February 1, 1966
The young but promising actor Ronald Reagan knocked on the door of Hedda Hopper’s home with his left hand using a secret knock. In his right hand was a bouquet consisting of 33 roses. 22 roses were red and 11 were white.
“I’m glad you’ve decided to join the Committee on Hatred.” said the hostess. “You are one of the first guests. I’m sure you’ll become a righteous hater of Marxism. The roses are beautiful. I have a vase with a diameter of 2.8 inches for the white roses and a vase with a diameter of 4.5 inches for the red roses, and a 6.4-inch-diameter vase for red and white roses, but that one’s cracked.”
“The devil take this consumer society! Such an overabundance of choices,” the choice-challenged Ronald swore. “It would be better to go back to the times of bastard feudalism when everything was simple and straightforward.”
“The absence of alternatives clears the mind marvelously,» said Henry the Kiss, distracted from posing for a photo for the L.A. Times. He was being photographed with a Mexican man (at least he seemed Mexican to Ronald). “But I do not think that in the era we’re thinking back to everything was all that simple and straightforward. Politicians wouldn’t have allowed that.”
“I just hope you’re Republicans.” Ronald said.
“I’m a Communist!” interrupted the man who seemed to Ronald to be Mexican. Then the man who seemed to Reagan to be Mexican took a gulp from the vase with the narrow throat of 1.9 inches, and announced “I am not a Mexican as you believe me to be. I am a citizen of Cuba with the rights of a native-born Cuban. I am Dr. Che with a monthly stipend of 123 pesos. I am here by invitation of dear Hopper – as a hater of all users of cigars outside the territory of Latin America.”
“OK,” Reagan began, “How can you tell if someone’s a Communist? Well, it’s someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell if someone’s anti-Communist? It’s someone who understands Marx and Lenin.” This memorized bon mot was spoken very theatrically by Reagan. “But how did you know I took you for a Mexican? Some sort of mysticism? Are you a voodoo sorcerer?” he asked, perplexed, even agitated — he was a superstitious actor.
“I beg you to swear on your health and as loudly as possible and on any subject,” the hostess chirruped. “Hatred brings us all together. I predict an incredible evening! It will be so fascinating to see the end result of gathering all the guests and members of the Committee on Hatred. By the way, the vase with the 3.7 inch diameter can be used as an ashtray,” the hostess and owner of all the vases and pots in the house gleefully chirped. She did not mention the large pots around the house of 9.1” and 7.3” diameters. The biggest of these she was preparing for the ashes of her victims – inside the pot was a list of her wishes – in which order she would like to scatter the ashes. In the smallest pot she kept a goldfish. Without water.
“It’s not mysticism,” Dr. Che said. “I read all of that in a letter from my parents. They warned me that I would come across as a Mexican. I can read you a section of the letter.”
“Be so kind as to read a section of the letter, Dr. Che,” Kissinger said.
“‘Ernesto, dear son,’” Dr. Che read. “Please know that we are against your serving in the Congo! The glory of Leopold II of Belgium does not give you peace?’… Damn, that’s not the spot.
Oh, here it is, at the end of the letter!… ‘and a fatal danger will loom before you from a young American, who will come crawling to cocktails at dear Hedda’s. By the way, he’ll think you’re Mexican…”
“Well, if that was in the letter from your parents it’s clearly not mysticism,” Ronald said, visibly relieved.
“I don’t think that the existence of this letter simplifies the situation,” Kissinger began, but Che Guevara interrupted him by reading out another passage from his parents’ letter he thought interesting. You should know, sonny,” Che began, “that the death mask of a fish or FISH FACE is nothing other than a circle in our vessels, like vases, pots, coffee cups or shot glasses for whiskey. Thanks to mediums like glass blowers or ceramicists the spirit of the fish continues to be useful after death.” Suddenly Che began to laugh and after he had a good laugh he said: “Still, it’s very funny that my parents write I should beware of you. Maybe the time hasn’t come for you to start crawling? Are you dangerous when you crawl? Maybe you need to have a drink before you crawl? Here’s my vase – drink some rum from it and perhaps I will begin to fear you.»
On top of a sideboard was a pot 8.2 inches in diameter. In it were flowers whose Latin name was Anemone. A very young boy by the name of Donald crawled past, took the pot, and with the words “Die, Mexican!” threw the pot at Che’s head. By the way, these were the first recognizable words spoken by Trump.
While the pot thrown by Donald Trump was flying towards Che Guevara’s head, Kissinger said: “Now, Mr. Che, you see which American you should have been fearing!”
The party’s hostess had died of ecstasy. On her face an ecstatic FISH FACE of excellent quality had appeared. She had long dreamed of the ashes of Dr. Che in her pot and he figured in Hedda’s list, but the pot fell upside down on the side of Anemone and landed on the floor. Whether it fell like a soccer ball or an American football is unimportant. What’s important is that the pot didn’t break. And so it turns out that Anemone saved the live of Che Guevara that day. For a certain period of time.
50 years later, on the 4th of July 2016, in the City of Mud, in the presence of 12 plates, Henry the Kiss, reading this text about himself in this moment, couldn’t stop himself and said: “OK. It all happened just like that. I still remember how that day ended—with the death of dear Hedda. But I don’t want to reminisce and relive that. If only she had kept the goldfish in water, she would certainly have lived. My dear Ronald and Ernesto… Oh… Speak, memory… I miss them in equal measure. They were the equilibrium of time. By the way, I’m familiar with the works of Dr. or Prof. or Dr. as he was known… it doesn’t matter! With his work on the East-West Schism relating to contemporary times as nothing more than Capitalism and … Capitalism and … Capitalism … What was the word? It’s flown from my mind… Cigars or something. Capitalism and Cigars. No, some other word… Ok, forget that word, it’s also unimportant. Thank God my memory is still good and the nerves of that Brazilian… His name was… His name was… Alexandre Queiroz and he was a member of the Helsinki jury for top FISH FACE models. Apparently these lovely Finnish and Scandinavian women, who so wanted to become FISH FACE models were not great lovers of cigars and their FISH FACE expressions were caricatures of the real thing, the authentic FISH FACE. But we understand perfectly well that for an ideal FISH FACE one must simply occasionally, but not for too long, remove the cigar from one’s mouth. Dr. Che that day had an ideal FISH FACE. I would say especially at that moment when the pot flew at him and he took the cigar from his mouth, quite surprised… That was, I would even suggest, not
simply FISH FACE; but Super + Fish = Face, and he was godly… By the way, would you happen to know what happened to that boy who threw the pot at him? It would be interesting to know what became of him… So for me it’s not quite clear what the riddle is?”
And so, here’s the riddle:
If you correctly guess whose FISH FACE is in question, that is to which fish belong the death masks located in Hedda Hopper’s home in the guise of vases and pots, then you will receive a prize of a vase with a diameter of 5.5 inches. But as you all well know, fish with mouths of such a diameter do not exist in nature… Where does the size come from? It’s very simple. That’s the size of the portal which opened in Che Guevara during the flight of the pot on the day of Hedda’s death. This vase awaits you in the studio of Vivian Pyle. Hurry! The next riddle will be about the vase with III (3) FISH FACEs… Such a thing also occurs. Isn’t it so, Herman Melville?
Images by Brian Gibson
Words and Selfie by Dmitry Sokolekno