Wednesday, April 22, 2009
cutup #4 - long version
eddie had good taste for an american, and he smoked gauloises instead of old golds, and he was impressed by the fantastic richness and expensiveness of the club room. the fireplace was ablaze, and it felt good after the chill night air of paris.
suddenly out of the fire appeared - a woman in a white evening gown. eddie nodded politely to her.
president wilson was sitting in an armchair beside the fire. he was wearing his top hat, but was otherwise dressed in perfect taste.
"i am sorry eddie," said wilson, "but the others could not be here tonight."
the woman from the fire had left the room and closed the door behind her.
"please don't tell the ladies on the trilateral commission," wilson continued, "but lloyd george, president clemenceau, mr lenin and the emperors are still working out the details."
"i begin to understand the words, " eddie replied, "but i don't understand the concept."
"ah, concept. where would we be without concept?"
eddie didn't answer. he walked over to the window and looked down at the street. a lone gendarme, the largest eddie had ever seen, was standing in the rain.
he came back to the spot where he could watch both wilson and the door.
"why didn't you go with them?" he asked.
"why eddie, someone had to stay to meet you. so i took refuge in the cutting room .
"i'm flattered. but they are the ones who are going to get the best of it by giving serious study to petty details . what about the good old u s of a? the old red white and blue? are we going to be left out of the loop again?"
wilson sighed. "eddie, eddie, calm yourself. this was truth to be sure, what you said. but there is more to it. "
"what is more to it is that lloyd george and lenin and the rest of those rascals are giving their input and we are not. lenin - i had a few words i wanted to say to that rascal."
"what can you say about imperialism that hasn't already been said," wilson answered. lenin can't give lessons on imperialism to - "
suddenly the door burst open. the woman in white reappeared, along with the fat gendarme from the street below. as eddie had expected, the gendarme was william jennings bryan. the woman's face was familiar -
"eddie here is getting a little excited," wilson said to bryan, who was slapping his nightstick in his palm. "he is going back into the jungle, and my knuckles are hairy enough already."
bryan looked at eddie. a little flicker of feeling showed briefly on his face.
"we don't have time to grow a lot of hair , eddie. is this the way you felt at san juan hill, or the marne, or belleau wood?"
"no," eddie answered, "but it's the way i felt riding with jesse james and pancho villa and al capone."
bryan reached into the folds of his cape with his big fist . he took it out and put something into eddie's hand. it was a pink feather - it could have been from a flamingo - sardinian or maybe albanian - it could have been a woman - eddie's head began to spin -
he was in a diner on route 66 just outside gallup new mexico. a big rig hooted in the night. a coffee cup rattled in a saucer. the woman from the fire was behind the counter in a pink and blue uniform.
"the universe is my canoe" said the customer three stools down from eddie. it was richard nixon. the only other customer was henry kissinger, on the other side of the l-shaped counter, facing the front door.
the waitress put a cup of coffee in front of eddie. he recognized her now - she had been mata hari before, now she was dolly parton.
"i remember you like it black, dear.' she said. "my flesh crawled as i watched you come through the third portal -"
"that is enough of that," kissinger interjected. "love and war are revenue , but time is small change."
dolly dropped a golden earring on to eddie's saucer.
"that's enough of that," nixon growled. then he laughed. "i was only kidding."
dolly turned and looked at nixon. "don't you ever get tired of compelling adherence to the cause."
eddie picked up the golden earring. his admirable incapacity overwhelmed him again. when he looked up the waitress and the two customers were gone. a very thin black-bearded man was standing beside him. eddie didn't recognize him. trotsky maybe? or sulieman the magnificent or osama bin laden?
"let's go." they went outside. the bearded man got behind the wheel of a blue ford f-250. eddie got in beside him. a sudden thought struck him.
"you're not st james, are you?"
"st james had a brown beard, or maybe it was golden."
right, thought eddie, like the earring.
"can we stop for some cigarettes? i want a pack of gauloises."
"you can't get gauloises in new mexico in 2003. what you got you got sodden marlboros."
they drove through the night in silence. eddie knew that one of the most important methods of silence was silence.
after a while they turned off on to a dirt road and drove about a mile to a cabin. a light burned in a single window.
the bearded man stopped the truck and eddie got out. the bearded man drove away and eddie walked up to the cabin door.
dick cheney and donald rumsfield were sitting inside in easy chairs beside a cold fireplace. they wee wearing hunting clothes. cheney had the biggest shotgun eddie had ever seen in his lap.
"that makes me get cold feet," said eddie, nodding at the shotgun.
they ignored him. condoleeza rice, wearing a white evening dress, was pouring coffee from a thermos for cheney, rumsfield and herself.
"miss wilson has folks in texas," she said.
"that's nice," rumsfeld aka moloch said carelessly. "but this guy doesn't look like miss wilson."
"oh it's just eddie," rice answered. "we won't have any trouble getting him past the old woman in the tree.
"where's bush?" eddie asked.
rain began to drum on the cabin roof. hiss of big rig tires under a jackrabbit moon. "sandy, let's have another fried egg sandwich."