Feb 27, 2016

Connubial bliss

Chang and our new car.

The loss of Isolde, our ML SUV (she passed away in a typical death-choked scramble) is a real bummer, we got quite some literary mileage out of her.

She was 14 years old.

Here's a pertaining fragment from the GREEN EYES (context is a bit complicated, bear with us): John (the cum-squirrel) and Alex showed up belatedly (and smelling of/stained with cum) for the appointment with assistant DA Trevor Howard. Dr. Alice Sandeman, otherwise Alex's confidante, who arranged the meeting, got extremely upset, and the sit-down didn't go well. Howard has now left, and the Dr.s phone rings---a gallery in NY NY needs more of deceased Eleanor's art work---Eleanor, former lover of Sandeman, and inlaw of the Richard Wagner family (the composer). OK, here's more or less the entire chapter, Isolde will show up at some point, enjoy:

With an inquisitive look at Maurice, Alice gets up as well. She’s about to explode, explode at us, who have blown it, “completely.” We’re little boys who can’t hold their cum when the situation requires grown-up behavior. We’ve besmirched the hospital, and the medical profession, and ourselves, literally. And since she’s a medical doctor, she is going into details, and wants to know how many spermatozoa we’ve killed needlessly with our---she’ll have to look this up in a thesaurus, it’s not that she’s shy, she’s just too upset to find the right word---with our irresponsible behavior. “You thought you were sexy, right,” she says, “you were just feckless, harebrained, immature, undependable, untrustworthy, inexcusably, both of you,” and she means Alex in particular since she has given up on the cum-squirrel anyhow.

People sometimes say sensible things just before they die, and Maurice, along those lines, he’s just trying to help Alice with her thesaurus. He says “wasteful,” as if this is his last word, and starts to cry, tears rolling down his face, more and more tears coming until he succumbs to what appears to be a full-blown nervous breakdown; needless to say, his IC-equipment acts up as well. Quinton reappears, summoned by the monitors presumably, and seems to have an inkling of what has happened, since he says: “This is enough. The patient needs rest.” Alice, a bit overtaken by her own reaction possibly, grabs Alex’s arm and pulls him out of the room, leaving the cum-squirrel to its own devices, which follows the pair meekly into the hallway, where all three of us are presently standing, not knowing what to do.

The only thing that can save us now is the washed-up scriptwriter. So the phone rings, Alice’s cell phone. Not that she is going to share anything with us, she’ll possibly never speak to us again, but she’s so upset, things have to be repeated. So we learn that this gallery in Manhattan needs more of Eleanor’s work. Two of the three pieces that arrived this morning are already sold, on account of the fact that Eleanor is a real Wagner, and what with the new Tristan in the Met performing to rave reviews, everybody wants a piece of the cake, or of Eleanor Wagner-Beasley, or of her paintings. And, the fact that she’s dead now is truly regrettable, but “helps, in view of the price-points.” Alice doesn’t know whether she should pale or redden. We learn that Eleanor had explicitly forbidden the use of her status as a Wagner-in-law in the marketing of her paintings, it’s in her will and in any letter she ever wrote to any gallery that turned down her work. She had to be an artist in her own right, despite her own admiration for Wagner’s work, Richard Wagner’s work (to avoid any confusion with the Bavarian leather shorts), any mention of the W-word was strictly forbidden in the vicinity of her paintings. Oh, so sorry, they didn’t know that on the other end of the line, and you can see a twenty-two year old, just-so-art-history-graduate from Columbia wielding her voice and explaining that’s all a regrettable misunderstanding, and that the word is out now, and could they have the paintings by yesterday, Federal Express? Like last time, that’s faster. They would like at least three large paintings, oil on canvas, larger than the last ones, and they would prefer paintings with two dots, or three, but not more than three, because the stage decoration at the Met is also dot-oriented. A perfect fit, but not too many dots, that’s confusing, and we’re looking at a price point of forty kay per piece, including their commission, which is stellar.

"Three dots," Eleanor Wagner-Beasley

Alice is now really in trouble, and both of us (Alex, John) grapple with the implications in our favor, at least in the sense that Alice has something else to worry about than the punishment she’ll mete out at the besmirched beach boys. This is at least how I took it, Alex took it differently.

Reset. Alice in a dilemma---what can the thesaurus tell us---bind, fix, jam (to keep it short), or conundrum (to think in style). Alex is clever enough to think this through very quickly, and even I am up to the task. It’s not going to help anybody if she’s going to refuse. Eleanor is dead. It’s not her fault she was a Wagner, although it is, but still. So Alice will be saying yes; we know this before the fact, not to mention the money.

Let me remind you of two minor events already accounted for: (1) the moment that Ben sat down at my kitchen table and I saw Alex’s beauty in Ben’s beauty, and (2) the moment that Ben and I arrived at his home in Monaville and he took up position next to his mother in anticipation of her next move. Combine these two events and by analogy---very much by analogy given Alice’s anger and Alex’s clinical depression---by analogy we see Alex taking up position next to Alice, awaiting events. And these events will be (1) Alice is going to contact FedEx, only to find out that they won’t be able to pick up three large paintings today since one of their delivery vans is too small and the other one is broken, and (2) Alice’s own car is too small for three large paintings, so the conclusion will be that she needs our help. Or Godehart’s help. Since she hates us forthwith, she’s not going to ask us, she is contacting Godehart instead, who’s on voicemail. So she hates us even more (in fact, whom she really hates is herself—she had lost the patient who triggered the emergency call, a fact we didn’t know at that point).

It’s a matter of timing now. Offering help within the next two seconds will meet a wall of refusal and contempt, but the passage of a few more seconds could change things significantly. So we wait a little bit until Alex nods imperceptibly, and I say “We will help you.” Well done, John, not saying “we could help you,” or some such, which would force a choice upon her in the sense that she has no choice but to say “no.” Yes, we will help you and that’s it. She still has the key to Godehart’s house. We’ll go with two vehicles, her car and my truck, she selects the paintings, we load the paintings into my truck, I’ll go to the FedEx office in Lewes (that’s to the north of Georgia Beach, a few miles). She will follow in her Toyota Prius, and Alex will accompany her, since the rear view of the Prius sucks. Let’s hope nobody is going to have an accident, in particular not me, since this could entail the destruction of irreplaceable art by a great masteress.

Godehart is not at home. We descend to the basement where Alice grabs three oils on canvas without much ado. “Grabs” is not the right word since there are too many paintings to choose from. Not only dotted ones, several racks are filled with plain gray canvas-squares, other racks contain French flags, or German ones, give and take a color. The paintings are large and require the input of two reasonably agile men. They barely fit into the truck, we have to lower the rear seats, but---as you may have observed on other occasions---there is a galactic metaphysics at work in that it’s almost impossible not to fit anything into an aging Mercedes ML.

When we arrive at the FedEx outfit in Lewes, the situation has changed significantly. Alice is in trouble maintaining her anger---let’s throw in a really tasteless analogy here, think of maintaining an erection during a faculty meeting at my school. There are credibility problems with Alice’s indignation, and you only have to look at Alex to understand why. Save for his eyes, Alex has disappeared. While Alice negotiates the FedEx bureaucracy, Alex is standing next to her, hands folded behind the back, and you can feel how he’s forcing himself to stay in place. Alice has trouble getting her act together with Alex in this state.

We keep it short and skip a few jokes at the expense of the FedEx bureaucracy. Alice keeps it short, too. Instead of saying goodbye, she says “I’m sorry, Alex.” Alex reciprocates, but purely pro forma. “I see you tonight,” Alice says (one wonders when these people actually sleep).
“I’ll have to recoup my car,” Alex says to nobody and mounts my truck. We drive back to my place, but not in expectation of more sex, or love, or anything, although Alex says “I love you,” when he gets out of my SUV and into his Prius and is gone.

Are you still there? Then you'll possibly like the GREEN EYES. The first part is out now, available on Amazon under this link:

Night Owl Reviews

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