Monday, August 29, 2011

A Montalban Moment

He was eating breakfast in a booth when I arrived, straw cowboy hat, sunglasses, and string tie hanging centered in the V of his open shirt. He got up to toss some trash, stood and laughed with another table, shirt open in the approved Wrath of Khan-era Montalban manner. I'm staring at his chest, which is rude. I'm thinking about temptation and the white-suit-era Montalban. Thinking about the devil in Texas.

These images all tumble together because watching Fantasy Island was pretty much forbidden back in the day, except at Grandma's. As a kid, I would conk out on her giant bed as each week's assortment of wishes were fulfilled. Much of it flew over my head, but not the image of a sardonic Latin angel walking his latest guest through the realization that you don't really want what you want.

An odd lesson to absorb, yet one perfectly consonant with the idea of not being successful, just being...suburban. I'm reminded of the lawyer wife from The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul--the one who just wanted everything "nice." She died for that. And maybe for blackmailing the gods to get it.

So I'm having a nice breakfast and I'm enjoying this laptop and I'm thinking about whether I should just noodle around some more or get down to business and whether it's a good idea to lead with an image of this guy's chest and why I have this instant need to link a cheerful tanned gentleman with the darkness when it's just the heat outside and the brass sky at 10 am and the slow broil against the window.

I'm still wondering what I wished for. Whether it really was "nice."

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