in wich Edward explains, by means of cryptic references to memories of things past, irresponsible quotations, and flagrant plagiarism, the sad appearance of a riddle concerning the existence of a much-anticipated birthday gift, the consequences of spatial as well as temporal distance upon the recollections of men, and proposes what can be thought as the ultimate gentleman-scoundrel solution to the problem.
I have in my suitcase a book, by one very honourable Mr. Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe, called “Os anos de aprendizado de Wilhelm Meister”. Now, that’s a bit of a problem, you see, not that I have anything against Herr Goethe or Wilhelm Meister, for that matter, and I do hope poor Wilhelm has learned whatever he had to learn all those years Johann talks about. I know I certainly won’t. The book was to be given as a birthday present, having as an expiring date this very 4th of january.The recipient a young lady for whom I nurtured, until recent days, not only my best sentiments but some of my worst too, as would be appropriate at the time and the more interesting so. I’m sure she felt the same way about me. Things change fast and slow, for worse and for better, and uncertain are the facts of future. I’m afraid hiatus is too feeble a word to express our current speaking terms, for you see, such word is to be used as a description of interruptions of all sorts having, all of them, the important feature of being temporary.
Perhaps how things have turned up or how they are going to unfold is not relevant, we have in front of us an enigma: a present but no presentee, to put it in an exquisite term. You must now be thinking, a good and thoughtful fella I imagine you are, why in god’s world should that be an enigma at all? one present but no presentee? keep the damn book, gosh! with that last “gosh” spoken in a very Scottish, possibly sean-connery-esque accent…but, child, bear with me, in keeping the book I would have to reveal myself a very inconsiderate kind of guy. Allow me, please, to be more clear, it’s not actually the lack of recipient that shadows the future of the book but the new, and may I say magical, acquired power of such tome. It acquired the power to elicit memories, and more so than to elicit, to act like sudden breeze on fresh ember, it casts new fire, and the fire , brother!, is in the minds of men.
Memories are bad judges of character, and unlike a court of law where a bad judge is compelled by ancient rules to conduct the trial properly, and evidences are shown all around to assure the neutrality of the State, we have here the corruption of every step of the process, the judge is a crook, the defense attorney sleeps with the district attorney, the jury composed by friends of the prosecution, or family members of the defendant- a majority of women, of course- this court is, indeed, out-of-order, but we, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, are gonna go Pacino style today.
So it’s Edward vs. Edward now. One of them a gentleman, another one a scoundrel, and we are not pretty sure anyone can win this thing but the spoils of war are tasty, if put to testify on the witness box each one would tell a different story based on the same events, very unacceptable, except they’d both be true to their hearts and we can’t separate Dr. Jekyll from Edward Hyde and keep clean hands. Perhaps, you think, I could mediate the trial and see to its good evolution and progress but a narrative is only as reliable as it’s narrator and I’m afraid you’ve lost all trust since I started talking like a Calvinist minister a few paragraphs above – believe me, I’m rather Chauvinist, in no way Calvinist, oh no – besides, here is a transcription of the initial hearings by the court:
Edward the judge (I do contain multitudes, you see): Before beginning a battle over the custody of Wilhelm Meister we are to attempt a more amicable resolution to the situation.
Edward 1: perhaps we’re past the point of amicable, your Honour, perhaps we should start listening to our good sense and get rid of all these bad memories. I mean, one should not let a girl completely ruin Goethe. Let’s keep the book inside a drawer, get a new girl, let the new girl try to completely ruin Valery, or Chekov, save Valery or Chekov inside a drawer, move to the next girl, repeat the procedure until the Western Canon is fairly represented…by the time you’re lamenting the loss of Yeats I’m sure Goethe will be pretty free of bad memories and you’ll have a very respectable library.
Edward 2: Utter nonsense!
Edward the judge: seems pretty good to me, explain yourself…
Edward 2: Your Honour, this man, apart from his charming looks and burlesque intelligence, must be ignored…his considerations on the fate of Wilhelm Meister are a travesty of justice and decency. As I recall Goethe was never so prone to instill such sweet memories as he does now. I, if you permit me so, dare hold such volume in appreciation as Proust would hold his madeleines and tea…
Edward 1 (interrupting): I dare call you a faggot…
Edward 2: what?
Edward 1: A faggot, sir. You heard me..
Edward 2: You remind me of a movie, sir, it’s called Rain Man, the man surely knew how to count but was not that smart after all, was he?…
Edward 1: You remind me of a movie to, sir, it’s called Paranormal Activity, where night after night we see in front of our eyes a girl’s inner demon emerging from her true personality only to finally destroy the life of a poor chap…
Edward the judge: Order! Order!
…and then there was a fight
As you see, gentlemen and – if there is anyone left- ladies, we’ll have to resort to even more exceptional methods. If the surface is clouded by our tricky memories we tear down the blanket of fantasy to contemplate truth in its strong nudity, we must go, dear sirs, deeper. Now, I may not be reliable but superfluous I am not, if one is to write his own decadence one must at least do it with infinite precision. I’ve put a few hints of things to come here and there and even Chekov up there was something of a chekov gun ready to fire, if I say we’ll have to resort to more exceptional methods I lie, not in substance but in time, the action will not take place in some indeterminate future as it has already taken place…in my mind.
Yes, the only method left of possible resolution was that of unassisted Hypnosis – besides exorcism, but I’m not sure there is much of a difference anyway – and lest you think this is looking too much like the case of Mr. Valdemar I assure you things are gonna get much more interesting, if somewhat nastier. Fearing my audience would suffer from symptoms not unlike those of the first Scanners I decided to record the whole session and put it down on milder terms, I will tell it softly, yond crickets shall not hear it… even so, the first contact to such heavy and mighty a mind may cause unprecedent effects and you should read it at your own risk…
A medieval tavern, lots of pirates and modern geeks sing merrily on their tables, some are standing up, others have pieces of boar on their hands and sing while their mouths are full, they all drink Heineken and despite the poorly lit room they all wear ray ban way farer sun glasses. Edward is at the center and the chorus surrounds him, the action follows as a tragedy.
Ed My mind’s so dark let’s make it brighter
chorus but who’s gon’keep Herr Wilhelm Meister
Ed My shoulders ache let’s make’em lighter
chorus but who’s gon’keep Herr Wilhelm Meister
Ed I talked of music and literature
chorus for pms that is no cure
Ed I acted nice and then obtuse
chorus for pms that’s not of use
Ed I was so fun and then aloof
chorus boy, pms is fail proof
Ed I called her fair in prose and verse
chorus She’ll call you bloke ’cause she’s perverse
Ed Of all the gin joints in all the towns
chorus quotations won’t save Charlie Brown
Ed in all the towns, in all the world
chorus you better left what’s left untold
Ed in all the world, she comes to mine
chorus you won’t be saved by movie lines
Ed the AC’s on and she cries Cold!
chorus you should have never grown so bold
Ed the AC’s off and she cries Hot!
chorus you should have never gotten caught
at this point they all stop, edward is intimately thinking about who’s to blame and what not, the pirates all speak in hushed tones and some of them laugh, others weep, all of a sudden bill murray enters the room followed by ingmar bergman dressed as death, bergman is saying something to the effect of a chess rematch.
Ed Two men coming, one I reckon t’other not
chorus wise they are and have a plot
Ed then come closer, friends of night
chorus then they come, the time is right
Ed (to bill) Thee I reckon you’re Bill Murray
Bill you I reckon are in a hurry
Ed (to ingmar but you, sir, are you a man
dressed as death)
Ing indeed, I am, call me Bergman
Ed Be welcome both and help me please
. be wise and put my mind at ease
Bill your mind, young fella, is at its best
. I fear it, though, will never rest
Ing As long as you keep a frowning look
. as long as you keep the bloody book
Ed Is this a joke, to do things folly
. ignore my past to make things jolly
. her mind is constant as the weather
. she’s not Charlotte I’m not young Werther
. Her soul is wicked her heart is vain
. one is from Poland th’other Ukraine
Bill You’re just a kid do as we told
. you must rethink and let it go
Ing You can’t know better, so naïve
. you must go out and live
Bill Hear us now, believe us later
. grow a pair the sooner the greater
. and by all means be not a fighter
. with grace and poise give Wilhelm Meister
. like Eris did with golden fruit
. to the prettiest one the book will suit
Somehow Edward is enlightened by Bill’s last words and a woman’s voice from afar is heard by Edward alone, it is very sweet and melodious, sun light is now invading the tavern and the pirates and geeks leave the room along with bill and ingmar. Edward is alone and the door is open, he walks toward it and whisper: Let us go then, you and I.
fade to white.
I never said you could understand, did I?