When I arrived at the office everybody was huddled in a semicircle around the TV in the corner of the Content Department cubicle. They were watching a video of Your Friends and Neighbors. When the movie ended, the Senior Editor noticed that I’d arrived and asked me what I thought of the movie. I said I hated it. “No, Juliet,” she informed me calmly, “it was a film of tremendous courage.” “IT WAS A PIECE OF CRAP,” I replied, less calmly. The Senior Editor repeated exactly what she had said before. Then she repeated it again, trembling slightly. The other reviewers on staff stared at us. I figured I would have to quit on the spot, forgetting that I’d already quit my job at the web site six months earlier.
The night before seeing Being John Malkovich, I saw Spike Jonze and Sofia Coppola. They were shooting a movie outside my office (I work in a film archive). When I arrived, Sofia was buried up to her neck in orange dirt; some of my colleagues kicked more dirt into her face as they walked by. I thought this was sort of mean, but it did make the scene look better. Meanwhile, I told Spike Jonze about this series of dreams I’d been having lately. In the dreams I worked with a bunch of people who got sent to Hell every night. They always alluded to these visits with a mixture of horror and pride — they seemed to think that this experience set them apart from others and made them fascinating people, sort of like getting a lot of tattoos. Eventually, I got sent along with them, and discovered that Hell was full of giant cartoon beasts resembling Pokemon. They chased everyone around the office for eternity; a few people were lucky enough to escape through a revolving glass door. I got to the door and woke up, and Spike Jonze and Sofia Coppola were preparing to be interviewed by an Italian telejournalist. They were showing how youthful and fun-loving they were by roller-skating on a frozen bridge. As noted film curator Edith Kramer pointed out, the combination of ice and roller skates seemed dangerous. At the time, a group of turkeys was sitting on the waterfront, near the Italian telejournalist’s airplane. I made the mistake of hissing at one of the turkeys, and it suddenly jumped on another turkey’s shoulders and the stack of two turkeys came running toward me, looking very menacing. Luckily they lost track of what they were doing and wandered away. Later, the whole flock of turkeys took flight, continuing their long journey south for the winter.
We were in the Islands. Fay Wray had her photo taken in front of a biplane, with a jaunty white scarf around her neck and a featureless pilot beside her. Then the plane took off and disappeared over the summit of a distant mountain. A few minutes later, aged some 60 years by her terrible adventure, bloated and with her hair all disarranged, Fay Wray came running back down the mountain, carrying a sack of grapefruits. The grapefruits were spilling out of the sack and rolling down the mountain. I thought, “pamplemousses.”