(Inside me, it was...)

23.2.2013

Bolaño in Limbo


Mrs Smith and Mr Hyde

[For the Finnish edition, click here.]

A beach very early in the morning. It is deserted except for ROBERTO BOLAÑO, who is lying face down. He appears to be asleep. Sounds of waves, of seagulls. Suddenly, from some distance, a sound of a woman screaming. Sounds of a scuffle, a car door slamming, hurried steps, a car door again, then the car speeding away. Pause. BOLAÑO starts, raises his head.

BOLAÑO: Where am I?

PATTI SMITH arrives. She has a red rose in a plastic wrapping in one hand, a see-through plastic bag, the kind you get from airport duty-free shops, in the other. There's a tube of toothpaste and a copy of Bolaño's novel 2666 in the bag.

SMITH [stopping]: My. Oh my.

BOLAÑO: Excuse me... Where am I?

SMITH: Blanes. In Blanes. You are... I thought you were dead.

BOLAÑO: Blah-nays.

SMITH: Pardon?

BOLAÑO: Nothing. The name of the place. Blah-nays. This ain't it.

SMITH: It is.

BOLAÑO: Isn't.

SMITH: Is.

BOLAÑO: Isn't.

SMITH: We could go on like this forever, so you'd better admit it now.

BOLAÑO: Hey, I live there. I ought to know.

SMITH: It is.

BOLAÑO: No.

SMITH: Oh my... God. You were supposed to be DEAD!

BOLAÑO: Yeah, so... Am I?

SMITH: Well...

BOLAÑO: Did you... Just came here, right?

SMITH: Yes. Yes. From the airport.

BOLAÑO: Right.

SMITH: To see you.

BOLAÑO: What?

SMITH: Well, not you, since I thought you were dead. This town. The streets, the cafés, the apartment you occupied.

BOLAÑO: Occupied?

SMITH: The chair you sat on.

BOLANO: What are you talking about.

SMITH: You are the latest, the greatest in my long list of heroes!

[She kneels in the sand, produces a pen from her coat pocket and the book from the bag. Offering them to BOLAÑO.]

May I have your autograph? Please?

[BOLAÑO picks up the pen, almost out of reflex, stops before the book. Eyes SMITH suspiciously.]

BOLAÑO: Who are you?

SMITH: My name is Patti.

BOLAÑO: Patti who?

SMITH: Patti Smith.

BOLAÑO: Patti Smith.

[She nods.]

Get out of here.

SMITH: I am.

[She offers him the book. He takes it, looks at it. The book is smeared in toothpaste.]

BOLAÑO: What's this?

SMITH: Your book, your tour de force, your magnum opus! I'm sorry, it's not a book...

BOLAÑO: No.

SMITH: It's a nightmare.

[Pause.]

A tour of Hell. A Season in Hell. It is Hell.

BOLAÑO: This stuff. It's covered in it.
[Smelling his fingers.]
Toothpaste.

SMITH: Oh, silly me! I'm so sorry!
[Takes the book, starts wiping it with her sleeve, with a handkerchief.]
I'm so sorry... I am such a fool...

BOLAÑO: No, no...

SMITH: I am such an idiot!

BOLAÑO: No. It's alright.

SMITH: I don't even have a toothbrush!

BOLAÑO: Beg your pardon?

SMITH: I have toothpaste, but not a toothbrush. You feel me? Dig? And I've come to see YOU. Well, not you, but... you see. You understand.

BOLAÑO: I understand.

SMITH: Good. I couldn't expect anything less from you.

BOLAÑO: Lemme ax you a question.

SMITH: Yeah?

BOLAÑO: Sorry. I just had to try it. I've read it so many times. The words on the paper: I had to say them out loud. Had to try them.

SMITH: All right.

BOLAÑO: All right. Now, seriously. Can I ask you a question?

SMITH: Shoot. Anything. You can ask me anything.

BOLAÑO: Did you see anything... unusual... coming here?

SMITH: No. I don't think so. Why?

BOLAÑO: It's probably nothing...

SMITH: Tell me.

BOLAÑO: I musta been dreaming.

SMITH: Tell me. Your dream.

[Pause.]

BOLAÑO: No.

[BOLAÑO goes hurriedly through his pockets. SMITH comes up with a pack of cigarettes, offers him. He picks one up.]

Thanks.

[BOLAÑO has found a lighter in his pocket. He inhales and blows smoke from his nostrils. SMITH smiles.]

SMITH: I think that I am dreaming now. Just watching you smoking. This is too good to be true.

BOLAÑO: Yeah.

SMITH: But I don't mind.

BOLAÑO: Your dreams must be different from mine.

SMITH: How come?

BOLAÑO: Mostly, I have bad dreams. Horrible dreams.

SMITH: How do you know this dream isn't horrible?

BOLAÑO: It could be. You're right. So far, it's okay. Not too bad. What's the rose for?

SMITH: The rose? This? Never mind.

BOLAÑO: Tell me.

SMITH: No.

[BOLAÑO laughs. SMITH seems upset.]

BOLAÑO: For the wifey. For my ex. To let you in.

SMITH: No!

BOLAÑO: Yes.

SMITH: Don't flatter yourself. I admire you, all right, but... You seem so very pleased with yourself.

BOLAÑO: The chair.

SMITH: You lost me.

BOLAÑO: You said, "The chair you sat on." How are you gonna get in? Breaking and entering?

SMITH: I was gonna throw it to the Sea.

BOLAÑO: The rose.

SMITH: Yes.

BOLAÑO: Why?

SMITH: No reason. Just for the hell of it.

BOLAÑO: All right.
















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