Price is tired of discussing the pen name. Before we sit down, he asks “how long is this going to take?” and says he has to be somewhere in forty-five minutes. An hour later, he’s showing me around his four storey Harlem townhouse, pointing out the ornate moulding, the his and hers copper sinks in the bedroom, the squat cast iron radiators and the latticed woodwork over the pocket doors.
“The worst thing you can do is sing Happy Birthday,” Eastwood says. So on the day he turned eighty-four, he started shooting a movie.
“It is a place where you can be anything. It’s a place where you can say anything, write anything, paint anything.” But not for long.
A few days after the execution date was confirmed, I received a message: Swearingen wanted me to watch him die.
“The idea is immortal, it is without class and it doesn’t care anything about wealth,” he says. ” I could get my horn and play for you, and believe me, I would play something.”
The phone rings. Would I mind if he takes it? His daughter in California is worried about forest fires. “Well how far away is the smoke? I’ll buy you another house if it burns down, honey, OK?”