Snapshots of Clarice Gillenhall and Marcel Fuentes
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[This piece continues exploring the lives of characters previously found in The Grand Babeuf and Life without consequence: an interview with Maxim Galway]
The Highland Inn; Atlanta, GA
"Here we are piled under with books and you with your father dying."
"Marcel, be kind."
"Were it not enough the papers all over you again."
"I cannot have you in my home. Go to Maxim. Don't you abhor my wandering?"
MARCEL FUENTES: ENTRY APRIL 19
I'm in an airplane over the Grand Canyon eating salted peanuts and drinking cranberry juice. The man next to me paid $10 for the movie on the little 10 inch screen. I'm hung over. I haven't spoken to anyone on the telephone for 10 months.
I arrive at the airport in Las Vegas at 11:20am. Outside I purchase a $4 ticket for a ride to my hotel on Las Vegas Boulevard. I beg a cigarette from an old couple. I like the western heat. The distant desert.
I arrive at my hotel at 11:45am. Check-in isn't until 1 so I go and drink at the bar and watch football which I hate. I avoid all the gaming in the casino. I just get drunk. That's the first thing.
There are people taking pictures. I order another beer and wait. Something will happen. Then I walk around in the street collecting trading cards of prostitutes and their phone numbers handed to me by non-English-speaking Mexicans. Then I go back into the hotel and get my room card. Then I watch television.
Later after a shower and a few more beers I take the bus away from all that, out into the desert. I walk around picking up stones, throwing them uselessly into the dirt. Then I take the bus back.
I don't talk to anyone for two hours. I sit in a stranger's apartment in Brooklyn and think about getting drunk while they play guitar and beat on drums. I walk around in the street and then take the L train to Manhattan. Then I get drunk on 2nd Avenue and go back thinking of not kissing my wife. The next day I'm bored as sticks in Coney Island. Then I get a flight to Atlanta.
I go to the movie theatre on Ponce de Leon after having two double cap & cokes at the bar next door. Then I walk around in the street smoking cigarettes. Then I go home and pass out from the heat and liquor. I wake up and get a coffee and go to a topless bar and drink eight PBRs. Then I go across the street and dance and then later I pass out to the growling window AC. I wake up hung over.
I get on a plane at Hartsfield International and arrive an hour and a quarter later in North Carolina. I go to a place called The Rockford and order a Newcastle. Later I get drunk and read an excerpt from my novel at an art gallery. Then I go home and sleep until it's time for breakfast.
After breakfast I go shopping for cowboy boots. I get a nice pair of tan ones and think about flying to Los Angeles. Instead I go to lunch at a dark restaurant and order beer and french fries. Then I take a nap and go dance.
It's getting cold in Philadelphia. I check in for one night at the Parker Hotel. I'm too scared to go into the lounge so I get a drink at a neighborhood sports bar. Then I walk up to Rittenhouse Square and look at cute girls with dogs and sneak a little bourbon in my coffee cup.
"I've made my home here, in your bed. Dekalb Avenue is not far. The zoo is close by."
"Clarice Gillenhall is not a Russian name. What is your true lineage? And by the way I ran into those two business friends of yours at Chez Bernard in Philadelphia."
CHEZ BERNARD: AUGUST 10
A man walks into the cafe. He orders a croissant and a double espresso. A water. The man sits.
A lanky Brit approaches him. "Have you got a quarter? I've only one. For a call."
Richard shuffles his feet, digs into his left front pocket, and pulls out a gleaming quarter. He offers it to the man in the black suit and walks on to the restroom.
Richard returns to his seat at Chez Bernard, orders a Remy Martin on ice and peruses the day's paper. August 10. Money. Business. World News. Politics. Anselm does the same. The man in the black suit approaches them.
"Here's your quarter -- no answer. Listen, have you got the numbers? The Nasdaq?"
Richard shuffles. Anselm winces. Sell. Offering him the paper.
"What on Earth. Give me the Arts section."
Behind Richard the steady reel of traffic continues. Horns this way. Honks here. A throng of persons on the sidewalk. Him. A Tuesday.
"Shucks," says the man. A wrinkled spot on his left shoulder. A toothpaste stain hardly noticeable on his tie. Richard pulls the paper down and peers over the top, up at the man still gazing distractedly into the print.
"Hand it over. Take the 50c and by yourself a paper." He hands the quarter back. Shoots a look of consternation.
"I showed her this yesterday. She thought I was pulling a prank." His laptop in the briefcase beside his right leg, brushing his Ferragamo's.
"The application said: one word, maybe two. Describe yourself."
"I would've thought it'd been easy to get that job."
"Not the job she's after. On the contrary, it's the boss."
The man returns with two newspapers. The glass door pops behind him. Chimes. Smells of brewing coffee. He offers the extra paper to a fellow customer. Drops it nonchalantly on his table, nearly flipping his fork into the air. He takes a seat two booths back, behind Richard and Anselm. Coughs loudly. On Chestnut Street a woman leans her head out of a stopped car. She ejects a dingy purple vomit. The car resumes its course.
"Anselm, where is she now?"
"Down at social services."
"Why don't you give her her job back?"
"She is good for a tumble. Not a typist. Probably has a poor upbringing. She cannot even dress herself."
The man returns to the phone booth at the back of the restaurant. Dials. "Heavy set. Cold dull eyes. Stark red hair."
Woman's voice: yes.
The man takes his seat. Richard eyes him with indifference. The sound of spoons in mugs.
"Another Remy please."
"I've my hands full with this nurse. She is calling me night and day."
"You cut her loose. Swap numbers with the Company. Go on holiday. Hire another."
"I have. Clarice. A sweet Russian. Good for typing too. A may keep her on for a while."
"It's settled then."
"I don't know. This woman seems sinister."
Gulps his drink. "She's a desperate winch."
"Anyway I'll be on holiday this weekend. In Miami reviewing portfolios."
"Take the Russian."
"Not yet. I don't think she knows the score."
"You've a routine. Let her in on it. She's a hussy from Moscow."
"No. Patience. Everything will be relished in even sifts."
The restaurant soars with activity. Waitresses here. Waiters there. Bacon cooking. Several customers wait in the foyer.
"Time for work."
"I'm off as well."
Richard pays the bill. The man in the black suit slips out behind him leaving the check unpaid. Anselm is at the crosswalk. The man shoots him in the back and dissappears into a billowing exhaust.
"It's true they are my friends. No more please. The public's eager for my next performance. No more pushing me out."
Taken from The News 09/17/2004
Clarice Gillenhall appeared in Star magazine this past week. Underneath a picture of her stepping out of her studio in downtown Santa Fe a caption read:
Maxim's Mistress Misses Out
She says, "I never set out to become a potter but in 1999 I made this bowl and some prince bought it for $7. I heard it was the only dish he'd use to eat his cereal. So then I thought I must be pretty good."
Last Tuesday she fell outside her home in New Mexico spraining both her wrists. The doctors say she may never touch the wheel or the clay again. Extending the unfortunate, on the 8th of this month she lost her apartment of 15 years.
When Clarice was eight years old she played the piano. Her hands have always been an asset. In Amsterdam she was a masseuse. At 24 years old she has all ready become the darling of the art world. 5' 11", long brown hair, a button cute nose, and snappy ass, she has even modeled for Helmut Lang. For several years she worked in commercial photography, an experience which gave her the knowledge of poise in front of the camera where these days is her second, or third, home, after the studio. I viewed her last show in 2003 and was amazed at the direction she's turned in her work. Gone are the archetypal vases and ashtrys. She's now making futuristic wolves and buffalo, cattle and pelicans.
This week in Star they say she's involved with celebrated British novelist Joseph Peters. Maxim Galway refuses to comment on the assumption even after seeing pictures of the couple at a Brazilian beach resort. And of course there's the photos taken at this years Grand Babeuf party.
The recent accident, declining interest in pottery, and subsequent loss of her apartment have turned Clarice back to poetry. The release of her debut collection Lazy Macy has given her reprieve from the dizzying stresses of multiple tragedy. Though it isn't a critical success it has sold 100,000 copies in America alone. What next from the future's greatest myth? In her own words, "Columbia!"
"And Joseph Peters. Has he abandoned you?"
"He has Marcel Fuentes. He has."
Ask Jon Leon for a cast of characters list. It's 18 pages long.