Thursday, May 10, 2007

Movie Serial: Chapter Six

"The Man in the Black Hat Has a Dream."

He is troubled at night by recurring images running through his head. They're images which should belong to another person. They contradict his public persona. Now, as his brain slips into sleep and the images return, he wonders which "him" is the truth.

He sits not where he wants to sit. He's atop a podium at a judicial tribunal. Long robes cover him. Down below, at a plain wood table on a checkered tile floor, in handcuffs, await the accused. Wait! he wants to cry. I'd rather be down there, with you. Instead his large head carries forward as he signals his fellow jurists to begin the trial.

A man resembling Chief Lopate rises to read the indictment. Next to Lopate sits a dark-haired man with a malignant frown. How did I get mixed up with such as them, the Black-Hatted Man wonders? More, his fellow judges look to him for direction. To him! They work for HIM!

"Crimes Against Established Literature." Lopate in the Robes of Authority angrily points a shaking finger. Members of the ULA in the dock scowl back with reciprocal contempt. The Man in the Black Hat is of two minds about the hostile rebels. One side of him wants them wiped from the earth, banned forever, locked away in some underground literary dungeon never to be heard from again. Yet another part of him wishes he could pose as their savior; could borrow everything they represent, their authenticity, their voices, their cred. But he knows that to save them would be to destroy himself.

The other judges look now to him for direction, with sheeplike faces. It's his turn to speak, to enable the prosecution. His eyes glower with decision as he feels within him the unearned power he draws from his trappings; from his robes, his guards, his peers, and the impressively constructed courtroom festooned with golden symbols. Before the trial can continue he wakes up.

To get the recurring dream out of his head, the Man in the Black Hat journeys outside, warily onto the city's streets, seeking a latte coffee and a donut. There is a meeting of some importance later, he recalls, this afternoon, to discuss something. He has to be there. "He": the Very Important Man in the Black Hat. His falling-apart postmodern mind can't remember exactly what the meeting is to be about.

A homeless man stands threateningly on the sidewalk outside the local Starbucks. The man's features, or maybe just his eyes, resemble those of a prep school classmate from many years ago. The Man in the Black Hat wants to believe this man before him is a self-made failure. Why, once this fellow had been as privileged as himself! To admit there is something wrong with the city which surrounds him, with this civilization, is a conclusion he dare never admit, because it would pull out the foundation from beneath his all-powerful station; that which has fuled his identity, his success, his corrupt decisions these many years. The homeless man points a finger of accusation at him. In response he embraces the man.

"My friend! My former classmate!" he says to the smelly beggar. "You're sick! You're paranoid. It's conspiracy which you believe. Conspiracy! It's not true. Not true! Your eyes of accusation are not true! You need help. Get away from me!"

The Man in the Black Hat is running back down the street the way he came, scampering home, fleeing from himself while very upset at the world because he forgot to buy at Starbucks his coffee and donut.

7 comments:

jimmy grace said...

"forgot to buy at Starbucks his coffee and donut."

Strangely worded phrase to end with.

Still, I like it when you make art instead of whine.

King said...

Think about this sentence and where the emphasis is.
I could make it, "forgot to buy his coffee and donut at Starbucks."
But this would make the reason he was upset, not that he didn't buy his donut, but that he didn't buy it at STARBUCKS (as opposed to Dunkin Donuts).
I wanted to parallel also the earlier "coffee and donut" phrase.
Very very minor points, I know, but there is a logic to how I write things.
BTW-- documenting corruption is hardly whining.
Maybe all of George W's critics are simply whining about him?
("Creative" writers are always nitpicking details, which in the final analysis hardly matter. NO general reader goes through text that slowly.
When watching a movie, is it better to get lost in the story, or to be analyzing each camera placement, each shot, every editing jump?)
More chapters to come. . . .

jimmy grace said...

How about "forgot to buy his Starbucks coffee?" Then it makes the point that the substance itself has been branded by corporate interest. Also, I don't think they sell donuts at Starbucks.

Your post of Philly politics isn't whining. But most of your posts in the past are whiny as shit. Glad to see you're not doing that. I can't really follow this movie plot you're doing, but at least you're doing something other than ranting.

How come when you talk about details you're explaining your logic, and when I do it I'm "nitpicking?"

chilly charlie said...
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chilly charlie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
King said...

"Grace"-- you see what happens when I allow anonymous comments?
FYI: I've deleted two remarks, and temporarily shut off comments. I'm going to ask everyone AGAIN to post here under their own identity.
Everyone, including you, "Grace," or I'll go to managed comments like other blogs have done.
p.s. When I talked about documneting corruption, I meant in the literary realm, which the ULA has done time and again.
p.p.s. "forgot to buy his Starbucks coffee" has no music to it.

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