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A derived text sourced from Barnett Frummer is an Unbloomed Flower and Other Adventures of Barnett Fummer, Rosalie Mondle, Roland Magruder, and Their Friends, a short story collection by Calvin Trillin, 1969

Think your arches are up to it? Why don't you take my place as leader of the Liberian freighter demonstration? —could he get in all those words in one pass?— What about lying down in the path of the ship? How are things with you and Rosalie? Have you heard from her? How do you think I can get some group militancy? What better time to demonstrate to the world the true radical's opposition to the American Establishment? What's the latest thing? Uptown or downtown branch? Is that A. Galabrino? Why? What is more delicious/Than knishes? Did you get a good look at her artichoke hearts? What is more delicious/Than knishes? Isn't that the Prince de Chimay? I work for a very crude man who never says anything to me but 'Hey, champ, can you knock me out eight hundred words on the place of foundation garments in our private enterprise system by six tonight?' or 'Hey, champ, why don't you sit yourself down and work me up the two thousand words Eddie O'Brien will have to say at a testimonial dinner called Eddie O'Brien Twenty-five Years Behind the Wheel of a Five-Passenger Checker, by ten tomorrow morning? What kind of writer? What kind of freelance writer? A sign painter? Somebody wrote 'Yield Right of Way'? Do you think something like 'Yield Right of Way' writes itself? Do you think it was written by the gorilla who installed the signs on the Expressway? Have you been going under the impression that 'Vehicles Weighing Over Five Tons Keep Right' was composed by John V. Lindsay? You mean to say you're being paid for writing 'Stop' and 'One Way' and 'Slow'? —his self-confidence was awesome, and, after all, who would have the gall to take credit for 'One Way' if he hadn't written it?— What did you have to do with Shea Stadium Parking? Do you like it? Was that your 'This Is Water Mill—Slow Down and Enjoy It'—I saw on Highway 27, Roland? Oh, did you do that? You don't happen to know who did the big 'NO' sign at Coney Island? The one that has one 'NO' in huge letters and then lists all the things you can't do in smaller letters next to it? Can I get you another drink? What do you do? Who was interested in a family awning business? What could he ever do to compete with people like that? You mean read tea leaves and that sort of thing? How do you think these hostesses know which people to ask? Do you realize the administrative problems of keeping up with who the hot people are—just in newspaper reading alone? —how could such developments be predicted?— When was that? What can I get you to drink? Have you seen good old Elliot and Myrna lately? What is Elliot doing now? Aren't the Cretins just too much, pouring their drinks on the Contessa that way? Doesn't Rolly Rawlings look absolutely marvelous in her tin pants suit? How about a picnic? What did he have to lose? I remember the time Rosalie Mondle said to them—is she here, by the way? It was easily Pop, he thought, studying the Life definition, but was it Camp? Was he feeling the 'sensibility of failed seriousness, of the theatricalization of experience' that Miss Sontag had written about? But was the performance really naïve enough to be 'pure Camp'? Not Major Bowes? Are you going to the Dick Tracy serial at the Modern Museum next Sunday? To watch who? What do you mean, 'What happened today'? You mean you didn't see this afternoon's show? Ted Mack is doing this? Don't you think so, Barnett? Isn't Barnett just too much? But why would he put down his own majority group? Do I feel left-out in Jewish age? Don’t the traditions of our people mean anything to you, Lester—five generations in Baltimore, a law firm full of gentiles? Don't blame me for what, man? Did you get blackballed at one of those clubs I put you up for? Chutzpah? What do you think of Max Bergwort's latest? Does he have a river view? Does he what? Didn't anyone want to know about Bergwort's use of language? Wasn't anyone interested in how the surrealistic touches seemed to detract from rather than add to the over-all thrust of the book? Had he again become the master of the wrong subject? But if he didn't ask whether the existence of a world government organization for nearly a quarter of a century had really had any impact, what could he ask? Could there be a place in such a scene for a question about whether or not World Peace Through World Law was a viable concept in the face of competing megapowers? Do you happen to have an extra celery stalk? Aren't they? Why do you think Rosalie admires Douglas Drake? Because he's one of the top editors at Ginsberg and Gilbert? How, for instance, could he compare schemes by which Haitian maids and Scandinavian au pair girls were smuggled past immigration officials? In the Vineyard or East Hampton? Have you thought about Mexico? Don't you? Yes, where would we all be without the air brake? How about 'Carry Me Back to Ole Virginny'? And also 'The Amos and Andy Show'? How could she bring herself to trade there after the way the French tortured an oppressed majority in Algeria? How does it feel to be a neocolonialist? Why don't you invite her over for dinner? Why should she come to my house for dinner? Surely you're not impressed just because she has the only natural-blond Afro haircut on East Seventy-Fourth Street? What could he say, except that he was willing to sit through a four-hour debate on open-housing ordinances just for the opportunity to catch a glimpse of her in her black beret? How about, 'Say, Rosalie, I'm having a few black cats over for dinner?' Ask who what? Haven't you heard? What have you written? To that party with the pretzels and cheese-dip? Have you considered Kick Cultures and Throw Cultures? Who asked? Or did he? Why pick him to call back? Was the telephone company trying to tell him something? You don't happen to know the precipitation probability, do you? Greta, Bernie said, how would the recorded voice of the weather girl know whether I was making a beep or not? What did he say? What else is new, Barnett? Who called you up? Why would they call you? Was she unable to afford the garage? How come you thought it was funny when the voice called and told him the number he had reached was not a working number? Do you really think it's that much worse than your idea of playing him a voice from the Save A Cat League?



an unbloomed question


william walsh