Direktlänk till inlägg 25 maj 2011

roster of his in-law aunts

Av debbyhanxu debbyhanxu - 25 maj 2011 03:52

Did you notice my cousin Renée? Do you think she's having a good time?" Renée had just broken up with her boyfriend, but undeterred by depression had driven up from L.A figuring maybe a party was what she needed. Zoyd remembered her, among the roster of his in-law aunts, uncles, and cousins, as a tall florid girl in a minidress that bore the image, from neck to hemline, of Frank Zappa's face, thus linking her in Zoyd's mind somehow with Mount Rushmore. He smiled, squinting back, like a schoolmarm who still couldn't believe her luck. A breeze had come up and begun to move the leaves of their tree. "Frenesi, do you think that love can save anybody? You do, don't you?" At the time he hadn't learned yet what a stupid question it was. She gazed up at him from just under the brim of the hat. He thought, At least try to remember this, try to keep it someplace secure, just her face now in this light, OK, her eyes quiet like this, her mouth poised to open. . . . Mean or not, he hadn't cried about it for a long time. The years had kept rolling, like the surf he used to ride, high, calm, wild, windless. But increasingly the day, the necessary day, presenting its demands, had claimed him, till there was only one small bitter amusement he refused to let go of. Now and then, when moon, tides, and planetary magnetism were all in tune, he went venturing out, straight up through the third eye in his forehead, into an extraordinary system of transport whereby he could go gliding right to wherever she was, and incompletely unseen, sensed just enough to be troublesome, he then would haunt her, for as long as he could, enjoying every squeezed-out minute. A vice, for sure, and one he had confessed only to a handful of people, including, it may have turned out unwisely, their daughter, Prairie, this very morning. "Oh," sitting over a breakfast of Cap'n Crunch and Diet Pepsi, "you mean you dreamed —" Zoyd shook his head. "I was awake. But out of my body." She gave him a look that he didn't, so early in the day, attend to the full risk of, telling him she trusted him not to be running some cruel put-on. They'd been known not to share a sense of humor on many topics, her mom in particular. "You go there and — what? You perch somewhere and look, you keep flying around, how's it work?" "It's like Mr. Sulu laying in coordinates, only different," Zoyd explained. "Knowin' exactly where you want to go." He nodded, and she felt some unaccustomed bloom of tenderness for this scroungy, usually slow-witted fringe element she'd been assigned, on this planet, for a father. What mattered at the moment was that he knew how to visit Frenesi out in the night, and that could only mean he must feel a need for her as intense as Prairie's own. "Where's it you go, then? Where is she?" "Keep tryin' to find out. Try to read signs, locate landmarks, anything that'll give a clue, but — well the signs are there on street corners and store windows — but I can't read them." "It's some other language?" "Nope, it's in English, but there's something between it and my brain that won't let it through." Prairie made a sound like a game-show buzzer. "I'm sorry Mr. Wheeler. ..." Let down and suspicious, she drifted away again. "Say hi to 'em up on Phantom Creek, OK?" He took a left at the row of mailboxes, went strumming over a cattle guard, parked out by the horse barn, and walked in. RC was over in Blue Lake running chores, but Moonpie was around, looking after Lotus, the baby. The crawdads were in an old Victorian bathtub that doubled as a watering trough. Together Zoyd and Moonpie netted them out and weighed them on a seed, feed, and fertilizer scale, and he wrote her a postdated check he'd still have to scramble, this day already so advanced, to cover. "Somebody at the Nugget the other night," baby on her arm, giving him now a straight, worried look, "askin' about you. RC thought he knew him, but wouldn't tell me anythin'."

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when she got back to Echo Courts, she found Miles, Dean, Serge and Leonard arranged around and on the diving board at the end of the swimming pool with all their instruments, so composed and motionless that some photographer, hidden from Oedipa, might have been shooting them for an album illustration. "What's happening?" said Oedipa. "Your young man," replied Miles, "Metzger, really put it to Serge, our counter-tenor. The lad is crackers with grief." "He's right, missus," said Serge. "I even wrote a song about it, whose arrangement features none other than me, and it goes like this." serge's song What chance has a lonely surfer boy For the love of a surfer chick, With all these Humbert Humbert cats Coming on so big and sick? For me, my baby was a. woman, For him she's just another nymphet; Why did they run around, why did she put me down, And get me so upset? Well, as long as she's gone away-yay, I've had to find somebody new, And the older generation Has taught me what to do— I had a date last night with an eight-year-old, And she's a swinger just like me, So you can find us any night up on the football field, In back of P.S 33 (oh, yeah), And it's as groovy as it can be. "You're trying to tell me something," said Oedipa. They gave it to her then in prose. Metzger and Serge's chick had run off to Nevada, to get married. Serge, on close questioning, admitted the bit about the eight-year-old was so far only imaginary, but that he was hanging diligently around playgrounds and should have some news for them any day. On top of the TV set in her room Metzger had left a note telling her not to worry about the estate, that he'd turned over his execu-torship to somebody at Warpe, Wistfull, Kubitschek and McMingus, and they should be in touch with her, and it was all squared with the probate court also. No word to recall that Oedipa and Metzger had ever been more than co-executors. Which must mean, thought Oedipa, that that's all we were. She should have felt more classically scorned, but had other things on her mind. First thing after unpacking she was on the horn to Randolph Driblette, the director. After about ten rings an elderly lady answered. "I'm sorry, we've nothing to say." "Well who's this," Oedipa said. Sigh. "This is his mother. There'll be a statement at noon tomorrow. Our lawyer will read it." She hung up. Now what the hell, Oedipa wondered: what had happened to Driblette? She decided to call later. She found Professor Emory Bortz's number in the book and had better luck. A wife named Grace answered, backed by a group of children. "He's pouring a patio," she told Oedipa. "It's a highly organized joke that's been going on since about April. He sits in the sun, drinks beer with students, lobs beer bottles at seagulls. You'd better talk to him before it gets that far. Maxine, why don't you throw that at your brother, he's more mobile than I am. Did you know Emory's done a new edition of Wharfinger? It'll be out——" but the date was obliter­ated by a great crash, maniacal childish laughter, high-pitched squeals. "Oh, God. Have you ever met an in­fanticide? Come on over, it may be your only chance." Oedipa showered, put on a sweater, skirt and sneakers, wrapped her hair in a studentlike twist, went easy on the makeup. Recognizing with a vague sense of dread that it was not a matter of Bortz's response, or Grace's, but of The Trystero's. Driving over she passed by Zapf's Used Books, and was alarmed to find a pile of charred rubble where the bookstore only a week ago had Stood. There was still the smell of burnt leather. She stopped and went into the government surplus outlet next door. The owner in­formed her that Zapf, the damn fool, has set fire to his own store for the insurance. "Any kind of a wind," snarled this worthy, "it would have taken me with it. They only put up this complex here to last five years anyway. But could Zapf wait? Books." You had the feeling that it was only his good upbringing kept him from spitting. "You want to sell something used," he advised Oedipa, "find out what there's a demand for. This season now it's your rifles. Fella was in just this forenoon, bought two hundred for his drill team. I could've sold him two hundred of the swastika arm­bands too, only I was short, dammit." "Government surplus swastikas?" Oedipa said. "Hell no." He gave her an insider's wink. "Got this little factory down outside of San Diego," he told her, "got a dozen of your niggers, say, they can sure turn them old armbands out. You'd be amazed how that little number's selling. I took some space in a couple of the girlie magazines, and I had to hire two extra nig­gers last week just to take care of the mail." "What's your name?" Oedipa said. "Winthrop Tremaine," replied the spirited entre­preneur, "Winner, for short. Listen, now we're getting up an arrangement with one of the big ready-to-wear outfits in L.A to see how SS uniforms go for the fall. We're working it in with the back-to-school campaign, lot of 37 longs, you know, teenage kid sizes. Next season we may go all the way and get out a modified version for the ladies. How would that strike you?" "I'll let you know," Oedipa said. "I'll keep you in mind." She left, wondering if she should've called him something, or tried to hit him with any of a dozen surplus, heavy, blunt objects in easy reach. There had been no witnesses. Why hadn't she? You're chicken, she told herself, snapping her seat belt. This is America, you live in it, you let it happen. Let it unfurl. She drove savagely along the freeway, hunting for Volkswagens. By the time she'd pulled into Bortz's subdivision, a riparian settlement in the style of Fangoso Lagoons, she was only shaking and a little nauseous in the stomach. She was greeted by a small fat girl with some blue substance smeared all over her face. "Hi," said Oedipa, "you must be Maxine." "Maxine's in bed. She threw one of Daddy's beer bottles at Charles and it went through the window and Mama spanked her good. If she was mine I'd drown her." "Never thought of doing it that way," said Grace Bortz, materializing from the dim living room. "Come on in." With a wet washcloth she started to clean off her child's face. "How did you manage to get away from yours today?" "I don't have any," said Oedipa, following her into the kitchen. Grace looked surprised. "There's a certain harassed style," she said, "you get to recognize. I thought only kids caused it. I guess not." Emory Bortz lay half in a hammock, surrounded by three graduate students, two male, one female, all sodden with drink, and an astounding accumulation of empty beer bottles. Oedipa located a full one and seated herself on the grass. "I would like to find out," she presently plunged, "something about the historical Wharfinger. Not so much the verbal one." "The historical Shakespeare," growled one of the grad students through a full beard, uncapping another bottle. "The historical Marx. The historical Jesus." "He's right," shrugged Bortz, "they're dead. What's left?" "Words." "Pick some words," said Bortz. "Them, we can talk about." " 'No hallowed skein of stars can ward, I trow,'" quoted Oedipa, " 'Who's once been set his tryst with Trystero.' Courier's Tragedy, Act IV, Scene 8." Bortz blinked at her. "And how," he said, "did you get into the Vatican library?" Oedipa showed him the paperback with the line in it. Bortz, squinting at the page, groped for another beer. "My God," he announced, "I've been pirated, me and Wharfinger, we've been Bowdlerized in reverse or some­thing." He flipped to the front, to see who'd re-edited his edition of Wharfinger. "Ashamed to sign it. Damn. I'll have to write the publishers. K. da Chingado and Company? You ever heard of them? New York." He looked at the sun through a page or two. "Offset." Brought his nose close to the text. "Misprints. Gah. Corrupt." He dropped the book on the grass and looked at it with loathing. "How did they get into the Vatican, then?" "What's in the Vatican?" asked Oedipa. "A pornographic Courier's Tragedy. I didn't get to see it till '61, or I would've given it a note in my old edition." "What I saw out at the Tank Theatre wasn't pornographic?" "Randy Driblette's production? No, I thought it was typically virtuous." He looked sadly past her to­ward a stretch of sky. "He was a peculiarly moral man. He felt hardly any responsibility toward the word, really; but to the invisible field surrounding the play, its spirit, he was always intensely faithful. If anyone could have called up for you that historical Wharfinger you want, it'd've been Randy. Nobody else I ever knew was so close to the author, to the microcosm of that play as it must have surrounded Wharfinger's liv­ing mind." "But you're using the past tense," Oedipa said, her heart pounding, remembering the old lady on the phone. "Hadn't you heard?" They all looked at her. Death glided by, shadowless, among the empties on the grass. "Randy walked into the Pacific two nights ago," the girl told her finally. Her eyes had been red all along. "In his Gennaro suit. He's dead, and this is a wake." "I tried to call him this morning," was all Oedipa could think of to say. "It was right after they struck the set of The Courier's Tragedy," Bortz said. Even a month ago, Oedipa's next question would have been, "Why?" But now she kept a silence, waiting, as if to be illuminated. They are stripping from me, she said subvocally— feeling like a fluttering curtain in a very high window, moving up to then out over the abyss—they are strip­ping away, one by one, my men. My shrink, pursued by Israelis, has gone mad; my husband, on LSD, gropes like a child further and further into the rooms and endless rooms of the elaborate candy house of himself and away, hopelessly away, from what has passed, I was hoping forever, for love; my one extra-marital fella has eloped with a depraved 15-year-old; my best guide back to the Trystero has taken a Brody. Where am I? "I'm sorry," Bortz had also said, watching her. Oedipa stayed with it. "Did he use only that," pointing to the paperback, "for his script?" "No." Frowning. "He used the hardcover, my edition." "But the night you saw the play." Too much sunlight shone on the bottles, silent all around them. "How did he end the fourth act? What were his lines, Driblette's, Gennaro's, when they're all standing around at the lake, after the miracle?" " 'He that we last as Thurn and Taxis knew,'" recited Bortz, " 'Now recks no lord but the stiletto's Thorn,/And Tacit lies the gold once-knotted horn.' " "Right," agreed the grad students, "yeah." "That's all? What about the rest? The other cou­plet?" "In the text I go along with personally," said Bortz, "that other couplet has the last line suppressed. The book in the Vatican is only an obscene parody. The ending 'Who once has crossed the lusts of Angelo' was put in by the printer of the 1687 Quarto. The 'White-chapel' version is corrupt. So Randy did the best thing —left the doubtful part out altogether." "But the night I was there," said Oedipa, "Driblette did use the Vatican lines, he said the word Trystero." Bortz's face stayed neutral. "It was up to him. He was both director and actor, right?" "But would it be just," she gestured in circles with her hands, "just some whim? To use another couple lines like that, without telling anybody?" "Randy," recalled the third grad student, a stocky kid with hornrims, "what was bugging him inside, usu­ally, somehow or other, would have to come outside, on stage. He might have looked at a lot of versions, to develop a feel for the spirit of the play, not necessarily the words, and that's how he came across your paper­back there, with the variation in it." "Then," Oedipa concluded, "something must have happened in his personal life, something must have changed for him drastically that night, and that's what made him put the lines in." "Maybe," said Bortz, "maybe not. You think a man's mind is a pool table?" "I hope not." "Come in and see some dirty pictures," Bortz invited, rolling off the hammock. They left the students drinking beer. "Illicit microfilms of the illustrations in that Vatican edition. Smuggled out in '61. Grace and I were there on a grant." They entered a combination workroom and study. Far away in the house children screamed, a vacuum whined. Bortz drew shades, riffled through a box of slides, selected a handful, switched on a projector and aimed it at a wall. The illustrations were woodcuts, executed with that crude haste to see the finished product that marks the amateur. True pornography is given us by vastly patient professionals.


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Av debbyhanxu debbyhanxu - 26 maj 2011 04:45

I loved New Haven with its cauldron of old-fashioned ethnic politics and student activists. East Haven, next door, was overwhelmingly Italian, while nearby Orange was mostly Irish. The towns farther away from New Haven tended to be wealthier, with th...

Av debbyhanxu debbyhanxu - 26 maj 2011 04:41

However, in 1966 a lot of the white segregationists were still southern Democrats, people like Orval Faubus and Jim Johnson and Governor George Wallace of Alabama. And the Senate was full of them, grand characters like Richard Russell of Georgia and ...

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how can it have happened? To faint away at the last moment, when everything was ready; when he was at the very gate! It's like some hideous joke." "I tell you," Martini answered, "the only thing I can think of is that one of these attacks must have c...

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Will you not come under shelter, my friend?" the soft voice said. "I am afraid you are chilled." The Gadfly's heart stood still. For a moment he was conscious of nothing but the sickening pressure of the blood that seemed as if it would tear his brea...

Av debbyhanxu debbyhanxu - 25 maj 2011 03:54

Next day, with the courage you find you have when there is nothing more to lose, she got in touch with C. Morris Schrift, and inquired after his mysteri­ous client. "He decided to attend the auction in person," was all Schrift would tell her. "You mi...


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