An officer named Curt picks up a photograph.
The Office of the Green Card application submission service, Boston, MA.
The officer frowns and turns the photo around. He reads:
I don't love you anymore anyway, you can go. I loathe you. The sex always sucked. I hate all men. I hate all women. I can't even remember what you look like. Truths: I love you so much it takes my breath away even now to think that I should have been so lucky to get you. I adore the place where you stood just now, I think the air molecules there are holy particles. Sex with you was not a revelation it was a rebirth. I love all men but how can you tell them? I love all women but how can you not tell them? I don't need an image of you. I took your fingerprints when you were asleep and I applied them all over my body and everywhere in the hotel room where we first fucked. I am committed to covering the world with your name. Lie: I will live forever. Truth: I will die. Lie: I will never lie to you. Truth: I don't love you anymore anyway, you should go. Leave me be. Let me take my own picture. Close the door. Take the stairs. Hold on to the railing. Go out on the street. Find a clown. Spit in his face.
Curt purses his lips as if to spit. He shakes his head. He turns to the woman in front of him.
Curt: « Catherine, what's the color of Marcus' toothbrush? »
Catherine: « Which one? Seeking a certain fellow, Finnegan Flawnt, I discovered he'd been recalled. (Merde! arriving too late to the party!) Mais immédiatement, I spied – cresting on a wave – “Le Sucre Brun” de Marcus Speh. (Who is this, are you asking?) None other than Finnegan Flawnt, of course: unveiled; transformative, tu comprends? (Mind the clues, monsieur, I suggest, all due respect. Two toothbrushes don't begin to cover it.) We bumped into each other, here and there, party hopping. I swooned to the tune of his words. And, oh! his symphony of penguins, la musique des sphères –Johannes Kepler! In admiration I sent him an abandoned teddy bear, and he gave it a home. His spare time? He builds bridges of titanium and spider web silk. (Titanium isn't necessary, Marcus confides, but it comforts the travellers.) As for toothbrushes, he uses un autre, chaque brossage: Sergeant Curt, you must be more precise regarding date and time! (Rest assured – each is un choix impeccable.) Across the Atlantic, we wave hello. This is only my side of the ocean, mais bien sûr, though I will be first to cross when his spiders finish the draglines of this bridge. C'est tout, monsieur? »
In another room, another officer, named Caliban, interviews the man.
Caliban: « Marcus, what's the color of Catherine's toothbrush? »
Marcus: « Catherine Davis? She doesn't have to brush her teeth, now, does she. She was born with impeccable American tusks, yes, tusks, you heard right. She's a predator with her camera and with her pen, too. It took my breath away when I realized that she was the incarnation of a lady at the court of Louis XV. Reborn in Manhattan. I don't know about transformation. She lived in the Big Apple then and it is now. That courtesan, she was in it for the curiosity, she drew her victims, Catherine takes pics. Of course I'd know the color of her toothbrush if she had one but I'd much rather tell you that she loves Tom Waits and that she's got her own table at a coffeehouse above the clouds. Dreamer, large glasses, long hair. webbed supermodel feet. What else do you want to know: that she's got a shadow? Loves long walks by the beach? has got a talking teddy bear who she rents out to lonely old people? Geez, you people really piss me off. »
Both officers look at their papers, then at the people in front of them. Without a word, they get up and leave their rooms, which are next to one another and open to a grey-colored hallway. They look at each other for a while.
Curt (with a slight French accent): Short Cuts?
Caliban: Short Cuts.
Short Cuts with Markups
notes on the process