In Cold Blood

—for Truman Capote

Time—who needs a tornado to get to the land of oz when all one needs is a game of bridge on a lonely saturday night some nice absinthe ice tea & dreams of murder 1959 with me strangling “dick” hickcock in bed night after lovely night… as i got to play dorothy of course clicking my ruby slippers looking at myself in the mirror with that constant amazed look of stunned shame knowing she’s not in kansas anymore honey but rather overcome by her hardly bashful queenly amazement at myself now when sullen handsome “dick” hickcock comes to murder me in my dreams at night with his lopsided handsome face and sullen knowing smirk that just wouldn’t quit honey all the way until they hung him that awful dark night on the gallows & the rope jerked his neck so hard with that one last awful long squirt one last time nodding so knowingly when madame capote said this or miss capote said that or when miss capote opined about dick’s fictitious knighthood for faggy perry smith and their crummy escapist adventures in mexico on the run—all of which i took very seriously as if i were embedded in some real true crime cold-blooded mysterious tableaux vivant with two lovely male whore witches of the east and west playing along with the charming wizard of oz miss capote the game first in black and white then technicolor in all its decadent hollywood babylon remakes but especially back then sitting in the living room there in that innocent little cow-paddy plopped town of emporia kansas there on nostalgic elm-shaded constitution street where the conniving convict killers bought the rope and tape for the forthcoming true crime melodrama smirking it up at old-fashioned hayne’s hardware store while later there i was sipping some ice tea with a few of the small town intelligentsia queen bees who were still there and hadn’t made their great escape to topeka or wichita or kansas city or the west coast or east coast yet all of us who loved to schmooze with miss capote’s whiney faggoty voice pretending to cultivate kansas chic couture during our bridge game soirees and decadent discussions pretending to be wilting delicate orchids there in the twilight of that hidden secret maudlin midwestern noir ambience we were so used to enduring but knew somehow was slowly disappearing along with our disguised small town closetry and snooty secrecy since now thanks to miss capote kansas was out of the closet and in the open my dear shockingly revealed by miss capote’s trashy new yorker story quite openly and intellectually hoity-toity pretending that murder once so foul was now stylishly in literary fashion worthy of a masked ball of the nyc rich and famous so that tacky miss capote could preen and purr to herself like the cat’s meow knowing that it was time for all of us poor queens back in kansas to wise up, that we had better listen up and learn how to laugh properly my dears at the shrewd new yorker cosmopolitan cartoons and stylishly sophisticated outré covers while there was still time in that little town of ours still in the middle ages rather than being just another scene in a crime soap opera that had furnished the killers with their nefarious tape and homicidal rope with the gloomy grim gothic presbyterian church grimacing across the stark street so appropriately named commercial street with its mouldering old movie palace the granada that in 1967 would portray the horrible clutter slaughter out there in remote depressing holcomb kansas far to the west so very weird & full of déjà vu tall plains grain elevator horror years later seeing it up there on the screen that same way each time replaying it all over again and again reminding us of that eerie déjà vu flashback thing that miss capote had back then while reading that little inconspicuous nytimes tidbit about some kansas minor murder event back there in the sticks since after all murder my dears there in the infamous rotten-to-the-core big apple was certainly nothing new and that’s exactly what miss capote immediately grasped which was the idea for a nytimes best seller eye-opening true crime nonfiction novel that she knew would simply be a huge shudderingly chic shocker to all the denizens back in kansas where all those innocents back there in that naïve isolated faraway primitive fly over state region must have suddenly awoken from their corny-as-kansas zombie dream-state wondering what the fuck had happened to their idyllic somnambulant blissful midwestern reveries—and then before you know it miss capote is right there on the next speeding santa fe super chief with harper lee accompanying him as his trusty childhood fag-hag interpreter to help him ease his way into the trusting naïve living rooms and café small-talk gossiping ambience of that stunned little shocked innocent holcomb kansas community savoring each exquisite voyeurisme moment taking delicious notes for later on writing late at night in that tacky dingy garden city motel room where miss capote began composing his ultimate faggy revenge against the very same small town nightmare of his own southern tortured upbringing cast off by his mommy dearest and errant useless father only to be adopted by aunts and other relatives growing up strange as harper lee describes in to kill a mockingbird with the central idea that perry smith was like his twin doppelganger lost brother who had gone out the back door while Truman had gone out the front door and who just as well could’ve ended up like perry as a cold-blooded murderer and who now instead for some strange reason found himself in holcomb kansas reenacting that same primal scene of childhood rejection, boyhood orphanages and rough trade prison time that made him bond with this Other brother who would hang by the neck until dead rather than him—with me gossiping later on with my queen-bee sisters in emporia about the whole sordid affair like the closeted mister mosher the astute small town historian down in the basement of the civic auditorium along with the butchy lesbian miss reeble who ran the tombstone memorial business down across the tracks as well as with mrs. haynes who lived across the street from me the wife of the owner of haynes’ hardware there in emporia where the two clutter murderers bought their way to the lansing gallows and made their fame and fortune in lovely holcomb that night and later with miss capote’s in cold blood in the new yorker then as a novel and then all the movie reruns from then on with the story retold every twenty-five years or so with each generation of readers and movie viewers doing the usual de reguer updating not-so-naïve reinterpretation game of that unfathomable homicidal night but not just that because it was by then as time went by more of a performance art reenacting what we all knew and lived through as moody midwesterners back then, growing up in the hithertofore unspeakable kansas american gothic aesthetic captured somewhat elegantly earlier by edward hopper and grant wood but now recreated and updated with garish cosmopolitan stylish new yorker mock-horror chic verging on snide highly sophisticated satire that one expects of decadent east coast cynicism encapsulated by that scene within a scene as the killers drove up dumpy commercial street there in that sleepy little college town of emporia kansas past the strand and then past the granada itself where later on the movie in cold blood would stand out there on the bleak blinking marquee capturing the scene as they drive by the granada the same way these two tragic doppelganger lovers and prison boyfriends way back then drove up the street back then when the dying laidback eisenhower fifties mise-en-scene with its quaint hwy 50 and fading santa fe railroad ambience was slowly painfully beginning to fade away and enter our more cynical murder-moderné age of truly horrifying awareness that in cold blood was no longer just a novel or movie but even more so the way things really were now as the apocalyptic last days of 2012 slowly became the drive-by killer story of what our lives had really finally become……

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