THE POWER OF SPEECH

That day Gatsby was very happy. We went to buy a car accessory at the parts department of the dealer where we had bought the car. Two employees were dealing with long lines of people. I placed myself in the line that was furthest away on the right, while Gatsby lent on the left side of the counter where no one was waiting. When the employee passed by him, he asked,

"Do you have this accessory in the warehouse?"

Those may not have been the exact words but they may have been. In any case there were a few words of similar content.

All of those who were there turned to look at him. Surprised, they then looked at each other unable to understand what had happened. For a moment they woke up from a kind of lethargy, to immediately fall asleep again. I queried him with a look of amazement while he stroked his throat with his hand and pretended to act normally, as if he had done something unintentional.

"But what exactly happened back there?" I asked him as we left, convinced that I had been a witness of something unusual. So unusual that I've only had one experience of that type.

He did not answer me. He smiled and we got in the car while I tried to understand what type of forces lived inside Gatsby. What was that, that had come out of his mouth? I did not stop looking at him for the entire journey. Those simple words had resonated, not in my ears but in my chest, inside me. Whatever it might have been, what came from his mouth appeared to be alive. They were words with a life of their own. I wouldn't know how to say it any other way.

THE IMAGE

I have already spoken about the deep impression that Gatsby could leave on people. To know him was an entire experience. We live in a world that is partly dominated by image. With regard to this world, Gatsby had a special relationship.

We went out to dinner with a group of friends and acquaintances. One of them had a camera and we took several photos of ourselves. I myself used the camera. On developing the photos, Gatsby's picture stood out in a very unusual way. In those days he had that savage beauty that on some occasions Jimmy predicted he would have, and Gatsby's glance appeared to make an impression on the negative at his will. Some of those photos were really special, as if certain symbols wanted to join him. Symbols always had great importance in Gatsby's world.

"Everything in the world is a symbol," my friend used to say years ago.

THE RATES

The business was in the startup phase. At the beginning, the services that we offered were paid for at simple rates. Everything was going well. Soon afterwards Gatsby decided to extend the range of services considerably. He spoke to me that day about the need for doing that. I went to see him the following day in the morning, since there were still some outstanding points that needed to be defined and finalized. He showed me a very original framework of tariffs, at first sight a little complex but also flexible and adaptable to client's needs. Just those new tariffs got us some significant clients.

"When did you do this?" I asked him.