The Sinister "Deal Table": A Year's-end Literary Curiosity

Posted by jlubans on December 19, 2022


My first literary curiosity in this series was The Nimble Fat Man.
Now I descend to a new level, about table height: The infamous and nefarious deal table.
In thriller fiction especially among the British - the villains invariably gather around a deal table to hatch out their next dastardly deed.
I have long wondered what such an item of furniture might be. Was it a gaming table around which outlaws dealt out cards to while away the hours?
Deal is a cheap wood, like fir or spruce.
As depicted, it is often dented, flawed, begrimed, and banged up. To further the image we can add (and the authors often do) a threadbare carpet on which the table totters.
Here are a few uses taken from popular fiction:
The room was meagre and stale-smelling, with bare floor and stained and sagging wall-paper; unfurnished save for a battered deal table and some chairs. He sank into one of them and stared .
The house was plainly furnished , and on the bare deal table Connor had set his whisky down whilst he peered through the rain - blurred windows at the streaming streets.
She struck a match, and found part of a bougie (a candle, not a member of the bourgeoisie) stuck in the mouth of an absinthe bottle, resting on a rough deal table.
On one side of the deal table stood Gurther, white as death, his round eyes red with rage.
"Down those stairs!" he said, and the murderer obeyed. They were in the kitchen now, and again the bright light gleamed ... There was a gas bracket in the centre over a large deal table .
(A)nd a deal table in the middle of the room. Upon this was stretched the body of a motionless man.

Next up: An elaboration on this comforting quote from R. Austin Freeman published in the 1940s:
God tempers the wind to the shorn lamb.

My book, Fables for Leaders full of literary curiosities and a deal table or two, is available. Click on the image and order up!

And, dont forget Lubans' book on democratic workplaces, Leading from the Middle
Copyright text by John Lubans 2022

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