But need we that you read the price at which said high life is procured? Need we state the details of utter imbalance that puts Carmen in the company of the world's cultural elite, but unable to say a word unless spoken to; play hostess to the world's most famous people every night, but held responsible by this declining Hollywood player for everything his servants do wrong and subject to endless berating for their mistakes in preparation and hers in conversation after the guests leave - and therefore to say little as well about the imbalance between a declining producer and the coddled Hollywood stars upon whom this producer's very sense of self is dependent? Need we enflesh how this Hollywood player had a Vertigo-like obsession with the details of Carmen's appearance - her hair, her dress, her eyes, her nails; the appointments every day with stylists, designers, tailors, plastic surgeons? Need we detail how the Producer emerged unannounced from some corner of USC to accuse her of talking to some USC film brat for too long? Need we detail the many private scenes that seem cribbed from a Golden Age Bette Davis melodrama? Need we elucidate the occasional death threat, the many blows to the stomach so as not to damage her face - in front of the servants no less, the many times she heard female voices in the background of phonecalls, the times he told her how much more beautiful and less snobby were the hundreds and hundreds of other women he had - before her of course.., the all too many times she was ignored when pleading with him to stop and do something else to her? Need we elaborate upon the many small and futile attempts Carmen made to take revenges upon her Producer that, in the parlance of our own era, could perhaps be called microaggressions, certainly not microagressions in their intent or ferocity, but microaggression in proportion to the degree of perpetration upon her, and incontrovertibly micro in their degree of effectiveness; aggressions that endowed her with satisfaction for only split-seconds before the anxiety and/or the terror returns to full force; the knife she once pulled on him, the heavy objects thrown, the screaming until she was horse, the loving stares at his gun collection, the worst imaginable pains she could inflict during sex - which, relief followed by endless aggravation and a little horror amidst the validation - he seemed to enjoy more than ever.
Who knows if Carmen was actually in love? Did it matter? The Producer was not so much something to be treasured or hated by Carmen as something that happened to her. All the good, all the bad, all that she learned or didn't, all the coke and cock was not of her doing. She was a passenger in a Mercedes that a drunk driver locks from the outside while getting loaded and then returns for the simple pleasure of banging up something beautiful.
Instead of detailing all this, your ever reliable narrator will tell but one simple story of the night her Producer became a finished producer. It was dinner at the house with Janet and Marty Sheen (Ramon to friends), Nolte, a couple lawyers and their wives who brought 50 year old scotch and choice cut coke, Marcheline and Jon Voight, The Producer and Carmen, on an unseasonably frigid February night. Ramon was back from the set of Apocalypse Now, having wrapped up the shooting, or maybe he'd quit for something like the third time, or maybe it was while recouping from his on-set heart attack, and this was to be a welcome home dinner that spared no expense for a movie star who'd need a perfect comeback role after starring in a film that everybody in Hollywood knew would be a disaster.
It was relatively early in the relationship, and in retrospect, the one time at which the Producer truly seemed pleased with Carmen's hosting abilities. Neither the cook nor the pastry chef did a single thing wrong, for which he held Carmen as responsible as he did when they didn't. The Galician wines bought to impress Ramon were perfect, conversation flowed freely, Carmen turned down Nolte's blatant passes at the table with magnificently self-effacing assurance, the then ex-Catholic and Marxist Voight promised to be on his best behavior with the extremely Catholic Ramon when it came to questions about the new anticommunist Pope, and mostly fulfilled his pledge. Little did anyone know how vehemently they would switch political sides in twenty years.
Around 11, the Producer got a call that he took in his office. He emerged and didn't say anything for the rest of the night except a cursory goodbye to Ramon and Janet at 2 in the morning when they left early to get some sleep before their flight tomorrow to Bermuda. From the glances that darted around the room, everybody knew something was wrong, but only Nolte, a man who looks for danger like a hammer for a nail, was brave or stupid enough to broach it. For Nolte's 'troubles' and 'concern', the Producer threw the entire fucking room out of his house.
That was around 3:30. The Producer and Carmen sat on a sofa downstairs with a small hill of cocaine on the coffeetable. The Producer would not tell her what it was about, but changed the subject by complemented her hosting abilities profusely. After an hour and a half of using every roundabout way of trying to get it out of him, she shrugged her shoulders and went upstairs to find her Xanax for bed.
It was somewhere in the area of five-thirty to six that the Producer came upstairs, the sun was already coming up and Southern California glowed with morning light. With a subtly mischievous grin, he told Carmen that she was ready to know the secret of making good movies. Did she want to know?
Of course she did. And because she did, the Producer dangled her by her feet from their fourth floor bedroom window.
Carmen did not remember exactly what he said, how could she remember something so incoherent while lying upside down in winter air more suited for Latvia than Los Angeles? But for the remaining sixteen months of their relationship, for the fumbling along ever after of her life as we all do, she would try to piece it together.
(of course she said yes)
I SAID DO YOU LOVE DANGER! You're gonna look for danger everywhere you fucking go. You're gonna be a goddess who plays with danger for your lying whore sport. You're gonna be the shiksa goddess of death who plays with the sands of the fucking kingdom and the fucking foundation and the fucking splendor and the fucking eternity and the fucking beauty and the fucking severity and the fucking kindness and the fucking understanding and the fucking wisdom and the fucking crown. You're gonna be unmerciful before they sin and you're gonna be unmerciful after they sin and then you're gonna be unmerciful over the people you rule and then you're gonna be unmerciful for the people who are tempted and then you're gonna be unmerciful to the people who don't deserve mercy and then you're gonna be unmerciful to the people who deserve mercy and then you're gonna be unmerciful to the people and you're gonna be quick to anger and small in kindness and never tell the truth and be unforgiving of the evil and be unforgiving of the good and end all the generations with us. YOU AND ME. I am the alpha and you are the omega! Together we're the reason that everything's happened until right fucking now when you stare down to the ground and scream with your whore mouth and get rid of the thousand fucking years of sorrow. Cuz you're gonna be alone with death and eat a meal with death and meet death's family and and wear its ripped fucking clothes and go to death's parties and say prayers for death and remember death once a fucking year after you die because not in here with the shadowy dank hall but out there where you are in the endless light where you're staring down and up and left and right into the shape without form and the shade without color and the paralyzed force and the gesture without motion so those who have crossed with direct eyes to death's other kingdom can remember us not as violent souls but as hollow men cuz you can see the light clearly and shape it and bless it like the fucking clay of earth and plan time and light like infinite fucking vistas of the light within your mind and you listen to it and you listen to the listening but making allowance for their doubting too so if you can wait and not be tired by the waiting. And then you fucking lie about it since I deal in lies cuz it's impossible to describe what's necessary to those who don't know what horror is cuz horror has a face and you must make a friend of horror cuz horror and terror are your fucking friends cuz if they're not then they're enemies you fear. So you're gonna take yourself a roll of the fucking book and write upon it all the fucking words that I have spoken unto you about me, Israel, and ye, Babylon, and get rid of the thousand year old sorrow put on us by all the whores of Babylon from the day I spoke unto ye even unto this day when there's no trace left of Yankl and red red red you're gonna see something that explodes in your head and leaves a heap of dirty ashes. Cuz a live, fresh cut nerve is infinitely more sensitive, I just drill into the healthy tooth until I reach the pulp. Cuz you know that man, I'm fucking Szell! I'm the White Fucking Angel and you'll never stop me! Yea though you walk through the fucking valley of the shadow of death you will fear no evil because the person you're with is me cuz my word is a lamp for your fucking feet and a light on your fucking path and I'm your fucking light and your fucking salvation cuz folly is a hundred thousand fucking times better than wisdom. You're gonna be struck down and become more powerful than you can possibly imagine and when you die I'll take you and cut you out in little stars and you'll make the face of heaven so fine that all the world will be in love with night and pay no worship to the garish fucking sun. Because I chose you honey from all the women in the fucking world to be mother to my only living son in 1979, the year thirteen, cuz God is dead and Satan reigns so remember that when you're eating the mouse you dirty stinkin' secret keeper with your snips and snails and puppy dog tails. You're gonna come from another world, be the rock, be the tin can, and open the door to the new world and be stupid enough to blow yourself off the face of the fucking earth and it'll smart when you breathe after I cut you in the nose while shaving cuz the fish should be served with the head and we don't accept people of the Jewish persuasion here and neither does Dad cuz he screws just like a Chinaman. You may think you know what you're dealing with, but believe me you don't, each night you're gonna count the fucking stars and each night you get the same fucking number and when they don't come to be counted you're gonna count the fucking holes they leave. You're gonna be the mother and the daughter and bring LA to the water and make them an offer they can't refuse as you leave the gun and take the cannoli. You're gonna have the naive Presidents and the Senators killed with their brains and their signatures on the contract after you tell them you're innocent. You'll let them suffer as much as you suffer cuz I don't ask with respect, I don't offer friendship and you're gonna fear to be in my debt and the scum that ruins you will not suffer this day or any other cuz you're never gonna throw it all away just to make me look ridiculous. I made my bones and went out with cheerleaders the whole fucking time and I took sides against the family and dishonored it and took the freedom while you can't weep because of the pain. I spend my whole life trying not to be careless, and I'm telling you right now, you will never be beautiful again cuz I'm gonna make this baby an orphan before he's fucking born! This is your souls' hour when you sleep with the fishes in the free fucking flight from the wordless fucking night and sleep and death and the stars.and I'll grant your stupid loftiness the goddamn right to some degree of cloud and from the stars your judgement will pluck so you can climb into heaven and and gaze on the fucking earth and wander companionless among the stars like the fucking night of the cloudless climes and and starry fucking skies. And you'll wander through the fucking ghetto from lane to useless fucking lane and find no solace and and teach the little kids that stupid alphabet and get that fucking useless flag for the Hebrew letters. You gotta never want to forget, like you were shot with the diamond bullet through your head, your perfect, genuine, complete, crystaline, pure head and think you have astronomy but not to tell of good or evil luck of plagues of dearths of seasons quality till China and Africa meet and the river jumps over the mountain and the salmon sing in the street and the ocean is hung up to dry and the seven stars go squawking like the geese about the sky. Cuz it's stronger than you, and I'm stronger than you, I'll strengthen you and help you with my righteous right hand as you grow older and you understand how many tears lie in the light between the letters and between the light between the fucking letters until you make the friend of the fuckin' horror and become the tears yourself. Keep your friends close but your enemies closer, cuz I know how to return and favor and I'll break your fucking heart with an abortion and I'll take the captain of the command with me and wipe everybody out from the beginning in the end to the end in the beginning because if history's taught us anything, it's taught us that you can kill anybody. Men of vision and guts and there's no plaque to any of'em cuz we stepped over our older brothers cuz I despise their masquerade the dishonest way they pose themselves and their whole fucking family. You do business with them, you respect them, you never trust them! They're not a brother, they're not a friend. I don't know what they do, I don't wanna see them at hotels, I don't want them near my house. Don't they know I would use all my power to prevent something like that from happening? All my strength? The strength, the strength, the strength, the strength to do it! It'll make lights in the heaven to divide the firmament to give light upon the earth v'limshawl bayom oo'vo'layloh oo'lehovdil beyn ha'or oo'veyn khoyshekh ve'ha'aretz hayesaw sohu va'vohu v'khoshekh awl-p'ney sawhom v'rooach elokim m'rakhephes awl-p'ney hawmahyim. Cuz you determine the numbers of stars and give all of them their names ve'oyseh eysh k'seel ve'kheemaw and be moral and utilize your instincts to kill without feeling the passion and without feeling the judgement because it's judgement that'll fucking defeat you. Be unrighteous because the righteous perish and no man lays it to heart and no one understands that the righteous perish to be taken away from evil. You're gonna go off the reservation of light and make your own reservation on the infinite light where they worship you as the goddess of death and be willing to kill yourself and kill me and kill the light cuz you make your own rules in the light and reach your breaking point from the light and go beyond it into the light and go too far and admit it and stretch out the fuckin' heavens like a curtain and think would it be wrong or would it be it right and will the light accept you or will it refuse you and grow without rain and burn for many years and cry without tears and make the fuckin' wind the messenger and the fuckin' fire the minister awsaw yare'ach l'moawdim hawmabit lawawretz v'tir'awd yiga bey'hawrim v'ye'eysawnoo and not be judged and disappear out into the light of the jungle with your people and feel comfortable with your people in the light cuz it's the judgement that defeats us with the lost violent souls out in the light where what would your people back home want if they ever learned just how far you've really gone cuz you broke from them and you broke from me and you broke from yourself and you're broke cuz you have no right to call me a murderer but you have a right to kill me and make wars unto the ends of the earth and break the bow and cut the spear and burn the chariots in fire with adoyshem es eeyov min ha'sawraw mee zeh makhshikh eytzaw v'milinn bli daw'as? Cuz life is not a sinister fucking night anymore and nothing's closed anymore and every door is open and WE'RE THE ONE WHO DOES THE FUCKING PERSECUTING! When the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy? Shall I say I have gone at dusk through narrow streets and watch the smoke that rises from the pipes of lonely men in shirt sleeves leaning out of windows?"
And as his obedient partner in life, when he let her go from the ledge, she wrote it all down.