FNP returns to The Sewers after Rita’s betrayal, and seeks to make noir-theological sense of his misfortune, while contemplating Vlad’s fate
Film Noir Persona, welcome back to The Sewers! We welcome and congratulate you here and now!
So, how are you holding up?
How am I holding up?
Yeah? You know, we’ve heard. Rita left you at the altar. I’m so sorry, honestly.
Hey, green eyes, don’t get all conniving with your womanly sympathy on me now, I know all about these tricks, trust me. I know it like I know I’m out of soap, baby, I just sniff the air around me and there it is.
Well I’m sorry I tried to show some sympathy.
You better be.
So the diamond, Vlad –
So that’s what you’re after, huh? You know who dug New York’s subway? Women. Gold digging, since the dawn of time.
New York’s subway has been dug by women since the dawn of time then?
Well, doesn’t it feel that way sometimes?
So other than just disrespecting them, you just hate women now?
There’s a fine line between love and hate, toots.
Yeah, when you’re a misogynist psychoperv, there is.
If you came here to lecture me, then why won’t you dress up like a prude librarian and let me pretend I’m listening while I imagine –
Hey! Don’t make me use my Safe Word!
Use it all you want, I don’t care.
This is completely unacceptable. The Protocol –
Lemme tell ya something about Rita, sweetcheeks, and lemme tell ya something about love, hate and mercy.
I know where she’s hiding. I’ve tracked the Beige Boiler. I’ve been tracing it for weeks now. I have my Smith and Wesson loaded and ready on the dashboard, right behind it.
Oh, no –
At first, I hid. I was eyeing her like a rat eyes a cockroach: with the viciousness and tirelessness of the similarly corrupt. Oh, coz let’s be honest here, toots, we were cast in the same mold, Rita and I. So at first, I hid. But then, I made sure she sees me. Yeah. Like a cockroach teases a rat, I wanted her to know I was watching –
Are you the rat or the cockroach in this?
I wanted her to know who left that note on her windshield. It read: “the diamond or your life, make a choice while you still can”.
Huh? But you… you have the diamond.
Hey, you’ll have to try to concentrate, even if it’s that time of the month for you.
Listen now, I’m getting tired of this!
Well, you’ll be more tired when you’re 50, all dried up and wrinkled, so you better –
That’s how he made you, toots, take it or leave it. Yes, I have the diamond. But I don’t want that conniving hell of a woman to know it. I also don’t want her to think I’m going out of my way to make her think I don’t have it.
Oh I see. What are you going to do with it?
Stop digging, woman, it’s not about Vlad. It’s about love, hate and mercy.
Rita is lost, lemme tell ya.
You won’t hurt her, will you?
I just said, she’s lost. Oh, I betcha she had a plan, when she thought she ran off with Vlad. I betcha she had a real good plan, and she’s lost without it. that’s the part about hate, sweetcheeks, that I enjoy seeing her lost, wondering around in her Beige Boiler, carrying her Beige cross, I am a hateful cold-hearted motherfucker when I see her in her grief, wishing it would follow her to her grave, and then straight to hell.
So, that’s the hate part.
Yeah, baby, and some would say that’s the best part, too. Now let’s talk about love. Let’s talk about the love part. Have you ever seen a pile of garbage late at night, in some dark alley, is this concrete jungle called New York, and for a moment there, in the darkness, it seemed like a wolf, like a thug with a shotgun, like the mother of Christ cradling her dead son in her arms?
I – where –
That’s what love is, toots, you can wake me up in the middle of the night with a wet toilet brush against my neck, and I’ll tell you just that: that’s what love is. I want Rita to see me like that, like a man so mad with sorrow and heartbreak, he pretends to care about a diamond. And that’s how I want to see her: in her loss, sorrowed by a giant chunk of ice long gone, and pretend she’s remorseful and aching about her betrayal. That’s the love part. Just imagining for a split second we’re not two walking-and-breathing piles of garbage.
And that’s the mercy part.
That for a split second, we ain’t pretending. For a split second it’s all true. For a split second, we’re two lovers separated, torn apart. By greed. By vanity. By Vlad. There’s mercy in this possibility, green eyes.
But that’s not reality. She ditched you thinking she’s got the diamond, after all the time you spent together trying to find it.
A woman’s thought is so simple, so narrow, that’s how God created you.
I swear, one more –
Oh yeah, yeah, you’re right, of course. We’re all just piles of garbage waiting to be shoveled. Some of us, the few, into salvation; the rest us, most of us, unto damnation. But mercy, mercy is when you say: maybe not. Mercy is when you let yourself believe, for a split second, that you can live as if you’re not that pile of garbage, humming with flies and blistering with slime. So I watch her now, with hate, love, and mercy.
How do you watch Vlad?
Oh yeah. lemme give it to ya straight, sweetcheeks. I watch it like a mirror. And it does not reflect the handsome motherfucker I’m used to see.
Oh, please –
Nah, it reflects me inside out. I’m gonna smash it. What do ya get for smashing a diamond as big as your face? Probably 70 years, huh? 70 years of bad luck, story of my life, beginning to end.
You know, you can return it to the cathedral you took it from.
Yeah? why would I do that?
To be rid of this sad time in your life. Be rid of Rita, of the Beige Boiler, of all this insanity you got dragged into. It’s not like you could sell it. All you can do with it, is look at it.
I can smash it into pieces.
Well, we’ll see about that, toots. Just let Johnny Walker turn a cold shoulder on me one night, and anything could happen. I can get filthy rich tomorrow, just by selling a twentieth of that damn thing. I could pay half the women of New York to change their names to Rita.
That’s… strangely touching, in a way.
Yeah, go say that to a priest.
It’s getting dark and cold, baby, that’s all I’m saying.
Sure. Well, I do wish you to be rid of Vlad. It appears, if I may say, to be cursed. But I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
You betcha, green eyes.