Saturday, January 17, 2009

Affinity #8

"I just wanted to get away," Eric said minutes, addressing the space between his hands. "I was scared."

"Was what?" Matty squinted in disbelief, then turned to Yolanda. "He was what?"

Yolanda looked helpless and grief-stricken, a powerless mother watching her child being beaten by her husband.

Eric finally raised his face, stared at Matty, gape-mouthed.

"Yeah, you look me right in the eye, you fucking ant."

"Matty..." Yolonda finally put out her hand.

"I have listened to you shit in here all day. You are a self-centered, self-pitying, cowardly, envious, resentful, failed-ass career waiter. That's your everyday jacket. Now, add to that a gun and a gutful of vodka? I don't believe that shooting last night was an accident. I think you were a walking time bomb and last night you finally went off."

Eric sat there in a rapture of attention, chin uptilted as if for a kiss, his eyes never leaving Matty's.

"We are giving you one last chance to tell us what happened. Save your own skin and give us any version you want to justify your own part in it, but you get the ball rolling right here, right now...And I swear to fucking Christ, if you hand us one more time that pernicious horseshit about a, a Hispanic and, or, and, or some, some black guy coming out the shadows or wherever, I will make sure this goes down for you in the worst possible way."

They waited. Eric shimmering in his seat, Yolonda giving him the mournful big eye, Matty glaring at him, but praying that he was even vaguely justified in laying into the guy like this.

"All I can say is what happened," Eric finally said, his voice infinitesimal, his eyes still fixed on Matty's.

And there you have it.

-Richard Price
Lush Life


John Self said...

Ooh, that's a good pic of him, and quite recent too by the look of it, unlike the his UK publishers' official one, which is about 20 years old. Do you know who took it? I might have a use for it soon, as long as I can give it the appropriate credit...

bill r. said...

That's the author photograph on the jacket of the US edition of Lush Life, and it's credited to Ralph Gibson.'d it go?

John Self said...

By now you know the answer to that, and the wider world will find out in a week or two's time! (Tip: don't clear space in your diary for it)

bill r. said...

As I hinted before, that interview is kind of frustrating, because some of his answers indicate that he has more to say, but then he doesn't say it.

Was your McGrath interview done through e-mail, or in person? If so, he, at least, seems much more comfortable with the format.

John Self said...

Yes, it and the Andrew Crumey and Charles Lambert interviews (the only others I've done) were all by email. Crumey and Lambert of course are much less well known, so one might expect them to have more time to devote to it. But McGrath is probably not far from Price in 'size' (and would be bigger in countries like Italy, where he [McGrath] is a bestseller), but as you say was much more comfortable with the exchange. I've also maintained an occasional email correspondence with McGrath since the interview, and always found him very friendly - I don't expect to be doing that with Price. Which is no reflection on his personality, just that he's a very busy man.

To be fair, I've found that where the answers could be expanded upon, he has already done so in numerous interviews over the years. Perhaps it's significant then that his fullest - or least laconic - response was to the question about the title for Lush Life, which he maybe hasn't been asked before.