[Dancing days are suspended temporarily. Everyone is working. The waif, Carol, watches Doomey's every move. He has saved her from the evil putrid gutter world, so why not? DeP snacks on dried pears. She wears a loose thing handsewn by one of the VCs whose work has never advanced past The Floor but does not give up. That VC might not be a great cap crafter but this flowy flouncy thing of soft fabric is just what DeP needs on a warm day in May and she is therefore grateful for the kindness of people she's never met. She is grateful for the Post Office, for horses, for green grass, and lemons.]
I am looking I am looking for something something unusual with clarity and rhythm and spark and 21st Century smart. Talk. Talk to me VCs in the ether. I know you're there...
[She holds a baby rattle up to the light, turning it to the left then to the right.]
What's this little peach, hmmm? Ed Raso, I think I'll take a chance and advance this weird tale of yours. Antagony, LLC, take flight. Terminali working for their meat soup tonight, haha.
[She leans back in her chair and lights a yellow candle. Its light illuminates the tiny stars embroidered into her gift garment and her wry smile.] DeP A Bluelight Dancer/Not a Pocketbook Romancer of The Floor
He probably knows we're not invited upstairs for the banquet. Or for any other reason. Meat soup makes the walls sweat. And we have no say in what happens to the caps we advance to the attention of the Terminali. They are, I've heard, even unbribable. Principled, knowledgeable, and well fed.
Do you think VCs are who they say they are? Not that it matters...everybody's SOMEbody. [She sniffs the flowers in the vase that's appeared on her desk.] Aren't these forest Trillium? Aren't they an endangered flora, forbidden for the plucking?
Doomey, there are criminals in our world. Well-intended (I do so love delicate flowers in my midst), but criminals just the same.
Hush hush. Deep Purple's on a world tour.
Dingdong. Incoming cap calling. Let's see what the witches have been brewing overnight.
[She pulls her new cowgirl hat down low and breaks into the topper most packet flopped upon her desk moments before this one. Life's a blue flame gas after the ballroom blitz dancing, now and at the core near that mysterious box slipped under the front door, here on The Floor.]
DeP A Bluelight Dancer/Not a Pocketbook Romancer of The Floor
[doomey sits on the Floor's floor, his bare back against the cherrywood's side. he's examining a current cap, flipping pages, pursing his lips, scratching his bare ribs. he sighs. he gets to his bare feet, and slaps the cap down on the desktop, startling Carol. he grabs up a pack of pall malls and taps out a smoke. he thumb-nails a swan vesta and gets the cigarette going. he sucks in a lungful of sweet smoke. he nods his head, the pall mall hanging from his lips, and he places his palms on the desktop, leaning into the desk, and he closes his eyes]
you know, i do like to strip craft to its bare core. but i've been looking around. looking for another job, looking for a hot girl at the Queen's Hump, looking for aim, looking for reason. and i'd like to say i know what we're looking for here at TQR, but questions pop up. do i know what i'm spewing, wordwise? do i have any idea what goodstuff is? i think i do. but i live on my own planet, i'm my own self, with my own definitions. i think maybe i've become so much the stone that i've forgotten how to be the sponge.
[doomey sucks on the cigarette. he exhales]
answers to those questions. i have no idea what i'm doing. i have no idea what it is.
[doomey turns and gazes down on the current cap strewn atop the cherrywood's desktop. he taps his finger on it. his lips go askew]
i'm going to send steve's damn reprieve up to the Terminal because i have no idea what else to do. it's well crafted. but it's not twisted. it's calm, and historical, and it has wizards in it.
[doomey shrugs his shoulders]
[doomey gags, he chokes, coughs. and then he sucks on the pall mall for a good lungful. he blows the smoke mirrorballward. he glances at Carol, who delivers a knowing smirk]
it's all shit. but if it's good enough it's getting published. we've got truckloads of novels that are just good enough, being published, one after another, like plague. but if it's good enough...
[doomey sucks more smoke into his lungs, and then he kills the cigarette in the triangular ashtray on the cherrytop's desktop. he kills it good]
we sent it up. but i'm waiting for a McCarthy. waiting for a John Crowley. waiting for a David Foster Wallace.
[doomey grabs up the current cap and he throws it up into the rafters where it gets sucked up and whirled and battered and Terminaled. doomey sits on the Floor's floor, his bare back against the side of the warm cherrywood. he pulls his bare knees up, wraps them in his bare arms, lowers his head]
waiting for Vollmann. waiting for Thom Jones. and if i thought there was some God up wherever i'd ask God to please send me a Hunter Thompson. and, if at all possible, a Jim Harrison.
[doomey lowers his head]
not asking for these specific folk to arrive, i just want something good. send me something twisted, Lord. something honest. something horrible.
[doomey shifts, alarmed]
oh wait. i think some new cap just arrived in my pants.
What if we never ever read anything from Evelyn Waugh or David Foster Wallace or... [she tucks the small novel open on her desk into a drawer, straightens her collar, and continues]...Carver or Roth or...
Doomey, are we too judgmental? Judge. Mental.
Non, it seems not. Or even if we are tough on the VCs brave enough to sub here, they know we read 'em. Er...mostly anyway. Truth: 99% of the time, I read while wide awake and to the end no matter how....um, how challenging. Even if I'm hungry or it's time to light my candles and sit in the glow of them or practice my cello or...oui, even if the cap is not the kind of stuff I would ever buy or promote or..
Well, I guess that's in the job description. Wherever that ended up. Hmmmm...have you seen our personnel files lately?
Anyway, we're doing alright. Yes yes, sometimes I feel like a character in a comic book...The Rejector. But that's just on low days. Those hardly ever come.
There is captivating capital floating out there. The Monkey smells it. Come to us, brilliant beautiful midnight ramble crafters...land your little holey boat on these rocky friendly shores. DeP A Bluelight Dancer/Not a Pocketbook Romancer of The Floor
good christ, i do love you, DeP. Philip Roth. a master. makes my heart continue to thump.
[doomey looks down at his ankles]
shit. i've got to address the crafter, craftist, whatever. how does one tell another that they've jumped the hurtle that me myself knocked down? hm. i am very interested to see if VCs watch us here, and maybe i don't need to let Steve know he's gone all up and shit. maybe if he keeps up with us here, he'll just know, savvy?
yah. i'm not going to email him. see what happens.
[DeP claps her half gloved hands...she pulled a thread and all the fingers unraveled...woman appears happy. Cheerful even. She grabs up a few grubby pages from her desk. Rimbaud rolls in cap he likes but Rimbaud is a cat. His fur, as illustrious and silken as it is some days, today is laden with debris. But it doesn't matter...]
Merci, Doomey. The love is mutual. Je t'aime. Yes, Roth is a master. So much so and not am I that I read him over and over and every time find more than I did the time before. Oh, Zuckerman...
Hey hey. VC Marable is not Roth nor is he Carver. He is Marable. And I like his style...see this?
[She raises the grubby sheets above her head and executes a not very Irish looking jig. Still...]
This is his Regression. It's fluttering, with all its dirt and fear and hope, upward. Zing! The Terminali are hungry and must be fed. DeP A Bluelight Dancer/Not a Pocketbook Romancer of The Floor
[doomey shifts his ass on the Floor's floor, like maybe a cheek is going numb]
i reexamine Roth as well. one of the few crafters i do reexamine. him and Tolkien. but i reexamine Tolkien because i feel at one with Middle Earth, not because of Tolkien's crafting prowess. hell, i do not dig in the least the way Tolkien crafts. sort of twistless. much the way of Fleming. don't dig the crafting of Ian, but i am a James Bond whore, so... oh, but the only capital i've ever reexamined thrice? john crowley's Little, Big, in my opin, the greatest capital ever crafted. but, you know, that's just me. and i know nada.
[doomey adjusts his shorts]
i think i need to email steve rodgers. doesn't feel right not sending the chap a note.
[doomey pulls himself up from the floor of the Floor. he slaps his palms on the cherrywood's desktop, leans in]
carol, cousin. could you grab my phone from that there suit jacket? inside pocket, me thinks?
Just looking for the can. Lost. No fucking sense of direction. None whatsoever. Funny how the more you need a thing, the more elusive it becomes. Hey, I know you guys! You look exactly like your avatars. Exactly! Not sure about this Steve guy, but I come here all the time. And not just to feel vicarious love. Well... mostly maybe. But also for the heads ups.
Read Liu Cixin! So cheesy. But such fun. Has he ever subbed here? Please advance him if he ever does. Dep, I understand, speaks Chinese, and with barely any French accent. Damn, can't linger. When was the last time anyone restocked the sandwich machine upstairs? But then whaddaya want for a quarter.
[Rox does a little cross-legged dance beneath the mirror ball.]
[DeP's in her red kimono with the stars and moons and little unidentifiable birds motif. She's sitting cross-legged on the tiles, eyes closed with her headphones on. Periodically she blurts a few lyrics in a singsongy voice. Sounds like something written by the guy who use to be called Cat Stevens...lalalalalah lalalalalah...take good care...hmmmhmmmhmmmhmhmhm...ooh baybehbaybee...on and on like that. It's all serene and quiet except for the blurts and...]
Qu'est-ce qui se passe? Is that YOU, Sir Roxy? Liu Cixin...not yet, non. Not that I've seen. But you know we are always open for cheese. The best kind, pour sur.
You alright, Rox? Oh...the can. Teddy had it renovated...well, changed. Relocated. Out that door. Left in the hall. Right at the broken window. Up the half staircase. Blue and yellow Dutch door. From there, it's...obvious. Check for papier, mon cher. Always check before..
[She touches the fingers of her right hand lightly to her lips and shoos the poor Rox toward his destination.]
Cool dance moves, haha. DeP A Bluelight Dancer/Not a Pocketbook Romancer of The Floor