We fade in—-the smiling face of the chairman.
Robert Davis staring back at the portrait. He glanced down.
He asked, “And you’re cool with this?”
Amérique Nakamura came out from around a corner to the living room past the couch where Robert was at and sat at her workstation and said, “Everything under heaven is in utter chaos, the situation is excellent.”
“You call this excellent?”
Amérique fed a fresh sheet of paper into her Hermes typewriter and pressed a key and said, “You’re my editor Bob—-you tell me what you think.”
“It is utter chaos, is what I think.”
“A chaos in spectacle?”
“Just chaos, Amérique.”
She smiled and said, “Always appreciate your input.”
“I swear you do this on purpose.”
“Wasn’t an accident.”
He flipped through the manuscript with one hand and picked at his Afro with the other. He said, “Still—-this is not at all what I had in mind when I suggested changes. Something happen over the weekend?”
Another flip through the manuscript and then another. And then another. And then another and then Robert looked up and across the living room and said, “Amérique?”
Her back to him. Amérique tapping at the page.
He heard her say, “Robert?”
“Fetch me a smoke? Should be right next to you.”
Robert noted the pack at the other end of the couch. He reached over and grabbed it. There was a small red stain across the arm and seat and a smaller cigarette mark on the wall above the couch that did not register to Robert.
He asked, “Can I bum one?” to which Amérique said, “Do it and I’ll stab you in the throat,” and so Robert picked one out for himself and passed the box over.
She set the cigarette between her lips and lit it. Robert had a light for himself.
He returned to the manuscript and said, “Okay. So these changes. I said try and write for the pulps this time and you went off and did—-whatever the fuck this is.”
Amérique continued to type.
“I see what you’re trying to do here—-I mean do I get a kick out of it? Can’t say that I don’t—-but you’re not making my job any fucking easier, that’s for fucking sure.”
Amérique continued to type.
“And I don’t see the point of bringing back old characters if you were just going to do this to them. You looking to piss off your readers? And this ending—-would it really kill you to write something happy for once?”
Amérique continued to type and said, “Happiness as an end goal is useless. Happiness should only be the side effect in the pursuit of something greater.”
“That being what?”
She hit a key—-a letter—-D. She hit more—-Dialectics.
“Do you know what the difference is—-between a book and a bomb?”
“There isn’t one. Not really. The only difference is in the condition necessary for an explosion. In the bomb, ignition. In the book, a reader. This is for a new Série noire. For a new Serial noire.”
“Cool, Amérique, very cool. But I can’t sell new.”
She hit a key—-a letter—-D. She hit more—-Détournement.
“You very much can Bob.”
“Again, you’re not making my job any fucking easier.”
Her back still to him. Amérique smiled.
Smoke in the air. Pages turned.
Robert sighed and said, “Got anything else for me?”
“Maybe. Maybe film criticism. Maybe an essay on the history of Afro Asian revolutionary politics. Maybe even a stage play.”
“Really? That’s it?”
She hit a key—-a letter—-D. She did not hit more. She would have the final word.
Amérique turned to look and stare directly back. She said, “There is nothing else. Art that does not call for new situations or new modes of producing itself for a new everyday life is dead. If you want however, we can have a Discussion.”