An Excerpt from Pylon

April 27, 2009

posted by Caroline Picard – I was just particularly intrigued by this passage….in this part of the book, a reporter is trying to convince his editor to let him write a humanist story about a woman, her son and two men, (a pilot and a parachute jumper), one of whom is her husband. Which is the father of her son is unclear. I also included a video about a namesake band describing the aftermath-what the reporter seems to sniffing around in his observations; namely, some concern for the future.


by William Faulkner

pub. 1935 (when Southern Airports weren’t so common)

“Listen,” the reporter said. “She’s out there at the airport. She’s got a little boy, only it’s two of them, that fly those little ships that look like mosquitoes. No: just one of them flies the ship; the other makes the delayed parachute jump–you know, with the fifty pound sack of clour and coming down like the haunt of Yuletide or something. Yair; they’ve got a little boy, almost the size of this telephone, in dungarees like they w–”

“What?” the editor cried. “Who have a little boy?”

“Yair. They don’t know.–In dungarees like they wear; when I come into the hangar this morning they were clean, maybe because the first day of a meet is the one hey call Monday, and he had a stick and he was swabbing grease up off the floor and smearing it onto himself so he would look like they look…Yair, two of them: this guy Shumann that took second money this afternoon, that come up from fourth in a crate that all the guys out there that are supposed to know said couldn’t even show. She’s his wife, that is her name’s Shumann and the kid’s is Shumann too: out there in the hangar this morning in dungarees like the rest of them, with her hands full of wrenches and machinery and a gob of cotter keys in her mouth like they tell how women used to do with the pins and needles before General MOtors begun to make their clothes for them, with this Harlow-colored hair that they would pay her money for in Hollywood and a smear of grease where she had swiped it back with her wrist. She’s his wife: they been married almost ever since the kid was born six years ago in a hangar in California. Yair, this day Sumann comes down at whatever town it was in Iowa or Indiana or whatever town it was a sophomore in highschool back before they had the airmail for farmers to quit plowing and look up at; in the highschool at recess, and so maybe that was why she come out without a hat even and got into the front seat of one of those Jennies the army used to sell them for cancelled stamps or whatever it was. And maybe she sent a postcard back from the next cowpasture to the aunt or whoever it was that was expecting her to come home to dinner, granted that they have kinfolks or are descended from human beings, and he taught her to jump parachutes. Because they aint human like us; they couldn’t turn those pylons like they do if they had human blood and senses and they wouldn’t want to or dare to if they just had human brains. Burn them like this one  tonight and they dont even holler in the fire; crash one and it aint even blood when you haul him out; it’s cylinder oil the same as in the crankcase.”


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