One That Got Away
2014 Taxidermied falcon, jesmonite, steel, paint
Gutman turned the bird upside-down and scraped an edge of its base with his knife. Black enamel came off in tiny curls, exposing blackened metal beneath. Gutman’s knife-blade bit into the metal, turning back a thin curved shaving. The inside of the shaving, and the narrow plane its removal had left, had the soft grey sheen of lead.
Gutman’s breath hissed between his teeth. His face became turgid with hot blood. He twisted the bird around and hacked at its head. There too the edge of his knife bared lead. He let knife and bird bang down on the table while he wheeled to confront Spade.
“It’s a fake,” he said hoarsely.
– Dashiell Hammett, The Maltese Falcon, 1929