Aug 31, 2015

The Donald, Paul Krugman, and the GREEN EYES


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You've possibly had a chance already to notice that the GREEN EYES are about more than gay sex or romance. Worse, they are mostly about everything else. And so they are also about the Republican Base (e.g., John's father (John---the narrator of the GREEN EYES)), or about Paul Krugman, the Nobel laureate and New York Times columnist. But since we are the GREEN EYES, our most pressing concerns are frivolous. So we wonder "What is Paul Krugman's penis size?" (that's actually the title of Chapter 38).

You need to know?

So, here's a fragment from Chapter 38 (John has an appointment with Trevor Howard, the assistant DA whom he is trying to convince that something needs to be done about Dick Benson, the resident murder-psychopath of the piece; John is also thinking about starting an escort service, and so on):


I see two tables being cleared next to the central window on the street side, very good tables indeed, when I notice two people to my left, who have replaced the beefy guy. I’ve seen the face of the man before, on my blog, actually. We’re famous in Georgia Beach, seriously, folks. Will I tell Trevor? You think Trevor would be interested in politics, or the New York Times, or economics, or Nobel prizes? Possibly not—you have other problems when you’re a confirmed bachelor without a future. Trevor, who must be looking right into the eyes of Paul Krugman behind me, shows no signs of recognition what-so-ever. It’s crystal-clear, he’s not attracted to the fifty-nine year old Nobel laureate.

In the distant past, when penises had average size, there was talk in some quarters that IQs would be sexy, but we have proof now (sample-of-one!) that Krugman either does not look the part or that IQs are out. What’s Krugman’s penis size? Krugman, I realize, is drinking sparkling water, which is actually penis-enhancing, at least in the sense that alcohol induces impotence. That’s what I should do, drink sparkling water, do they award Nobel prices for French? Should I raise my voice so that Krugman can hear me and admire what I have to say about the Normans and their conquest of the Anglo-Saxon tongue? Where am I now, 0.13 BAC? Did you know that French has more words for booze than Eng-lish? Or vice versa?

Our tables are ready, Trevor and me at one of them, Krugman and his wife (happy marriage, I guess) at the other one. Krugman and I are seated back to back. Krugman has his tweed jacket draped over his Thonet seat, whereas I don’t since it’s not my seat and I don’t own a tweed jacket. It’s clear, I’m going to blow this unless I change tack, so I am making a major effort, think of Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemmingway, Jack Kerouac, Truman Capote (perhaps the saddest case), and so on, until I get to Eminem, Amy Winehouse, Lance Armstrong—and finally find the strength to order sparkling water. As planned, I’ve taken the bar tab with me, but Trevor doesn’t know what’s on it, it’ll blow his expense account, he’ll get fired, and Mau-rice will get killed.

“Did you have a chance to think about Hercule Poirot?” I ask.
“Yes,” he says.
“What do you think?”
“I think nothing,” he answers as he is being handed the menu, which requests his full attention (too large, too wordy, printed in RSVP font). We’re both having lupo di mare, the waiter casts a benevolent-campy look. We recognize each other. The guy had been at Godehart’s party. “May I remind you of Sherlock Holmes’ dictum,” Trevor continues post-menu, “and avoid theory-forming prior to fact gathering?” I start to like Trevor more (although Krugman, at the other table, could inform him that theory-less fact-gathering will drown you in trivia, but never mind).
“Why did you block us this morning?” I ask.
“Did I?” he answers.
“It was fairly clear.”
“I think I was fairly clear, too.”
“I don’t understand.”
“You are intelligent enough to understand my position,” he answers. “How many hints did I drop? Did you hear my introduction, did you hear my extroduction, did you listen to my language? We’re supposed to speak user-friendly now. I almost could get fired for this.”
‘Extroduction,’ I think, great, he’s one of us (I later realize that the Urban Dictionary had the scoop in 2009), but am eager not to  interrupt the flow of conversation, say instead: “I took them at face value.”

“We take the side of the victims, so you should never take us at face value.”
“Bodies are piling up,” I say, lowering my voice, although I should possibly raise it if I want to force the DA’s hand.
“Maurice is still alive,” he says.
“Listen,” I say, “where have we seen this before, a hospital patient is practically murdered with his own pillow by a police officer on a rampage and nothing happens.”
“But the patient had sex in a public space before.”
“That has nothing to do with it.”
“What do you think Peach State voters care more about, Maurice’s death, or his lewd behavior?”

And I thought I’d seen it all. “You want to know what I think,” he says, “I think a lot of murders go undetected. My personal theory, five percent of the bodies in the morgue, they are there for extraneous reasons, pil-lows, weed killers in a broth fed to an Alzheimer patient, electrocutions, what not. Don’t think your case is special. One percent of the American population is already in prison. You want to add another five percent?”
“So you aren’t pursuing Officer Benson because you want to save America?”
“Look at it any which way you want.”
“Could you make an exception for us?” I ask (the way Maurice would have asked this himself).
“In the way of looking at it?”
“No, in the way of handling it.”
“And bring the American civilization to its knees?”

He leans back. “Depends,” he answers—DEPENDS, that’s what we wanted to hear, folks, us escorts is always ready, and I really don’t want to split the bill—but then he continues: “depends, but not on yours truly only. Indictment decisions at homicide level are made by the DA, and the DA answers to the voters, not to me.”
“He hasn’t decided yet?”
“You think he wants to know?”
“He doesn’t know?”
“Why should he.”
“You said he knows.”
“Did I?”
“He sent us his regards, you said.”
“He always sends his regards.”
“He’s in charge.”
“Exactly, so why should he know. Credible deniability, or whatever it’s called. You think I’m going to risk my non-career by telling him about this? I would force him to say ‘I don’t want to know,’ or ‘let’s move on,’ and he hates to say ‘I don’t want to know,’ he really hates it, although he actually likes to say ‘let’s move on.’ Don’t you see he’s the recipient of the Trumpet Award? The youngest DA in the history of the world? The youngest governor in the future of mankind? You want to get into the way of a rising sun? Be my guest.”

I shouldn’t be speechless, I know. Anyhow, the catfish is being served, we have a break. It’s Howard who’s drinking now. The first bottle of Chablis is already empty, a second has been ordered, and it doesn’t help at all that I’ve become abstinent under the influence of my hero at the next table who drinks Perrier and knows nothing of me. Should I make a pass at Krugman? Ask his wife whether there is some space in their mar-riage—’there are three of us in this marriage,’ she could unexpectedly say from table to table and point to the empty chair between her and her husband as if this were a play by Pinocchio, no, not Pinocchio, what was the name, Ionesco, right. Must tell Lady Dy.

The food looks great and the catfish (how did this beast jump from “wolf” to “cat” when it crossed the Channel?) is soft and juicy and goes extremely well with sparkling water. I’m already considering a new career as fish-eating temperist, although I would have better done helping Tre-vor with his second bottle (and third), we’ll soon see why.

“What can we do then...” I ask, (we).
“I can’t promise anything.” He’ll place a phone call to Dick Benson tomorrow, and will try to get a message across, although he doesn’t know yet what the message will be. So that’s it, a phone call for a horse, a sex call for a country (don’t tell Alex).

I’m getting more sober, Trevor is getting more drunk. A third bottle has arrived. Robin, Krugman’s wife, takes note and whispers to her hus-band. Krugman, who always thinks that nobody recognizes him anyway, turns around discreetly and wipes his loosely hanging jacket off his seat. The tweed thing falls on the ground, one sleeve draped over my sneakers. I pick it up, hand it to the grateful NYT columnist, and say “I know you, I know you, you are, wait, you are writing for the New York Times...”—Krugman patiently waiting—“you are the guy who wrote ‘The world is flat,’ you are Thomas Friedman.”

Are you still there? Then you will definitely like the GREEN EYES. The first part is out now, available as Kindle book on Amazon, under this link:

Night Owl Reviews

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