The Girl Who Beat Rick at Chess: Lent in Casablanca, Night 6

The world of Casablanca isn’t for pansies. Holden Caulfield’s sensitive little phony-fearing heart would explode faster than one could say, “Be careful. Vultures, vultures everywhere” while picking his pocket.

Casablanca is a place where little gems of hope and optimism sparkle in a tarnished setting of despair. The people go through the motions of happy life.  They drink and smoke and gamble, but mostly they wait.  And wait.  And wait.

Casablanca would be an all-you-can-eat buffet for Dementors. Harry Potter wouldn’t stand a chance, not without his built-in cheering section.

Hermione Granger? She’d kick ass in a big way. Yes. Hermione Granger. She’s intelligent and a quick study. But she’s malleable.  If she’d been dumped in Casablanca instead of Gryffindor, she would thrive. She’d read books about baccarat, opium refining, saloon bookkeeping, et voila, Hermione would be rich and powerful.

Sure, I think Hermione Granger has a deep-seated nobility. I can see her skimming a fortune off of Rick and Ferrari, selling opium (or other potions) from behind Annie the Soapmaker’s market stall, and even scamming rich idiots. I can see Hermione using her fortune and underworld influence to help deserving refugees escape to Lisbon.

This Hermionization of the Casablanca underworld? This I can see; I can imagine how changed a world it would be.

Lisbeth Salander would be a perfect fit without changing a thing.

Okay, I admit that 21st Century punked-out, pierced and tattooed 4’11” tall bisexual Lisbeth might have to hide in her Irene Nesser identity, but she’d be a perfect fit. Casablanca is the ultimate place to disappear.  She’d awake in her room, then stumble down to The Blue Parrot for strong coffee and a pita. She’d wander the marketplace, buying a little hash from Annie the Soapmaker, a couple books from Abdul & Noble, maybe some mangos.

After her stroll, she’d run a cool bath in her suite, get a little buzz on, then take a nap. After sunset, she’d wake up, put on her Irene Nesser outfit, and head down to Rick’s.

After all, everybody comes to Rick’s. 

She’d bring a book to read, sit at the end of the bar, and tell Sascha to keep her glass full and his mouth shut.  She might get bored and go score a fortune counting cards in the casino. Eventually, she’d end up at Rick’s private table, silently smoking and drinking, two taciturn misanthropes battling away over the chessboard, oblivious to Sam and Renault and all the forced frivolity and desperation.

There would be nights where the whiskey takes over, and Fröken Salander needs another’s touch. It wouldn’t be with Rick or Renault, not with anyone who would qualify as a major character. Maybe she’d let Sascha take her home in a taxi, then come up for a nightcap. Maybe Rick would be too busy ejecting Deutsche Bank executives to play chess. Maybe Yvonne would have a little too much to drink, and Lisbeth would take her home.

Casablanca is a bitter, cynical place. Indiana Jones and Marion could enjoy a night at Rick’s on their way to some adventure, but they wouldn’t stay.

I’ve written before about how much I’d love to see Lisbeth Salander and Luna Lovegood team up to solve mysteries.  I don’t see Luna thriving in Casablanca–not enough whimsy. 

But this new Hermione, Hermione-prime…I can see the blazing morning sun peeking through an arched window.  Lisbeth Salander wakes up briefly, groggily, her arm draped over the sleeping body nestled beside her. She smiles her lopsided smile, then gently nuzzles away a lock of very bushy brown hair.  The shoulder is soft and bare. Lisbeth places a soft kiss right on the shoulder’s hippogriff tattoo.


4 Responses to “The Girl Who Beat Rick at Chess: Lent in Casablanca, Night 6”

  1. Hermione would be especially good at opium refining because of all of those Potions classes.

    • Hermione would be awesomized from hanging around Annie the Soapmaker, too. Then she’d have book-smarts and streetmarket smarts. Perfect.

  2. I can totally see Lisbeth in Casablanca. Totally her kind of place!

    • I agree. I can see Lisbeth fitting in seamlessly, being just as anonymous as she wants to be (and punitively tattooing any nazi bastard rapists she encounters). Pity I can’t put the Casblanca dvd and my copy of Dragon Tattoo in a blender, and see how the movie changes.

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