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.
It is something approaching inconceivability that Carmen could remember every word of something so incoherent while lying upside down in winter air more suited for Latvia than Los Angeles. But as we've already seen, Carmen's ability to retain information at this point in her life something approaching miraculousness, unfortunately for her, a memory both photographic and phonographic in its ability to recall detail, regardless of how harrowing.
"Here's the fucking secret you freeloading cunt. The secret is right in front of your motherfucking Quasimodo face. Look out at that secret you filth, touch it, kiss it, suck it, take it all fucking in, because the fucking secret is danger. You're gonna fucking love danger. Do you love danger?
(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 his 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. And then you're gonna take their heads when all about you are losing theirs and you're gonna wear them both together like linen and fucking wool cuz everybody is hollow and false and the world's a darker place with them in it! Every human is Haman and the winds are blowing and they're all standing around with their arms folded while the towns burn to the fucking ground and everybody in it is a heap of ashes and bones licked by the tongues of fire! And now the lifeless skulls add up to into millions and you wander through the fucking ghetto and you find no peace cuz everybody you love is fucking gone and you're a beggar at everybody's doorway begging for just a little bit of happiness and every day is the day of fucking woe! You always longed for home even if you hated your homeland because the flowers are burning because it's Springtime for motherfucking Hitler in Germany and you won't fucking forget until past your dying fucking day! So it's fucking impossible to describe what's necessary to those who don't know what horror is cuz horror has a fucking 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 royt red red red I'm gonna see something that explodes in YOUR head and I leave a heap of dirty ashes where YOUR cocksucking self once fell from this motherfucking window cuz no good angel is coming to save you, the motherfucking flames'll just burn more brightly and higher and death will blossom like a sapling! No one will dream you! No one will remember you! No one will deny you! No one will yearn for you! Or maybe I'll keep you alive because a live, fresh cut nerve is infinitely more sensitive, I'll just drill into the healthy tooth until I reach the pulp and singe their hair from off your face and you howl and bay and start to scream! Cuz you know you know who I am, I'm fucking Szell! I'm the White Fucking Angel of the Camp and no matter how many times I pretend to be a Jew selling diamonds on 47th street, I'm the fucking Nazi and you're never gonna stop me! I will ordain the conquering of the fucking world and the mothers will mourn their living sons! Yea though you walk through the fucking valley of the shadow of death you will fear evil because the person you're with is me and my word is a lamp for your fucking feet and light on your fucking path and I'm the only fucking light and salvation you're ever gonna have. I'm gonna strike you down and become more powerful than you can possibly imagine. If I bring you back inside I'm going to break you with a rod of iron into pieces like a potter's vessel. 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 and you're gonna remember that when imps on broomsticks in a ring dance around you. It'll smart when you breathe after I cut your nose cuz the fish should be served with the head and they don't accept people of the Jewish persuasion here. You may think you know what you're dealing with, but believe me you don't. You're gonna be the mother and the daughter and then get shot in the eye while driving while you're bringing LA to the daughterfucking water and make them an offer they can't refuse as I leave the gun and take the cannoli. We're gonna have the naive Presidents and 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 this 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 I took sides against the family and I dishonored it and took the freedom and you're not gonna be able to weep because of the pain. I spend my whole fucking life trying not to be careless, and I'm telling you right now, YOU WILL NEVER BE BEAUTIFUL AGAIN AND I'M GOING TO MAKE YOUR CHILD AN ORPHAN BEFORE HE'S FUCKING BORN! And you're gonna wander through the fucking ghetto from lane to useless fucking lane and find no solace because there are no little kids left to learn that stupid alphabet and get that fucking useless flag with the Hebrew letters. You're gonna never want to forget, like you were shot with the diamond bullet through your head, your perfect, genuine, complete, crystaline, pure head. Cuz it's stronger than you, and I'm stronger than you, I'll never strengthen you and always hurt you with my righteous right hand as you grow older and you understand how many tears lie in the light between the fucking letters until you make the friend of the fucking horror and become the tears yourself. Keep your friends close but your enemies closer, cuz 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 to the end 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 their bodies and even if they were alive I'd kill them all cuz I despised their masquerade and the dishonest way they posed themselves and their whole fucking families. They're not brothers, they're not friends, I don't want to 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 to do it! My strength! I'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 I determine the numbers of stars and give all of them their names ve'oyseh eysh k'seel ve'kheemaw and utilize my instincts to kill without feeling passion and without judgement because it's judgement that fucking defeats you. I'm 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. I'm gonna go off the reservation of light and make my own reservation on the infinite light where they worship me as the god of death and burn them all as you 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 my people and feel comfortable with my people cuz what would my people back home do if they ever learned just how far I've really gone but they have no right to call me a murderer and I have a right to kill you 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 I'M THE ONE WHO DOES THE FUCKING PERSECUTING! The morning stars will never sing together and all the sons of God will never shout for joy before the sun and the light because the moon and the stars are darkened and clouds return after the rain and the watchmen of the house will tremble and the mighty men stoop and the grinding ones stand idle because they're few and those who look through windows grow dim."
And as his obedient partner in life, when he let her go from the ledge, she wrote it all down.