Feb. 7th, 2008

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I've been procrastinating.

But my procrastination has taken the form of reading hard boiled crime novels. And my advisor approves of reading...so that's somewhat good.

The down side? Now I want to write my dissertation as if it were a hard-boiled crime novel.

The notes of the song moved like silk over skin. The singer's voice made me feel Iike I'd come home to a warm bath. But it was 1935 in Berlin and there was something in the air that was more rotten then the murder of Little Joey D'Amato a few years back. The goons running the government didn't like smooth sharps like these guys. They wanted tough palookas who they could count on to bust a few heads. Wars were coming and they wanted soldiers in a master race. These singers were masterful, they knew how to take up space on a stage...but they weren't pugs, and they weren't all Aryan supermen. They dressed too nice. Silk shirts, maybe some cologne. They'd probably had a manicure recently and every hair was in place. They were smooth alright. All the dames went for them. And why wouldn't they, they sang like angels. Guys like these were the talk of the town ten years earlier. Women would gaze at their faces lovingly as they stared back from the cover of a cheap illustrated magazine. They'd be swilling champagne in one of the many cabarets that lined the streets around the Gedächtniskirche. The shadow of the old church joining the shadows of the men in top hats and monocles and the women with page boy hair cuts and tuxedo jackets. Berlin was a kingdom of pleasure back in the 20s and these New Men and New Women were the royalty. But it was the 30s now and people who'd seen the writing on the walls had left for the streets of Paris or the glittering dream factory of Hollywood two years ago. But not these guys. These, Comedian Harmonists, as they called themselves.

I pulled out a crumpled cigarette and looked at. I didn't smoke and I didn't have any hard liquor at hand. So I just leaned back in my chair and played the song again. In English we called it "Falling in Love Again," but in German it didn't quite work out that way. I glanced over the sheet music. The notes seemed to mock me. They were holding some secret. Some secret I had to pull out into the light. There had to be something I could put on the page in a cold transcription to please the bosses who thought that only musical notation proved you were a real Musicologist. I sighed and wished I'd had a gimlet right about then. Maybe the secrets really were buried mainly in the rough husky voice of Marlene, or the smooth too knowing vocals of the band. The sounds of their vocals coming out of my computer speakers mixed with the sounds of the traffic driving by little apartment in the City of Angels. I turned a black ball point pen over in my fingers, ready to write down any answers that slapped me in the face, or even just gave me a wink. But no answers were interested in what I was selling that day. I only had five more days to come up with something on paper before I had to see the large, bearded man they called M2. He was imposing and knew more than anyone I'd met...except perhaps the Goddess...even then, I wouldn't want to bet who'd come out on top of a trivia contest. He expected 14 pages on Wednesday. And I'd better deliver. I needed to crank them out. But not tonight. And probably not tomorrow morning.

[livejournal.com profile] complainr needed a letter. Some senators had come around asking about her. About her character. She'd always been square with me, and I was about to be square with her. She sang for me in little cabaret, and now I was about to sing for her...but this time in the form of a letter to the Academic Senate. And I'd make it a good one.

I'd hope it was enough. But I couldn't think much about that either. I had to meet some guys about a deal.

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