|n Cincinnati, William stole Scott’s car, drove round the corner and picked up Dirk. They drove to Washington, D.C. together.
In the morning, hung over, Scott would awaken to the slow realization that his pals had ditched him.
Dirk and William had drugged Scott the night before with jello shots, and taken his laptop. And Scott’s laptop had all his writing in it.
On the Pennsylvania Turnpike, on their way to have all of Scott’s writing copyrighted in their own names, Dirk and William quibbled over who would get to claim authorship of all of Scott’s works:
D: No no, give me “The Thing” or I’m out: I quit the Unknown.
W: I’ll give you “The Thing” if you give me “That Kind of Couple” and “#148” and “Cincinnaty.”
D: I get the Cincinnati poem. I had to live there, damn it. You can’t even spell it.
W: If I get the play.
D: Come on, William. You already got plenty of good political stuff, and plenty of drama, too.
W: So? It can hardly hurt to have more.
D: Listen to me. Goddammit. I need that play, William. I need it. Do you know, what, in fact, my actual lifelong dream is?
W: Get a job at a small liberal arts college in the Pacific Northwest teaching middle-class white kids about poets like T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound?
D: Nooooooo! Why are you not susceptible to hypnosis?
W: We covered that the first day of Curt White’s workshop.
D: My dream is to, yes, call me a sellout, write a fantabulous Hollywood screenplay. But a poetic one. Save American filmmaking, nothing less.
D: And? Can’t you see? Americinferno is just what I need, a calling card. It will get me in some doors.
W: Okay. But I get “The Thing.”
D: Fuck it. On second thought, I don’t need Scott’s play: as a vehicle for my pursuit of Hollywood money (to be consumed with benign beneficent detachment), his didactic, pedantic, static two-acter is the equivalent of a Yugo on blocks. I’ve got tons of great screenplays half-written in my dreams. I just wanted the play because it’s finished. Say what you will about Scott, he finishes stuff.
W: Like I don’t?
D: Yeah, yeah, let’s not get into another pecker-measuring debate about who writes the most. So take the play already. But I absolutely must have “The Thing” because it will last. It represents something so marvelous I’m unashamed to steal it. Because I would have written it. If I had the genius of, say, Krass-Mueller—but that’s Scott’s department. Always has been. You know it. Anyway, I don’t care what else I get anymore; just give me “That Ball,” too, because I was the first to suggest that Scott had created an exquisite diptych. So give me those two, take what you want, then divide the rest and let’s quit this petty squabbling. I got enough of that from our “dearly departed”—