Friday, December 12, 2003

Like All Other Times It Passed

This last in the series of retrieved writing exercises began as a joke between D and me: I was in the living room, extemporizing a Goreyan alphabet, and realized I was never going to make it to "Z".

From this developed a simple brief: literary parodies that cut directly to the heart of the matter...

from In Which The Author Loses Patience

The Ignoble Fantod
by Edward Gorey

A is for Alex, who perished of measles
B is for Bette, who was savaged by weasels

C is for Clarence, who trod on a mine
D is for Dora, who was lynched from a pine

E is for Ernst, who was shot in the head
F is the Fucking rest, dead dead dead dead.

Our Claire (who is seven), by the way, detests The Gashlycrumb Tinies. Developmentally, she is not yet equipped with the proper sense of irony: plus, as a young child herself, she objects on moral grounds to the gruesome destruction of small children for the amusement of adults.

She may have a point.

One more, this for the Lone Wolf and Cub fans...

The Two-Hundred and Fifty Ninth: Iron and Chrysanthemums

Edo-era Japan. In an isolated country temple, a large assemblage is gathered. There are priests, and prostitutes, ronin, yakuza, peasant farmers, imperial soldiers, ninjas, acrobats, hard guys from the local prison. All sits in silence, eyeing each other suspiciously. A middle-aged bureaucrat, Fukui-san, stands and addresses the crowd. He carries an armload of scrolls and documents—diagrams, inventories, maps, imperial decrees—and turns to face the assemblage.

Fukui-san: Well, this a complex situation...

In the crowd, a man who has been sitting silently suddenly stands up. He is Ogami Itto.

Ogami Itto: Not complicated at all.
Fukui-san: Huh?
Ogami Itto: Assassin! Lone Wolf and Cub! I come for your life!

Ogami Itto kills the entire assemblage.

Fukui-san (dying): But—I'm the one who—hired you...
Ogami Itto: . . .

Ogami Itto leaves the temple, and retrieves his son Daigoro from his hiding place—hanging upside-down by his ankles from the clapper of the temple bell. The baby carriage rolls slowly away. From the highest bough, a cherry blossom falls.

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