Chapter 9 Index Chapter 11

Subject:      CODY: THE STAND-IN, Chp. 10
From: (Mithryl)
Date:         1997/08/04
Message-Id:   <5s3bjc$ieu$>

                          THE STAND-IN

                      By Cody Ann Michaels
                     c. All rights reserved

                           Chapter 10

	"Just because he sleeps with boys, takes drugs and smokes dope
doesn't mean that he tolerates or supports the majority of junkies,
homosexuals or potheads." -- Barry Miles in "William Burroughs," a
biography, Hyperion, 1993. 

	"[His wife's death -- he shot her in the head --] brought me into
contact with the invader, the Ugly Spirit and maneuvered me into a
lifelong struggle, in which I have had no choice but to write my way out."
-- Burroughs on why he became a writer. 


	I decided to change Smalhausen's name to Jean-Luc.  To make him,
as it were, a Frenchman.  There's a French cafe/restaurant opening around
the corner from me.  I went in there for a cappochino, to see how it was. 
Of course, being in New York, there's a "no smoking" sign.  But together
with the sugar shock, there was enough ambiance that it gave me the idea. 
I will tell you, all this obsession with cross-dressing and gender
insecurity was bringing me down.  I don't have anything against drag
queens.  Th ey just don't turn me on.  Jean-Luc would be something quite
different, a character out of those gritty French films of the thirties
and forties.  Narrow faced, ascetic, maybe with a strain of Algerian
Jewish blood, a cigarette perpetually dangling from t he lower lip.  Isn't
it interesting that two of the most important French writers of
existential awareness were Irish: Beckett and Joyce.  The paintings would
still be there.  Of the women; but with Jean-Luc there would be none of
this guilt for what some one else had done to the Jews.  The Germans
kicked their ass.  So what?  Or being on a Kafka list of sexual offenders. 
That was too central European.  Too American.  All Frenchmen are sexual
offenders.  It's in the blood.  Matisse's wife telling him he w as a dirty
old man.  But he was Matisse.  So what?  Renoir stroking the behinds of
his teenage models.  Horrifying the starving Modigliani.  In France, I was
already legal.  Yes.  I had to get away.  To cut out the bullshit.  I felt
like a bug crawling ar ound on the surface of a vast tin planet, looking
for a way to get inside.  But why, I wondered, did I believe that there
was anything in there?  What evidence was there, at least any worth
having, of any value?  Maybe there was nothing.  Or even more vil e

	Jean-Luc offered no help.  He was totally unconcerned.  He did not
have the hangups of mother and false sex.  The idea of dressing as a woman
made him laugh.  He asked if I had seen that Renoir film where the
soldiers in a German prison camp dress up in drag and sing the Marseilles. 
I had.  But I can't remember its name.  Last night, I saw a short film
taken of a French cabaret in the 30s or 40s; I don't know if was from a
movie or the real thing.  It was a far cry from the trendy little bistros
that su ck off the tourists in New York and I suppose Paris today.  It was
a room that looked like a coal cellar with some tables set up in it.  A
woman stood at one end of the room and sang in a thin voice, and the
people at the tables sang, too.  They were anyt hing but trendy or chic. 
The men wore overcoats, and the women looked like wallpaper.  This is the
place Jean-Luc hangs out, the way Hemingway would have seen it when he
went there to write. 

	Because the fact is, just because Jean-Luc is not guilty, does not
mean he is whole.  He is constantly describing himself as he moves about
his apartment, his studio, putting things together.  Taking them apart. 
Smoke trailing around his head as he seek s to understand the women in his
life, and to paint them.  He just does it different from Smalhausen.  With
a certain fatalism.  Knowing that it can't be done.  But caught in a
webwork that requires him to keep trying. 

	I noticed one of the Barbies had a rip in her leg.  That was
interesting.  How had that happened?  Had she fallen?  I had had to move
the monitor to hook up the laptop and put the 286 back in the corner.
Probably it had happened then.  This particular d oll, a stunning blonde,
stands leaning against the monitor, wearing a short silver dress, her tits
thrust out.  I did not know their skin could be torn like that.  This
really was part of Martin's book.  He had a collection of them on his
desk.  And I did not want to deal with that now.  That is a totally
different companion volume.  One I will work on this fall.  But no.  I do
not want to deal with the Barbies now.  But it is interesting.  I will
have to check this out further. 

	I have had Barbies for as long as I can remember.  All kinds.  But
it has been only recently that I have become interested in the psychology
of Barbie.  Also, the number of men I know who buy Barbies.  Actually, I
think that Barbie ought to be a generic term, i.e. barbie, as in human,
dog, etc. because it is clear that each one of these dolls has her own
personality.  At least as far as the people who own them are concerned.  I
know you probably think that's crazy.  After all, it's only a toy.  But at
so me point it goes beyond that.  Martin gets very uptight when someone
starts to play with his Barbies.  It's almost like they are feeling up his
wife.  In front of him.  Or daughter.  In fact, I think he could handle it
better if it were his daughter.  It would be more rational. 
Understandable.  But like I said, I'm not going to get into this now. 

	I'll tell you something else, too.  Even though I admire Beckett,
I don't believe that life is hopeless.  Maybe I was a little off, when I
included him with Joyce.  Joyce was not a fatalist.  Just the opposite. 
He has Dedalus exclaim, I go to forge the unexplored consciousness of my
race in the smithy of my soul.  That's pretty upbeat.  Of course, I do
believe that all politicians are venal liars, and that people in general
are sheep being led to the slaughter.  But that's not the same as life
being mea ningless.  Also, I'm not like Anne Frank who said she thought
all human beings were good at heart.  I don't think good has anything to
do with life.  Good is what makes people comfortable.  But life isn't
about comfort.  It couldn't care less.  I think ma ybe all these diseases
that are coming out of Africa, like AIDS and ebola are really life
continuing to evolve.  That maybe we should be welcoming them as new life,
the way maggots feed on the corpse of their dying mother.  After all, if
life came from th e stars on a meteor millions of years ago, who is to say
it isn't still arriving?  Maybe ebola arrived on a rock that landed in the
African jungle and just took off.  Well, if it's such hot stuff when it
came from Mars billions of years ago, why not now? Why be so exclusionary? 
I mean, face it, human beings are just a swamp of exotic diseases that
managed to get it together enough to stand up and walk around.  When we're
gone, the bacterium will still be there, crawling around in what comes
next.  How c an you call that meaningless?  It's just another form of
racism.  I'm better than you are.  This is a whites only golf club. etc. 
No Irish need apply. 

	Each one goes down his own chute.  And at the end, there's a guy
with a sledge hammer or a knife, and zip.  He holds up the head.  Medusa. 
Mary, Queen of Scots.  Marie Antoinette.  The crowd cheers.  Somewhere out
in middle America, Tom is driving aroun d in his battered old Ford, offing
teenage playmates.  Sending me the raw data.  What it was like.  What he
felt.  How she looked.  What she wore.  How she begged and pleaded, and
offered to do anything he wanted.  And she did.  And then he offed her. 
Or he didn't.  Just let her off somewhere, and kept going.  She had to get
her own self home.  Not in itself a non-fatal chore.  To tell you the
truth, I haven't read most of it.  It's such garbage.  Even when I change
the names, do search and replace, to p ut my name or Kelly's in place of
the girl's or Tom's.  I realize I've gone beyond it, the place where it
turns me on.  Or even grabs my attention.  I have this facility for not
being able to do the same thing twice.  Step in the same waters.  Alter
time.  Each time becomes a different one.  I drift from one episode to the
other.  But none comes next.  All exist at the same time.  Co-terminal. 
Beckett becomes a'Beckett.  A hole in time.  Murder in the Cathedral
becomes Waiting for Godot.  Passage to Indi a becomes the Mahabarata.  The
Bagavagita.  The Song of Songs.  I stand in one place, and the universe
begins to curve around my feet like a sandbar being washed away by the
sea.  I trust I am getting through to you.  If I am, you have been there,
too.  Y ou take the twigs and you lay them on the floor of the pipe, as if
they were a grate.  Never throw away the seeds.  All things have a use. 
And then you lay the leaves over them, in a kind of mat.  The seeds can be
grown to a paste.  With a little water.  Or it can be put into the pipe
and smoked, too.  Take your time.  The smoke road is a very interesting

	The twigs allow air to get down under and cool the mixture as it
passes into the stem.  One is less likely to choke.  Then one turns into
an animal.  And goes out into the night.  Different persons become
different animals.  Personally, I like being a de er.  A gazelle.  An
antelope.  Luc is more like a panther.  We are incompatible.  We fight all
the time.  He threatens to kill me.  We do the apache.  The Apache is a
dance in which Frenchmen dance like Indians.  Or at least the way they
thought Indians d ance.  It is outlawed now, but in it's time, it was
quite popular.  One saw it in every cabaret.  It was even on the Ed
Sullivan show.  Many times.  During the fifties.  Luc insists.  He saw it. 
In fact, that's where he learned how to do it. 

	I will demonstrate.  I did not ever want to get up.  Again.  no. 
I hit the table legs like a row of bowling pins and everything scattered. 
Strike.  These were not hardwood floors, either.  Keenly polished.  These
were concrete.  Or rough stone cellars.  Where people were having a bottle
of wine.  Listening to French songs.  Singing the Marseilles, and Luc was
tossing his girl friend around.  A young red head, with a nasty mouth and
hot flashing eyes.  You had to discipline someone like that, or she got
out of hand, and you lost face with the other guys.  So he slapped her
face, right in front of everybody, and no one said anything.  Well, it was
his right.  Then she pulled a knife.  And he hit her.  Took the knife
away, and knocked her down.  This was great stuff.  She started to get up,
and he kicked her in the face.  Then he sent her spinning across the floor
and she slammed into the bar.  Some men moved their legs as she rolled
around.  Her dress was up over her knickers.  Luc went and got her and d
ragged the young teenager back into the center of the room.  Then he drop
kicked her.  She went down hard.  Blood was coming out of her mouth.  I
tell you, it made me hard.  Just watching. 

	You usually had a jazz band.  Le Jazz hot.  They played all the
favorites of the day.  The girl got up and attacked him from behind.  He
drove his elbow into her rib.  Turned.  Hit her again in the rib with his
fist, up under the tit.  Picked her up and body slammed her.  A couple
more kicks.  Then he sat down for a glass of wine.  The glasses were very
simple.  Nothing special.  When the girl attacked him again, he broke one
and slashed her.  Perhaps this went a little far.  Some of the other women
took her away and bandaged her up.  It wasn't his affair, mai oui?  No? 
Unfortunately, that's about the extent of my French, but you get the
picture?  The flair?  The zest for life.  The Apache was great for that. 
In the 1880s, it had drawn them into the Fo llies Bergere, and the Opera.
Every opera had to have its Apache.  Otherwise, there would be riots. 
Poor reviews.  Financial disaster./ Toulouse Latrec displayed this many
times.  He was a master.  The Apace Dancer, one of his most famous
drawings, rec ently was purchased by a Japanese collector for more than 75
million dollars.  Unfortunately, it's a fake.  I know.  Because Luc did
it.  I'm the girl in the picture.  It's sort of an after shot.  After the
dance is over.  After the lamplight dies.  Many a girl has been broken; 
many a beauty dies.  Well, something like.  At least a broken nose.  Luc
got ten dollars for it.  He sells his pictures on the street.  In Soho. 
People will buy a Luc Godard in Soho, and a few months later, turn around
and sell it for a fantastic profit, claiming its an Ernst or a Klimpt. 
We've seen his Kandinskys in exhibitions on television.  And several of
his paintings are now claimed to have been seized from Jewish collections
during the Holocaust. 

	There's one of me by Degas that was the subject of a 60 Minutes
report several months ago.  Luc only did it last year.  Where did it get
such a provenance?  I was curious to know.  He said not to ask.  If
Smalhausen had seen me in Katherine Hepburn, what was to stop Degas from
seeing me in some young dancer at the Opera?  I was still trying to figure
out that reasoning when he hit me again.  Degas' Apache is one of the most
valuable paintings in the world.  It is now in private hands.  The fact
is, very few of these works sell on the open auction.  There is a large
black market trade.  A secret fraternity that trades them around
anonymously.  An auction is, in fact, the worst place to sell a picture. 
For one thing, anyone can look at it.  And there is a n obvious pleasure
in being able to look at something that almost no one has ever seen; only
a select line of men leading back to the artist and the individual girl.
The other thing is the taxes, the publicity, the snotty remarks about
whether it is auth entic or not.  This one, for instance, was in Goring's
private collection.  Pretty, isn't she?  Look what he did to her. 
Wouldn't you like to have the video on that?  One might show it off to
one's special friends, after, perhaps a dinner party of select guests and
their girl friends or young mistresses.  Something to give them ideas for
the night ahead.  Step this way, Gentlemen.  There's something I want you
to see.  The ladies will please join the gentlemen in the library.  They
stood there smirking a s they came in.  Who wants to go first? 

	The year was 1910.  The women were hobbled.  They had their long
hair up.  Their faces were fresh with anticipation and desire.  One, a
redhead, was especially beautiful.  And bountiful.  Her breasts pressed
over the rim of her low bodice.  Eddington's S ociety Apache.  Just before
the ball.  Before departing for the ball.  Or the theatre.  And then
coming home.  For a late supper.  And then... 

	The women talked about the way the woman had been handled.  The
man had thrown her across the stage.  She landed in a heap.  He slapped
her.  He kicked her.  Ripped off her dress.  Hit her again.  Exposed her. 
Knocked her down.  Dragged her up by the ha ir.  Back handed her.  Kneed
her in the groin.  The girl was a limp doll in his hands.  But then she
sprang into action and tried to claw his face.  A mistake.  Now he really
beat her.  They could hear her screams.  Coming from the next room.  Where
Conni e was being beaten for not minding.  The girls looked at each other. 
Connie came back into the room.  Her face red.  Tears streaming down her
face.  Sit down, Sir Arthur said.  She sat down with the others.  No one
said anything.  We went on talking.  A woman needs a firm hand, he said. 

	Cody wasn't sure she knew what was happening.  If she was the
woman in these pictures, who was she?  How'd she get there?  Luc had
painted them.  He must have.  He was so good, he could imitate anyone. 
But he usually stuck to the impressionists and earl y expressionism. 
Renoir's Apache dans Say Wha? was a masterpiece.  A titian-haired beauty
is knocked across a table.  No one knows who has it.  But I know who posed
for it.  You want to see the scars? 

	The cigarette burns.  Luc liked to do that.  Watch my face.  The
shadows.  The way the light caught it.  He was fascinated with light. 
Especially when putting out his cigarette on a woman's tit.  That, we have
attributed to Egon Schleile.  It is his sty le.  His fascination with the
sadistic.  He used just the right shade of sick yellow for the background. 
Burnt umber for my tit.  You should excuse the expression.  Many other
painters were represented. 

	Well, I didn't mean to give a lecture on art and dance.  I just
wanted to show they were a part of our life together.  Me and Luc.  I
moved in with him.  Sure, he was older than my father, but there was
something about him that drew me to him.  When I th reatened to turn him
in for child abuse, he slapped my face.  For statutory rape.  WHAm.  He
was entirely disinterested.  All I had to do was open my mouth and he
would shut it.  Naturally, I taunted him all the time.  Old man.  Faggot. 
Second rate artis t.  Wow.  That really got me beaten.  He was really very
touchy about his art.  The fact no one bought it unless it had someone
else's name on it.  His Vermeers were stunning.  Especially the ones they
found in Goring's collection.  But they weren't his.  If they had been, no
one would have touched them. 

	I chased him through the bathroom door with a knife.  He just got
the door closed before I put it through it.  I was trying to pull it out,
when he pulled the door open and hit me in the stomach.  He slammed my
face into the door frame.  Little pig.  I'l l kill you.  He nearly did,
too.  This was far beyond anything I could expect from Smal.  And no drag,

	Luc would never have allowed me to get him in a dress.  It was
just not something he would do.  Even if he had, it would have meant
nothing.  Like those soldiers in the Renoir film.  It was for a revue,
something to do behind the lines.  They were still men.  When the news
came that the French had taken some town, I forget which, they sang the
Marseilles as their German guards watched uneasily.  A few days later, the
Germans retook the town. 

	I think it's good when there's a healthy tension between two
people.  Especially if they're artistic.  Edward Hopper used to beat up
his wife all the time.  Then she would write about how wonderful it was in
her journal.  On the other hand, if Luc wasn't a successful artist, was it
worth it?  I mean, if Francis Bacon beat me up, sure.  Or Andy Warhol. 
But Luc's paintings only sold when they were by Degas or van Gogh.  Van
Gogh's Apache in the Garden at Augsburg Castle is a wild display of color. 
Most e xperts insist it has been burned, but the truth is, it's in the
Vatican.  This was one of the few paintings he sold direct.  I know.  I
was there.  I could name a few names.  But I like staying alive. 

	I realized that having Luc hitting me was a far cry from
Smalhausen doing it.  When Luc hit me, it was existential, because he felt
like it.  There was no mother anger behind it.  Or if there was, it was
irrelevant.  He did not care.  He did not even tak e the cigarette butt
out of his mouth.  This I liked.  This gritty realism.  There was no role
play.  No room for it.  Just earthy violence.  And sadism.  He was not
above that.  The way he cut with the edge of his hand when he cuffed me. 
I soon learned to obey. 

	Of course, the dance was outlawed.  It had always been illegal. 
But it only went underground.  Today it is practiced as assiduously as
ever in the back alleys of the Moulin Rouge and the bayous of Kentucky. 
There are even clubs.  You can contact them o n the internet.  Web pages
that tell when the next competition will be held.  And where.  Apache Rave
is a contemporary work.  Attributed to Segovia.  Not Andre, of course. 
Klaus.  I'm one of the women.  This showed a fight between two conchitas. 
These often broke out.  Usually over something meaningless.  Like a man. 
She had caught me with her man.  I had caught her with mine.  What did it
matter?  We fought.  Me and the blonde.  Luc drew it like a comic strip. 
When I cut her.  On the leg.  When the men separated us.  When they let us
back together. 

	There was a lot of cursing and screaming.  The redhead was a
hellcat.  Stand backk let em fight We were unevenly matched.  She was
bigger than me.  And had a longer arm.  She went for me like I was soap
and water.  She washed herself with me.  I could feel her stink.  I ate
it.  Now make her chow down.  She made me kneel in the center of the floor
a nd eat out of the dog dish.  Like she owned me.  There were a lot of
uses for Cody.  She was my agent.  She disciplined me to view.  What am I
bid?  Want to fuck my dog?  Make her beg.  He was desperate.  Klaus.  Come
back, Klaus.  She made a name for herself along the ginza.  What am I
doing here/ Enj oy it.  You had an anonymous bidder.  Sold to an
American>?  What will you give me for her?  There was a lot of trading in
the back office.  Maybe I could provide you with space for your meetings,
and a servant to take care of your needs.  This is her.  B uy her.  She's

	She kicked Cody again in the breast.  The young teenager just
knelt there.  Apache de Guerre.  A Bridge too Far.  To Make it or Not. 
Going for Broke.  Up a Lazy River.  She wrote titles.  That was it.  Going
to the Niagara.  Over the Niagrarrrrrrrrrrrrr

Break.  Cody had her on the floor.
Who was winning?
It was a close match.
The blonde went for a bottle.  Cody clamped down on her head.
In a back room.  A pool hall.  With games to play.  Sporting events to
witness.  He bRought Them in.  The police raided it. 

Step up Mein Herrrn, and take a whiff of this.  It comes from Maryland and
is very popular.  You just have to get it.  She put it on.  Cody No. 5. 
In a distinctive bottle.  It comes from the Orient.  A few drops is
enough.  She was bathed in it.  Cheap p erfume.  They were places to go
where people could sing.  Like Karioki.  Passionately about what ailed
them.  Spontaneous bursts of songs could be heard around the room.  They
were like pop guns going off to celebrate the armistice.  no. luc.  wait. 
I ha d to get my breath.  He was too fast for me.  I wondered if Tom was
doing this to girls out in the boonies.  Just the thought made me
connected with them.  I was overloading again.  Something was coming from
inside me.  I could feel it coming out like an alien.  Ripping through my
chest.  I wasn't the same wide-eyed girl you knew anymore.  No.  It was
something else.  Something that was me.  Coming up for air.  Like a diving
bell.  I was seeing something new.  I collapsed over my keyboard. 

	Liar, I didn't.  I never did.  I'm still here.  Go on now, go. 
Did you think I'd crumble?  Did you think I'd lay down and die?  I ripped
at his face.  Knowing that when I did, there would be nothing there.  Just
a face.  Smiling that cockeyed smile.  Th e lips pulled slightly up in a
slant.  I knew who it was.  I just wasn't going to say.  They called him
the Prince of Second Avenue.  That name probably fits a lot of guys.  Old
guys.  Who were here when I came.  Irving's in Pennsylvania.  I don't know
ab out George.  Irving was a twin.  His brother was very famous.  He did
those Chagalls in the bedroom.  Then there's the Porche.  It shouldn't be
there.  Someone will confiscate it.  If you leave it parked long enough. 
It's like babies.  In New York.  The police are always picking them up. 
There was a big international scandal when they picked up the wrong one
last spring.  We nearly had WW dot 3 on our hands.  A very delicate
situation.  They had to offer a lot of sacrifices over that one.  They
ripped t he girl's heart out in Union Square.  Very moving ceremony. 
Eventually, the Danes were placated.  You wouldn't think a little country
like that would be so touchy.  But just look at its shape.  What does it
look like?  If you turn it upside down.  The so ft underbelly of Europe,
if you know what I mean.  Only the Americans have their maps upside down. 
Whjat do you expect?  They expected the baby at 900 hours.  This weight is
intolerable.  Madeleine Albright was on her knees to the Chinese
ambassador.  Ju st give us ten more minutes.  Please.  In the end, justice
triumphed.  London calling, sir. 

	London was always calling.  This movie had to be made after the
war becvause it had an American jeep in it.  In Europe, we do not talk
about the war.  Everyone has forgotten it.  Only the Americans keep
reminding us.  Why they are here.  I forget what?  What did you say?  They
always want to visit cemeteries.  And have their pictures taken in front
of Notre Dame.  Most of them do not even know which war they are talking
about.  This is not Vietnam, Madame.  These dead people are not your sons. 
Mutinees de guerre.  That's another French word I know.  But which
deguerre?  This is a deguerrotype A.  He belongs in office.  Then next is
a Type O.  Put him in the top drawer.  With the gun.  She is an
apparachik.  Monitor her closely.  This girl belongs in the office next to
you.  Treat her carefully.  No bruises.  It's got to look natural.  They
blew up the tank.  During the occupation.  Eventually the Americans were
forced to leave.  Kinshasa was not an optimum milieu if you know what I
mean.  Everyone laugh ed.  She was so relieved.  They thought she was
funny, the way she butchered the accent.  Until they realized their
children were imitating her.  The resulting patois was unacceptable to the
Academe.  Where she was asked to defend herself.  Defending a do ctoral
thesis can be murder.  Just ask me.  Real sadism.  If you've ever been
grilled by three self-appointed experts in the field, you will have some
idea what Joan went through to become a saint. 

	For one thing, they all hated each other's guts.  So trying to
please all three was out of the question.  I knew it was going to be
bloody, but I had no idea it would be like that.  Real heart of darkness
stuff.  The choppers took us off the embassy roof .  I clung to the thing,
the sleeve, they put around you to haul you up.  But I was slipping.  The
helicopter swung away from the compound and I went straight into a
sandstone wall.  Apache de Helicopter won the prize in the 1963 Saloon
show that rejected Sidney Manet.  Ground fire tore through me.  Then we
were out over the forest.  At least the bird was.  I was slamming into
some trees.  It was too low.  Big bamboo patch coming up.  ak aka ak ak it
was like a machine gun.  Each bamboo stalk had been hon ed to razor sharp. 
They sliced me apart.  The helicopter was still low.  Hanging by my
wrists, I was next dragged through a lake.  Then I hit a highway marker. 
The metal sign clipped me in the crotch.  Below was a backyard barbecue. 
I could feel Africa clutching at me like an asteroid falling to earth,
impregnating new life to the jungle.  As the gods from the sky had been
depicted in ancient tombs, fucking great Mother Africaaaaaaaaaaaas. 

	Outside, there was an explosion.  It was very loud.  Possibly
another suicide bomber on Avenue A.  Somewhere on the other side of the
fans was the sound of a lone and distant trumpet. 


	"I do definitely mean what I say to be taken literally, yes, to
make people aware of the true criminality of our times, to wise up to the
marks."  Burroughs, interview, 1970.

Chapter 9 Index Chapter 11