Nadav Spiegelman

Play It as It Lays

Joan Didion
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She never puts on any weight, you’ll notice that’s often true of selfish women.
The letter is still in my makeup box but I am careful not to read it unless I am drunk, which in my current situation is never.
“Listen to the music from the Kuliks’. They’re having a party.” “You going?” “Of course I’m not going. He’s a gangster.” “I just asked if you were going to a party, Maria, I didn’t ask for a grand-jury indictment.” BZ paused. "In the second place he’s not a gangster. He’s a lawyer.” “For gangsters.” BZ shrugged. “I think of him more as a philosopher king. He told me once he understood the whole meaning of life, it came to him In a blinding flash one time when he almost died on the table at Cedars.”
Later she could not think how she had been coerced by BZ into going to Anita Garson’s party, which was large and noisy and crowded with people she did not much like.
“How’s Carter,” someone said behind her, and when she turned she saw that it was Larry Kulik. “Carter’s on location,” she said, but Larry Kulik was not listening. He was watching a very young girl in a white halter dress dancing on the terrace. “I’d like to get into that,” he said contemplatively to BZ. “I wouldn’t call it the impossible dream,” BZ said.
“You haven’t asked me how it went after we left Anita’s,” BZ said. “How did it go,” Maria said without interest. “Everybody got what he came for.” “Don’t you ever get tired of doing favors for people?” There was a long silence. “You don’t know how tired,” BZ said.
She looked at Carter sitting in the living room and all she could think was that he had put on weight. The blue work shirt he was wearing pulled at the buttons. She supposed that he had weighed that much when he left, she noticed it now only because she had not seen him. “You going to stay here?” she said. He rubbed his knuckles across the stubble on his chin. “All my things are here, aren’t they?”
“I’m adamant about the mixes, I’m sorry, I just won’t use them,” the masseur who wanted to be a writer called from the kitchen.
In the dream from which she woke when the telephone rang again that night she had the baby, and she and the baby and Kate were living on West Twelfth Street with Ivan Costello. In the dream she did not yet know Carter, but somehow had Carter’s daughter and Carter’s blessing. In the dream it was all right. She
“This is a lousy place,” he said finally. “Let’s get out of here.” They drove up the coast until they were exhausted enough to sleep, and then they did sleep, wrapped together like children in a room by the sea in Morro Bay.