Last Updated on March 16, 2020, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1224
Carl Ebling is disappointed to see nothing in the news about the bomb scare. There is far more coverage about a party thrown for Salvador Dalí. The premier Dalí dealer in the world, Longman Harkoo, is the host of the party. Harkoo happens to be a friend of George Deasey’s.
As George travels downton in a cab with Sammy and Joe, he complains about Harkoo and his obsession with Olmec Heads. They arrive at Harkoo’s house, and Joe feels odd about the fact that they are attending a party with George. The boys are both worried that they are behind on their work, but George tells them all they need is a drink.
George introduces Joe and Sammy to Harkoo, whose real name is Siegfried Saks. Harkoo is very flamboyantly dressed; he apologizes for the noise of Dalí’s breathing apparatus. Harkoo asks Joe to photograph him, something which he asks thousands of people to do as a project of his own. He then takes the artists around the party, introducing them to the many other artists assembled. One woman, Loren MacIver, is a fan of The Escapist. As the boys are circulating through the party, they spot a very pretty young woman at the end of the hall. When she turns to meet Joe’s eyes, he realizes that it is Rosa Saks.
Rosa asks Joe whether they have met before. Joe denies it, saying he would certainly remember her if so. Rosa smiles, flattered, and Harkoo suggests that he and Sammy should leave Rosa and Joe alone.
Joe offers Rosa a drink. He tells her that he is a Czech Jew and has been in the US for a year, while his family remains at home. Rosa tells him not to despair, and that the Americans will enter the war.
Then a woman screams, and a man calls out, “He’s drowning!”
Dalí is on his back on the floor of the ballroom, unable to escape the “diving suit” of his breathing apparatus. He clearly cannot breathe. Harkoo pushes through the crowd and tries to unfasten the helmet but cannot. Joe then tries, using the screwdriver blade of his knife, and succeeds.
Dalí, in French, tells Joe he has saved a life of great value. Harkoo is delighted, and Joe is hugged and applauded as a hero. Rosa Saks is very impressed but tells Joe she now remembers who he is. She asks him if he’d like to see her paintings upstairs in her studio. Joe wants to but hesitates when he hears someone at the party speaking German. He forces himself to ignore it, and he tells Rosa he would love to see her work.
The studio is also Rosa’s bedroom. She puts on a Schubert record and notices that Joe’s finger has come out of joint. Telling him she once wanted to be a nurse in the Spanish Civil War, she resets the joint. She says she was both disappointed and relieved to be unable to go to war.
Rosa shows him one of her “dreambooks,” which depicts a dream she once had about the end of the world. It is full of pictures, pasted-in cuttings, and marginalia. She says she has made multiple dreambooks and asks what Joe does, allowing him the opportunity to describe his process.
Rosa eventually kisses Joe, and shortly thereafter Sammy enters. He apologises for interrupting but says he wants to leave. He has witnessed two men kissing in the kitchen and is confused by it. He leaves Joe in the bedroom with Rosa, both glad for him and jealous. He rummages for his coat and leaves but then changes his mind and returns to the house.
Rosa asks Joe whether Sammy is “a fairy.” Joe doesn’t know the answer. He kisses Rosa again, but Rosa tells him she is worried about Sammy and that Joe should go after him. She gives him her number as well as her work number at the Transatlantic Rescue Agency (TRA). Joe asks if he might visit her there the next day.
(The entire section contains 1224 words.)
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