No, I do not need any more.
The glass of water set down on the table in front of him, the interview continues.
What of Cano?
Michael Cano did not follow me out to Los Angeles. I don't understand why he insisted on staying behind. It's not like there was anything holding him to our old town, I did not know him as a nostalgic man. It was like in his book The Disaffected Timpanist, all bad seventies neo-Bolshevist architecture. We disagreed on something before I left, but I doubt that was why he stayed behind.
What was it?
It wasn't anything remarkable at all, I'd even call it banal.
And when you say neo-Bolshevist architecture -
No, no. This is not the appropriate forum for digging into that subject. And considering Canada's stricter laws about what is and is not censored speech, I'd rather discuss this elsewhere; if this interview concerned my architctural philosophy in the first place, I'd have suggested a change of venue to Seattle as a compromise.
At any rate, without Cano you struck it alone for the first time in your career in nineteen eighty seven. Were you disappointed by how your Ice Jar Ice project was received by the Los Angeles art scene?
It wasn't so much how they perceived the work as how it never felt ready. The dialog in the stage play component, Ice Jar Sigh, I labored over that for close to a year and couldn't get it to mesh. On top of that, the casting issues were absolutely as bad as Marty's book made them out to be. Though I was never afraid the thing would kill my career or anything of that sort, which is I think how Marty made it out. Before and after the admittedly dismal premier of the Ice Jar Ice pieces, Ice Jar Sigh included, I was approached for specifically commissioned work.
Can you discuss any of these prospective commissions?
They were mainly the retired Hollywood acting crowd, the people who whored Warhol in the latter seventies. Not exciting kind of work, but it would have been a fine income if all else failed.
In eighty nine, your novel Cogs shook the west coast's underground post-structuralist movement to its core.
The whole thing was silly. A post-structuralism? It was more of what I'd term Bolshevist nonsenese. When I arrived in Los Angeles the place was full of that kind of asshole subjectivism. If you wouldn't mind I need to take a break.
He rose from his seat uneasy, sweating. Starts to make his way toward the bathroom. The brownie had worn off hours ago, it couldn't be that. Then what? God damned pinkos finally succeed in their globe-trotting assassination intrigue? God forbid. Locks the door, takes a look in the mirror. Looks like shit. The old death-warmed-over cliche. Only the eyes are starting to bugger out, the pupils smaller and smaller. God damned pinkos. The god damned water. Cell phone, some digits, some ringing. Of course he doesn't pick up, busy but leave a message at the tone.
Phil, the manuscript is in the bottom left hand drawer of the desk in my writing room. Break in and get it. Dying. Bye.
Presses pound, and one to send the message with urgency, like that helps. By this point, vision is obscured by increasingly larger black splotches. Hands and feet are numb. God damned pinkos.
God damned pinks. Dying in a god damned water closet.
Mister Artur are you alright in there?
They bust down the door a minute or two later but Bart Artur is cold and dead on the floor.
The next day there is much media hoopla over the death of the artist, and Christie's and Sotheby's quietly begin to coordinate dueling auction programs for the upcoming autumn season. Artur's originals are longhand Spenserian and with the right light make for a great prospectus cover. After various talking heads weighed in on Artur's legacy on television and bloggers largely celebrated the assassination, the body was put into a small plot with a flat marker in a cemetery in the man's home town. Although a considerable inconvenience for most of Artur's friends, they largely turned out and put the Gatsby-esque suspicions of a too-quiet farewell to rest.
Michael Cano ventured to the cemetery close to the burial's conclusion. Cano had not left his house for the past eight years, and most at the event did not recognize the man with the scraggy waist-length beard and unkempt hair in powder blue tuxedo. He made a point to stand on the grave's small marker and shouted what one linguist would later describe as a hodgepodge of Aramaic, Portuguese, Tagalog, and Thai, before he collapsed into the grave on top of the coffin, breaking his nose.