Monday, April 11, 2011

Ayn Rand, The Tower Of Babel, Breakfast

Ellsworth Toohey was displeased. “It was most unwise of you, Dominique,” he said in the privacy of her office. His voice did not sound smooth.

“I know it was.”

“Can’t you change your mind and refuse?”

“I won’t change my mind, Ellsworth.”

He sat down, and shrugged; after a while he smiled. “All right, my dear, have it your own way.”

She ran a pencil through a line of copy and said nothing.

Toohey lighted a cigarette. “So he’s chosen Steven Mallory for the job,” he said.

“Yes. A funny coincidence, wasn’t it?”

“It’s no coincidence at all, my dear. Things like that are never a coincidence. There’s a basic law behind it. Though I’m sure he doesn’t know it and nobody helped him to choose.”

“I believe you approve?”

“Wholeheartedly. It makes everything just right. Better than ever.”

“Ellsworth, why did Mallory try to kill you?”

“I haven’t the faintest idea. I don’t know. I think Mr. Roark does. Or should. Incidentally, who selected you to pose for that statue? Roark or Mallory?”

“That’s none of your business, Ellsworth.”

“I see. Roark.”

“Incidentally, I’ve told Roark that it was you who made Hopton Stoddard hire him.”

He stopped his cigarette in mid-air; then moved again and placed it in his mouth.

“You did? Why?”

“I saw the drawings of the temple.”

“That good?”

“Better, Ellsworth.”

“What did he say when you told him?”

“Nothing. He laughed.”

“He did? Nice of him. I daresay many people will join him after a while.”

“Be careful,” she said, “I think they’re going to fall.”

“No,” I said, “this is solid. This is the best kitchen table Tower of Babel ever.”

“I think they’re going to fall,” she said, again.

“No,” I said. “I thought this through. The bottom rows are oranges. They’re firm, but they have a little give in them. Then apples. The apples are hard and tall. On top of the apples, the green peppers aren’t that strong, but they give a lot of height. The tomatoes on top of the green peppers are the perfect top, like red aircraft lights on top of an electrical tower. Look at that.”

“I think they’re going to fall,” she said, a third time.

“Maybe I should get my camera,” I said.

She put her spatula—very carefully!—against one of the bottom oranges. Then she roughly pushed the orange out of position. The apples above that orange fell, pushing the other oranges out of position. Then all the apples, green peppers and tomatoes fell. The kitchen table Tower of Babel collapsed. Everything scattered.

“Why would you do that?” I asked. “You just destroy for the sake of destruction. You’re some kind of monster. You see, that’s the kind of thing, that’s the very kind of thing, that Dominique Francon would never do to Howard Roark.”

“Come on,” she said. “Clean up my kitchen. Breakfast is ready. And Dominique Francon didn’t do that to Howard Roark just because she was always too tired from sleeping with every other guy in the novel.”

“That’s so not true,” I said. “You’re just being vicious. She never slept with Steven Mallory. Hell, she posed naked for him but she never slept with him.”

“Dominique didn’t sleep with Steven Mallory,” she said, “because Steven Mallory was gay.”

“I can’t believe you would say that,” I said. “How could those words even come out of your mouth?”

“Think about it,” she said. “Of course Steven Mallory was gay. That’s why Howard didn’t mind Dominique posing naked for Mallory. He knew that Mallory was hot for him, not her. And that’s why Mallory tried to kill Toohey. Mallory and Toohey were some kind of gay lovers. They had an affair, but Mallory was a real artist and realized what a scumbag Toohey was, so he left him. But it was a lovers’ spat. Mallory was all pissed off at having been lied to and manipulated. So he tried to kill Toohey. It all makes sense.”

“I can’t believe you would say these things,” I said. “I can’t believe you would think these things. Look at me. I’m having breakfast with a monster.”

“Come on,” she said. “The tomatoes fell on the floor. Pick them up, wash them off and meet me in the dining room. Food’s ready.

I started my day playing with a monster’s tomatoes.

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