Nothing to get excited about.
When all else fails, there is always narrative.
The play's the thing, of course. One thinks that one can finally show, rather than tell.
But I am on my thirteenth cup of coffe, marathon coffee drinking the only thing I have in common with Balzac or Moliere, both cofee imbibers..
Didn't want to be in this play anyway...The old fifties joke about the young actor who was to say, "Hark! Cannon!" and the little Brooklyn kid, startled by the noise backstage, yells, "What the f*ck was that?!"
And so, hight on caffeine and the usual stimulants that turn an otherwise nice, mildly dyslexic guy into a writing fool, here we go with narrative for the middle part of Act III of THE FIRE IN BRADFORD. I will go back later to actually place the actors and fill in the blanks. Motion is life. But for the time being, one has to emulate Papa a bit and arrest motion.
Here goes for fiddling with Act III, viual effects later:
Right from the beginning, there was something wrong with the entire night. She drove over in her pert, powder-blue Mustang. She was wearing those quasi-army surplus designer tank dungarees, except in her case,they clung to her figure, which was like a harp in the first place. She had her hair neatly up in what were almost little corn rows, and I observed, over drinks at the Granada Restaurant how beautiful she really was. The nice little character lines framing the widest, though right-to--miniature-scale mouth, the large eyes. "Are you ever pretty," I told her again and again. We kept ordering drinks, seemed to forget about everything altogether, and got quite tipsy. Our bacchanalia was interruped for only twenty short minutes, while Deighton Ronning, tall, artistic, avuncular, joined us, said little for a change, showed impeccable table manners, and left.
Everything was in a beautiful haze. I was constructing huge, sprawling novels over our cigarette smoke. Here I was, the failure prof and politician with a beautiful woman right across the table from me, Deighton having muttered to himself, just before he left, "What a good looking couple"; I was in my glory, but what about Lief? What was hubby going jto say when we got "home"?
We finally, or she finally, paid the cheque. I was flat broke from a not-too-recent foray into politics and an untenured prof's salary wasn't that good. She bantered a little with Chris, the little Greek owner, the svelte movie star with the heartbreakingly tight tank pants and halter top, paying for the bum's drinks. It was right there that the comedy of errors began.
The Mustang, which was parked just behind the library, would not start, I ground and cranked till the motor almost ran aground.
What to do?
Passing us, turning a corner, was a red truck with Deighton's oldest son driving.
"Hey Horse!" He was a pretty big kid. Kid named Horse.
Horse did a one-eighty and came over to us. He was obviously excited by Celia's appearance, but he looked down at the exposed V-8 and said something about a deteriorated distributor cap. Could do a patch job, but it wouldn't last long.
Temporarily repaired, we drove west along Millard Avenue only to stop again at the Queen Street hairpin.
Soon Dave Mazdakowki showed up. Dave Mazakowski, new car dealer. What else?
He obsereved Celia and me in trouble, pulled up the sleeves of his $500 suit, which was camel hair and fashionably toned down, made to look hippie. Big Dave tried to fix the trouble. No luck, though some sort of recognition seemed to flash between Dave and Cela.
Car won't go.
Dave finally rolled down his sleeves,confided to me that his own mechanic lived justdown the street and sped off hin his new Mazda. Not for nothing did they call him Mazdakowski.
We walked toward the mechanic's house.
Luckily, the little Italian was right at the front door. "I fix."
This is taking forever to get going. Would I be able to get my own distributor cap going?
I watched Celia pull our her handbag one more time, saw the little Italian fussing with the distributor, and "Presto! I fix." We were on our way.
Having parked the car, we entered Lief's house from the rear and I thought tha this was it, that I was going to get it now. Would Lief be right there witha shotgun?
Suddenly, in Celia's face, I saw an accomplice's face, a female Kavorkian,and the suicide would be mine. The Last Supper. Lief would at least hold court in a situation like this, tell me what is what and throw me out of the house, as I knew I'd do if the ciircumstances were reversed. Okay to "serve the drinks", be the man in control, but sometimes you have to drink a tough draft yourself.
But there was no Lief.
We walked into that warm Danish living room, there was a guitar in the corner,and after we settled down, I asked if I could play it.
"Of course, David. I'd love to hear you play."
So I did the Renaissance lute player thing, remembering some preludes from Ponce that Leona Boyd had shown me, and did a fair shoemaker imitation of Three Preludes, by Ponce. I segued into Greensleeves, doing my Henry VIII lute player thing, almost, it seemed, dressed in pantaloons and tunic. Lay it on, you fraudulent old bastard!
She seemed genuinely rapt. Obviously loved live music.
In the middle of an arpeggio, I suddenly kissed her, there in front of me, and put the guitar to one side. Almost knocked it off the coffee table as we settled into that by-now familiar chesterfield.
On the C-shaped chesterfield, the two of us full of alcohol, and and almost content. "Delighting in you company", as in the Greensleeves song.
She stirred, touched my arm and excused herself o fiddl with something in the kitchen. Her intention had been to make dinner Then, just as quickly, she was back.. "Are you hungry? No? Well, let's just keep drinking."
Suddenly she was on me like a flash of animated dry-humping that would have driven me mad with desire had not her action been so unexpected. She just jumped on top of me and pumped and pumped, like a seventeen-year-old bride married to an older lothario. I had been erect a full half-hour and it was driving me nuts. Lover's nuts.
I turned to reverse positions, looking right at her maddened face. I cradled her lovely blonde head in my right arm, my lefthand moved toward the tight zipper of her litle dungarees. I passed the fiery angel a the gate, having discovered she had no underwear on at all, and I was soon inside her pretty little vagina.
"Pretty smooth," she whispered to me, but here face showed some alarm. I stroked her as gently as I could. She had taken to being very still.
There is an audience here, somewhat ghostly, somewhat Jungian. A trickster god is asking me to ask her, half-grinning, "Am I doing you any good?" The answere came in some really nice muscular action. I had to get those damn jeans off her.
Nice work if you can get it.
Married for a long time and later used to going with women of my own age, I knew nothing at all about removing Sixties-style women's jeans. There must be several schools. One is to pull the top down and have her wiggle out; the other was to have her sit facing your left hand, flipping open the stud and then peeling down.
I did neither one of these things, awkward son of a bitch, trying to pull the skin-tight pants from the cuff ends, dragging the poor woman halfway along the chesterfield, no doubt giving her a hell of a rash.
When all else fails, the direct appropch, crude but effective, I hoped. I zipped down my own fly, pulled out my penis, which, having no comparison, I fancied large and erect. I put her manicured hand on it and she masturbated me, skillfully and effectively.
And then it all came apart. Dear god, how drunk were we? While I was still on my back on the chesterfield, she stood up. I sat up to face her. I seemed to have her transfixed. She went to kneel over me like a beautiful madonna, but I saw, in my mind's eye some sort of real icon and I put both hands on her shoulder to stop her.I could not do it. She was just too beautiful,this blonde madonna with the pretiest lips going down on me. Besides, I would have left a load on her clean chesterfield.
Missionary position or nothing.
I went again to remove her jeans, the same awkward fashion only to have her zip them back up again, turn from me and go into her bedroom.
She came back with something for me to drink. I took it absentmindedly, sipped, and aske if I could have some more vodka in it.
Distressed, frustrated, I told her Ihad to have a good stiff shot to fight off the cramps, lover's nuts and all those things that come to plague teenagers and grown men.
Then the room began to spin.
I watched her disappear in some sort of hazy Bermuda fog. And I lost consciousness.
I came to to find her in my arms, in the same position before I passed out.. I was fondling her erect breasts, the nice little ones with the protruding nipples and she was staring into my eyes, pointblank, asking me if she reminded me of my wife. "Yes you do, Celia," I told her and she used a face-to-face visual trick that my former wife had often used, the eye-to-eye forehead contact, peering into the other person's eyes to have them become huge cartoon eyes with their comical blink everyso often, sheer inimacy and love.
Something made me turn my eyes aside.
Then she was suddenly on my lap and I massaged her breasts some more. But whatever it was she had given me to drink, it was hitting me again. I was, just-like-that suddenly tired. Dead tired. I wanted to ge to sleep. She lifted me from the sofa, groggy, barelystanding in mystockinged feet. She measured herself against me.
"You know, you're not so tall." She eyed me critically as she stood against me.
"We little people have to try harder," she admonished.
She kissed me. "I don't think I'll take any more courses from you."
My head is spinning. I know I can have her. Right now, if I hadn't already had her in my blank spell, hypnotized, perhaps in ever being able to remember; I can have her right now, but I'm oh-so-tired, so tired. I begged to get to sleep in the spare room. "Come with me. Lie down with me," I invited. "No," she said. You know what will happen." So she was still in control after all.
She stood in th open doorway of her bedroom, a pale light streaming behind her, while I made for my own allotted room.. I think at about five a. m., I went to he bathroom for a pee and she was still standing there, like a female Socrates in a catatonic trance. Certainly like a beautiful sphinx on the head of a coin.
I woke up with a feeling me friend Deighton Ronning said he'd often had:
Seems like I had been in a whorehouse having neither money nor erection. I knew everything in life escept how much things cost and how old Tiny Brain will sometimes interfere with your shift lever mechanism so that you won't get into any real trouble. --Or did she not want to get laid? Or had she, before leaving me in my room, given me some strange implant?
Yet I knew that she had taken something from me.
She was sitting in her long paisley dress, knees together in a virgin pose, or the pose of a woman who wants to get laid, but the lothario is just too damn dumb. "I think we've been spending too much time together," she announced.
"Let's go back to the writing circle. Let's go out with oher people."
I was crestfallen.
She gave me a flash of eyes. "I hope you don't think I'm a loose woman."
If I did, your box would be shaved, like a hooker's the trickster Newfoundlander in my head is hissing at me, there freom Newfie, where I'd sometimes lived.
She drove me back to the terminal. In spite of the strange night, I felt as I'd been loved more thoroughly than I'd ever been loved before.
I felt it all day, right down tothe time I masturbated to her memery before going to sleep in my room in Toronto.
There appreared to be a small needle prick inthe crook of my arm. And the next day I woke up feeling like a fool. I had not connected. I had failed.