O'Gatty has forgotten his poetry. He sinks to the bus bench, leans back on Clark Gable. In silence he watches Pretty Mary and Socco return bickering to their make-believe marriage. Just remember one thing, O'Gatty warns in lieu of making me a straight offer. You take it too seriously, it'll kill you. A lot of guys come riding in here on their white horses and leave feeling like jackasses. Humor them. Be kind. Play some bingo. Hold a dance now and then. And parties--they love parties. All you can do is help them pass the time, but don't pretend you're their savior. From the phone booth at the two-way mirror, I dial my studio. When nobody answers I let it hang. Picking up my ringing phone a few hours later I am not surprised to hear a stranger tell me that he was the last person kissed by Marilyn Monroe.

Larry Lasker tells me he was one of the first people to see Marilyn Monroe dead. She was his neighbor when he was a boy. (My neighbor is the same tunafish Pretty Mary listens to at the Blue Motel.) Larry's parents let him serve the guests when movie stars came for dinner. Ronald Reagan's favorite hors d'oeuvre was peanut butter spread on a Ritz cracker, topped with bacon chips. As Reagan inevitably grew tiresome, the party sitting beside him would beckon little Larry with his tray of speech-impeding treats. In the mail this morning a photograph from Robert Cumming: an asshole superimposed over the craters that normally pock the surface of Reagan's preference.

Anthony Quinn is carrying a canvas under his arm at the crosswalk. Since playing Gaugin he has been a serious painter. How it is going? Muddy in the glazes. Down the block, anthropology distinguish the neighborhood. One finds poems, pen pal requests, names and addresses, short stories, and more film than Andy Warhol shot of the Empire State Building. This morning it was John Wayne in a haymound with a little boy; yesterday it was Rock Hudson turning into Helen Frankenthaler. Our conversation turns to what we find most interesting in art. Some lean on the dead, some lean on the living.

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