Thursday, August 12, 2010

James M Cain at MGM:

'One morning around nine-thirty there was a knock on the door. Cain said, "Come in," the door opened, and there appeared "this collegiate-looking character, in Hollywood slacks and lounge coat."

"Mr. Cain?" said the man.

"Yes," replied Cain.

"I'm Scott Fitzgerald – just dropped in to say hello and welcome you to the lot."

"Oh, thanks."

"Well," said Fitzgerald, and backed out the door.

Then Cain got to thinking that was hardly any way to treat the great Scott Fitzgerald, so around noon he went down the hall, found Fitzgerald's name on a door, knocked, and was invited in. Fitzgerald was not doing anything; he was just walking around, no secretary with him. Cain suggested lunch, and without saying anything, Fitzgerald nodded and came out. They went to the commissary and took their seats, with Cain chatting amiably, until he realised that Fitzgerald had said nothing and was saying nothing. "He just sat staring at me."

Finally Cain said, "Well, nice seeing you," stood up, paid his check, and left. Later, someone who knew Fitzgerald – John O'Hara, Cain recalled – told Cain that Fitzgerald probably figured "you were pitying him for being a has-been and had invited him to lunch for that reason." Whatever it was, said Cain, it was the most uncomfortable hour he ever spent in his life. He never saw Fitzgerald again.'

from Cain by Roy Hoopes