The spring of 2015 is when Emma and I will meet. It will be at Elton John’s Oscar party. Emma will be cavorting with a group of her friends, one of them nominated and winning Best Supporting Actress. It will shock the world. Their group will trot about with Emma being dragged around. The friend wields the statuette like an axe and gets her photo taken. Emma will be trying to quell her jealous feelings. She will believe she is bored. I, who will not be working in Hollywood, but will know many of the powerful figures in the industry, will be sitting with my good friend Robert DeNiro and what will be left of his inner circle. I will be drinking a whisky sour, as I will have rejected clear liquor at this point in my life. Emma will be wearing a svelte black cocktail dress, her breasts accentuated by the firmness of the fabric. She will be drinking chardonnay. She will be trying now, at this important junction of her young career, to be considered not merely a beautiful young movie star, but rather a beautiful actress. She will be fighting for the role in the next Neil Simon adaptation, playing a tortured young transvestite, coming to grips with her fathers recent suicide, which or may not have been about her characters sexual identification. She is hoping she will be the one carrying a statuette at this time next year. As of the spring of 2015, she will have been considered a shiny piece of meat, bombarded with stiff drinks and high compliments in routine attempts to get into her pants. She wouldn’t mind meeting a more serious man, a creative man, who could assist in her elevation into a more respected level. Plus the boys, the parties, and unfortunately, the drugs, do not seem to be filling the empty gaps in her existence.
The Best Supporting Actress winner will burst into the conversation at our table, which is not uncommon considering the self-complimenting nature of the Oscars. As the Best Supporting Actress winner interrupts Bob’s anecdote about waking up with Peter Lorre and missing a digit on his hand, I will gaze off into the chandeliers, and exhale my cigarette wistfully. I will be satisfied with my decision to distance myself from Hollywood, but also happy to be able to visit; to remind myself of the fortunes in my own life. I will think of one of my cats, a stray I picked up and named Crayon, and imagine what he must be doing at that future date. After the Best Supporting Actress winner leaves to go on enjoying the highest point in her career, Emma will stay behind to catch up with Bob, good friends from their recent remake of Pearl Harbor, in which Emma reprised the role portrayed by the recent Kate Beckinsale and Bob playing the role of FDR. The film will be met with near universal acclaim, and will be nominated for multiple awards to be handed out this very evening.
And as she kisses Bob on his wrinkly cheek and turns to leave, she will notice me, in the corner, still looking off wistfully and meaningfully, and think to herself “My god? Who is that stunning creature?” However, the Best Supporting Actress winner will pull Emma away, and she will look over her shoulder three times, trying to capture a mental image of my frame for later, when she will approach me, a when she will not know. I will notice her ogling me. I will always be fond of prime numbers.
Emma will approach me seventeen minutes later, as I get up to stretch my legs and retrieve a handful of drinks for myself. She will swear later, many months later, during an intimate moment in bed, that she could see into my soul at that moment, when our eyes first met.
And she will say that what she saw was a gentle, brave and lovely man, one that she may very well love forever.
And she will be half-right. She will have seen into my soul. But, from my perspective, at that moment, our eyes did not meet. My eyes will have been following a curvy young caterer’s frame, and my mind will be planning out what gratuitous thing I will say to her to her in twenty-three minutes to coerce her into coming into the walk-in freezer with me to engage in coitus against the vegetable counters, with a chair propped under the wide door handles. The caterer will not want to lose her job over a spontaneous fling, but she will find my charm irresistible, and her supervisor will later find dollops of tomatoes all along the floors of the freezer. Such is the rollercoaster of life.
To my future surprise, when Emma will approach me, the very first thing she says will be “Just what do you think you’re looking at?” in a wispy, overtly sexual voice. And my mind will mentally scramble, thinking maybe she is hitting on me, or maybe she noticed my stealth-like leering, but my face won’t show this debate. I will take a gamble. “You, beautiful.” She will smile; flashing her gums and running her tongue across her front teeth, quickly and tempestuously, narrowing her eyes.
“Can I get you a drink?”
About a month or so into our relationship, I won’t be able to ascertain for sure in the future- as my conception of time will be completely warped from an incident in which a young man, who I exchanged unkind words with, will stab me in the temporal lobe with a salad fork- I will take Emma to the opera.
My third novel, Time, and Its Death (A Vacuum, A Seal, A Corset), will have just been published, and the media storm will be in full swing. The critical consensus will be divided- it’s wide lyrical scope will be interpreted as a cruel joke on readers. The characters, each one killed and resurrected as one of the other characters, and then killed and resurrected as one of the more obscure Muppets will be considered one of the great metaphors in art for the oneness of humanity, although it will remain altogether very beguiling to readers. The New York Times Book Review will say like “Rosencrantz and Gildenstern if Stoppard did brown-brown and went on vision quests.” In private circles, most critics will admit adoring the lyrical prose paired with the unflinching sparseness of the third-person descriptions. They will also admit, to publishing their negative reviews in complicity with the future conspiracy that will be paid by my publishers to further publicity for the work. The majority of the critics will also admit to not having even finished the 4,498 pages that will comprise the work, much less parsing the introduction. This will not be due to a lack of understanding, but due to a disabling amount of patience, not wanting to waste the joyful experience of reading due to some asshole editor’s deadline.
I will be taking Emma to the opera to lift her spirits. The day before she will have lost out on the part in the Simon adaptation to Abigail Breslin, that snotty little bitch, we will agree. The opera date is a surprise. She thinks that Elektra is her favorite, but it is truly mine, and convinced her that it is hers. I will personally feel, yet of course will not communicate to Emma, that Breslin isn’t just better for the part, but a better looking person, and actress, if not person, in sum. I will not able for sure to ascertain that final fact for a few months, as I will not be able to return Breslin’s frantic and steamy voicemails in a timely fashion. Emma will be attached to my hip, against my will, since we meet. I haven’t decided how I feel about her company, outside of the sex.
Our seats will be in the sixth row, in the center of the aisle. During the opera, she lean into my shoulder, and firmly nuzzle into place there, and I will smile. A few times, Emma will pet my bicep or begin to kiss the fabric on my forearm, and I will casually shoo her away, and will quietly communicate to her that she is distracting me from enjoying the show to its fullest. It will be a rare thing to see James Gandolfini and Michael Cera perform opera together.
During the second hour of the performance, she will take a tactile attempt to fellate me. I will push her away, bit-lip red with embarrassment and march out of the show, my head slung low, trying to avoid a scene. Emma will follow, holding her evening gown up, so not to trip or sully the fabric, and whisper-yell to me to get my attention, so she can apologize properly. I will ignore her and continue marching.
Prince William will notice we are beginning to make a scene, the who’s-who of the crowd will point and look at us as we leave, and the Prince will stand up to assuage me, he will know how short my temper can be, and his face will look indignant. I will wave him off, and he will slowly sit back down, making the phone-hand with his thumb and pinky, mouthing for me to call him when I get the chance. I will try not to roll my eyes, and I nod at him in acknowledgment.
Emma will apologize profusely, explaining that she just wanted to show me how much I meant to her, and what she would do for me, without my asking, and how it didn’t matter who saw, she just wanted to do it, she wanted the whole world to know how passionately she felt for me, so why not now. I will tell her first that I love her, and that I appreciate the gesture, but she needed to understand that I did care who saw. She will nod knowingly, and I will wipe a single tear from her eye. She will buy me two beers from a tavern a few blocks away and I allow her to fellate me in the taxi on the way back to my west side loft.
So is life.
Against my initial wishes, during the summer of 2015, Emma will move into my house in the Pacific Northwest. My spare room, a space previously designated for nomads, jilted lovers, vengeance-seeking lovers, wandering animals, and close friends to sleep in, will be taken over by her collection of rare and antique stuffed animals and the pile of fan mail she has received over the course of her career.
This will became her sort of ‘safe place’ during the times that I will upset her, which will be often, considering life-style choices and living situation when she will move in. I will not have revealed to her that I chop wood in the living room while I am asleep, and also awake, completely dependant on the events of my dreams or the fluctuations of my mood, something a medical professional will diagnose as ‘schizophrenic’ in 2021. I will also then be staging my undisciplined creative endeavor of recreating Fellini Satryicon with a group of elderly Philippino women who speak no English, and had only seen the bizarre source material once, on a small television set with no sound on. The point, and quality of this work will be grasped by very few, deservedly.
Unfortunately for Emma, sweet patient Emma, this stage of our relationship will coincide with the first peak of my infamous addiction to morphine of 2014-2017, something I will have kept under wraps pretty well I imagine. However I will need her to bathe me, change me and provide me with my limited nutrition, which will consist of saltines with feta cheese, bananas, airline peanuts and brown rice. I will see this as one of the few ‘upsides’ of her moving in – that I could release Henrietta, my Swedish nurse and save a few dollars. I will be suspicious that was stealing from me. Upon opening her coffin my suspicions will be confirmed.
One of the ‘upsides’ for Emma will be that she will not be present for the famous morphine addiction of 2021-2024, which will prove to be fatal, albeit temporarily.
And when she is upset, and in her ‘safe place,’ she will read the fan mail, and remember when she was young and nubile, and unconditionally loved. She will feel small against the crushing tidal wave of the adult world, and feel she cannot handle it. And in the moments when she hates me to the very core, and whenever I am coherent and sober enough to stand up and take care of myself, I will present her with an ice mocha latte, a Star magazine and a container of JuJuBee’s; her three favorites. I’ll remind her that I love her, and that I am completely dependent on her, and without her, my work, integral to the future of art, and culture itself, would be lost.
In the fall of 2015, I will pack my things, and leave for my winter retreat, with my partner in creative expression, Sir Richard Van Diesendorg and his alluring mute wife Purra. It will become our annual tradition to stay at my cabin, in an undisclosed location, and brainstorm potential future accomplishments. Emma, understandably, will not be invited, and I will impolitely inform her of this fact minutes before we leave the house. The preceding days will have been my detox from a three week cocaine-orgy-meth binge. I will be a little on edge and still unable to feel my left hand. Emma will be beginning to move her bags from our room when I tell her. She will cry, and I will explain to her that I need someone, someone important, to watch over my four beloved cats – Crayon, Fernando, Albert and the newest addition to the family Xxyuog, whom Purra playfully named.
I will explain that if I feel they are in danger or unsafe in any way whatsoever, it will comprise the integrity of my fragile creative mind. She will not understand why we can’t just hire a nanny, or ask the neighbors to come over, what with my unending funds and countless friends, why does Emma need to watch over the cats? She will be completely right. My assertion will make zero sense. But I however, will become oblivious to common sense, as additional side effect from the salad fork incident, immortalized in an SNL sketch.
She will say she wants to be with me, that she wants to watch my genius unfold. I will be understandably flattered, and even briefly consider allowing her to come. Then I will remember that she will more than likely see Purra and I engaged in some unimaginably fantastic gymnastic-like coitus, where I am practically pounding Purra into the fucking ceiling, and that may upset Emma and infuriate her with jealously. I will not want to upset her. I will care about her. I will love her after all. I will sigh and look down at the marble floor, and I will feel a pain in my huge loving heart, enlarged from years of chronic alcoholism and loving too much. I will feel that small segment tear.
“Em,” I will say “This just isn’t the year. The Guggenheim is all up my ass for something bold and exciting, and I gotta deliver. Next year for sure.” And we will deliver. The art world will be shattered when “The Great Pantomime” is first exhibited in Dubai. It will be a 50m installation art piece. It will consist of Richard, Purra’s and yours trulys own vomit and bile from the substance binging during the winter brainstorm, and said vomit will be poured upon a bed of hardcore Turkish pornography and white roses, with the center of the piece being a recreation of Michelangelo’s “David” constituted from cigarette butts and whittlings of squirrels that Richard will be just banging out like every five minutes.
Emma will nod and tears will trickle down her face. I’ll place my thick, tan hands on her thin, beautiful neck and pull her close to me. I will then lick the side of her face, catching some of the tears, with my big pulpy tongue, leaving a trail of saliva embedded with hash resin and bits of brown rice upon her plump, lovely cheek.
“I love you Emma Watson,” I will say. And she will hug me tight, and weep into my chest, muttering nearly incomprehensibly “I understand, go, I understand.”
Crayon will be looking up at us, confused and curious, and will then roll on his , flicking his fat furry tail, playful and lovely, alive and incandescent.
In the spring of 2016, the paparazzo’s fury will reach its peak. At the time of this hoopla, I will be 28 and she 24. The American and British media will theorize that Emma will be the one to tame my wild spirit, or what is reported of it. As time goes on there will be less and less that is dangerous or wildly ascetically experimental for me to engage in, and my known romantic qualities would be due to dominate my needs. And a strong beautiful woman, which Emma surely is, they will say, would ground my life in the best of ways. ‘Why cannot one make convention and tradition dangerous?’ they will say. They will say I am the only man with the potential to do it.
And I will be tamed. I will immerse myself in a life of purity and restraint, under a self-designed monastic discipline. I will abstain from illicit substances, meat, all preservatives and additives, all forms of cheese, socks, television and sexual climax. This last constraint will frustrate Emma immensely, as her principal joy in life will have become my sexual satisfaction. She will find methods of relieving this frustration, dabbling in haiku and skeet shooting, enjoying the meditative qualities of creative composition and the jolt of a rifle against her shoulder. The force will be quite thrilling, feeling a wave of release when hearing the clang and shatter of the clay pigeons.
The media’s central question, after they’ve realized my new dogmatic lifestyle is not temporary, will surround the concept of us marrying; a subject Emma will have never brought up verbally, but will be of evidential stress in her facial patterns and body language, whenever hinted at in social situations. When I see her skin tense up, and her shoulders go rigid, pushing out her breasts – I realize I would be more than happy to enter a binding written partnership contract with her for an indefinite period of time.
I will propose to Emma in the fall, at the previously-secret cabin, and will begrudgingly revise my final constraint, to offer her an avenue of happiness. She will bound up and down, throw her arms around my neck, and wrap her legs around my waist, saying yes, a thousand times yes, a million times yes.
The marriage will mark a new era in her career, she will be offered roles usually only reserved for the Charlize-Theron, Mary-Kate-Olsen or Abigail-Breslin type actress. She will star in the long-troubled Janis Joplin biopic and pick up her long awaited golden statuette, and pick up a second one for her portrayal of Amelia Earhart’s disfigured lesbian lover in the Earhart biopic. She will even receive offers to direct.
However, for myself, the road will not be paved so well. I will complete my directorial debut, The Prior Engagment, which will concern the plight of a fictional Haitian poet, and his phobia of the sun and physical contact, and will receive stunning reviews and bring in another small fortune for my Swiss Bank account. After its release I will begin another personal downward spiral. Whilst at work on my fourth novel, a book with no characters, no discernabe plot, and page upon page of childish-doodles of stick figures fighting battles with tanks, planes and shark-machetes, I will relapse on morphine.
After three months of full-bore abuse, with no sleeping or eating anything beyond saltines, I will be found catatonic in my office and hospitalized. Emma will be away on the shoot for the highly anticipated Pearl Harbor II, and will be frustrated beyond all understandable words that no one in my inner circle had the nerve to call her and tell her about my descent. However, this will not be their fault, as I will have crafted legal-contracts, signed in blood, with their promise not to divulge any of the information regarding my lifestyle choices while she was away. And I will also have threatened to kill them on the off-chance that they decide to break the contracts.
I will remain hospitalized during the Christmas of 2016, and she will keep vigil, having taken a vow of silence and dressed entirely in black. She will wait, for her love to return to her. As time will wear on, she will become more and more frustrated with my unresponsive self. She will think to herself “Why? Why would my lovely James do such self-destructive things, with such talent, with so many lovely people surrounding him?” She will stand up at this point in her thoughts, words hear and there will be spoken aloud “Why did I devote myself to such a man, who after these two years still treats me like a rotten kid, who ignores me, cheats on me, borderline tortures me, and all for what? WHAT?” She will climb on top of my virtually-lifeless body and begin to pound my chest viciously. The nurses will at first move in to stop her, but will understand, and let her continue, “I wish, I wish, that I never spoke to him at that party, I wish I never tolerated all his behavior, I wish that James Case had never been born!” and she will slap me in the face. And my head will slowly turn, brought back to life and look her straight in the eyes. There will be an endless sorrow behind them, needing her. And she will know this. And her questions will be answered.
And she will smile. It will be an hour shy of midnight on New Years Eve. She will smile, and she will cry, and she will tell me that she missed me, and I will apologize, and say I will never do another drug again, and that I love her, and a priest will then enter our room, and perform the ceremony as I lay in bed, unable to stand from the protein deposits in my knees. The MS patient I will share the room with and one of the nurses will act as the witnesses. And Emma will be happy. And after she sees my body return to life, she will have forgotten all of her protests, all her complaints, because my living presence will wash her mind clean.
She will exclaim that she’s never been happier, and that she loves me, endlessly.
And “I know,” will be my reply, as the nurses leave after we take our vows.