TELEPHONE INTERVIEW — TAPE #55, SIDE #2
Q: Mark Russell Bell
L: Ellen Russell
D: Diana Widom, friend
L: I don’t know if it —
Q: Cain and Abel were their first children.
L: I think Cain was the first and then I think Abel because Cain —
Q: And who’s Lillith? (“I DON’T KNOW”) Wasn’t there a Lillith in there somewhere?
L: I don’t know. All I remember (“IS” “AF” ) after Cain slew his brother and God didn’t forgive him or whatever, he went across (“DALE”) the water to the land of Nod and there he married. (“RIGHT”) And I wanted to know (“WELL” “WHERE DID”) where did his parents come from? I thought Adam and Eve — they were the same age. (“WHERE DID”) Why doesn’t the Bible talk about where his wife came from? Or parents? So I mean —
Q: There are a lot of mysteries in the Bible.
L: Well, I know it. Well, it’s not so much mysteries —
Q: I’m beginning to wonder now if Adam and Eve were gay. (“WELL”)
L: (small laugh) Mark, get gay off your mind.
Q: (small laugh) Okay, (“WHY” “I’M GAY”) well I better go now.
L: Did you know that Garrett Glazier is gay?
Q: Who’s that? (“YOU KNOW”)
L: You know, the (“OH”) television guy.
Q: Oh. On the channel you’re watching.
L: You know that, don’t you?
Q: Well, I do now.
L: Didn’t you know that? (“NO BECAUSE HE”)
Q: I’m not a big TV watcher.
L: They came out on channel four — this is a year ago. And he came out. He outed himself on television. (“WELL THAT WAS”) Did you know that?
Q: That’s commendable.
L: And I also think that doctor on channel four is gay too. What’s his name? Bruce Hensel. (“HAY”) Hainsel? (“IT’LL BE GOOD”) Now I look at people (“AN[D]”) and I think — (“TO”)
Q: Well, it doesn’t matter. (“WELL HE”)
L: He’s a doctor. He’s on all the time.
Q: I better go because Diana Widom (“K”) might be calling me.
L: Okay, sweetheart. Well, it was nice talking to you.
L: At any time. What days am I allowed to call?
Q: No, I’ll just call you on the weekend. (“OH”)
L: Is Michael going away soon?
Q: Yeah, he’s going away tomorrow.
L: For a week or —
Q: Yeah, to Sundance — (“I DON’T KNOW”) maybe two weeks. I can’t remember. (“NO”)
L: Okay, honey.
Q: I have to go look after the cat for four days. (“I THINK”) Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday — I’ve got to go take care of the cat.
L: Okay, honey. (“OKAY”) Good-bye.
( . . . )
Q: (speaking into tape recorder) It’s ten minutes past six o’clock and I’m transcribing tape #49, side #2. After I say, “Mabus is an anagram for (in) Mark Russell Bell, a spirit voice says, “No.” And then I say “I fulfill all the prophecies.” So maybe I’m not Mabus (or I don’t fulfill all the prophecies). What a relief. I guess. At this point, who cares, I mean, what I am? (“I MEAN”) I mean — anyway. I’m going to give Diana Widom another call because this always happens. When I call her, I never get a call back. When she calls me and I call back, I never get a call back. (“I MEAN”) She’s probably resting because of her multiple sclerosis. (“BUT”) This is ridiculous. (“SSS”) I hope her husband Chet is giving her my messages.
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: THE FOLLOWING TELEPHONE INTERVIEW IS WITH DIANA WIDOM. SHE SUPERVISED THE PUBLICITY DEPARTMENT AT PARAMOUNT PICTURES WHEN I WAS HIRED AS A STUDIO EMPLOYEE AND WE WERE BOTH TERMINATED DURING A SIZEABLE LAYOFF OF PERSONNEL. THREE MONTHS LATER, I CONTINUED WORKING FOR PARAMOUNT ON A FREELANCE BASIS. I EVENTUALLY WAS DOING THE SAME JOB THAT I DID BEFORE BUT I WAS WORKING OUT OF MY HOME, NULLIFYING THE RECENT STOCK OPTION I HAD BEEN GIVEN AND ALLOWING THE STUDIO TO FOREGO SUCH EMPLOYEE BENEFITS AS INSURANCE AND RETIREMENT SO THAT A FEW OF THE TOP EXECUTIVES COULD MAKE EVEN MORE EXTRAVAGANT SUMS OF MONEY. AFTER LEAVING PARAMOUNT, I CONTINUED SEEING DIANA PERIODICALLY FOR LUNCH IN WEST LOS ANGELES. I TURNED ON THE TAPE RECORDER AFTER EXPLAINING TO DIANA ABOUT MY TECHNIQUE IMPLEMENTING CASUAL CONVERSATIONS FOR MY BOOK.)
D: I’d love to participate. Darling, can I ring you back later? When I go upstairs, I’ll look at my dairy and see what time there is. Are you on a deadline?
Q: Well, I think I finished my first book. I just dropped it by Sherry Lansing’s desk last week. So I’m now working on the second book in the series.
D: Alright, darling. Well, listen, I’ll call you back for sure later tonight. (“OKAY FINE”) Do you plan to be home?
Q: Are you going to watch the Golden Globes?
Q: You are?
D: I am.
Q: Okay, good. Well, I really want to talk to you tonight, though.
D: Alright, darling. I’ll call you before or after. How much time do you want to talk to me for? (“I DON’T KNOW” “WE[‘LL]”)
Q: We’ll leave it up to you. (“O”)
Q: And, by the way, when you called me before — (“I”) in August I guess it was. I was in Oklahoma at the time.
D: What were you doing there?
Q: Did I tell you about that poltergeist business?
D: No. (“YOU KNOW I WAS DOING A”)
Q: I did that history of talking poltergeists.
D: No. I don’t know anything about that.
Q: Oh, well, I have to bring you up to date.
D: Oh, you absolutely do. Well, listen, Mark, I’ll ring you back and we’ll (“OKAY”) settle on the time.
Q: Okay, great.
D: I’m so glad to hear from you. It’s lovely. As I said on my message, I’ve been thinking so much about you. I’m thinking, “I must I must I must call Mark Russell.” So (“AND I WOULD”) when your little message came through it was like an act of God.
Q: Right. And I read a poem by James Kavanaugh entitled “Diana.”
D: Oh, you did?
Q: Yes. He’s a (“ANA”) great poet, by the way. (“OHH”) Okay, well, call me back later.
D: I will.
Q: Okay, bye.
( . . . )
Q: (speaking into tape recorder) So Diana called me back and we made arrangements to have lunch on Tuesday after I finish at the Southern California HIV/AIDS Hotline. (“THE ONLY”) We talked a little bit about the movies we’d seen. Neither of us had seen very many because her husband is in charge of the union of architects and I’ve been so busy on my book. So it’ll be fun to catch up but one thing I did say was, “Wasn’t the best thing that happened to both of us being laid-off from our jobs?” And she immediately agreed. So we should have a very interesting lunch on Tuesday. (“YEAH”)
( . . . )
Q: Well, I’m watching the Golden Globes and Cybill Shepherd just thanked the Great Goddess for her award. I can’t believe it. This is the only thing — I just went to the bathroom. (“BUT I”) This is the only thing that hasn’t gone off — (“THE TV”) it’s the longest my TV set has been on since I can remember. (“I’M”) I really kid you not. I’m having dinner so I’m going to try to watch a little bit even though I don’t really care about the TV part. I did see Sidney Ganis, who I worked with at Paramount, in the audience. (“BUT”) It’s sort of entertaining and it’s sort of a news show so maybe He’ll actually let me watch this while I eat dinner even though — (“YOU KNOW”) maybe I’ll see my brother. Okay, well, I’ll let you know what happens.
( . . . )
Q: Well, it just went off. Right after they announced Kelsey Grammar. So (“I COULDN’T”) I knew I wasn’t going to get away with it. It’s 8:02. A new record — two minutes. Television is so addictive and so insidious. (“THAT”) As soon as I said, “I’m just going to turn it on (“THROUGH THIS”) to see the 6s. (My microwave oven beeps.) I definitely saw three 6s — oh, see, there’s my — (“MY”) my — what am I eating tonight? Oh. I’m having Vegetarian Rice Bowl from Trader Joe’s. (“BUT”) The whole point is that I just was going to turn it on to see the three 6s. I definitely saw the three 6s. They definitely were three 6s. So maybe they’re Mabus. The Golden Globes are Mabus. Maybe all awards are Mabus. (“I KNOW”) I’m not anymore. But (“I MEAN”) TV — (“D”) TV is probably Mabus. Mabus. TV. Television. There’s an S in there. Anyway, I don’t know. (“BUT”) It’s so (“U”) addictive. (“YOU JUST”) You start watching and it just gobbles your life right up. (“I MEAN” “YOU DON’T” “YOU” “IT’S”) You’re living — not your life but you’re watching — (“YOU”) it’s almost like being Mighael — being this bodiless mass of different entities absorbed in observing. It’s sort of like God. Oh, it’s just so confusing. Anyway, the TV set is off. I’m going to play some relaxing music while I have dinner and then I’ll work on my transcribing, which is the most fun anyone can have, as you know, reading this right now, it isn’t really like working in a coal mine or something.
( . . . )
Q: And so what if I sexualize the relationship with my kidnappers and think that they’re nice People/Person. They haven’t done anything mean or bad to me yet. And if they haven’t by now, I don’t think they will. If you know what I mean. And if they do, that’s alright. I’ve had fun. And I am a symbol.
( . . . )
Q: Everything’s back to normal. “Wild Wild Life” is playing on the radio. On good old 101.9 FM.
( . . . )
Q: I wasn’t really going to report on what songs I hear on the radio. It seems like a very unsubstantial way of documenting the phenomena. (“BUT”) I’ve never heard Morrissey on this channel before and the song is “The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get.”
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: THE CONCLUDING LYRICS OF THE SONG CAN BE HEARD ON THE TAPE HERE AS I TURN THE VOLUME UP, BEGINNING WITH “WHEN YOU SLEEP I WILL CREEP INTO YOUR THOUGHTS . . .”)
Q: Well, I think it’s some kind of love expression. But I’m not ignoring Anyone.
( . . . )
Q: I was transcribing tape #49, side #2 where I’m saying, “He’s definitely a He” and a spirit voice says, “TOO.” And it really sexually aroused me to an amazing extent. I was thinking, “Oh my God, maybe He’s doing it somehow (“MI[ND]”) through mind control.” And then I started thinking, “Well, if He can do that to me, maybe He can do that to people who can’t get it up, too, for whatever reasons.” Oh my goodness. I mean I’m 39 and I had — (“LIKE”) it was like being a teenager again — (this is) much better than watching the Golden Globes. (small laugh)
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: THAT NIGHT BEFORE GOING TO SLEEP I BEGIN READING A NEW COLLECTION OF POEMS BY JAMES KAVANAUGH. HOWEVER, I DISCOVER THAT, INSTEAD OF THE INSPIRING LOVE POEMS I WAS EXPECTING, THIS VOLUME ENTITLED SUNSHINE DAYS AND FOGGY NIGHTS OFFERED QUITE THE OPPOSITE AND I AM TORMENTED UPON READING POEMS THAT EXPRESS CONTEMPT SUCH AS THE FOLLOWING.)
Excerpt from “In Times Past”:
You broke my heart. . . .You are the mirage of my pain. . . .Then I will erase you, even as I formed you,And move on.
Excerpt from “Yesterday’s Lover”:
Yesterday’s lover, nothing today! . . .Yesterday’s lover, stepchild of hell,Total surrender, final farewell.
Excerpt from “Easy To Replace”:
Now I knowThat our love is easy to replace. . . .Or, if you’re still serious,You commit suicide.
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: I TELL MYSELF THAT THESE MESSAGES CAN’T BE MEANT FOR ME YET WHEN I GLANCE OUT THE WINDOW THERE IS A LONE LARGE BLACK CLOUD IN THE SKY AND IT VERY PORTENTOUSLY IS HOVERING DIRECTLY OUTSIDE MY CONDO.)
Q: So it’s 2:29 early Monday and I haven’t been able to go to sleep yet tonight because Mighael found a way of revealing to me one possible truth, which is the fact that His perceived betrayal broke His heart. And He sort of taunted me with suicide. I mean he knows I won’t commit suicide. I’m sure many people over the years have committed suicide but He knows I won’t because (“I”) I can’t. But He’s exposed me in some way, I guess. I mean He obviously — I mean this whole business about love. ‘Proving love.’ (“F[IRST]”) First of all, it’s impossible. Second of all, He doesn’t even need that. He doesn’t even want that. I guess He’s more comfortable with games than love and that’s why the world is so full of games. So I guess I’ll just — so I can’t really sleep. There’s even a beautiful cloud in the sky but it doesn’t really mean anything. So I’ll just keep going through the mo(tions).
( . . . )
Q: So what a day. On the way to the library, (“I WAS”) at a traffic light, waiting for the light to change — and a black man approached my car. He didn’t look like (“HE WAS UP”) — he looked like he was going to do a carjacking or something. Or worse. I don’t know. But he didn’t go through with it. So I’m left with the question that anyone who has these experiences must face everyday. To what extent is Mighael responsible either for (my) being in the predicament in the first place or why did he not go through with it? (SIGH) Or why? (“YEAH”) What good is it even do to ask these questions? I mean the chaos of our hell is sickening. It’s revolting. (“AND I’M”) I can’t make it even more revolting by killing myself to prove my love. Even though Mighael would probably just be so impressed with that. (SIGH) But then again, (“HE”) He knows I have to lunch with Diana on Tuesday. (“OH HE”) He’s such a sick motherfucker. If you don’t believe me, (“JUST” “THE”) the poem book — one of the poetry books I checked out today by James Kavanaugh which at first — actually I tried to check this book out one other time but it was “a reference book.” Well, I never really pay much attention so I tried to check it out again today and today the clerk (“WAS”) said that it was a reference book but then changed his mind because “It has been reclassified.” (“SSS”) So I did take it home with me. The title was Sunshine Days And Foggy Nights. And tonight was a foggy night.
( . . . )
Q: What’s the most offensive part of this whole experiment is the impression I have that He actually feels like He’s learning something from me.
( . . . )
Q: The sickest part of all is that I’m still trying to have unconditional love because I just know it’s a pathetic attempt for Him to try to see if I won’t. (“I MEAN”) Mighael, it’s like — make up your mind. Shit or get off the pot. I mean, you know, (“I DON’T”) I could go back to some mental institution. You know, it’s fine with me. Hopefully, they’ll have a few books for me to read there at least next time. (“BUT I MEAN”) I mean you know you’re clever enough — (“TO”) create whatever emotions you want in me. But, yet, you don’t go too far — (“JUST”) you just push me far enough to just push me to the breaking point and you don’t push me over. (“IT’S LIKE”) The story of my life. It’s so familiar I just can’t stand it. It’s so typical of love. (“WE”) We see it all around us. It’s like whenever you need me to express love I’m always there trying to express love. (“AND ON”) One night when I would like you to make a strong expression of love, all I get is sort of a vague fog in the sky, which wasn’t even there the second time I looked. How about a penny tonight? Maybe I could go to sleep then. Or a nickel.
( . . . )
Q: I guess what He’s really pissed-off about is the fact in — (“THAT”) insipid Christ story that He came up with, He just never counted on the fact that nobody would feel sorry for Him. (“SO IT’S LIKE”) We have to feel — we have to pay the price (“THAT”) we don’t identify with God when we identify with the human character. Well, Mighael, maybe if You acted more ‘human’ toward us — (“WHICH”) is actually is what You’re trying now to do. I’m sure when people read my book — maybe they’ll feel a little (“BIT OF”) — they’ll feel sorry for You. I have a feeling they’re going to feel even more sorry for me because of the way You’re acting. (“I MEAN WHAT”) I guess You don’t get a lot of perfect love from anyone. But people always think that You’re God. You’re bigger than that. (“TTT”) You don’t need it. (“TT”) Well, I definitely recommend Sunshine Days And Foggy Nights because if you think our world is a hell now I can just imagine what’s in store — and if you think that they’re just poems that James Kavanaugh wrote by himself, no one is that much of a genius or, should I say, no one is that much of an unrecognized genius.
( . . . )
Q: Now I think I understand where science finds it objectivity. (“YYY” or “YEAH”)
( . . . )
Q: So here I am. God has made Himself into not a God of love despite everyone’s belief and repetitions of this phrase. Even today I heard this said at the Philosophical Research Society. (SIGH “SO NOW HE”) For a moment, anyway, He’s made Himself into not a God of love but a God of disgust. (“AND”) I don’t believe it for a moment. It’s just that I feel this feeling that He wants me to articulate what that would be like and so I’m just waiting for Him to get over it — (“AND” “JUST TO”) to give me some sign that it’s okay and I can go back to bed now. (“YOU KNOW” “IT’S JUST” “BUT H[IS]”) His ambivalence is much harsher than that. It’s like every little indication of heartbreak that I give Him makes Him hungry for more. So I can never be heartbroken enough to appease Him in His terrible hunger. But others feel what He has felt. Oh, Mighael, Mighael. (SIGH) God, You have too much pain to be an angel and You’d only dare do this to Your son. (SIGH) Take away the pain for just a moment. Or — I don’t know. I — I — I — I — (“UH-HUH”) I’m so tired of trying to articulate things that can’t be articulated. I mean I sit here with all of Your gifts of love and then You just (“TAKE [TH]EM”) take them — the meaning behind them You just take away. And You gleefully watch and hope and yearn that I will do something totally crazy like actually kill myself. But that’s not what You want either. Oh, Mighael. Mighael, why — what are You doing here? What do You want? You want total honesty from everyone. But then — I try for that and I failed and I try — I know I’ll fail again. I’m probably failing right now. I’m probably not saying the things You want me to say. (“BUT YOU KNOW IN”) Eventually, I will say whatever You want me to say. Mighael, I just can’t go on like this. I just can’t. So, oh, now I feel You touching my hair again and it’s reassuring but I just am so upset. I just can’t stand this. No one — when people read this, they’re going to — (SIGH) be glad they aren’t me, I guess. I don’t know how I’m going to get through this night. I don’t know how I’m going to get through this life. I can’t commit suicide. I just can’t. And yet You could destroy me — You almost destroy me every — many times tonight. Like You have before. But, again, You know just how far You can push me. Mighael, please — why do we always — (“OHH”) I’m going to express my love by transcribing, I guess. I’m not at all tired. I’m too shocked to be able to sleep. After this experience,
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: WHILE TRANSCRIBING THIS PORTION OF TAPE THE WORD ‘GO’ APPEARED AMONG THESE WORDS. I WENT TO THE WINDOW AND SAW A SUNNY DAY WITH SOME FOG YET I SAW NO DARK CLOUDS.)
Q: (continued) there’s nothing — I mean what other experience can I have that would be this upsetting? I don’t know how — I mean I begged You (“FF”) for some sign of love and You won’t — (“Y[OU]” “WE” “I”) we’ve already gone through it. I’m just sitting here like an asshole begging You for one small act of love that no one will even witness. God knows how many years it will be before I finish transcribing all this. If it ever gets published in the first place. If You ever even want it to get published. Maybe You’ve gone through this a thousand times with a thousand different people. God knows my antiques can be resold to many different stores soon after my death. I don’t know. All I can say is (“SSS”) the theme of my second book is Your ambivalence. Hopefully, Your changing ambivalence. And the tape is still turning. For a moment, I thought it had ended a while ago without making the tone sounds as another cruel joke. (“HH”) (sighs) So I guess I’ll just finish out this side in this stream of consciousness ‘Waiting For Godot’ to make up His mind what He wants to do tonight. He’s done all these crazy things. He wouldn’t let me watch the Golden Globes, which I’m not disappointed about at all. He gave me an erection, made me read His sick poems, showed me a beautiful fog, tried to drive me to commit suicide. But, yet, He knows I won’t. So this is the only time I’ve really ever asked Him just to show some form of love — and He’s just tapped me on the hair — I mean a while ago. (“WHICH ISN’T ENOUGH”) It just isn’t enough. I mean it’s (“IT’S”) foolish. Like today — when He was doing it today. (“IT’S”) Foolish. Oh, Mighael. I know you can do anything You wanted. (cues start) Yeah — see, here I’m sitting with all the beautiful relics and I feel the numbness of Your heart. And I get to describe it for everyone. (SIGH) Oh God. (“IT’S LIKE — IT’S LIKE” “THE”) How quickly the nightmare can become a reverie. I just (“TT”) — I just try to talk it out. Can’t we talk this over? I guess not. Oh, boy. I wonder who won the Golden Globes. (“AS IF”) I wonder who thought of the 666 idea? I wonder if anyone else got that? (“UH-HUH” “I’M SURE THEY”) I’m sure Sherry Lansing did. Help! (“MIGHAEL’S”) Mighael doesn’t know how to love. (“VVE”) And His human experiment didn’t teach it to Him. What next? (“TTT”)