What Happened to Holly Golightly?
I sometimes visit places where I lived in the past - the houses and their neighborhoods. I like to see them again. There's a brown stone house in the East Seventies where, during the early years of the war, I had my first New York apartment. It was one room, crowded with an old red sofa and red chairs. The walls were dark and dirty from old cigarette smoke. The single window looked out onto a fire escape, a stairway that went down to the street. It wasn't a big place but it made me happy. It was my first home, and my books were there, and a box of pencils. Everything that a writer needed, I thought.
I didn't write about Holly Golightly in those days. I'm only writing about her now because of a conversation that I had with Joe Bell.
Holly Golightly was another tenant in the old brown stone house, in the apartment below mine. Joe Bell had a bar around the corner; he's still there. Both Holly and I went there six or seven times every day, not for a drink - not always - but to make telephone calls. During the war few people had a private telephone. Joe Bell took messages for us. Holly got a lot of messages.
Of course, this was a long time ago. I didn't see Joe Bell for years, not until last week. We weren't close friends but we were both friends of Holly Golightly.
It isn't easy to like Joe. He isn't married and he has a bad stomach. He's hard to talk to, except about his own interests. Holly is one of his interests; the others are dogs, a radio program that he's listened to every week for fifteen years, and musical theater.
Late last Tuesday afternoon, the telephone rang and I heard Joe Bell's voice.
I knew he was calling about Holly. He just said, "Can you come over here? It's important." There was excitement in his voice.
I took a taxi through the October rain and on the way I thought about Holly. Was she there? Was she in Joe's bar?
But there was no one in the bar except Joe. His place is very quiet. It doesn't have bright lights or a television.
"I want your opinion about something," he said. "Something very strange has happened."