Monday, April 27, 2015

the last book I ever read (Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh, excerpt ten)

from Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh: A Biography by John Lahr:

When Alan U. Schwartz came to the New York apartment one day to discuss some professional matters, Williams discouraged even the mention of Merlo, which “made the talk somewhat dull on his part,” Schwartz said. The two men drank martinis and tried to make conversation. Off to the side of the large room in a golden cage, Creature, the monkey that Merlo had cared for in Key West (and cried over when he thought it had escaped—“I don’t know why this creature appealed so strongly to Frankie,” Williams wrote), was making chirping noises. After a while, Schwartz looked over at the cage and noticed that the monkey seemed to be in some difficulty; he was not chirping as much and his movements were disjointed. “Tenn, your monkey seems to be sick,” Schwartz said. “Tennessee raised his lidded eyes and glanced over at the cage and gave me one of his knowing smiles. ‘No, Alan, he is just fine,’ he said.” The conversation meandered on until Schwartz realized that the room had gone quiet. “When I looked over at the cage, the monkey was lying motionless at the bottom. He didn’t seem to be breathing . . . . ‘Tenn, I think your monkey is dead!’ I said. Tennessee slowly moved his gaze from me to the cage, studied it for a moment, then looked back at me and in his slightly drunken Southern drawl said, ‘Why so he is. So he is.’”

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