13. "The Orchid's Curse"

"This circumstance, coupled with his ambiguous, half-hinting, half-revealing, shrouded sort of talk, now begat in me all kinds of vague wonderments and half-apprehensions, and all connected with the Pequod; and Captain Ahab; and the leg he had lost; and the Cape Horn fit; and the silver calabash; and what Captain Peleg had said of him, when I left the ship the day previous; and the prediction of the squaw Tistig; and the voyage we had found ourselves to sail; and a hundred other shadowy things."

- Herman Melville, Moby Dick

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by Edward Lacie

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Episode Thirteen

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Theme song, I should go to bed. The theme music can put me to sleep.

I took two (instead of my usual one and a half) Trazedone and yawned. One more episode....

There! That was an excellent example!

As I wrote the words "one more," they were spoken by the actor who played Squiggy on "Laverne & Shirley" who is making his first appearance of two appearances in "Twin Peaks" as a salesman of equipment for paralyzed home patients like Leo.

When I was writing my long poem, the first version of this book but in uncontrolled surroundings (as opposed to "Twin Peaks"), that kind of FBM would happen, whole series of connected chains of them sometimes, unholy repetitions, wearying, paralyzing.

Next, a funny scene: Andy is trying his hand at a courtroom sketch. He draws the man in three-quarter profile, a stage term for mostly the back of his head.

It was on my way to the psychiatrist's today that I was thinking of high school and college drama days, my treading of the boards.

Harold, the Orchid-boy, talks about growing up in books.

"Maybe our dreams are real," Donna responds.

First draft notes here describe my high school and college days on stage, highlights among the roles I played. In order of significance: Billy Bibbit in "One Flew Over the Cookoo's Nest" (in the role played on Broadway by Gene Wilder to Kirk Douglas's Randle P. McMurphy) while in college, Winthrop Parue in "Music Man" in high school, Rumpelstiltskin in my only titular role, a children's theater production that expanded my interest in acting from mild to more emphatic.

(These notes don't include mention of a high school role in a musical in which I appeared on stage, scrawny kid I was, in old-fashioned one-piece male body swimwear, a favorite role, nor another high school role done in old age make-up (in "George Washington Slept Here"), nor my stint as Wally, Emily's paperboy brother in "Our Town.")

Piper Laurie shows up in male drag, very effective. When I watched this the first time in 1990 I knew it was a suspicious person but would never have guessed it was Katherine, who has disappeared mysteriously.

Winthrop Parue was played, of course, by Ron Howard in the Hollywood version of "Music Man."

In the rewrite I've moved "Out of Africa Redux" from here to a previous episode but it was at this point in the first draft that I took a lot of time writing the first draft of it. After having done that, I was "primed" (again, echoes of writing the poem and being stalked by the agent of Son of Sam in Spokane), my wheels running smoothly enough to come up with some details of my fictional "Blaise Cendrars."

I'm going to invent him in Paris around the time of the Cubists' beginnings. With that background, I'll be able to have him construct poems with pieces of newspaper clippings like Baysans has done in more than one poem, a perfect historic precedent!

This will validate my explications, making them of interest to, say, The JWR or some other literary publication. I'll write a paper "discovering" this connection between Baysans's current works and those of the historical Cendrars.

I've always liked the works of Braque and Picasso in the days their paintings looked like copies of each other. Picasso's portrait of Gertrude Stein is also done in this style of Cubism. Newspaper pieces were included in some of these works.

A first Cendrars poem will thus be a newspaper story presented in broken lines of poetry. Unlike Baysans who interspersed the newspaper items with his own writing, Cendrars's poem is the newspaper story only.

So his early writings were written about 1915. A book of his poetry could appear around 1920. Shall I have him grow from a writer of poetry to a novelist? That was popular enough in that era.

A novel will be an autobiographical one, like mine, written also in diary form, a madman's diary. I'll have to think awhile to conjure a believable title.

I've been kind to my Baysans the past days, too kind. I worry that I won't be able to kill him should that be my decision, should ransom not work the way I'd like it to.

Every other day my mood changes. Kill him. Get a small ransom. Kill him. Get a small ransom. A cloud follows me, a feeling of guilt maybe, but mostly a fear of getting caught.

The feeling is strong that someone must die if someone hasn't already.

Nadine has spun off the deep end since her suicide attempt. Released from the hospital, she thinks she is back in high school. She has superhuman strength.

Cooper and Truman are in halls with red curtains. But this is not one of Cooper's dreams. They've come to rescue Audrey from One-Eyed Jacks, the whorehouse.

I'm too in control to reveal my secrets, not even yet who I've kidnapped. It's no secret that I've murdered Poet X. I made mistakes that I won't make again; I won't be caught in this kidnapping!

Interviewing Baysans by e-mail the first time, he mentioned reading Atlas Shrugged. Asked what he most remembered of it, Baysans answered that he didn't need to wear eyeglasses before reading the book but needed them by the time he finished it.

Important in avoiding a repeat of the mental meltdown after first writing this book of theories many years ago: untie the tale from the time.

Audrey is being rescued.

"Are you looking for secrets?" 264.8 and 315.7 are Holy Numbers.

"Are you looking for changes?" 264.8 and 315.7 aren't both Holy any more. But one is.

The episode ends.

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