Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Mere Anarchy

It’s interesting to me how much feeling Woody Allen stirs up in people. Mere Anarchy (N.Y.: Random House, 2007), his new book of short stories, adds more spice to the mix. I’d like to hear this one read out loud just to hear the wordplay. In lieu of that, here’s an excerpt from “This Nib for Hire.” Here’s the premise: shady film producer E. Coli Biggs persuades Flanders Mealworm, an underemployed writer (is there any other kind?), to novelize a Three Stooges movie as part of a grand marketing scheme. “The notion of taking a brief hiatus from my serious writing to amass a nest egg that could subsidize my War and Peace or Madame Bovary was not an unreasonable one to contend with,” Mealworm observes.

Eventually, our writer-hero presents the opening for his Three Stooges adaptation, and here it is:

Oakville , Kansas, lies on a particularly desolate stretch across the vast central plains . . . What’s left of the area where farms once dotted the landscape is arid space now. At one time corn and wheat provided thriving livelihoods before agricultural subsidies had the opposite effect of enhancing prosperity . . .

[Enter the Stooges:] The dilapidated Ford pulled up before a deserted farmhouse . . . and three men emerged. Calmly and for no apparent reason the dark-haired man took the nose of the bald man in his right hand and slowly twisted it in a long, counterclockwise circle. A horrible grinding sound broke the silence of the Great Plains. “We suffer,” the dark-skinned man said. “O woe to the random violence of human existence.”

Meanwhile Larry, the third man, had wandered into the house and had somehow managed to get his head caught inside an earthenware jar. Everything was suddenly terrifying and black as Larry groped blindly around the room. He wondered if there was a god or any purpose at all to life or any design behind the universe when suddenly the dark-haired man entered and, finding a large polo mallet, began to break the jar off his companion’s head. With pent-up fury that masked years of angst over the empty absurdity of man’s fate, the one named Moe smashed the crockery. “We are at least free to choose,” wept Curly, the bald one. “Condemned to death but free to choose.” And with that Moe poked his two fingers into Curly’s eyes. “Oooh, oooh, oooh,” Curly wailed, “the cosmos is so devoid of any justice.” He stuck an unpeeled banana in Moe’s mouth. . .
(Mere Anarchy, 41-43).

Today's Rune: Signals.

Birthdays: Nelson Appleton Miles, Albrecht von Kesselring, Paul Ludwig Ewald von Kleist, Dino De Laurentiis, Joe Tex (b. Joseph Arrington Jr.), Dustin Hoffman, Connie Stevens (b. Concetta Rosalie Anna Ingoglia), Svetlana Yevgenyevna Savitskaya, Branscombe Richmond, Anastasia M. Ashman, Faye Wong, Tawny Cypress.



Bubs said...

Hah! I love it!

the walking man said...

How will I ever be able to watch the Three Stooges on spike TV again without having this excerpt play through my head? Nyuk NYuk Nyuk