Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Noir Of Defeat

COP: I can make sure that you’re paid to talk, or not talk. It can go whatever way you make it.

HUMPHREY BOGART: Alessandro Volta invented the battery.

COP: It’s a difference of fact, not opinion, in, somehow, this matter. You crafty, full-of-it, stocking-stuffer, limp-wristed, potato peeler. I’ve got more than just news for you. This is battleship-sinking time. Trust me, this is no arboretum. It’s not a showoff contest or some kind of mud flap flailing on a fly-by-night run. Ever hear of a tench catching a breath of fresh air? I’m all what’s surfacing, or about to, see? Don’t blasé me, son. I’m all for tasting notes of a higher caliber here, and I’m all for excusing all the phoniest alibis in the world-- all of them, except what’s gunning for my already testy altitudinal save-facing. Scrap it. I’m dusting for spiders in the kitchen floor’s grimiest corners. I’m over the esteem of being some yearning bumpkin with holes in his favorite sweater, a cussed-out busser with the hard candy of things weighing me down. Shit. Shit. Shit. I’d like to think I could almost have it made just so I could unmake it, you know?

HUMPHREY BOGART: The empty dish-soap bottle sounds like a monkey screaming when you squeeze it. My friends are all dealing non-calls and stay-away lights to me. It’s more broke and deserted than a closed-down shoe store beneath a burnt out lamppost. It’s not the words I can find, here.

COP: Don’t go on. Please. Start behind and fall ahead. Yes. Sense is what you make of it. No. Yes. Wait. I mean maybe.

HUMPHREY BOGART: There were bicycles then commonly referred to as Abracadabra Machines. Basil stink’s more than heavy, counterparted with leaky cylinders. We hove forward and hurt no chances for…

COP: You!

HUMPHREY BOGART: Yes. For me.    

COP: So, let’s say we’ve got this guy, I don’t know, named Vida Blue or something.


COP: I do. Got him, in the loosest frame of the sense of having anything, for one. That’s for one, that thing.


COP: And for one thing, this guy Vida, he’s a real stickler for gabbing out the wrong guy. He’s a low-baller, an extorter of the meek and harmful, and we’re not cracking anything close to the surface when he comes up with this idealistically opportune yarn about whose ass is about to be handed over to us, in a matter of the holiest reasons for keeping mum; and so we take what words he’s spilling-- it’s his time, all he’s got, you know, to give-- and wilder than hogs get rodeo-clown lucky and avoid any real major denunciations to our questing methods.


COP: Shit. That’s all you’re going to take away from this? Yes. Yes. For Cerberus’s sake. We have esoteric terminology like you’d never imagine. It’s nothing to crack eggs over. We’ll get through it two ways or another.

HUMPHREY BOGART: Singly, I do opt for better conditions, sir. There. Does that work?

COP: So they say things like, “The blinding lights are better than no lights at all. Can’t take the heat. Can’t get out of the kitchen.” That’s what they all don’t say. I hope folks like me keep not believing it.

HUMPHREY BOGART: What about me? Folks like me?

COP: It’s derisive, all these thoughts we get to get around to having, and then I stand over you, looking down on you, and hector on about what I don’t ever get around to knowing.     

HUMPHREY BOGART: What I wouldn’t give for a broom that sweeps up all the bad things that I’ve done, sweeps them away from me, out, gone, or wherever they can’t follow me wherever I go. You can talk and talk. It won’t plunge any deeper into the dingy basements of mistakes I’ve made. I’m wearing gloves from here on out. I’m sick of cold hands.

COP: Our little committee here seeks separation of selection and nature. Our tiny ways of trying are adding up to a minuscule amount of tapering off and on, and there are no sea urchins in heaven as far as I know. Luck begets worse humans than our already half-butchered lives want to contemplate. 

HUMPHREY BOGART: My music is best understood by children and animals.

COP: Really? Shit. Well, there’s a little Igor for us, I guess. Shit. That’s not even close. Shit. Did I mention…shit?

HUMPHREY BOGART: In a lollygagging run-for-cover sort of way, you might possibly utter something comprehensible while turning a spare key in your mind’s ignition. It is on or off for the rest of us, until the motoring of winnowing clicks becomes all that we can hear.

COP: The highlights of my nights our surrounded by dim spectacles of rum-drunk secretaries filing away my sentimental letters to out-of-work lawyers and retired sword swallowers.

HUMPHREY BOGART: Mystery solved. I am punching judges and taking swigs of cloud-apple brandy. Recount the ways to me of which I should be minding my resolve to not attempt an answer to any of this.

COP: Hardly a question asked, dippy.

HUMPHREY BOGART: Crap. And to think, I’m all out of answers already. Crap.     

COP: Just a Murmuration of Starlings passing an Exaltation of Larks after midnight. Shit. Let the grilling begin!

HUMPHREY BOGART: Surely you can’t expect me to concede to blab and rat out people and name names under these conditions. I need brighter lights. Actually, heat lamps would be great. They’d do the job, if you will, in these times that try whatever’s left of my chintzy soul.

COP: Left to your own devices you’ll drown in the sordid waters of your own mischief.

HUMPHREY BOGART: You leave me every choice-- to make you into a ridiculed warbling martyr of the lack and risk of voice-booming hot air that is filled with nothing except emptiness.

COP:  I do nothing of the sort. Just blabbering on to hear yourself blabber. That’s all you do.

HUMPHREY BOGART: Oh, buckets of slop. Shit. It’s like as if I cried out, “Buckets of slop for sale! Buckets of slop!” And you’re the only one not listening.

COP: One more-or-less true slip of the sleep-deprived tongue. It seems I’m currently all red meat and cranky juxtapositions, and it is rook time in the castles of malingering. The volts of vanishing are within me now.

HUMPHREY BOGART: It is better to be suited than suitable, if you dare to contradict my daring. Gross negligence on everybody’s part, I guess. 

COP: Set sail for the shore, and die within the bounds of living’s reason.

HUMPHREY BOGART: Turn off your phone. Turn off your brain. Turn down the noise you make. Turn, turn…just fucking turn. Who’s looking back now? Who?

COP: Tempers might flare, but not mine. Never mine. Of course the harrowing bit of coffee grounds that’s always spilt and sent seeding on the linoleum every morning will be coming home to roost eventually. Remember, this is Bingo! time. This is the period of traipsing footsore into crumbling parapets, the era of lapping up useless information just to toss it unused into a pyre of general malaise. Give it to me, kid. Give me all you got. It’s not nor ever will be enough for either of us.

HUMPHREY BOGART: People are just too damn normal. I want imitated flattery. I want holy Post-it notes slipped under my door at midnight. I want mothball lollipops and fringes of elementary surges in powerless twitches that screech high-wired through casket-dark days. Older, older, and older still, and I get odder by the minute. Dreams of playing air guitar on a stranger’s tennis racket, competing with apple pickers for a newspaper crown, struggling for recognition in defeat’s glory. I have become all that I am.

COP: Good. You will be compensated with chewing gum payola. Specks of bright will laud your ill-lit path. Do not check in the rearview. That’ll, it seems, have to be a promise. Got it?

HUMPHREY BOGART: Sure as soap.

COP: Okay. That tears it. I’m done pestering. My how-do-you-do nature is now being set to unresponsive. Pass or don’t pass. I could give a care, but I ain’t.

HUMPHREY BOGART: Having all of it. Predisposed to be unpopular, the kindlier pieces of me fit awkwardly with the cruelest. But I’m forcing them. Yep. The abutment is pretty damn complete, sir.

COP: I kid myself about that too.

HUMPHREY BOGART: I know. We all do.