The Days of Wine and Dargis

He was young and eager and full of verve. He was vervish. When he spoke, he gesticulated with a robust sincerity that could be mildly off-putting. She was older, though not by much, striking in a bohemian way, and wrote for The New York Times, official paper of Judea. Her name was Manohla, and he loved her with a passion hitherto reserved for Gene Hackman in The Conversation.

“One day,” he vowed, raising a fist to the heavens, “One day we will be together. But until then, we shall remain like the lovers of 84 Charing Cross Road, separated by a great distance, except where the Anne Bancroft character was aware of Anthony Hopkins’ existence, and in fact communicated with him regularly, you have no idea who I am. So, actually, it’s more like 84 Charing Cross Road meets Harvey, but instead of a giant Rabbit, it’s you. Wait, never mind…” With great solemnity, he lowered his fist. No one was watching.

The days were long and they seemed longer in wideshot. Without her, life was like a Visconti movie of the seventies, ambitious, but meandering, and often quietly sensual. She was his Tadzio and for hours or sometimes minutes at a time he wandered the beaches of Venice hearing only his own breath as the objective audio faded from the mix.

Over the course of several dissolves, his breathing grew louder. By now his gay seeming linen suit was stained, but he had stopped caring. Now it was mostly over the shoulders, handheld, and with a little glare. He smelled of hot sand and Malvasia delle Lipari.

“One day,” he vowed again, now reaching both fists heavenward à la Personal Best, “One day, you and I will walk the streets of Culver Città, hand in ink stained hand. I will buy you antipasto and hope you offer to split the bill. Of course, I will insist, but you will insist with greater strength and rip the bill out of my hands. You will pull hard because I will be pulling relatively hard in the other direction to give you the impression that I really want to pay, which of course I do, but honestly, you have the killer job and I’m at home writing a blog at 6:15 on a Saturday night.”

His feet were parched and his mouth was also parched. It was tough to say which was more parched. On the one hand, there were his feet; on the other, his mouth. But there was no way to know. That’s how evenly distributed the parching was.

Tutti saranno fini,” he whispered. “Tutti saranno fini…” and then he died.


5 responses to “The Days of Wine and Dargis

  1. “Culver Città”… I peed a little.

  2. When you re-read this, and you will, be kind (to yourself.)

  3. You have got to be kidding. I think Manohla writes like an errand girl for William Kristol.

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