Mangum: But we fucked up that remedial English class because we were smoking pot.

Hart: Not in college.

Mangum: Right

Hart: We can't move onto college can we? Now we are not in college are we?

Mangum: So how do you move on to that new place to shop if you haven't taken that remedial 
English class and you got a piece to the puzzle that won't fit together and your parents are like... 
eating blood wafers?

Hart: Grow sideburns.

Mangum: Sideburns?

Hart: They really help.

Mangum: Really?

Hart: Yeah, they give you that distinctive look.

Mangum: Like standing out of the crowd?

Hart: They really do. They really do. And I... that's why I don't think I fit in.

Mangum: Cause you don't have any sideburns?

Hart: I can't grow them. I just... they don't look right, I always cut them off.

Mangum: It's terrible.

Hart: See, the problem is you can't find the puzzle, of the guy watching the Price is Right eating 
blood wafers.

Mangum: No, I wanted the puzzle to be...

Hart: See, they have one with your family, you just haven't been to the right place, you haven't seen 
the ones. Makes it easier to put it together when it’s your family members face right there in front 
of you in puzzle pieces. It's just that you don't know fact, man. But when it's your family... you 
realize what it's all about.

Mangum: No but see, I bought puzzle with the rat on the treadmill and the farm and the um... um... 
decapitated goats.

Hart: That’s the problem. You have to get the ones with the wafers, and the bloody trousers, and 
your family.

Mangum: But I’ve already got all the puzzle pieces stuck together that like are a part of me now that 
like, I mean, you can’t say… once you like become part of the puzzle piece you can’t really separate 
yourself from it anymore.

Hart: So that makes you an artist

Mangum: I know but I’ve got to get some more puzzle pieces

Hart: You’re an artist; you make your own pieces. Use wafer. Use pieces of wafer. Use thumbtacks.

Mangum: But what am I going to do with all these weird puzzle pieces that weren’t even supposed 
to be part of me in the first place. I mean, I try to keep my eyes open. I mean, I tried to, like, I tried 
to be very aware of what puzzle I was buying. And when I open the box, I tried to be very aware of 
like the pieces and making sure that all of the pieces were of what was on the box.

Hart: Could I…

Mangum: But then I shoved the pieces together and it was too late. It was like all these disjointed 
like body figures and stuff and I tried to convince myself that it was a flower, but it was not a flower, 
man. It was not a flower. And…

Hart: You know why, right? I’m telling you, I know the answer, and it’s this: Do you remember when 
you were talking about putting the thumb… the push pin..

Mangum: And the blood

Hart: Right, doesn’t it all make sense now?

Mangum: No!

Hart: Did you find… the sideburns? In the puzzle?

Mangum: No.

Hart: They’re in the bottom… they’re taped to the bottom.

Mangum: I’ve got these…

Hart: Can I use them? Can I please staple them on? That is the key!

Mangum: You can do whatever you want. What you don’t understand is… what you don’t understand 
is that I thought it was a flower, but it wasn’t, okay? It was part of the rat on the treadmill, and it was 
this dude’s legs watching the Price is Right, okay? It was part of the blender. And I convinced myself 
for so long that it was a flower. I mean, I spent years and years and years convincing myself that these 
puzzle pieces added up to a flower, and it wasn’t at all, and then once I woke up I realized… How do I 
trust other pieces? How do I take new pieces and put them with as much, you know, vigor as I once did, 
because what if… what if they’re not a flower either? What if they’re just like…

Hart: They've got to be animal pieces. They might be animal pieces. Pieces of goats.

Mangum: That's what I was trying for. There was like a rat and a goat and the whole thing and the goat 
didn't have any hands.

Hart: And you bought this at Wal-Mart?

Mangum: And that's what I wanted. And that's all I wanted, I mean since I was a kid. Since I was a kid. 
I mean it just seems...

Hart: And you've never gotten the puzzle together?

Mangum: No.

Hart: Ever?

Mangum: Never. There are all these disjointed pieces that I convinced myself to be flowers.

Hart: You have a serious problem, young man.

Mangum: I know I do, but I don't think I'm much different from anybody else. I bet everybody else has 
got a bunch of like, pseudo-flowers in their pockets that like are really just pieces of this weird puzzle 
that aren't supposed to fit together.

Hart: No.

Mangum: I mean I hope I'm not alone in this thing you know?

Hart: You are.

Mangum: Well it sure feels that way. You know when I go to the newsstands and stuff and read the magazines 
and everybody seems to have their flowers so perfectly put together, you know? Because see what they do is like 
they can take you in a studio and they can take your photograph and make it look like you've got your pieces 
puzzled together really well you know? And they can do anything these days. The way you patch it...

Hart: It's all computers; they've got their shit together.

Mangum: Right, they can make it look like you've got your flower together but they really don't. But it makes 
the people who don't have their flowers together feel really small and insignificant.

Hart: You are, but that's what makes all the difference. You're an artist.

Mangum: But I'm not insignificant because my flower isn't any more pressed together than anybody else’s flower. 
I mean, and if, I guess if I had a record company or something that could like take my photo and make it look like 
my flower was together I'd be okay. But I'm not. I don't want to do that because then all these people with no 
flowers pressed together would be coming to me like, treating me like I was somebody who had my flower put 
together and I don't and it'd be a big lie. And then I'd be doing Swanson TV dinner ads when I was fifty and I'd be a 
real schmuck and commit suicide on the Brooklyn Bridge. There wouldn't be much point in that, would it?

Hart: No. You're an artist. I've told you a hundred times. You see, what you, the part that you don't understand... what is there to not understand?

Mangum: I-I...

Hart: It's so hard for me to explain it to you because... see... I see that you… you're a bit off, actually.

Mangum: I'm very off. I didn't realize how off I was until I pulled my pieces of the puzzle out of my pocket and saw it for what it really was.

Hart: Did you try tape?

Mangum: It was stuck together. I wish I could pull them apart. If I could pull them apart they'd be okay but I can't they're stuck together.

Hart: I see.

Mangum: Now I came home and showed it to my folks, really proud of my flower, and that's when I realized...

Hart: You should be in college.

Mangum: I should be in college, yeah, I should be taking...

Conversation with Will Cullen Hart

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