Excerpt

I don't have much nonfiction to share with you just now.  That is, plenty of nonfiction is happening to us these days, but it is not shareable at the moment.  Meanwhile, some of you may recall that a few months ago I wrote a scene for the book that I loved, but had to set aside because it didn't really fit the book.  Now that I'm revising, it is going to fit after all.  Let me know what you think.  Here it is:

It was
almost too cool to be sitting outside, but the cafés seemed loath to give up
the summer and tables still cluttered the sidewalks.  Eden sat at one of them now, arguing with three young men,
all students at the Beaux Arts, about whether Picasso was a genius or an
imbecile.

“He has no
respect,” Giles said.

“Respect
for what? Outmoded rules that can never convey life in the new century?”
Larousse responded.

Giles was
English, Larousse French.  The
other, Decker, was an American, like Eden.  He was twenty-years old and his blazing red hair and
freckles drew attention to him wherever he went.  Ironically, Eden found him to be almost girlishly shy.  He looked at her expectantly now as if
she might break the impasse.

She only
dug into her breast pocket and offered him a cigarette.  He shook his head.  She lit it for herself instead. 

Monsieur Smith,” Larousse said, “a
modern woman such as yourself must surely agree that only a way like Picasso’s
can lead us to the end of the millennium.”

Eden
weighed her answer.  “I like him,”
she said.

“You must,
of course,” Giles interrupted her. “I heard a rumor yesterday that you were his
model for Garcon a la Pipe!” He roared with laughter at his own joke.

“What if
she was?” Larousse asked.  “Perhaps
that is exactly the way to finally rid ourselves of the skulking remnants of
the ancien regime!”

“Women in
trousers?” Giles said.  “Isn’t that
going a bit far, even for you, Larousse?” 
He turned to Eden. “With all due respect of course.”

But Eden
didn’t feel respected.  She hoped
she wasn’t blushing.  Decker was,
and she gave him a little smile and put her hand in the air to signal the
waiter to refill his wineglass.

“Too
far?  Not far enough I say,”
Larousse told Giles.

“So I
suppose you’ll be putting on skirts next?” Giles said, laughing again.

“If he
does, I’ll take him dancing,” Eden said, grinning at Larousse.  “But I don’t agree that Picasso’s is
the only way.  I think we’ll need
the best of the past too, to sustain us in the future.”

“I agree
with Eden—Mademoiselle Smith,” Decker said, finally looking Giles in the eye.

“Eden is
alright,” Eden smiled.  Decker was
from Chicago.  His mother was dead
and he had a rich father whom, Decker claimed, quietly but persistently hated
his son.  He had been more than
happy to send the boy to Paris to learn to paint while he courted his daughter’s
husband as a business partner.

Eden
wondered if Decker might in fact like to put on a skirt and be taken dancing—but
not by Eden. 

Just as
she was thinking so, Giles snapped open his watch and announced, “I’ve got to
be going.  I have to collect
Mademoiselle Ninon for dinner this evening.  You can all dance with each other if you like.  I’ll be dancing with a proper lady—and
a lovely one at that.”  He rose and
left them, clipping his way down the street, walking stick tapping the paving
stones self-importantly.

“I loathe
the English,” Larousse said, tossing the end of his cigarette into the dregs of
the drink Giles had left sitting on the table.  “They think they own the world.”

“Giles isn’t
so bad,” Eden said.  “He’s just not
a very good artist.”

At this,
Decker grinned but Larousse was still scowling.  Eden looked from one to the other.  “I should go too,” she said.  “I’m meeting Bette for dinner at the Continental.”

And she
rose and headed to the rue Rivoli.

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5 responses to “Excerpt

  1. hmmm… reading it over here, I am thinking Giles should laugh a little less. No?

  2. I like this.
    What’s the general mood of the conversation you envision? If it’s light, then I don’t think there’s too much laughter from Giles.
    But then again I’m a lousy writer so don’t go by me!

  3. Maybe he should just laugh a little more Englishly. Not quite so heartily.

  4. Well, I don’t think there’s too much laughter from Giles, anyway thanx for all this.

  5. I don’t think there’s too much laughter from Giles. anyway thanx for the share.

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