Sep 25, 2016

A touch of old-fashioned self-reference

"What are we going to post today?"

Fragment,, from Chapter 9 of This Is Heaven, John, Alex and Maurice reminiscing about the first day of the Festival, and in particular about the encounter between Juliette [sic] and "Romeo":

The third candidate is Richard Roper. We know this because each candidate was introduced to the crowd, and because Roper is Romeo’s sugar daddy—-Romeo, the kid that had returned from the trailer under the pretext of buying junk food from Ben and alighted on a canvas chair next to Juliette, who then asked more questions about Romeo & Juliet & so on. Romeo didn’t say Roper is his sugar daddy, but described him as his trailer-mate, dropped out of school some time ago (Romeo), and does errands for the guy, like buying cigarettes or not buying condoms, except when the credit cards go bump. Despite all this Juliet read a few more lines from Shakespeare’s script, and Romeo answered from his inner teleprompter. It was prep school in an old-fashioned sort of way, in particular in view of the fact that the girl has completely lost her mind—-yes, Alex interrupts, she has, she put paid to the notion of romantic gravity, falling is love is so yesterday, not a split second of gravity wasted, nothing to break the fall, boom. Romeo as in Juliet, boom, although that’s not his real name, he made it up on the spot (we inform Maurice). (Would be a nice addition to the play (Maurice suggests), wouldn’t it, a touch of old-fashioned self-reference, Romeo’s real name being, say, Rudolph, and then he happens upon Juliet at the party and says “call me Romeo,” and boom.) He’s disturbed youth, though, Romeo, tormented one minute and less tormented the next, and he’s upset when you say the wrong thing, like “boy,” which Juliette did. We managed to calm Romeo down, though, and they are still in love because Juliette can see beauty in the eye of the beholder. He resembles Ben a bit because he’s black. And when he talks to Ben, Ben talks back like Pogo Possum. 

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