Disruptive Cinema

            “Flies had gathered in anticipation of some new, cool color.”


We had to get the dead man out of his house. “Bullshit,” said his lawyer, the fat German who spoke with a limp. The cop agreed. But there was the dead man, waving to us from his window. “Get down!” we shouted. “Where are my handcuffs?” the cop cried into his bullhorn. “My nightstick? My skin? My grand and glorious youth?” I agreed. The questions were overwhelming. How would we cast Binx Bolling? What kind of animal makes that sound? Whose dentures? The dead man answered all of these patiently. We sent the extras out to smoke. The dead man explained, “Trying to talk about film without painting is like trying to fuck without a newspaper in your hand.”

(trombone, Tibetan prayer stones, musical saw, a child’s voice)

We were all set to shoot the big blackberry cobbler scene, but you’d gone off to the goddamned movies again. The priest stopped by. “You’re all thinking like social scientists,” he said, scratching his pecker. “Let me astound you with my knowledge of vectors and the x-term, all other things being equal.” The sky’s color was that where you stopped noticing landscape. “Where’s Claire?” the extras asked. The dead man didn’t answer. He was on the floor.

(castanets, paper-threaded harp, tom-toms, bass clarinet)

Christ, the mess makes me sick to my stomach. Cleaning it up. The dead man’s fingers black with newspaper ink. Great Existentialists and Bouncing Betties under the bed. The canned tomatoes. But, my, all these rather attractive canines! Bogey’s autograph and eye teeth subdued by reality. The flashy female with her mother gets it. O dead men, I hear your strange songs everywhere.

(mandolin, Japanese prayer bells, teak blocks, mistuned piano)

When I opened my eyes, the dead man was before me.
      “Have I been speaking?” I asked.
      “I could have sworn that I said something about—”
      “You said nothing, but do you see those? Do you know what those are? Those are Henry Ford’s lips. Preserved in a jar.”
      And what could I say to that? Early in life, I had learned the value of propaganda. And violins.

(guitar, harmonica, twelve-member chorus)


The whisper numbers on the film were good. The dead man’s girlfriend—the form, if you will—dressed in her sandals and camel coat, waved from the window. “Get down! Get down!” we shouted, although frankly our hearts weren’t in it. Me and Walker sipped Early Times from paper cups. The extras smoked, thinking of Claire.

Garin Cychol | Mudlark No. 23
Contents | Country & Western