Another night banished to the Ghost Hotel, hiding out from Maxie Kahn.
I’ve liberated electrical service from the bed and breakfast next door, and The Philosopher Red lies around all day watching television while I try to hustle us up a new place to live. I have inquired about the Rude Red Dude’s new listless lifestyle, which is very similar to his former listless lifestyle, but even more so.
Without taking his eyes off the television, he replies:”There’s a new Popelessness in the air, and I can’t seem to shake it.” As much as I prefer he get his red-robed rear end up and out of the Ghost Hotel, I decide that it’s better to be kind than right.
I take a walk to the local bookstore and find two films that might be appropriate for these trying times. When I get back the Philosopher Red is wiping the salsa from his fingers onto my sheets.
I toss the DVDs on my bed for his consideration.
“How about “We Have a Pope.” I ask him. “It’s an Italian comedy -”
“Appropriate, so far,” Red replies.
“Sound wonderful,” the Rude Red Dude sighs, “Couldn’t get any one to join him in this work of genius?”
“Give it a chance,” I say. “It’s about a Cardinal who is elected Pope against his wishes, and the therapist brought in by the Vatican to help him overcome his panic. It played during the Cannes Film Festival in 2011,” I add, trying to instill some enthusiasm.
“Played where…Toledo…Des Moines…Caracas…the Vatican,” he says, followed by a snort.
“Jerzy Stuhr is in it too,” not knowing any Jerzy other than Kosinski, but hoping for the best.
“Euro-trash rejects,” the red-robed one replies.
I have to remember, The Philosopher Red is not a foreign film fan…he’s the only person I know who has fallen asleep watching Run Lola Run, and who could fall asleep watching that frenetic film?
My answer…I’m looking at him sprawled across my bed.
“How about an American film then,” I ask. “I also got The Pope of Greenwich Village with Mickey Rourke, Eric Roberts, Daryl Hannah, Geraldine Page, and Burt Young.”
“This is what you bring me to assuage my Popelessness? And…”
“…and,” I go on, reading from the back of the DVD case, “Page won an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for a two scene role, and -”
“Fitting,” The Philosopher Red replies. “Popes sightings are rare these days.”
“The movie centers around Paulie, a schemer who -”
“Not a documentary,” the Rude Red Dude whines. “Wasn’t there already a Pope Paulie, or did I miss a decade or two?”
“Pope John Paul II,” I tell him.
“Pope John Paulie II,” he says. “Wasn’t he the bass player in Led Zeppelin, or something. How about cutting the crap and nominating Keith Richard for Pope…I’ll get behind that campaign. Does the Pope have to be alive?” I wonder what kind of smoke would be coming from the Vatican chimney if Keith was elected Pope.
“It wouldn’t seem like it, sometimes,” I say, considering the options that would open up. “How about that guy Bentham you’re always going on about…or Thomas Hobbes…he had the answer – don’t feed the poor…no more poor.”
“How dare you bring Jeremy Bentham into this mess. The King of Utilitarianism? He wouldn’t keep such company…anything else?
“…a schemer,” I carry on, reading from the DVD cover, “who finds himself out of work…criminal activity…no way to support his pregnant girlfriend…expensive tastes but not much money…”
“Sounds like reality television to me,” Red says, “Snookie in this farce? Snookie…the first Pope from New Jersey…I like that.”
The Philosopher Red gets up, takes the DVD out of my hand, picks up the other one, and throws them both out of the broken window.
“I think the season premiere of Dancing with the Stars is on tonight,” he says. “I’m not missing that for this pap.”
I’m satisfied if The Philosopher Red is satisfied.