Jul 3, 2014

The weakest link --- This is heaven (teaser)

We're back on track now, writing new chapters. Here's a teaser from Chapter 17 about the second festival day, the day of vampire trivia. John has been appointed a member of the festival jury (don't ask how).

The arrangement is that the jury members take turns. When it’s your turn you get up to the mike and shoot the next question. It’s by no means The Weakest Link, there is no setup of banking points or teaming up, candidates get points for good answers and Harrell in the control room takes another sip from his flask and updates the score on a spreadsheet. The quiz is supposed to go on until the list is exhausted, there will be the usual interludes from local artists, and Harrell’s spreadsheet will decide which candidate drops at the end of the day.

The Weakest Link 

Somebody suggested a point scheme that would “encourage and motivate the candidates,” so wrong answers should get points as well (“fewer, fewer points”), but then we got into a discussion whether family-unfriendly answers should get any points at all until the mayor hinted that Harrell and his spreadsheet were going through a rough spot and should be treated with care.

There’s a touch of Huckleberry Finn in the air, especially the chapter where the Duke and King Looy mount the award-winning balcony scene in Romeo & Juliet... 

We’re famous now, each member of the jury got introduced to the crowd in glowing terms by the master of ceremonies. The affiliation of yours truly, Southern Georgia College, acquired a “proud reputation” for being “award-winning.” Professor Barbette is a “metaphysical celebrity” and a descendant of the prophets (“via the Mayflower”). Raphael Beeblebrox re-invented the English language (“practically”). There’s a touch of Huckleberry Finn in the air, especially the chapter where the Duke and King Looy mount the award-winning balcony scene in Romeo & Juliet. Alex will later share that all of us possibly descend from the prophets since the last common ancestor of mankind died barely ten thousand years ago.

King Looy (second left) and the Duke (second right). The caption is a bit misleading (this is from a French edition); Looy doesn't speak French, of course.

We’re sitting on folding chairs in a sheep pen below the stage, (roughly the spot where the draw bridge was located yesterday). It’s busy, busier than yesterday. The bleachers are crowded, revelers sit or stand around us and some will trip soon over the cable for the mike that runs on the ground, the mike is not Bluetooth. People are asking again about the prize money, some leaning over the rails of the pen but the mayor ignores them. There are confirmed sightings of Elvis Presley; several look-alikes will perform tonight.


He reads the question like a Pulitzer prize winner would read from his lesser oeuvre

It’s my turn, I get up, you’re supposed to be jocular but I can’t think of anything funny. The crowd jeers anyhow, and Hamblin, a show man, if anything, gets up (each time) and makes sure that it takes forever until the noise dies down. I ask Richard Roper about Francis Ford Coppola (what else). Roper, who could play Huckleberry’s Duke even on a rainy day, has lived in trailers for too long not to wear a silky outfit people might mistake for a suit. There’s also a shady dress-shirt and a black, small-knotted tie. Yes, come to think of it, Roper was among the consorts of the woman yesterday with her spilled wine, there’s also the oily-slick hairs combed back over balding spots on his crane. There’s no pencil mustache though. He looks sad, Roper, maybe he misses his Romeo (who’s still making love to Juliette, if the joint absence of both kids is any guide). Roper would look pale even outside the hot spot that engulfs him as he answers “Godfather.” The crowd jeers. Hamblin need not look at his crib sheet to declare the answer exciting and awesome. Bienpensant, the more-dimensional professor, raises her left eyebrow. She sits next to me, the meta-physicist, despite everything that did not happen between us in the smelly green room behind the stage---I made sure to get into fresh, un-smelly clothes borrowed from tidy Maurice, slacks and a polo shirt even. Bienpensant, like all descendants of prophets, has some sense of crowds and does not make her objections heard. Poor Harrell up there with his spreadsheet will possible need two sips from his flask to get this right.

Vivian Leigh as Blanche DuBois

Raphael Beeblebrox from the Urban Dictionary is the next one to shoot a question, and Blanche DuBois (I forgot her real name), candidate number six, will be the target. Why Beeblebrox agreed to do this is anybody’s guess, he makes a reasonably intelligent impression. I’m thinking about some new neologism for him, but “family-unfriendly” possibly won’t do the trick---the thing is, you can’t think them up out of the blue, neologisms, they must come to you under pressure. Beeblebrox reads the question like a Pulitzer prize winner would read from his lesser oeuvre, and Blanche smiles and answers seductively: “1992.” The crowd is unimpressed and the mayor remarks that her answer is “right on target” but somehow unfair since she’s an actress (Blanche).

Go here for the previous teaser of This is heaven, and here for a choice of chapters of the Green Eyes.

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