The Beggar’s Diary, 27.09.2007.- Yesterday's Beggar's Evening surely inspired people to write scripts suggesting a proper ending of this opera. Allow us to name just a few: place Filch in Andreas Siekmann’s garbage press; subject him to "la petite mort" next to a single woman; lay him down on the floor and watch to see if the body decides to get up or not ... Lots of people are trying to schedule appointments with Filch, no doubt eager to see him before he disappears. It’s now or never! But Filch remains politely non-committal: "Yeah, later, maybe. We'll see what the day brings." He is reluctant to make appointments, as always.
He doesn't make it to the Spiekerhof on time today because he gets caught up in long conversation at the offices of the architects of Modulorbeat. Jan, one of the architects of Switch+ (i.e., the golden cage, i.e., the info point!), saw Filch pass by their office in the early morning and invited him for a coffee. Filch has been intrigued by the building of Switch+ from the very start: the golden cage, shining like gold in the sun!. During their talk, Jan suggests building a small house for The Beggar, a project that would require finding an empty spot somewhere. These, Jan explains, are the principles of "pet architecture." The reference to a pet strikes Filch as a bit too much, but still, he’s not in the least offended when he leaves the office.
He finds a small toy in his pocket: it is a closed, transparent object with a little ball inside, the goal being to place the ball in the right hole. It’s something a woman gave him yesterday, saying: "It can take a long time, you know ... dying. I wanted to give you this, so you can play while you wait." Lucky, the guy he met two weeks ago, gave bus tickets. A handy gift, as his knee still hurts.
At the Landesmuseum, he finds a group waving white handkerchiefs at him. He takes a picture and joins them, only to find out, alas, that they were not waving at him, but at a passing bus, full of journalists. A woman asks him:
"Are you done with your work or are you still in action?"
Filch, picturing himself as an action hero, replies:
"Still in action, baby."
At the Landesmuseum bookshop, Filch looks for architecture books that might say something on the subject of pet architecture. He would certainly like to see some examples of Beggar Houses. The friendly assistant suggests that he try his luck at the architecture department of the art school. She explains that to get there he has to take bus 16 and get off at the ice skating rink next to a Burger King.
"Could you please repeat that?"
Ice skating and food! He immediately forgets about the book and he’s off.
Filch arrives at the Eis Palast near closing time. It’s only open another 25 minutes, but he’s allowed in—for free. The woman at the entrance saw his picture in the newspaper and she knows The Beggar. He puts on his skates and goes!
His hamburger at Burger King is also free. "Is this heaven?"
But he is not yet done with his "work," so he returns to the centre of the city, where he meets with two actors. Filch can't have enough of listening to them, of asking them for information about how one becomes an actor. Voice is important. He learns that much from them. He receives a letter from someone who attended the very moving last Beggar’s Evening yesterday. It is addressed to Filch:
Alina is right, Filch—you cannot die, you're a work of art (or at least a piece of work). But you can disappear, like “The Gates” in Central Park. And I can help you. To do that, I need to beg, borrow, or steal ideas from Christo and Terry Pratchett. Here goes:
We meet on Sunday at Bruce Nauman's “Square Depression.” You walk down to the centre from one corner, I from the other. When we reach the centre, I will wrap you in a white sheet (not a shroud) and will use my two magic wands to turn you into something of little value, which I can then whisk away furtively, stealthily.* (I took a correspondence course in wizardry at the Unseen University of Ankh-Morpork. Since this is on the Discworld, an unknown number of light years away, I am still waiting for my test results. They should be arriving any decade now. Anyway, I think I have all the answers, so let's do it.)
If you're ready for this, send me an email.
We'll meet again,
*Your name is all wrong: your value is high, you're not furtive, you've never taken, pinched, pilfered, swiped or stolen anything. But Scrounge, Cadge, or Wheedle don't ring true, either.
A discussion starts, and one of the actors stresses the importance of rehearsal, of practice before the "final première," as he puts it:
"And because we are talking about an art work here, I would suggest the title 'Movement Study for a Future Former Sculpture'."
They will “practice” tomorrow.
Ps: The last clue of the impending end: a Chinese box is not only a layered narrative, but also a film by Wayne Wang.
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