Letter to a Dutch author

Powellstreet Blues

Two letters to a secret agent


Nieuwjaars groet aan de lezer
December 27th,2011

Waarde lezer Op zo kort mogelijke termijn zal ik - afhankelijk van de respons- werken aan het op de markt brengen van een eerste druk van ...

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Powellstreet Blues


Analysis of a premeditated marriage, a tragicomedy, set in California in the late 70s and 80s.

Jossi, born in the tropical rainforest, is a streetwise Asian actress who loves more with her head than with her heart.  She is a master of goal-setting and goal-attainment, using Machiavellian deceit and/or tears, whichever works best.  She only speaks the truth when lies fail, and she takes no prisoners during Operation Younger Man that she pulls off  with military precision, behind a smoke screen of colorful lies.  
The painter-narrator, Cheri as Jossi calls him, is her fourth man in a series of seven.  He has seen most of these other men come and go, they get  younger and younger as time goes by.  He tells the non-linear story, while sitting in front of his tent, along the Rhone-River in the South of France, two years after losing Jossi to an Irish Youngster, a shy boy without experience, who is half the painter’s age, ten years younger than Jossi, madly in love with her and desperately in want of a family.      

Along the river, the painter-narrator revisits all relevant events in the nine-year relationship, that has started just as suddenly as it breaks off. He verifies if a particular move in this drawn-out game, Jossi and the painter are ardent chess-players, was weak or strong.  He expects to have a clear picture of the years with Jossi, by the time the blossoming chestnut tree bears fruit.      

Jossi has come to America to find her father, who abandoned his family when she was a child.  In addition, she wants to finish her education and at some stage find the man who is going to father her child.  Early on in the relationship, Jossi eliminates the agnostic painter as a future father, but hangs on to him as long as he helps her to achieve her goals.
Each spring Jossi becomes restless and ready to make the move to a future father for her child.  Only the dramatic loss of close relatives twice delays this move that she has planned years in advance.  When conditions at last improve, she is especially interested in the future partner's ability to father 'a perfect child' and therefore needs 'a perfect gene-carrier'. The man also has to be ‘of the faith’ to make sure ‘God will bless the child and the marriage’. None of Jossi’s six men were ever of the faith. Young man number seven is 'of the faith', which seals his fate.      

The painter, who has no desire to share Jossi with anyone else, has known for some years that she is looking for a ‘younger man. He tells her to inform him the moment she finds her younger man, so he will be off to China, the scenario he has planned and announced in case of an event that he expects sooner than the next big earth-quake, that is bound to hit San Francisco.

Jossi, having found her perfect gene-carrier, suddenly announces ’I want a child’ not quite the same as, 'your child' . She does not mention the gene-carrier.  The painter answers 'listening to the way you phrase this, it does not sound like I am going to be the father’. As Jossi says nothing,  the painter prepares himself for imminent fatherhood for some weeks, assuming that Jossi has changed her mind, until it becomes clear that she has selected someone else for her scientific experiment. The painter starts packing, as he promised two years before.  He does not want to block Jossi’s road to a younger man and the eternal marital bliss of a Catholic fairy tale.      

Seven months later, Jossi unexpectedly returns to the painter after her honeymoon in Italy, pregnant, and, casually offering him to educate the perfect baby as  he might turn out to be, 'the ideal father,' says Jossi.  She has discarded the Irish youngster and gene-carrier, after the young man accomplished his mission, upon finding out that he is ‘foulmouthed beyond description and quick on the gun'.  The painter, after carefully weighing all options, sees no other solution than to respect Jossi’s marriage.  He sends her back to the weeping Irish youngster after spending three days with her, during which time she  tells him just enough, to allow the reconstruction of half a year of marital disaster, far worse than the one he  predicted before leaving her in the spring.