It is Palmer who makes the first contact, toward the end of September.He tells Cynthia on the telephone that he's had a transatlantic call from Norman Zimmer, who's producing a musical based on Jenny's Room, is she familiar with . . . ?Yes, he's been in touch, Cynthia says.I hate to bother you this way, he says, but from what I understand, the project may be stalled because of your father's intransigence.Yes, I know.It does seem a shame, doesn't it? he says. All these people who'd stand to earn a little money.I know, Cynthia says.Couldn't you talk with him?I have, she says. He won't budge.It does seem a pity.He's protecting Jessica, you see.Who's that?Jessica Miles. The woman who wrote the original play. He feels she wouldn't have wanted the musical done again.Really? Why's that?263I3d McBainBecause it was so awful.Oh, I don't think so, do youl I've read my grandfather's book, and I've also heard the songs. It's really quite good, you know. Besides, they're having new songs written, and a new book, andwell, it's truly a shame. Because I think it has a really good shot, you know. I think we can all become quite rich, cheap nfl jerseys 2015 actually. If it's done.There is a crackling on the line.She tries to visualize London. She has never been there. She imagines chimney pots and cobblestoned streets. She imagines men with soot-stained collars and women in long hour-glass gowns. She imagines Big Ben chiming the hour, regattas on the Thames. She imagines all these things. And imagines going there one day.Couldn't you please talk with him again? Palmer says.It is she who makes the next call, sometime early in October. He has just come home from work, it is seven o'clock there in London, only two in the afternoon here in America. He tells her he works for the last of the publishers in Bedford Square, a line she surmises he has used often before. In fact, there is something about the way he speaks that makes everything sound studied and prepared, as if he has learned a part and is merely acting it. A lack of spontaneity, she supposes, something that makes whatever he says seem artificial and rehearsed, as if there is nothing of substance behind the words.Have you seen him again? he asks.Several times, she says.And?Dead end.Mmm.He won't listen to reason. He says the play is a sacred trust. . .Nonsense.It's what he believes.264The Last DanceShe must have written it in the year dot.Nineteen twenty-three.Norman tells me it's bloody awful.My father thinks it's simply wonderful.Well, as the old maid said when she kissed the cow . . .It's a shame this had to come along just now, though. The opportunity, I mean. To have the musical revived.How do you mean?Well ... ten years from now would have been so much better.I don't under . . .Never mind, I shouldn't have said that.I'm sorry, I still don't . . .It's just . . . my father isn't in the best of health, you see.That's too bad.And 7 certainly don't have the same problems he has.Problems? What . . . ?With the play. With it being done as a musical. I have no emotional ties to Jessica Miles, you see. I never even met the woman. What I'm saying is I don't give a damn about her play. In fact, I'd love to see the musical revived.But what's ten years from now got to ... ?My father's leaving the rights to me.Oh?To her play. When he dies. It's in his will.I see.Yes.There was a long silence.But she said. It isn't ten years from now, is it?No, it isn't, Palmer says.265Ed McBainIt's now, she says.Yes, he says. So it is.He calls her again on the eighteenth of October. It is midnight here in America, he tells her it's five a.m. there in London, but he hasn't been able to sleep.I've been thinking a lot about your father, he says.Me, too, she says.It seems such a pity he won't let go of those rights, doesn't it? Forgive me, but have you made your position absolutely clear to him? Have you told him your feelings about having this musical done?Oh, yes, a thousand times.
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