Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

No more replays...

I'm sharing a bit of Chapter 3, when Adam is en route to LA and has already been vomited upon by his seatmate -- an angelic-looking child known only as Dumpling. The brat's parents, a punk couple named the Marshe-Crotons, have lent him a change of clothes, amiably chatted with him, and now have settled down for a nap, so Adam is going to watch Casey's movie...very reluctantly. It's based on a science fiction update of a classic German novel.


Adam had read Simplicius Simplicissimus in his first year at university. In the original German. The story began with the Thirty Years War, which had cut Germany's population by two-thirds. Simplicius was the hero, orphaned by the war and living with a hermit as he grew up. He traveled to France, Russia, and a world inhabited by mermen, and had mercenary adventures and heartbreak and sadness and joy on the way before finally becoming a hermit, himself. Some believed it inspired Voltaire's Candide, a century later.

The science-fiction update split Simplicius into male and female, which Adam had thought actually worked quite nicely. Mar-Lee, the female part, was not only the brains of the story, but its conscience. Creggan, the male part, was the arrogant son of the controlling family on Ilithium 4, a living planet. Well-versed in the art of strategy and war, and some would say a natural leader, he considered Mar-Lee beneath him, even though she proved herself more capable than he on many occasions.

After establishing their lives on Ilithium 4, corporate raiders from a neighboring star system destroyed the family and their workers. Mar-Lee saved Creggan by knocking him unconscious and dragging him into the forest with her. From here, they began their series of adventures across the planets, ending back at their home world ready to destroy those who had destroyed their loved ones.

The girl playing Mar-Lee as an adolescent was just right, as was the boy playing Creggan, though he was presented as more heroic than in the book, and much less foolish. Still ... Adam was hopeful.

But then they cut to a spectacular entrance by Mar-Lee as a grown, beautiful young woman, played by Casey Blanchard -- walking out of fire in a protective cloak and throwing it back to reveal a face that would have made Helen of Troy weep with envy. Sharp green eyes atop elegant cheekbones framed by raven hair cropped short, and with a gaze that told one and all she was a force no one could control. She stood still, for a moment, glaring around her, then went into battle mode.

Kung Fu fighting battle mode.

Mixed with a healthy dose of Resident Evil gunfire, explosions worthy of a Marvel Comics film, and stunts to make one and all think magnificent thoughts about them. There were beautiful choreography and graceful movements, with slow motion bits cut in as Mar-Lee's cape danced elegantly, around her. She became the epitome of an Amazonian Warrior Queen slaughtering everything and everyone around her, with help not arriving until she was done -- in the form of Creggan, a big, buff, towering figure of perfect masculinity under his flowing, nearly white-blond hair, an obvious reference to the greatest of the Norse Gods in Valhalla. Even Thor, in all his power and majesty, would have had all the presence of a gnome, before him.

And what great comment did he make upon arrival? What soaring rhetoric did he use? "Looks like you were busy."

Mar-Lee looked around at him, barely out of breath, a tiny trail of blood from a single cut trailing on-so-elegantly down her face, almost like a tear, and asked, "What took you so long?"

To which he replied, "Traffic was a bitch."

And Adam stopped the DVD.

That was not in the book.

He would have left the movie, there, except for one small problem -- Dumpling Marshe-Croton had crawled away from his sleeping father and over his sleeping mother to watch the video ... and had fallen asleep on Adam's lap. While probably inappropriate, Adam didn't really mind because it reminded him of his Jack Russell terrier, Albacore, who loved to do the same thing when he was caught up in a book. So he pulled Kristen Lavransdatter from his satchel, settled in and would have been quite content ... except Dumpling woke up, saw he had stopped the film and looked at him with those black, dangerous eyes. So Adam started the movie up, again.

Dumpling watched about five minutes of it then fell asleep, again. So Adam turned it off.

And Dumpling woke up, again.

Adam wound up running the film all the way through, twice, forcing himself to endure Mar-lee and Creggan becoming reluctant lovers -- something else that was not in the book, since both of them were only fifteen -- but which kept Dumpling asleep. Until Adam felt something wet and warm trail into his lap ... and discovered that Dumpling was in trainer pants and still wet his bed. A lot. And since Adam was his bed ...

This time, the Marshe-Crotons had to lend him a full set of everything and the flight crew let him use the Premier lavatory to clean up. They also made him sit on a garbage bag the second half of the flight, just to be safe, and he made certain another bag stayed between him and Dumpling, as well.

So when Adam exited US Customs, he had his rucksack slung over one shoulder, his Mandala hand holding its straps in position, a white trash bag filled with filthy clothes in his other hand, and he looked for all the world like a Monty Python version of a Scally-boy tourist. A jagged striped Polo shirt with a rat-nibbled collar hug on his torso, while this pair of Manny's jeans were cut up to high-waters (made more-so by the fact that Adam's legs were longer than his) with carefully shredded holes stripped in lines every few inches. It clashed most severely with his simple black socks and loafers ... though Julie insisted that freshened the look up a bit. But he still wished he had accepted his mother's advice to the point of bringing his entire wardrobe. Then he would not have been faced with customs officers seeing him and looking away to giggle. The one positive thing was, he hadn't worn his suit.

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