This is a little left-over from a short story I wrote earlier in the year called “Messianic Qualities” and was meant to be a tasteless yet loving homage to that melodramatic Hollywood style of dialogue found in those crackly old black and white films. That breathless talk with lines that overflow with salacious barbs and sultry throwaways, one-upmanship poetry which seems to say everything but go no place at all and often makes little sense. But it sounds good, and that’s all that counts. I didn’t use this in the end. But I found it again this afternoon and thought it stood up quite well on its own. So take it, finish it, bring it to a sweet and clear conclusion in your own mind, you’re welcome to it.
(The Waldorf Astoria ballroom. A boy meets a girl at a reception held in honour of New York City Mayor Jimmy “Beau James” Walker, a passionate aviator with questionable ethics. The band breaks into “Soon” by George Gershwin “Soon our little ship will come sailing home, through every storm never failing.”)
George: I love this song, you know, I’d quite like to live on a boat, you can just sail away at a moments notice and disappear. Or live by the sea, at any rate, there’s something madly soothing about all that water, don’t you think, soothing and free, stretching out as far as the eye can see?
Rhona: No, I hate the ocean, it’s like you, frightfully….wet and billowy.
George: Oh, we’d be great, me and you, together, Rhona, I’d buy you a swanky place on Upper Fifth Avenue and we’d go walking in the park on Sundays and you’d wear the finest things in May and so would I in December, and there’d be nights at Carnegie Hall and Coney Island in the autumn, and oh the thought of it. What do you say?
Rhona: You don’t offer much of a fight though Smilin’ Georgie, do you, no fight at all. In fact you offer quite too many smiles for my liking, too many smiles by half and too many smiles give you wrinkles. Too many smiles and wrinkles, that’s a dubious mix for any grounded girl.
Geroge: I can try not to make you smile, I can talk of failing corn crops and stock statistics and shopping on a Christmas Eve and Jack Benny’s unfunny brother and foreign wars and the fall of Rome, and…
Rhona: How do you know I’m not fucking Beau James?
George: Beau James’s skin is far too fresh darling, there’s not a wrinkle on him, if you’d had Beau James his face would hold a monsoon rain and a five-cent subway fare.
Rhona: (Smiling) Well, it’s just a shame your boat couldn’t take a monsoon rain, isn’t it?
George: And it’s just a shame Gentleman Jimmy doesn’t sail……..he flies.