A NIGHT ON THE TOWN
In “The Cockatoo” the swing orchestra gleams, a forest of brass,
their lapels reflect sparkles from a spinning ballroom mirror.
The bandleader conducts with his clarinet.
Sylvia and her boyfriend sit at a second-row table.
Dance with me, Jacques, she begs.
Damn it! You’re supposed to call me Frank in Mexico.
The crooner steps up to the microphone:
In olden days a glimpse of stocking
was looked on as something shocking
Now heavens knows, anything goes.
Half the trombonists swing the barrels of their horns sideways,
half bend at the waist to just miss being hit.
Dancers spin in flecks of light, a slow-spinning galaxy.
Good authors who knew better words
Now only use four-letter words
Heavens knows, anything goes.
Frank watches Leon at his table with Diego, Frida, Natalia, Paulette.
Leon and Frida walk to the dance floor, she in polished obsidian tuxedo
skips without a limp. Frank sees the mannish Frida drives Diego so wild
he’s chewing his moustache and gets up, walks out on the dance floor,
tries to cut in. Diego drags himself back tothe table where Pualette
soothes him by rubbing his back and shoulders.
Come on! Sylvia pulls Frank up out of his seat.
The world’s gone mad today
and good’s bad today, and most guys today
that women prize today, are just silly gig-a-los ...
It’s the old Man’s night to howl, Sylvia laughs.
Frank sneers –They’re all fossils, relics of the previous century.
He dances Sylvia toward Leon, close enough to slash his throat.
--I’m under your spell, he hears Leon say to Frida.
Frida puts her hand on Leon’s chest, pushes him away.
–It’s over, whatever there was.
Frida leaves Leon standing alone on the dance florr as the Cole Porter tune
dies, applause, goes to Paulette, holds out her hand.
The songbird steps to the microphone:
Sometimes I wonder why I spend
the lonely night, dreaming of a song ...
Frida presses Paulette to her tuxedo: Paulette says, You’re so strong.
–I’m relentless. Frida licks Paulette’s ear lobe.
Paulette pulls away –What do you think I am, double-gaited?
A melody haunts my reverie
and I am once again with you ...
Leon’s mouth drops open as he watches Frida try to kiss Paulette.
... when our love was new
and each kiss an inspiration ...
Diego smiles as he watches Leon watching Frida.
Frida pulls Paulette into a dip. –Aren’t you tired of playing la touristita?
--Wherever I go, doors open for me ...
Frida clasps Paulette tighter –I’ll open your door ...
A nightengale sings its fairy tale ...
Leon taps Frida’s shoulder, trying to cut in.
--Do you mind? –Yes I mind. Leon pleads –Give me a chance to ...
Frida waltzes away. Leon stands there, shoulders slumped.
–What are we looking at, Frank asks Sylvia, heartbreak?
--None of our business.
The dancers revolve in orbits around the glittering floor.
Flecks of light cross and dissolve them into atoms.
It is dancing and it isn’t about
getting anywhere ... and it goes on.
from Shooting Script: Door of Fire