My friend Montag has asked me to compose a biographical sketch of him, which is odd since, though I have known him nigh on four years, I am not privy to many details of his life. Those few I have gleaned from our prandial encounters follow:
Fate decreed that Montag Verglas be born on a Tuesday somewhere in the middle of France approximately fifty years ago. His mother looked for order in the spray of stars across the black vault; his father for order in the juddering escalator of stock prices. Their success or failure is not a matter of public record. Montag subscribes to no particular philosophy, but rather has convinced himself that the universe operates on two related principles: (1) the Hegelian dialectic of thesis-antithesis-synthesis and (2) metaphor. He has an antipathy to politics and newspapers and has been known to leave without a word when either appears. In his native land, he is the author of a novel (La Querelle en aquarelle) and a collection of humorous essays (Voudriez-vous un dissert?); both remain unpublished abroad.
Montag’s English, spoken and written, is beyond reproach, but his own translation of his novel (A Disaster in Watercolors) has been universally rejected, and in his opinion something is lacking. We met because he thought I could add that je ne sais quoi, and every other Wednesday at Noon we convene at a local restaurant to discuss my latest English renderings, which, by the time the waiter has scraped off the last harvest of crumbs, have migrated from my cardboard accordion folder to his slumping valise. The prodigious amount of coffee that Montag consumes over lunch suggests that it is his first meal, but I know nothing of his habits beyond our small culinary window. I have never been to his home and cannot say whether he has any family to speak of, though he wears a wedding band and a garnet signet ring (affectations possibly?).
One thing is certain: Montag Verglas has a profound knowledge of film and film techniques. I look forward to his articles.