Friday, February 28, 2020

To Be or Not to Be Easy Rawlins or Raymond ‘Mouse’ Alexander

This week's 7 Criminal Minds question: What black character would you want to be for a day? 

by Paul D. Marks

Denzel Washington as Easy Rawlins
As a sort of Part II to my last 7 Criminal Minds post (Easy Does It), in which we were asked to talk about “a source of inspiration you’ve derived from a black American author,” and where I talked about Walter Mosley and his characters Easy Rawlins and his psychopathic friend Mouse, in response to this week’s question, I would have to say that I’d want to be either Mouse or Easy for a day.

Part of me would rather be Mouse. He doesn’t care who he fucks up or what he does. But much as I like Mouse and his quick-draw instant retribution and justice, part of me would rather be Easy for a day…because it would be easier since, for the most part, he lives a normal middle class life.

Mouse is probably always looking over his shoulder, paranoid, waiting for someone to pop him. And while this happens to Easy sometimes and he gets into that frame of mind I think it’s less so for him and he lives a more normal life. He’s a property owner, he has kids and a house. He has friends. I’m not sure Mouse has many true friends. Some yes. But with a guy like Mouse are they friends or friends out of fear? Do they really respect him or do they just fear him? I think, on the other hand, Easy is actually respected and has friends who like him for himself.

Don Cheadle as Mouse
Yet, on the other hand, Mouse knows the streets. It would be hard to sneak up on him or get something by on him. Mouse is the guy you want backing you up and Easy goes to him when he needs fearless muscle.

Mouse is (mostly) loyal and a good friend, but that doesn’t mean an insult, perceived or otherwise, won’t set him off to the point of almost killing you, or even going all the way in that regard.

Walter Mosley
Mosley says of Mouse at Crime Fiction Lover ( ) “I always describe Mouse as small with rodent features—a light coloured [sic], light eyed black man who would kill you without a moment’s hesitation. The contradiction of his appearance and potential is what makes him so scary.”

Don Cheadle as Mouse (center)
Easy was born in 1920. And I’ve often said, when asked what other time I’d like to be born in, that I’d want to be born in 1920, then I’d be twenty in 1940. Do my bit in World War II, hopefully survive, and come out into the mid and late forties noir world. Okay, I know it wasn’t so great on a lot of levels, but there is that swing music, those noir movies, and those hats and trenchcoats.

And who wouldn’t want to be played by Denzel Washington in the movies? Who wouldn’t want to be the good guy like Easy, who saves the day?

All that said, fuck it, I’d rather be Mouse.

Raymond 'Mouse' Alexander

And now for a little BSP:  I’m running a free promotion for people who subscribe to my newsletter. You can get a FREE e-copy of my novel Vortex. Just subscribe. And if you’re already a subscriber and want the novel contact me via my website or e-mail and I’ll send you the link for the download.

I'm also excited to announce that I've got a new book coming out in 2020: The Blues Don't Care. It's a little different for me. It's set in 1940s Los Angeles jazz scene during World War II. I hope you'll keep checking in for more news on this exciting new release.


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GBPool said...

I'll go with Pam Grier as Jackie Brown. Tough but beautiful. Why not dream a little. The era was easier to take back then. Since I don't watch TV anymore or go to the movies or read too many contemporary books, I don't know more modern characters.

Paul D. Marks said...

Thanks for your comment, Gayle. I just watched Jackie Brown again recently for the first time in a long time. Really holds up well. Good flick! And character.

Susan C Shea said...

Mouse as a character is strangely appealing for the reasons you describe, but I'd freak out being in his skin for 20 minutes! Easy, on the other hand, is like anyone I might know if I hung out in his more dangerous world. You're brave to take on the identity of a charismatic, paranoid killer, even for a day, even only in your own mind!

Paul D. Marks said...

Thanks for your comment, Susan. In real life, Mouse probably would be difficult to be. The thing that would bother me most is not knowing if people are your friend cause they like you for you or cause they're scared of you. But I don't think people like that think in those terms.