Nov 11 2007

Fictionlet

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“Honestly,” said Isadora, flicking cigarette ashes out the passenger-side window, “I find most gay men tiresome. Have you ever spoken at length to a gay man, Greg?”

Greg, in the midst of changing lanes, said, “Well, once I…”

“Well then, you know what’s it like. Monotonous, that’s the word. Desperately in love with their own hardware, they are. It’s like talking to a member of the He-Man Woman Haters’ Club. Although I don’t suppose you know who they are.”

“From Our Gang, a.k.a. Little Rascals,” said Greg. “Shorts made by Hal Roach primarily for M.G.M. from the ’20s and ’30s. Now disowned by popular culture, largely due to the efforts of Eddie Murphy in the ’80s. Important as a cultural artifact, but in terms of entertainment value, no big loss.”

Isadora smiled in a “that’s my boy” manner, and said, “Of course, I shouldn’t have doubted you. That’s all right, you just keep putting Auntie Isadora in her place, dear.”

Greg winced awkwardly. “It’s not my intention to put anybody in their place,” he said.

“Well let’s not get distracted. My point is, most of the gay men I’ve met have had this sort of childish misogyny. Not real hatred, but this sort of ‘I like men because girls are icky’ undercurrent. I mean! One boy I talked to said that he thought Grizzly Adams looked too feminine because he had long hair.”

“1977 drama series on NBC,” Greg said, pulling into Isadora’s driveway. “Spinoff of the 1974 film The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams. It had Uncle Duke in it as ‘Mad Jack, the Mountain Man’.”

“Okay, you can stop that now,” Isadora said.

-The Gneech

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Nov 09 2007

Fictionlet

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“Look,” said Alex, “I know that symbolic character names are a long-standing literary tradition. I just think ‘Augustus Burns’ is overdoing it. You’re writing a novel, not a James Bond script.”

“Feh,” said Greg. “‘Augustus Burns’ is a great name. But nobody calls him that, see, they call him ‘Gus’. So the name is in disguise. Like Nero Wolfe.”

“Nero Wolfe?” said Alex. “How is that a disguise?”

“Well, if you take it apart, it means ‘black dog’,” said Greg.

“Black Dog? He’s one of Flint’s men!”

“Heh,” said Greg. “You want over-the-top names, you can always count on Robert Louis Stevenson.”

“Yeah, but he was writing for boys. Just like the James Bond scripts. I mean really, a pirate named John Silver? And what kind of a name is Israel Hands?”

“Israel Hands was a real pirate, actually,” said Greg. “Blackbeard’s quartermaster, if I remember correctly. The story goes that Blackbeard up and shot him at random one day to remind the crew who was captain.”

“Seriously?” said Alex.

“Yup.”

“Huh. Learn something new every day. The fact that Blackbeard had already killed Israel Hands must have come as quite a surprise to Jim Hawkins.”

“Or possibly, the fact that Jim Hawkins had already killed Israel Hands came as quite a surprise to Blackbeard,” suggested Greg.

“We’re getting into Tim Powers territory, here,” Alex said.

“Now there’s an over-the-top name if ever I heard one,” said Greg.

-The Gneech

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