Rather Have The Blues - Side Navigation Summary Contents Preface Chapter One Chapter Two About the Author Contact Us Purchase

Chapter TWO




At an august spa, a man recognizes a woman with whom in the past he has shared traces of unique but hard to specify understanding. She denies being the one, but her claims not to remember are indecisive, as if she knows his overture has a point, but one that terrifies her. Her companion, a master of calculative rationality who spends much time besting all comers (including the excitable sensualist-petitioner) at a board game involving removing counters (generally matches) and not being left with the last one, has to remind her frequently that she is at Marienbad to relax and have a good time. He is not only the picture of suave, sober competence and solicitude, but in his tight, cadaverous melancholia (rich guys also have the blues [perhaps as a perk]) he affixes her to a register of intent that curtails her range of motion in telling ways. One of the evening entertainments is a theater-piecein which two, stock-still figures converse. A man berates a woman with some asperity for lacking a capacity to respond to his love. She relents and declares her love. The hitherto petrified audience rises to deliver a standing ovation to this successful transaction. They may be impressively tailored and studiously composed, and their vacation spot may be very exclusive; but their range of sufficiency is dull and common, and their entombment in the antiquated, deluxe facilities of the chateau serves to endow their commonness with a therapeutic patina of heroic cogency. (An insistent, sonorous organ peal brings to mind the sanctuary force of a cathedral.) The protagonist-petitioner – in marked contrast to Mike with Velda at Soberin’s beach house – has to launch a round-the-clock evocation of what makes imperative their abandonment of that high-gloss normality. In the course of that tug-of-war, she succumbs to moments of its full horror, in the form of events redolent of Bezzerides’ construct. The darkened, marbled interior becomes drenched in blinding, explosive light. She beholds (with him) a neoclassical sculpture, positioned in the mathematically charged grounds, consisting of two figures and a dog. They are galvanized by some dangerous vista. The little pet has not been proof against their step into forbidding territory. There is a print showing a carriage being intercepted. Her fiercely competent paramour is making some noise at the gun range, with a gang of similarly armed operatives. On finally breaking away from the retreat, they plunge into the confusion of the pitch black grounds, the only light coming from a few windows of the grand structure, linked in that way to Soberin’s hapless hideout, its windows more than all aglow.