Author's Note: Do I have to say it again? Not mine! Oh, well, I guess Perry is sort of mine. Half mine, half The Muse's (I need someone to share the blame, and the pencil thing is entirely his fault). As for the others ... I promise not to be too mean to them this time!
For Andi, song and dance guy extraordinaire,
and for F, P, R, M, M, O and O, funniest accountants in the world!
Note to Self
Outside a theatre, July 1942:
Note to Self: put it away someplace safe. Someplace nobody will ever find it. Not even Mom when she has one of her mad cleaning sessions.
Look at those lights! I love the way they spell out his name. I want my name spelled out in lights like that, too. It must be so much fun to do what he does, to know exciting people like actors and singers and dancers and stuff. I'd like to do that, one day. With my name in lights and everything.
I hate the way everyone's just leaving, just walking away. Nobody's looking up to see the lights, nobody but me. It's like the moment they leave the theatre, they've forgotten everything they just saw. Even Mom and Aunt Flo, chatting away about unimportant stuff like when Dad and Uncle Manny are going to get to come home on leave, and totally forgetting everything that matters - the music and the dancing and those ladies in shiny costumes. It's like tonight never happened ... it makes me so mad. Not that I'll ever say anything, I don't want to get yelled at again.
Aw, do we have to leave? Do we have to?
I won't forget tonight, though. I won't ever. I'll keep this ticket stub, and every time I look at it I'll remember.
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Grand Central Station, September 1950:
Note to Self: take better care of stuff. Why did I have to go and lose that piece of paper? Actually, I didn't lose it, did I? It wasn't my fault, I was trying to be polite! Someone sneezes, you offer them a handkerchief, right? Except I pulled out the piece of paper with Aunt Flo and Uncle Manny's address on it, and ... well, too late now. Guess I'll just have to use my last few cents and call home, get Mom to give me the address again.
So much for my new independent life in New York.
I just hope it's not, like, an omen or anything ... still, things can only get better, isn't that what they say? I have that job interview in a couple of days, with that Marks guy Uncle Manny went to college with, and even though, okay, I'm not sure I really want to be an accountant for the rest of my life, it'll be a start. I do have a sort of a knack with figures and stuff. And even though the pay is ... well, it's my first job, I shouldn't expect to be a millionaire my first year, should I?
So, onwards and upwards.
Wonder if I have time to walk down Broadway before I call Mom? Just to have a look.
No harm in looking, right?
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Whitehall & Marks, January 1955:
Note to Self: never, ever, evereverever (is that enough 'ever's? Let's add one more for luck) EVER let anyone see the blue blanket again. Never, okay? Not after what happened this afternoon.
Oh, while I think of it - additional note to self: beware of Perry.
Perry is the single nosiest person I have ever met in my whole life. It's typical of my rotten bad luck that I have to sit next to him all day. Why can't he just keep his head down and get on with his work like the rest of us?
Well, most of us.
Well, hey, I work, when I'm not distracted by thoughts of out there ... anyway, I didn't realise he was peering around the side of the filing cabinet, all smeary glasses and that stupid buck-toothed squinty face he pulls when he's trying to see things more clearly - I never realised, and ... well, who could blame me? Mr. Marks had walked past just seconds earlier, and - and he - he looked at me, oh, those evil little piggy eyes - and so, obviously, I needed the blanket, any reasonable human being would! I should have been more careful, but it was sort of an emergency, I was starting to hyperventilate, and it's not like I can slap myself in the face when I get like that, so ... I got the blanket out of my pocket, just for a moment, just the smell of it, mmmmmm ... uh, anyway, before I knew it, I heard a gasp from the cubicle next door, a delighted sort of "Ooooh!" and then a snigger, just a tiny sound, but enough to let me know he'd seen me.
God, I hope he doesn't tell anyone. It was bad enough when they found out I'm related to one of Mr. Marks's old college buddies (actually, from what Uncle Manny has let slip, I think it was more a case of him doing Mr. Marks's assignments in return for not being kicked all around the football field). They all thought I'd be favoured or something, and they were quite unpleasant for a bit. At least that's over now. Well, they don't really talk to me at all, which I guess is an improvement. Not that they really talk to each other, either. So maybe Perry won't say anything about the blanket incident ... but perhaps I'd better catch him on the way home and ... I don't know. Explain. It's really quite understandable, I think, once you know about how I've had it since I was a baby. I don't want him thinking I'm ... you know, crazy, or anything.
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Leo's Apartment, March 1956:
Note to Self: never believe a word anyone says. Always check for yourself first.
Yeah, well, bit late now.
The guy said it was a studio apartment, which sounded kind of neat, and I can't live with Aunt Flo and Uncle Manny forever, so I said sure, great, I'll take it!
What I should have done is run like hell. It's a prison cell. It's one room, a Murphy bed, a cupboard (maybe I can hang my stuff out the window in a bag) and a pretty horrid smell. But I paid a month's rent in advance and I don't want to go crawling back to Aunt Flo like some kind of loser, so here I am.
I miss Aunt Flo. I miss her cookies. I even miss the smell of Uncle Manny's tobacco.
Which of these boxes is my blanket in?
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Whitehall & Marks, September 1956:
Note to Self: a day can only ever be twenty-four hours long. That's it. No more than that, and every day will end, no matter how long it feels at the time. That's what I have to keep telling myself. It's just another day, Leo. Just another day.
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Leo's Apartment, June 1957:
Note to Self: there are some truly strange people around.
Last night I had to stay behind because of this error Mr. Marks found in ... well, it wasn't me that made the mistake, let's put it that way. And I'm not sure whether he wanted me to put it right because I'm the best (doubtful) or whether it's just because he enjoys picking on me (probable) or just that he's an evil little bastard (definite). But anyway, by the time I was ready to leave it was late, pretty much curtain-down time on Broadway, so I thought I'd take a stroll in that direction. Oh, the lights! It made me feel like when I was a kid ... I still have that ticket stub, tucked away in my wallet. Still have my dumb little fantasy of being, you know, somebody. Stuff like ... walking into a restaurant and the maitre d' rushing over, all smiles, like, "Mr Bloom! Delighted to see you again, sir, delighted! Your usual table?" And people taking notice when I go past. And whispering to each other after: "That's him, you know, that's Leo Bloom!"
Someone like that guy, that producer, Max Bialystock, the one whose ticket stub I have. Except, from what I hear, he's not doing so well these days. His shows don't run for anything like as long as they used to. They call him a loser.
Nice to know I'm not the only one.
Where was I? Oh, strange people, right. I swear I saw a man holding hands with another man! Although the other man did sort of walk ... a bit like a woman. Theatre people are weird.
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Whitehall & Marks, March 1958:
Note to Self: must get out of here before they carry me out in a box. Or a straitjacket.
It's going to happen, I can feel it - we are never going to get out of here alive. We'll all be sitting here until we die. And even then our tombstones won't have our names on them - just rows and rows of figures.
Not that they'd be able to fit Perry's name on a tombstone anyway. I found out the other day what it really is: Peregrine Michael Tyler III. Clearly his parents didn't like him much. But at least he gets called by something other than just his last name. If anyone ever calls me "Leo" instead of "Bloom" I think I'll probably die of shock.
So, anyway, I have to plot my escape before this place drives me totally nuts and I don't have the brains left to think of a plan.
Not that brains were ever the problem. If I'm honest the problem is more ... guts, or the lack thereof. God, I wish I was brave. I wish I could be like Max Bialystock. He's brave. His latest show closed after only a week, but apparently he's already working on his next one!
That's guts for you.
Either that, or he's gone crazy too.
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Whitehall & Marks, January 1959:
Note to Self: make sure you always know which ones are your pencils.
Perry (who else?) was ... actually, I have no idea what he was doing. Maybe he had an itch or something. I'd just come back from the water cooler and glanced into his cubicle as I passed. We've gotten on a lot better since the time he saw me with the blue blanket - well, at least, we sort of nod at each other and say "hi" sometimes, and while it may not exactly be a lifelong friendship it's better than being ignored.
Anyway, there he was, sitting at his desk, with a pencil stuck up his nose. He jumped a mile when he realised I was there, and looked up with this ridiculous sort of "huh?" expression and the pencil still hanging down out of one nostril, and I almost laughed - for the first time since I started working there, I, Leopold Bloom, nearly laughed whilst at work!
Mark the date in the diary, hang out the flags.
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Leo's Apartment, February 1959:
Note to self: make sure your good suit is clean and properly ironed for Monday.
I can't quite believe I'm going to meet Max Bialystock! I don't know how I got so lucky - although maybe, given the way Mr. Marks curled his lip when he said Mr. Bialystock's name, it may simply be that Mr. Marks considers us equally pathetic and therefore decided to give me the job of going through the producer's books.
I'm certain it wasn't generosity. If Mr. Marks knew how much I've always wanted to meet this man I'm sure he'd have given the job to someone else. But I kept quiet and said "Yes, Mister Marks," and "No, Mister Marks," in all the right places, and here I am, finally, about to meet a real, live Broadway producer.
I really hope I make a good impression.
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