“Sometimes reality is too complex for oral communication…” thus croaks Alpha-60, first narrator of Alphaville. Pine cone takes issue: “Sure, Lemmy Caution is a fine post-modern shamus, never really hip to the underground wires set to ensnare him. But I prefer the anti-detective of Man Bites Dog, a fractured entity, part engaged sociopath, part detached objective observer—as in the film crew who follow Man…’s Remy through his acts of robbery and murder, dialectic too complex for reality. It still rattles the soul: a boozy, bloody finger on the door-bell.”
“Whatever. I need some Rescue Remedy. I feel a panic coming on.” I’ve just about had enough of this interloper in my home. I set pine cone down in the living room, facing portraits of my parents on their wedding day. I need to find the Rescue Remedy. In the bathroom I am in a rage. I know that Alphaville is an infinitely more compelling film than my guest has let on. I don’t care, is all, to sell it. I find the remedy, but the label’s been torn off, and it is under the sink, not where I left it. I take a dropper or two.
“Your problem is you never loved Bogart in the Big Sleep, you preferred him falling for Katherine Hepburn in the African Queen. But it is as Marlowe where he achieves perfection. Besides, he smokes in nearly every scene.” This, from a self-avowed non-smoking pine cone. Forest fires. Feh!
“Oh yeah?” I say, passing into the kitchen where, on the high shelf near the hanging thing, I spy… the Rescue Remedy? Label intact. Then what the hell was under the sink?
Pine cone is unrelenting: “If you had loved Marlowe, Clay, you could have loved Remy in Man Bites Dog. He is the inversion of Marlowe, his antithesis. He doesn’t struggle toward justice but away from it. He isn’t a grim manifestation of a darkened, rainy Los Angeles night. Remy is a giddy, violent clown, loose upon the Parisian day. But you are too frail to grasp these subtleties, my friend. Instead you go for the obvious, for Lemmy Caution, who strains to reconstruct the piecemeal post-modern conscience. It is a farce. Only bureaucrats enjoy the farcical. It appeals to their procedural obsessions. You must be a bureaucrat!”
Now I remember. It was Minka, my friend Minka. He stayed for a night on his way through to New Denver. Minka. We discussed Albert Hoffman over dinner, his problem child (LSD), and the likelihood of we two ever getting our hands on some of the liquid form. Was this what my friend had left for me?! Had I just ingested the equivalent of thirty doses of the stuff?!!!!!!
“Take Jeff Bridges as Lebowski. His greatest adversary is himself.” What the fuck is pine cone on about? How am I to rectify this acid situation? Orange juice? Was that what…? “A perfect post-post-modern, or Late Capitalism dick. The empire he occupies is in collapse, though it doesn’t yet know it. He, too, is collapsing, reforming, failing, lost in visions, trailing nothing. That is the true significance of his quest—it is for nothing. The justice served, inadvertently, is that he remain himself, that he go on being an unwitting, untainted soul.” No, there’s not enough orange juice in Rutland to stave off thirty doses. I need to vomit up what I can of this hallucinogen.
(cut to 40 minutes later)
hand seems red
“What about Mickey Rourke—whew!—in that
that… that… one where he’s the detective looking for hims
Pine cone seems unaware of my predicament: “Angel Heart?! Well played, old boy. Rourke is simultaneously the Third Man’s Joseph Cotton and Orson Welles, all rolled into one,” I am sitting beside the toilet “a conscience founded in amn
esia, or pathology,” beside the “and lack of conscience, based in ‘normalc
y’” toiletoilet “This is interesting, this notion of detective/anti-detect
ive. It makes me think of Robert Mitchum” sounds gooooooooooooo
oood “in Night of the Hunter” i wonder should i vomit should i “an
other version of detective/anti-detective insofar as he embodie
s the split persona of preacher and killer, seeking, seeking th
e children whom he must destroy” destroying children is a
bad thing, i gues-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-
so why not try the Rescue Remedy, anyhow?
but who could stand up in all this linoleum?
and if so, who’s in the other room?
for the life of me
ahhhhhhh………. i forget
Lemmy Caution (Act 2, Alphaville): It’s always like that. You never understand anything.