Friday, July 9, 2010

One Every 24 #21

FADE IN/FADE OUT (Outtake #2, after Goddard's Breathless)

she's the pixie-ish American feature
writer in Paris unsure if she's truly in love
with a cop killing Bogart-worshiping car thief

mugger, hustler, thug. he loves her, oddly sensitive
chauvinist pig that he is. he wants to carry her off to Rome
in a series of stolen cars. she seems his only pursuit

beyond a life of crime. she tells him she's pregnant
says it's probably his. he doesn't hitch a step
in trying to get her to sleep with him again

an aspiring novelist, she goes on assignment to see
the great American writer who happens to be visiting
Paris. unlike her, the writer speaks immaculate French

with no trace of an accent. she asks the writer what
is his life's ambition. To become immortal
then die, the writer says

meanwhile he's out looking for the fence who owes him
meanwhile the cops come nosing around: a callous
wrinkled detective puts a clumsy tail on her

then she sees a newspaper (not the one he holds in front of his face
to make himself invisible as he walks down the street behind
his shades, impervious to the constant yet oblivious cops

finally, she faces what's been on scrolling marquis and the front pages
all along. it's nothing more than what she's always known: he's a thief
now a murderer, and she loves him

they go on the lamb. hole up in his friend's photography studio
he sends her out for the paper, milk, smokes. she goes to a bar first
orders a scotch, which they don't have, and settles for coffee instead

from the bar, she calls the cops and rats. then she walks back to him
milk in hand to tell him the cops are coming. to tell him go
leave now. he refuses, says the fence who owes him money

is on his way, and at that very instant, the fence arrives
he takes the cash, tells the fence to split, the cops are coming
the fence shoves a gun into his hand. he doesn't want it, tosses

it back into the fence's car, walks away. The cops arrive as if spliced
the fence throws the gun into the street. it lands at his feet. he picks it
up with what appears to be the idiotic intent of returning it

yet again, unless he's changed his mind and wants to dent some badges
it's impossible to know, but gun in hand is enough for the cops because
the next shot is the callous, wrinkled detective firing in the street

and suddenly there she is. running into the middle of everything
running toward him as he staggers kidney-shot down the block
no gun, legs gradually failing. this disturbs only a few of the many

people out walking the Paris afternoon. near the far corner
his legs fail. he's on his back on the ground fading out
the cop's shoes circle his head.

her legs arrive. her lovely Parisian shoes. he exhales the unlikely drag
nobody saw him take. his last words: Makes me want to puke
she doesn't quite hear them. she asks the callous, wrinkled detective

He said you make him want to puke, he tells her and she believes
she asks what puke means. no answers. she runs the edge of her thumb
over her lips. a gesture that he liked to make. one he stole from Bogart.

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