The Night Life of the Gods

[The Lost Scene]

by JMD

Author’s Note
Like most statuephiles out there, I consider The Night Life Of The Gods by Thorne Smith to be the classic of the genre. However, when I first discovered it in the early ‘80s, there seemed, at least to me, to be an obviously missing scene. At the time, I wrote it up for myself, even finding a place for it that didn’t change anything that Mr. Smith himself had written. At this time, I’d like to share that missing scene with you.

The scene occurs near the beginning of Chapter 3 of the novel (Reluctant Statues), shortly after Hawk has created the rings. For proper placement, I have included the words from the book in italics. My writing will be found in regular print. If you don’t have a copy of the novel, shame on you. I hope that this little piece is still enjoyable to you, as well.

(with utmost respect for the words of Thorne Smith)


He paused and considered the rings with a dreamy expression in his eyes, then shifted his gaze to the girl.

“You,” he said, “would make a lovely statue. I could keep you in the garden. Might even make a fountain out of you.”

“You mean, let me stay out there winter and summer in the rain and snow and all?”

“Certainly. Why not? Are you particularly pleased with your present state?”

“No,” admitted Daffy. “My present dull mode of existence is not an enviable one, but your alternative is even less attractive.”

“And how would you know that,” Hawk remarked. “You haven’t even given it a try.” And without another word, he pointed the ring with the petrification ball in it at the girl and activated it.

The effect was immediate, as the girl froze where she stood. Her entire body stiffened in place and became the color of cold marble. And with his niece’s transformation, Hunter Hawk had realized a lifelong dream. He had turned a living being into a stone statue.

Slowly, he approached the petrified figure. The girl was bent forward, caught in the act of lifting the edge of her skirt up. No doubt she was checking her step-ins for damage from the fall she had taken earlier. Hawk admired the outstretched leg that was revealed by the act. It was solid and smooth. A perfect representation in cold marble.

He circled her twice, taking in every detail of the petrification effect. No part of the girl’s figure was unchanged. He looked into her down-turned face, which showed no evidence that she was aware of what had happened to her. Her frozen lips were slightly parted in the beginnings of some comment that would remain unsaid.

“Incredible,” Hawk said, standing back for another look. As he had said, Daphne did indeed make a lovely statue.

He considered leaving her that way. Still, the girl had been the only bit of happiness in his drab existence to that point. It would be a shame for her to miss out on the festivities to come. So, he returned to his workbench and, picking up the restoration ring, bathed the girl in its green beam.

Instantly, the statue came to life. “Hey!” Daphne cried. “Just what is the big idea?”

Hawk smiled. “Just giving you a taste of the… What was it you called it? Oh, yes. The alternative.”

“Well,” the girl said, “how about a little warning next time. I can tell you that a body finds it quite unsettling to suddenly being turned to stone. And I had no idea of your ultimate intentions. As far as I knew, I was destined for the garden.”

Hawk asked, “Would that have been so bad?”

“Perhaps not,” Daffy admitted. “Still, a person likes to have some say in how she is to be presented if she is to be put on display.”

“For the present, then,” said Hunter Hawk, “we shall keep the idea under consideration. There are other things to do.”

“Yes,” replied Daffy. “Let’s do them all before we take up the matter of the fountain.”

There you have it. Now, go back to your copy of the novel, and read it again. You can never do so enough.

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