In this latest installment, Taylor Meade, poet/drifter/filmmaker, presents Paul Morrisey's tour-de-force monologue with him about the shooting of Andy Warhol.
PAUL MORRISEY: "I know all the details of that because it was quite simple-minded how her poor mind worked. It doesn't have to do with he had lost her play. His mistake was he talked to her on the phone, and she would talk on and on, and Andy would tape-record her, or whatever he did--I don't know--and he came to me and said: 'You know Valerie...I talked to Valerie on the phone,' I said: 'What do you mean, you talked to her!? What are you talking to her for?! What do you talk about?!' And Andy said: 'Oh, you know, she signed a paper with Maurice Girodias, and she says that he acknowledged she'd inherit...Everything she'd ever write would be his, and this is why she keeps calling me.' And I said: 'Maybe we could...you could look at it and tell her what it is.' So she brought me this stupid piece of paper, two sentences, tiny little letter. On it Maurice Girodias said: 'I will give you five hundred dollars, and you will give me your next writing, and other writings.' Something like that. It didn't mean he owned them. It means she would submit them to him, and he'd look at them. It was a totally meaningless thing. I said: 'Valerie, it doesn't mean he owns your writing.' She said: 'Oh, no--everything I write will be his. He's done this to me, He's screwed me! He's...' I said: 'It doesn't mean that.' So then, I was always talking to lawyers, so I had a lawyer then, named Katz, Ed Katz, who was doing our legal work at the time. We inherited him from Cy Litvanoff, 'cause he worked at Litvanoff's office...a lawyer...so then I said: Ed, would you do us a favor. There's a girl, she has this agreement, piece of paper. Would you look at it and tell her whether it has any legal basis?' And I said: 'Valerie--you're gonna go see a lawyer--you won't pay him--he'll charge us, and he'll look at the paper, tell you what he thinks of it.' Valerie said: 'Oh, that's...Thanks...' So I spoke to him again later, and he said: 'Oh, that girl came in. She's really crazy. I told her that this paper means nothing! It doesn't mean he owns her writings--it doesn't mean that. I told her that--she wouldn't believe me. She said: 'You're lying, you're stealing, you're lying, you're crazy!' I said: 'Oh well, O.K...' What it is is she wanted to believe this stupid thing...She was really, you know, you know what she was like, she was...So she went away for a long time, almost a year, and she came back...and she was supposed to write something for Girodias--a novel or something. And she obviously couldn't write it...so rather than write it she used this Girodias excuse...and Andy didn't know Girodias! But her idea was: Andy...aah...having known her great play 'The Scum Manifesto'...no...'Up the Ass'...or something...wanted Girodias to steal her work and never pay her...so he got Girodias to sign this contract...and she went to Paul Krassner--the hippie, author, newspaper publisher--and she said: 'I want to shoot Maurice Girodias.' and he said: 'Here's the money.' I can't remember the details, but I think she said she wanted to redress a grievance or something like that, and he said: 'Yes.' You know, Women's Lib Rights and all that crap. And they...I'm guessing at that...So she went, at 9 o'clock in the morning to the Chelsea Hotel where Viva was living, and Maurice Girodias lived--he had no money, Girodias. Had no money...was just getting by...You know his business had been put out...government business...by the French government...He was trying to get something going in the American market...So she waited at the desk, and the desk told her he was gone...he was gone away for the week-end, to the Hamptons, which he had...and she sat there for about three hours. Around twelve o'clock, when I went into the studio there (the "Factory" on Union Square), she was sitting out in the front. I said: 'Oh Valerie--where you been? You been out of town. How are you?' She said: 'I'm waiting for Andy to get money.' He'd always give her ten dollars or fifteen dollars. She was a pan-handler. That was the only way she supported herself. The five hundred Girodias gave her she took off for San Francisco the year before. So then...I mean, it's all so petty, this stuff, but when you know the details you see how stupid they are...I said: 'Andy's not coming in today.' Just saying that to get rid of her, because I thought: 'Oh, Andy don't want to give her fifteen dollars, poor guy, she's always pan-handling.' She said: 'Well, that's alright. I'll wait.' I said: 'O.K..' Then about an hour later she came up in the elevator by herself, looking for Andy--and she came right off the elevator, and I said: 'Valerie, what are you still doing here?' She said: 'I'm waiting for Andy.' I said: 'He's not coming today. Why did you come? Go home. He's not coming in.' It was like 2 o'clock. I'm waiting. So she went back down. She came up like seven times, Around 3:30, 4 o'clock, Andy came in...with her! You know, she'd been waiting! All that much! She waited all day! All morning to see Girodias--then she starts waiting for Andy! So when she's there I'd been caught in a lie, 'cause I was telling her Andy was gone, thinking he would save the ten dollars. And Andy says: 'Look--doesn't Valerie look good!' She had combed and done her hair, and she had like a dress on, which we'd never seen before, and a coat...I said: 'Yes, Valerie, you look very good, but listen...aah...you gotta go now, 'cause we got business, and if you don't go I'm gonna beat the hell out of you and throw you out, and I don't want...' Because I don't tease people much like that, but I just said this funny thing to her--that I was going to throw her out...And she had her raincoat on, and she had this funny look in her eye, and I said: 'Come on now Valerie--Go!' You know...' The elevator's there!' And she went like this...with her hands in her pocket, like that...And she backed away from me like this...and I didn't pay attention, 'cause I didn't know...she had guns! Just then the phone rang. I said: 'Oh, excuse me Valerie.' And I went on the phone to Viva, and I was talking to Viva, and Valerie's standing...like this...and...aah....I said: 'Oh yes--well Viva, listen, I now...' I had to go to the bathroom, so I gave...I said: 'Oh, here talk to Andy.' And I put Andy on the phone, and I went to the back...and there was a door between the front and the back in the second half of the thing (loft), so you could project movies--keep the projector quiet. And suddenly 'Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!'...And I looked through the door...and she had...was running up...and somebody's holding the door to keep her out from the back side, and then she runs up to Fred, puts the gun to his head and says: 'I'm going to shoot you!' And he says: 'Oh Valerie, don't shoot!' She says: 'I have to...' And...the elevator door opened...right as she was about to shoot Fred! Like that! You know?! But...no reason why it opened! Nobody was in the elevator. And Fred said: 'Oh, there's the elevator. Why don't you get on Valerie?' That was great of him to say that...because he was about to have his head blown off! And she said: 'Oh!...that's a good idea.' And she went on the elevator...O.K.--that's the exact sequence. No one ever put it into detail. When she was picked up they said: 'Why did you shoot him?' And she said: 'Because he tried to steal my writings.' So poor Andy was like the victim of a hit-and-run accident...a lunatic...who happened to be driving."
TAYLOR: A year later I found in my apartment a couple of letters I hadn't opened in that time, One was from Valerie. It says: "I'm gonna get you, Viva, and Andy." (slightly ominous laughter from Paul and Taylor) You know, this is a year after the shooting...and I thought: "Well, she is crazy..."
PAUL: She threatened Viva at the Hotel Chelsea.
TAYLOR: I know.
PAUL: And to kill her husband too?
TAYLOR: Well, no, she was mostly threatening Viva, and then he...Michael got her in the lobby, stuck a hunting knife...started carrying a hunting knife...stuck a knife to her throat and said: "You ever come back here again I'll slit your..."
PAUL: Oh no!
TAYLOR: I'll slit your throat!
PAUL: That got rid of her?
TAYLOR: Well, she didn't come any...
PAUL: But, I mean, you know, the actual...
TAYLOR: But if I had opened that letter I would have gone to the police...
TAYLOR: Like Andy never pressed charges...or did he?
PAUL: He was in the hospital for a couple of weeks...Then he was home for a few weeks...Three or four months later he's back at the Factory, and he was pretty weak...and I answered the phone, and I hear the voice on the other end, and I said: (aside) 'What the fuck...She got the phone in jail?' and she says...Listen...this is something...this is the conversation--and I'm not making any of it up--she said: "Hi...Listen Paul...I...aah...gotta talk to Andy."...I said: "Where are you Valerie?" So I'm shakier than even Valerie is..."Are you still in jail?" She said "No, I'm out of jail." So I said: "What?!" She said: "Listen, I gotta talk to Andy...I need twenty thousand dollars...for my legal defense."