Aug 01, 2023, 06:30AM

Silver Bubbles and Blood

Enzo gets out of the bath as he curses Siskel & Ebert and actually enjoys one of his old films.

Enzo 8 1 23.jpg?ixlib=rails 2.1

Enzo looked at his watch—6:30 p.m. He had just enough time for one more movie. As the end credits of Banana Law rolled on—where he was listed under the Americanized pseudonym “Henry B. Buchise”—Enzo dried himself off with a hand towel, never missing a spot… nor a crevice… nor a drop, no matter the color… People without much money often take rolls, napkins, utensils, and tablecloths from restaurants, along with all of the soaps and towels at hotels, whenever the opportunity presents itself… and Enzo needed new towels at home, surely… with no wife, no daughter, and no living relatives, Enzo’s apartment was a disaster, an ecosystem of debris and detritus from a hurried life lived without the luxury of a housekeeper. And so Enzo was always dirty. He’d be dirty when he got home—but here, in New York, he’d be clean as a king (figuratively speaking, of course—an academic like Enzo knew that English monarchs never bathed).

“Motherfuckers.” Enzo continued muttering obscenities to himself as Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert were delivering their annual “Memo to the Academy.” Up for discussion: Dead Man Walking, starring Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon. “I think both of your choices are very good and especially Sean Penn, because he’s dealing here with a character who is a real worthless low life murdering scum. And he’s also a racist, and he’s ignorant, and he doesn’t, probably, have a very high IQ, and yet at the same time, he is a human being, and the way that Sean Penn is able to create this character so that… we don’t forgive him, but we can see him as a human being in the same way that Susan Sarandon do, is a really ennobling experience.” Enzo scoffed at Ebert’s sophistry, his sloppy praise for more Hollywood sentimentality.

As he tied on his extra plushie bathrobe, he wished cancer on Ebert—not for any particular reason, the man never reviewed Enzo’s films and likely didn’t even know who he was—and turned off the bathtub TV. He walked into the bedroom and turned the TV on in there, watching the same program: “Coming up next, our recommendations for Best Actress, and I pick someone who already has two Oscars…” Enzo cursed Siskel with cancer as well. Naturally, he wouldn’t live to see either man die of cancer—and even if he had, he wouldn’t have remembered a casual death wish in a hotel room one night in New York City, January 1996. He had a habit of wishing death on people: actors, actresses, producers, cinematographers, projectionists, programmers, critics, his fucking moron manager Giuseppe…

He sat on the edge of the bed and flipped through hundreds of channels. Basic cable… a luxury that hadn’t reached Enzo’s biosphere apartment in Rome. He landed on a movie channel playing the last 15 minutes of something called Serial Mom. He didn’t recognize any of these Americans, not even Sam Waterston, who he worked with on the sci-fi Western Silver Blood in 1982, an Italo-Spanish co-production made in the wake of the failure of Heaven’s Gate. There was no basis for Silver Blood, and Enzo wrote the script based on the title every day on set. He went uncredited—and unpaid—as usual. There was no reason to make this movie, from Enzo’s perspective, but the production company needed to wash their money, and in the 1960s, 1970s, and into the 1980s, European co-productions were made with and for dirty money.

As Enzo laid down, in an okay bed and extra plushie bathrobe, he listened to a film that he wrote off the top of his head nearly 15 years ago. He heard the actor that dubbed Waterston and thought, “Not bad…” It was seven p.m. when he closed his eyes and fell into the deepest sleep he’d had in many years.

—Follow Monica Quibbits on Twitter: @MonicaQuibbits


Register or Login to leave a comment