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BY BEN GREENMAN

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Ruth, her friend: That she never meant to hurt Tom.

Arthur, Tom's brother: That if she never meant to hurt Tom, then she probably wouldn't have done the things that she did.

Max, Tom's friend: That she was young and immature and that she was on the outs with Tom almost from the minute they started dating.

Hal, Tom's friend: That she was almost as tall as Tom.

Anne, her mother: That she was a young woman who always wanted certain things from life. That a husband was one of them. That when she said a husband, she meant someone wealthy, not a millionare necessarily, but someone with a stable job. That she wanted someone who wasn't her father.

Lou, her father: That she was a beautiful girl, and that he was sorry that he left when he did, and that over the last twenty years he thought about her often.

Sigmund Freud: That she had issues with her father's abandonment, and that it was a major contributor to her romantic pattern.

Superman: That the underwear she wore was the same as the underwear that Lois Lane wore.

Heather, her childhood friend: That she was beautiful when she was young.

June, her college roommate: That she was beautiful when she was young.

Gina, her college roommate: That she thought she was beautiful, and that she worried about it all the time.

Paul, her former boyfriend: That she was beautiful when she didn't worry too much about being beautiful. That she was different from her mother and her sister, darker, a little more dangerous.

Modigliani: That she was a woman he might have painted, and did, many times.

Don Quixote: That she was a beautiful princess, almost as beautiful as Dulcinea.

Keith, her college friend: That she liked to say that she was imprisoned in a man's body, with a man's mind and a man's eye.

Frank, her college friend: That when she joked about being a gay man, she wasn't joking entirely. That when they met, they were both sophomores, and he was out, very out, flamboyantly so, and she came right up to him after class and said, "I know all about you," and he said, "I'm sorry," very archly, and she said, "I know all about you because I am just like you." That they were friends from then on.

Leila, her younger sister: That she spent too much time on the telephone, and was bossy, but that when she went away to college the house was too quiet.

Nancy, her former boss: That she worked in an ice-cream shop during high school as a scooper, and that there was some money missing from the register during her shift. That when she was confronted, she swore that she had nothing to do with it and didn't know a thing about it. That she seemed too nervous and defiant for someone who didn't know a thing about it.

Dick Tracy: That she did not do her part in fighting crime.

Kim, her college friend: That she didn't know what she wanted to do after graduation. That she stumbled into politics because that's what Kevin was doing.

Isabel, her college friend: That Kevin was her first great love.

Kevin, her former boyfriend: That she didn't have an easy time with things, that she would cry sometimes for no good reason, that she ground her teeth when she slept. That she was ashamed of this sadness, and furious that it appeared sometimes in the office, or in the car. That once, when he caught her crying in the shower and reached out to touch her shoulder, she blinked her sorrow away, just closed her eyes and when she opened them was disconcertingly serene. That she said, "What," and though he had come to console her he found himself suddenly overmastered. That it was as if he were the patient and she the doctor. That he felt a bit humiliated, and murmured an apology, and slunk out of the bathroom. That she emerged later to continue her interrogation, and asked if he considered her an object of pity. That he said of course not. That she scowled, and then smirked. That when she left three weeks later, and it came as a complete surprise, he should have known what she meant when she said that men were always more blind than women.

George, her former boyfriend: That she said she had never loved Kevin. That she said that she had never been in love at all. That she said that it was about sex, mostly, and friendship, a little bit. That she wanted to stay in politics but wanted to work for a different campaign. That introducing her to Jim was a mistake, because Jim introduced her to Tom.

Jim, her co-worker: That she was the right woman for the job. That the campaign needed a good press assistant, someone who was personable and pretty but could also smell blood and go in for the kill. That she was a great friend, for a while.

Maurice, her co-worker: That she brightened up the place.

Demetria, her co-worker: That she was fun in elevators. That it's a strange thing to remember, but very vivid: Once in an elevator, she pretended that the car had stopped between floors and made up an elaborate story about what would happen, the rescue, the injuries. That this was apparently not the only time she had done this.

Hannah, her co-worker: That it was love at first sight for her and Tom. That you could almost see a little arc of electricity between them. That if Tom hadn't been Jim's cousin, she would have run off with him right then and there. That she restrained herself out of friendship for Tom, although it's not anything she would admit. That when she found out that Jim and Tom didn't get along that well, she called Tom herself and asked him out to dinner.

Captain Ahab: That he would have liked to meet her.

Wendy, Tom's mother: That she was good for Tom. That she was tough, but Tom needed some toughening up, since if he was left to his own devices he would have just kept on with his novel, or his play, or whatever it was he was writing that day.

Bruce, Tom's father: That she reminded him of his wife.

Seth, Tom's younger brother: That she was cool. That after she and Tom moved in together, she used to have great parties and invite all the younger kids and not make a big deal about drinking or anything. That she was hot, too.

Howard Atkin, waiter: That she and Tom tipped well.

Oscar Johnson: That she wasn't one of those people who looked at you funny if you were down on your luck. That she gave money to you if you asked for it.

Randy, Tom's friend: That she wasn't so helpful. That when she and Tom got the apartment, a bunch of friends went over to give them a hand. That she said she was supervising.

Tom Sawyer: That she would not have painted the fence.

Jennifer Antone, psychologist: That she and Tom moved in together too quickly. That she had unresolved parts of her personality that were clearly not going to resolve without some hard work. That she was uncertain about her career choice, and a little resentful that so much of the work fell to her with so little of the credit. That she had discovered something about the Senator.

Frida, her friend: That she had discovered something about the Senator, or that at the very least her attitude toward him changed. That he had been a kind of father figure to her at first, but that after a while he was someone she didn't quite trust.

Leo, her co-worker: That she started to put in longer hours after the first six months. That usually she wasn't the only one there late. That Demetria or Jim would stay, too. That she would call Tom and tell him that she wouldn't be home until late. That she would say, "Don't wait up," like it was a line she heard from a movie.

Senator Charles Gowdy: That she was an excellent employee, both during the campaign and after the election, never late to work, never in a bad mood, always curious, always pleasant.

Sammy Glick: That she was kissing ass to get ahead.

Janice, her grandmother: That an old woman shouldn't say bad things about a young woman, and a grandmother especially shouldn't say bad things about her granddaughter, but that there was something off about her. That maybe it's not so bad to criticize if what you're criticizing is something you recognize in yourself. That there was a woman once who worked for Senator Lyndon Johnson some forty years earlier, and that this woman had a dalliance with Senator Johnson that lasted a few months and took place mostly in hotels and limousines. That this woman had no regrets, and that her granddaughter was cut from the same cloth. That the young woman liked for a time to pretend that the Senator had disappointed her as a way of putting distance between the two of them, but that the spark in her eyes gave her away.

Lyndon B. Johnson: That if that girl didn't fuck that Senator, politics ain't what it used to be.

Doris, Tom's grandmother: That she had a man who loved her, and that she made him sad. That it would have been nosy to ask more. That Tom came down to Florida and moped like he was still fourteen years old and sweet on his first crush.

Ralph Kramden: That she should have been sent to the moon.

Luciana, her friend: That she and Tom hit a bump and that it made her really angry. That she said that he should have trusted her instead of running away. That she said that things would work out, one way or another, with or without Tom. That she laughed when she said it like she didn't quite believe it.

Cindy, Tom's friend: That she might have been fooling around with a girl, or at least Tom thought so.

Arthur Morris, bus driver: That she wore a skirt one time that was cut up the side so high that you could see right clear to her parts.

T-2: That she knew that violence was no solution.

Julie, her neighbor: That when she moved into the apartment building, she and Tom were going through a rough patch. That he had accused her of seeing someone else behind his back, and she had admitted it, and they were seperating for a few months to see how things felt. That she was upset enough by this to talk about it to a total stranger in the elevator on her first day in the building.

Warren, her neighbor: That she worked terribly late hours. That she traveled on weekends, sometimes with the Senator. That after about six months in that new building, she moved out. That she had reconciled with her boyfriend and was moving back in with him. That she was going to cut back her work hours and try to live a more normal life. That that's what she said, "more normal life." That she was excited enough about this to talk about it to a total stranger late at night in the lobby of the building.

Pauline, her friend: That although she thought that Tom would take her back with no conditions, he was pretty angry and had in fact already moved on a little bit, that he had been with other women and thought about life without her, and that the things he wanted from her were at that point demanded rather than asked.

Peter, her second cousin: That he hadn't seen her since she was a little kid, when her father used to take her around from bar to bar. That she sat down on a stool and ordered a beer and then announced who she was. That she looked terrible, not just exhausted but distracted, and that she said that she had just moved back in with her boyfriend, which was good, but that he had kicked her out for the night, which was bad.

Pvt. Carl Radizio: That when he met her in a bar downtown, she was drunk, because that's the only reason she would have called him "Honey" from the start. Also, that she was still drunk later that night, when she went home with him and told him that she had always had a fantasy about soldiers.

Uncle Sam: That she was good for morale.

Andy Worhol: That she could have been even more fantastic.

Trisha, her childhood friend: That she would become a famous singer, because that's what she always said she wanted to be.

Jack, high school music teacher: That she was extraordinarily gifted.

Paul, college music teacher: That she had been told, somewhere along the way, that she was extraordinarily gifted, and that it got in the way of actual development of her talent, which was considerable.

Billie Holiday: That she could get inside a song and live there.

Larraine, her friend: That she had some trouble being faithful. That she was seeing this guy Jay at the same time that she was seeing Kevin, and that she said that they wouldn't find out because she was so different with the two of them that they probably thought they were seeing different girls. That she was sad with Kevin and kept herself feeling small. That she was happy with Jay, and sang all the time.

Jay, her former boyfriend: That she had a beautiful voice. That she used to sing in the shower, amazing old jazz songs. That she said that she would rather sing in the shower than have sex in the shower, but that she did both.

Gervaise, her friend: That she said she wasn't planning on voting for the Senator when he came up for re-election. That she laughed and said that she hadn't voted for him the first time. That she laughed again and said that she had never voted at all.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton: That she squandered her hard-fought right to vote.

Paolo, Tom's friend: That she was bad for him, because when they were apart, he suddenly started to produce work. That in three years with her, he had managed to write only a handful of stories, but that without her he wrote hundreds of pages in three months. That it was much better than the things he had written with her.

Martine, former college professor: That she had trouble growing up. That it was easy to keep an eye on her, since she was usually the one who filled up a room. That she went from high school to college on this wave of achievement and ambition, and that she hit a kind of wall where boys became as important to her as anything else. That after college, she wrote letters, and those letters were mostly about small rips and tears in her identity, until she met Tom, and then the letters were about being happy, which was for her a rarity.

Dracula: That she had a lovely neck.

Virginia Andrews, psychologist: That she was conflicted about her sexual identity, which is not particularly surprising, since most people are to some degree, but that she was unusually articulate about it. That she was not faithful to Tom and had not been faithful to Tom since the beginning of their relationship, that in fact she saw her time with Tom was itself a kind of infidelity to a previous boyfriend, and so on and so on. That she viewed herself as a gay man, and said so several times, and drew parallels between herself and her gay male friends, such as a certain promiscuity, a certain secrecy, a certain defensiveness. That her relationship with her father was almost certainly at the root of these problems.

Margaret Brel, psychologist: That she switched therapists when they told her things she didn't want to hear, which is a dangerous practice. That she had been seeing Jennifer Antone, who is a wonderful psychologist, until Jennifer told her that she needed to deal with her feelings about her father. That she moved on to Ginny Andrews, and that didn't seem to work out, and she left for Don Rogers, who is not much of an analyst but has a wonderfully comforting manner, and that evidently even Don was too confrontational for her. That she used to fight Don on even the simplest recommendation. That Don eventually said, "Why don't you go see Dr. Brel?"

Don Rogers, psychologist: That she was extremely seductive. That patients had been seductive before, sometimes even attractive female patients, but that she had a certain determination that made it problematic to keep her as a patient.

Mary Poppins: That she was always complicating things that were really quite simple.

Elisabeth, Tom's sister: That she and Tom both seemed frustrated after they moved back in with each other.

Janice, Tom's former girlfriend: That she was friendly enough, even though she knew Tom hadn't exactly been by himself during the time they were seperated. That she said that she wanted to be very clear about her relationship with him.

Elaine, Tom's friend: That she was genuinely happy when Tom found a publisher for his book.

Trudy, co-worker: That she wanted to leave the Senator's office. That she wasn't hiding it, so much, because that was one of the first things she said when you met her. That her boyfriend had just sold a book, and that his agent thought it might be a great screenplay.

Patrice, neighbor: That she and Tom were the guests of honor at a party that a friend was giving for Tom. That she was nervous about it because she hadn't seen lots of his friends since before the first time they broke up.

Jackie, Tom's friend: That she was so thankful that she didn't have to have the party at her house. That she said she was a horrible hostess. That she helped plan, though, and helped make the food. That she felt like things were looking up for her and Tom, and that the time apart had been a great help.

Doug, party guest: That she drank too much too early and started talking about how she hadn't really ever known her father.

Marcus, Tom's agent: That she got completely drunk and went around telling everyone that Tom's book was about her. That Tom's book was in fact about a young athlete, a runner, who ripped up his right leg in a car accident and then embarked on a career as an artist. That when someone asked her about this she admitted that she hadn't read Tom's book and wandered off to get another drink.

Ariana, party guest: That she got completely drunk and started hitting on everyone there. That it didn't matter if they were men and women. That she kissed a woman out on the patio.

Jane, party guest: That they had a fight, she and Tom.

Kimberly, party guest: That they had a fight, she and Tom.

Robin Hood: That they had a fight, she and Tom.

Calvin Coolidge: That they had a fight, she and Tom.

Paula, party guest: That they had a fight, she and Tom, and that by the end she was screaming.

Luke Skywalker: That she left the party without Tom.

Yolanda, neighbor: That she came home from the party without Tom.

Marcel Duchamp: That she turned on the television and sunk into a chair.

Mariel Hemingway: That she poured herself a drink, and then poured herself another drink.

Aristotle: That she expected that Tom would come through the door at one, or two, but he didn't.

Marvin Gaye: That she expected that Tom would come through the door at three, or four, but he didn't.

Betsy Ross: That she expected that Tom would at least call her, but he didn't.

Paul McCartney: That she kept watching television.

Jay Gatsby: That she turned on both televisions, the one in the bedroom and the one in the living room.

Popeye: That she sat between them. That the blue glow of the TV set sank into her until it became indistinguishable from her very being.

Lucy Ricardo: That if you're on television every night, you're poured into so many homes that you can hardly keep track of them. That now and again you pick up a signal from one place or another, and you pay closer attention. That if a baby is being born in a house with the set on, you can sense that. That you can also sense suicides. That one night, during the episode with the blacked-out teeth, she started staring straight ahead. That her eyes were open, but that she didn't laugh or cry or anything, just stared. That it was as if she was gone out of her body. That she was like that for more than twenty minutes. That when she finally got up to change the channel it was a relief, because whatever happened to her after that couldn't have been good.

Tracy, Tom's friend: That Tom came over and slept on the floor. That Tom was drunk and Tom was angry. That Tom said it was over between the two of them.

Lt. Oswaldo Sepulveda: That she placed a call to the precinct saying that someone had tampered with the locks on her front door.

Lt. Columbo: That there was something suspicious about the way that Tom's car was parked outside Tracy's apartment. That there was also something suspicious about the fact that there were no signs of tampering on the front door lock. That there was something suspicious about the fact that her phone was off the hook, and that his car battery was dead.

Tom: That he never meant to hurt her.

 

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Buy Ben Greenman's book;
Superbad.

 

 

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