s handwriting. Sometime after that, Marsch is either killed by V.R.T. or dies in an accident. On June 1 V.R.T. decides to continue Marsch's journal, writing as Marsch, and the note preceding the Apr. 23 entry shows him how he can do this. So V.R.T. copies the note and Apr. 23 entry, and cuts the original out of the notebook (as the first three pages were cut out). In doing so he also cuts out any entries Marsch may have written between the Apr. 21 entry, where he says he would shoot V.R.T. and the girl if he caught them having sex, and his own death.

I'm not very happy with this, as it's the sort of elaborate scenario with no direct evidence that I generally dislike. But the difference between the Apr. 23 and "Apr. 24" entries is so striking (to me, anyway), that it requires explanation. An alternate explanation would be that Marsch's altered handwriting just happens to look like V.R.T.'s, but this would be too much of a coincidence.

(Apologies if this has been discussed before, though I don't remember it having been.)


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