My lanky, sallow, saturnine friend Alan Harrington had the distantly bemused air of a desert dweller. Alan’s mother was an anthropologist, working among America’s Southwest Indian tribes, so I wondered whether he might be half Indian. If so, he never mentioned it.
Competitive buddies from prep school days, we used to play chess once or twice a week, attended prizefights, and boxed occasionally as we had in school. Subject to the macho tradition of our literary idol Ernest Hemingway, Alan and I especially enjoyed boxing, or thought we did.
At this point, I couldn’t punch out a wet wall of Kleenex. Back then, however I supposed that I possessed punching power. But Alan was a relatively graceful fighter, with a longer reach. My “deviated septum” condition stems from his nice, abrupt left jab.
His best remembered novel, “The Revelations of Dr Modesto”, became a small cult classic. That owed a great deal to Luba (“the Tuba”) Petrova. his imperious mistress and manager.
Alan and I collaborated on a science-fiction spoof for the New Republic, called “We Take you Now to Bikini.” After that, we made a serious attempt at radio-drama: “The Trial of Ezra Pound.” We wrote our radio show in order to give Pound the fair trial which he’d never received.
The broadcast executive to whom we offered our script returned it with a scrawled note:
“Far too controversial for the nation’s airwaves.”
(Excerpt from Alex’s forthcoming memoir, to be published by WriteSpa Press)