Zounds! A Blog Entry!

November 8, 2009

Reality

Rather than ruminate on how long it’s been since I last posted on this forum (17 days – I’ve been spending my “writing block” on translation projects, my dissertation and a filmography for a book), I will elaborate on a few of the major events that have marked the last two weeks.

Our film AOP, a mockumentary about a secret West German fetish, debuted at the HFF “Konrad Wolf” as part of the end of orientation festivities on Friday October 23rd.  It went over lukewarm compared with the other “Knaller” made by the other nine groups (at least 3 of which took place in a bathroom), but director Maurice M. Mohn swore to me that the film “wasn’t unsuccessful” at the party afterwards.  Speaking of THAT party:  it was held after 11:00 p.m. at a sketchy, illegal club in Kreuzkölln with no fire exits, no windows, a sketchy fridge full of bottled beer and nothing but techno beats (the latter being a plus against the other factors).  I sort of plowed my way through the packed bathroom line to reach the exit around 2:30 after quaffing a few cheap beers and yelling my way through several conversations in the smoky darkness.  An experience, to be sure.

I went to a wonderful Fulbright brunch on Sunday October 25th held by the generous Luisa Greenfield and Ming Tsao in Kreuzberg, where I met Jacob Comenetz, a former Fulbrighter now working at the Bundespresseagentur (more on him to come) and got a pile of great book recommendations from Ming about writing about the electronic music aesthetic (you want that list? Send a comment my way!).  Later that day, I picked up Kat at the Berlin Tegel airport, who successfully got her very heavy baggage out of the terminal without a cart (or my help, since that’s how European airports work) and we ate out at Tuk-Tuk, the Indonesian restaurant down the street from us.

Having Kat around has been great for many reasons.  Here are a few:

* Cessation of married-man-long-distance loneliness;

* More satisfying sleep;

* The apartment is now warmer;

* Increased intake of generally nutritious food that tastes good;

* New impulse to plan social events and outings, and I can show her all the old stuff I’ve gotten to know;

* Celebrating birthdays and holidays is much more meaningful again!

In the first week (Oct. 26 – Nov. 1st), I purposefully overscheduled us with many social events, including coffee with Kira and Beverly and dinner with the same, carving pumpkins with Katie Weeks and Hilary Bown, Luisa’s film screening on Friday night, and a Fulbright alumni Halloween party at Joe’s Bar in Prenzlauer Berg on Saturday night with Jacob.  I did so to make Kat feel at home and connected here, which also conversely made me feel more at home and connected here as well.  Speaking of Luisa’s screening, we had a great turn-out for the two shorter, more experimental films (Light and Bridegroom… see below) but, since we started over an hour late, over half the audience missed the wonderful mess that was John Ford’s Seven Women (1966).  We hope that everybody returns for our continuing Ford/Straub pairings, as well as other assorted film gems we manage to procure.  As for the Halloween party, Kat and I went as a vampire-zombie duo who hated each other through our expressions on our T-shirts:  “Vampires Bite” and “Zombies Need Brains.”  Ha ha.

This last week has presented us with opportunities to walk around and shop (such as in Kreuzberg’s famous Bergmannstrasse), watch movies together (many reviewed below) and get our visas (by waking up at 3 a.m. and surmounting the evil LABO).  All in all a good time, and I anticipate more to come.

Professionally speaking, I’ve had some ups and downs the last two weeks.  Ups:  I spent four hours with Herr Dieter Kosslick, director of the Berlinale, and two hours with Dr. Gottfried Langenstein, director of ARTE; I’ve found hundreds of newspaper articles with revealing insights on the reception of the Indianerfilme in East Germany; I’ve met up with Reinhild Steingröver of the University of Rochester and established contact with several other scholars working on parallel topics to my dissertation.  Downs: I lost my first month’s worth of book/film notes due to a faulty data back-up attempt, so I’ve got another 10 hours of work to do in reconstructing it.  This is the way it goes.

And one final note:  if you’re ever on Akazienstrasse in Schöneberg, DO NOT eat at the South Indian restaurant called Chennai Dosai, not only because their food is not particularly good, but because they played the opening track from the Hrithik Roshan sci-fi Bollywood film Koi Mil Gya (2003) on a loop THE ENTIRE TIME WE SAT THERE.  It was a unique form of tourist torture, though I’m sure they weren’t expecting a customer who knew the film.

Fantasy

Posse (dir. Mario van Peebles, USA 1993)

Woody Strode, Big Daddy Kane, and many other prominent African-Americans star in this somewhat violent, misogynist and cliché Western.  Its primary contradiction lies in its seeming original mission – to re-insert African-Americans into a Western film tradition absolutely dominated by actors coded as “white” –  and its aesthetic outcome – a cheap Leone treasure/revenge plot with a lot of melodramatic cheese and macho strutting from Van Peebles.  The fact that I couldn’t really read the blocky explanatory text at the end didn’t really detract from the palpably saccharine coating that Van Peebles put on this piece of macho-masculine self-glorification.

The Treasure of Silver Lake (dir. Harald Reinl, FRG/France/Yugoslavia 1963)

The film that started the whole Euro-Western trend, and a completely necessary entry in the cinema books next to adventure films such as Errol Flynn’s Captain Blood (1935)or Lucas’ and Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981).  The superhuman duo of Winnetou (Pierre Brice) and Old Shatterhand (Lex Barker) stumble upon an injustice committed (the murder of Götz George’s German immigrant father) and a treasure to discover.  Let’s just say that, on a superficial level, the film absolutely delivers:  colorful landscapes, bold action sequences, and plot twists that still convince the 8 year-old inside of you.  You only think about the crazy exoticism of the whole charade afterwards…

The Sons of Great Bear (dir. Josef Mach, GDR 1966)

The East German response to Reinl and Wendlandt’s Winnetou films, The Sons of Great Bear is the most “historically accurate” of all the DEFA Indianerfilme and also one of the most visually compelling.  That being said, Mach had little idea how to direct an action sequence, so the ending fight scene is confusing and frustrating to say the least, not to mention more-or-less tacked on to Liselotte Welskopf-Henrich’s original source material.  The press reviews made sure to note how much actor Gojko Mitic’s physique looked like the “real-life” Shoshone, though their basis on which to judge that comes from other Westerns’ portrayal of Native Americans.  Hmmm….

Little Big Man (dir. Arthur Penn, USA 1970)

Thomas Berger’s picaresque about the only white survivor of Little Bighorn, a man brought up by the Cheyenne (a.k.a. the human beings) named Jack, is expertly executed by Penn, if awkwardly assembled as a whole.  General Custer’s portrayal in the film is nothing short of brilliant – an arrogant prick more than a proper villain – and the Cheyenne are given a lot of positive screen-time.  Of course, Dustin Hoffman’s Jack dominates the majority of the film, with mixed results.

Battleship Potemkin (dir. Sergei Eisenstein, Russia 1925)

Restored 35mm print containing all the original scenes?  Check.
Live accompaniment by an adept pianist?  Check.
Kat’s first time seeing a leftist modernist classic?  Check.
I really can’t say anything more, other than that the Kino Arsenal has a special place in my heart.

Trick ‘r Treat (dir. Michael Dougherty, USA 2008)

A kind of Four Rooms treatment of Halloween, Trick ‘r Treat is a very smooth movie with regard to horror clichés, playing on one’s expectations, and the usual twists and turns one expects of even the slasher genre nowadays.  One should watch this with one’s tongue firmly in cheek, even through all the horrifying bits.  I say no more.

The Omen (dir. Richard Donner, UK/USA 1976)

Um… Gregory Peck’s character is kind of dumb?  This is at least what the film suggests, after one is led through a constant barrage of corroborating evidence that demonstrates his son is the antichrist, and he still doesn’t seem to get it.  Oh well:  there are many other films with evil children that work with the formula that The Omen put forth, so I suppose it’s influential.

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (dir. Stephen Norrington, USA 2003)

This was the second time I’ve seen the film, and the second time I’ve seen it in Berlin (the last time was with Mary Brandel in 2003 – and I hated it then too.)  Alan Moore’s excellent graphic novel was to be transformed into a grand piece of pulp, and instead turned into a nightmarish gobbledy-gook of lame special FX (including the atrocious Venice sequence), too many characters running around (including “Tom Sawyer,” their worst revision), and sequel-baiting (the *ahem* “ending”).  Stuart Townsend is about the only redeeming feature of this feature, and that’s because he’s so damn charming in any case.

V for Vendetta (dir. James McTeigue, UK/Germany 2006)

Another slightly second-rate “good” film from the Wachowski Brothers, V for Vendetta continuously bills itself as a smart action thriller which raises bits of moral ambiguity for the postmodern cinema-goer, but is ultimately far too utopian about the power of the masses to stomach.  Alan Moore wasn’t nearly as idealistic as this, and far more critical of the respective places within society that Evie, V and the masses inhabit.  You can tell through the exquisite detail of the sets that the Babelsberg people worked on this one, though.

Genau Gleich (dir. Burkhart Wunderlich, Germany 2009)

A film that I’m currently subtitling for Burkhart about an incestuous relationship between German-Polish twins and an old woman on a bench waiting for Elvis.  An absolutely brilliant concluding shot is likely to give this one high marks at the Berlinale if, indeed, we manage to get the film into competition.

Light (dir. Marie Menken, USA 1964)

Dizzying Christmas lights, spinning motion, elliptical editing.  The lost American avant-garde.  Shall we see it again?

The Bridegroom, the Comedienne and the Pimp (dir. Jean-Marie Straub, Daniele Huillet, FRG 1968)

I must’ve seen this film something like eight or nine times since I’ve come to UMass.  Nevertheless, the mixture of prostitutes against an industrial backdrop, Ferdinand Bruckner’s “The Pains of Youth” by Fassbinder’s antitheater group, and the intense chase/marriage sequence at the end never fail to incite thoughts of alternatives to mainstream cinema and new spatial configurations of narrative.

Seven Women (dir. John Ford, USA 1966)

Ford’s last film is an outright laugh riot starring Anne Bancroft as a self-confident doctor who winds up in a doomed community of American missionaries in Mongolia.  Oh wait – this wasn’t supposed to be funny?  Then perhaps there’s too much Sirkian irony in this overstuffed, full-color studio epic, which is probably why the film was buried after its creation:  Ford’s film is trapped between gender and a hard place.   Oh yeah, and there’s actually eight women, but one of them happens to be Chinese…

Coraline (dir. Henry Selick, USA 2009)

Coraline is a well-executed animated feature in glorious 3D that was screened at the HFF as part of our overall 3D research project.  Many of the fantastic landscapes, both interiors and exteriors, are enhanced by the 3D effects, but these effects don’t overwhelm the adaptation from the original text.  What does overwhelm the adaptation is the inclusion of a male character who has to save Coraline’s butt in the end, classifying it as yet another film with a strong female character who needs a man to both tame and save her.  Why can’t Hollywood ever be done with its male heroes?

G-Force (dir. Hoyt Yeatman, USA 2009)

Most 3D films rely on re-vamped spatial relations that make tighter spaces seem even tighter and wide open spaces seem glorious.  So what better means of exploring tight spaces and big vistas than making a supremely small cast, through whose eyes we must view the world?  Such is the visual premise of G-Force, which has guinea pig commandos saving the world from a silly plot in a classic Jerry Bruckheimer fashion.  Nevertheless, the effects are convincing and most of the side-plots are not particularly annoying.  I would say:  Mr. Yeatman’s background in visual FX for advertising and trailers paid off in a big way for the film, though its effects scenes are so pronounced as to make all of the dialog sequences seem drawn-out and dull.  Definitely a movie that attempts to satiate a hyper-active age group.  Critics who don’t fully “get” 3D films and who are thoroughly in Pixar’s camp are liable to hate it,  but I can root for it from the sidelines.

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A Bureaucratic Interlude

September 17, 2009

Reality

The last few days I spent in Göttingen for the Fulbright Orientation.  Highlights included a city tour conducted in German that emphasized the city’s literary history, as it was the kind of epicenter of early German romanticism, and many opportunities to get to know my fellow Fulbrighters.  Unlike the American programs I have dealt with in the past, I know that Fulbright has effectively selected some of the best projects that exist today in German Studies, so the students who have these projects tend to be fully developed scholars.  Thus it was a pleasure to spend an extended time with them in Best Western am Papenberg, and I feel that we will serve as an appropriate support network for each other (rather than as a cluster of Amis afraid of those pesky Germans, like in past years).

That being said, we were confronted with a lot of bureaucracy, much of which I still need to settle today:  residence permit, visa, bank account and other pesky details need to be resolved quickly, but the German system moves characteristically slow.  Patience and persistence will get me through, though it still puts a small obstacle in my explorations as I seek these different Ämter.  Thanks to the Meldeamt in the Rathaus Schöneberg closing early, however, I got to wander all over Schöneberg and see the endless cafés, ethnic restaurants and small shops that make up this vibrant Stadtteil.  Some things I spotted yesterday included a delicious-looking Indian restaurant YogiHaus, a café with a bunch of ex-pats outside of it called the DoubleEye, and a café for women only called Café Pink.  That being said, I hope to actually make it to Potsdam today, though, and see where I’ll be spending a lot of my time.

This weekend, there’s a Berlin electronic music festival BerMuDa that I plan on attending.  Maybe then I’ll get to see what this esteemed Berlin club scene is all about…

Fantasy

(Note: I recently became obsessed with this role-playing game called Swashbucklers of the Seven Skies and began writing a bit of cliché-driven adventure fiction set in its story universe, which is analogous to that of Skies of Arcadia or Last Exile.  This will be updated every week or every other week, I imagine.)

The Peppersmoke Players across the Seven Skies

by Evan Torner, Fulbright Berlin 2009-2010

Chapter 1 – An Authorless Play

Fatima couldn’t remember her damn lines.  Rubbing her eyes from the wisps of irritating smoke that occasionally wafted in from the city, she pulled the well-worn play manuscript from her coat-pocket and paged through the delicate paper to the problem passage.  “’Til the dark of that very day,” she read aloud in a wooden voice.  “When no one another one doth pay, shall ye ne’er cross this way.”  What stilted poetry!  Her thoughts betrayed a firm indignation to her role in this whole production.  She was, after all, a skysailor and a musician, not an actor.

Captain Misra Naftaly was all too blame, of course.  At their last port, the hitherto insignificant isle of Therem, a courier had given her a neat package containing seven copies of a play.  Naftaly had taken the material into her room that night and emerged the next morning – their day of departure – woefully sleep-deprived.  She confided in Fatima, her own first mate, that her blatant irresponsibility to her crew was well-warranted, for this play was a top-notch piece of work that merited a performance at the Peppersmoke Players’ next play date.  Fatima had then reminder her that Mr. Duchamps was in control of the troupe’s repertoire, and that she was under the impression the Agua Azul schedule had already been finalized and put to ink.  The captain had turned to Fatima at that moment, hefted a copy of the play with vigor and exclaimed:  “Duchamps not only finalizes the schedule, but he owns the opera house, meaning I need only persuade one man.  And the play will do all the persuading for me.”

Indeed, Duchamps was overwhelmed by the work, deeming it in his pompous baritone to be the “greatest piece I’ve ever perused over lunch” – a high compliment, given how many lunches he himself took.  He immediately set about preparations for a grand premiere in Agua Azul and inquired about the whereabouts of its playwright, as he most certainly should be invited.  Yet no author’s name stood on its cover, neither stamp nor seal on its binding and not even a set of initials that marked from whence it had come.  This turn of events so perplexed Misra that she released one of her two rare, precious messenger pigeons back to the now significant isle of Therem in the hope that the courier who gave her the manuscripts might release the location of his client, if indeed he were still on the isle at all.  Misra did not ordinarily waste pigeon trips on frivolous affairs, out of fear of losing them to their own desires or those of others.

In any case, once Duchamps had decided on performing the accursed play, he then broke the less-than-gratifying news that the play required a cast of seven players on-stage most of the time.  An impossible task, since the entire Peppersmoke Players consisted of only four regular actors, one stage technician, one musician and three skysailors who usually did little.  Nell Sturfield and Magnus Firedancer (likely a pseudonym) were both trained in the classic Kroyese acting model on Viridia and always swapped the chief protagonists between them.  Aesop Southwind Duchamps, an ex-law enforcement officer long associated with the theater scene on Crail, usually donned the roles of the avuncular type or the lecherous scoundrels, while the Ilwuzi ruffian Chatterbox Chang was stuck with whatever roles there were left over, often playing four different bit-parts over the course of three acts.  Rembrandt Silver, an enterprising koldun from Barathi, plied his magical abilities in the lighting and special effects trades, and Fatima the Fearless provided background music when called for, as the Zultanista skysailor had learned many song hooks over her shipping assignments.  Captain Misra Naftaly the Refined was a connoisseur with little practical showbiz experience who sometimes played Archduke Tyrol in “The Ballad of Shellwick” or a warrior woman in “Origins of Barathi,” but generally avoided an on-stage presence in favor of a faux impresario role.  And the two remaining skysailors Abraham and Dustin were contractors earning their pay – they stayed away from the Peppersmoke plays, even the troupe’s profits determined their wages.

But Seven Goddesses for Seven Gods, the name Duchamps had given the play, which also had no title, required all the active human-power in the troupe.  Dustin and Abraham even grudgingly agreed to usher for some drinking money.  In the piece, seven goddesses bar their husbands from entering their collective palace until the situation among the humans in the Seven Skies is fixed – that everyone be rendered equal and even justifiably so.  The seven gods then turn to the World to try and effect change to woo their wives.  This basic plot structure, of course, had been employed before in dozens of other works, which usually amounted to the husbands attempting to cheat their way to sexual reunion with their wives.  Yet this particular play took a more nuanced approach:  each god approaches some fundamental truth about the radical redistribution of wealth and power and eloquently explores its paradoxical qualities.  This was a play superficially about uxorious lust, but more precisely leveled against a society floating in the Seven Skies that did not value each newborn child equally, nor provided for all when all were needy.  “A radical work like this,” Duchamps explained with wine droplets hanging from his moustache, “requires special treatment from its interpreters.  Since there are seven gods or goddesses on-stage at any given time – but never all fourteen at once – we must at least remain faithful to the original vision of the work and include all the actors on-stage when arranged.”

Fatima had refused to participate resolutely at first, instead offering to shave his wine-soaked moustache with her prodigiously sharp cutlass and produced said blade during the heightened course of the conversation.  Duchamps’ training with the Crailese Falcons of Agua Azul had kicked in, however, and she immediately found her brandished blade expertly trapped by the handle of a simple truncheon he kept on his person for just such occasions.  A stalemate reached in the physical confrontation, Fatima pushed back in the contest of wills, declaring herself ex officio as first mate of the Peppersmoke if forced to act in the work.  Naftaly gently suggested a possible bonus based on the opening weekend’s revenue to help assuage Fatima’s creditors at Agua Azul’s famous Diamant Casino, to which she guiltily acquiesced.

Now she was standing on the primary dock of Agua Azul’s harbor on the sky isle of Crail keeping watch on the cargo ramp with smoke stinging her eyes and force-feeding bits of rhymed “god-speak” into her head.  Her resentment might have blossomed strange mental growths and engulfed her senses had not a figure approached the ramp precisely as she looked down at what evidently was her next preposterous line.  Rare book be damned, she threw the play to the dock wood, grabbed the nearest long object – a long hook used to pull small boats in and catch the occasional ill-fated fish – and struck the ship’s plank with it so as to bar the figure’s next footstep upwards.

Suspended in mid-step like in a slapstick comedy, the man’s foot abruptly dropped and his face turned widdershins with an obviously forced smile.  He had bushy black hair extending to his chin in a thin line, framing his dimples.  He sported a velvety mauve frock coat, white cloth pants and a pair of boots so expensive-looking that he had to be a Colronan Royalist:  sensuously laced up the side, tastefully flared at the calf and assertively pointy in the toe.  A Colronan saber hung jauntily at his side, meaning he’d either fleeced a Musketeer or had at least some working knowledge of Nangatrad fencing technique.  His gaze fell back on his obstructor.

Fatima came from the other edge of the Colronan isle, the Colronan Zultanate.  Above all things, this meant her hat was her most impressive article of clothing.  It was a fancy tri-corner with tiny silver beads that reflected the moonlight, held in place at a canted angle by her star-studded head-wrap.  The rest of her garb hung loosely off her body for better movement:  a long off-white skysailor’s shirt, baggy cerulean pants and padded sailor slippers good for gripping deck and line alike.  Lashed across her body, a substantial musket belt and bandoleer sported no less than four short muskets, a light shamshir and a parrying dagger.  The weight of all this weaponry was what forced her loose clothing firmly to her skin, still maintaining a degree of modesty in the face of total strangers such as this man.

“Pardon,” he politely stated in an exaggerated Royalist accent.  “But is this perhaps the Peppersmoke?”

“Perhaps,” Fatima replied coolly.  Her smuggler days had given her an easy diffidence to potential clients.  “What’s your trade?”

“I am but a performing artist, like many on your ship,” he replied with a slight, unconscious bow.  “An artist disposed to speak with the captain about her new play.”  Fatima’s hand eased on the hook as she considered all at once the possibility of having an understudy lift this accursed role from her shoulders.  But the man’s obvious impatience together with his Colronan Royalist egotism kept her hook in his way.

“She’s in rehearsal preparations at the moment – an unusual occurrence, to be fair.  Shall I pass on your message?”  The man’s nose lifted almost imperceptibly.

“No, you shan’t.  I am Tellebrandt Maurison of Sir Edoard Duvalson’s Grand Opera Company and I insist on speaking with your captain.”

“And I counter-insist that she’s in rehearsal,” she said, then added:  “What common purpose do we have with your troupe anyway?”

“Company,” he corrected.  “The purpose of an … erroneous date.  A scheduling oversight.  You see, Sir Edoard has chosen the third Windsday of Stones to hold a gripping performance of Menonuaque’s glorious Perish Noble Kroy! in which I play the part of the pacifist Quinlan and one of the First Orl’s ill-fated goats.  I’m sure you know the story.”

“I don’t.”  Fatima found being obstinate entertaining with this guy around.

“You don’t?  Anyway, your captain’s troupe’s performance of this 7 Gods play or whatever:  it opens the same night and Sir Edoard fears our beloved public might unevenly distribute themselves twixt the two acts.”

“Our date is not in error,” Fatima stated hastily.  “And Edoard would have done better to come here in person to make such demands on our schedule.”

“He sends his deepest regrets, but is preoccupied with…”  Fatima cut his statement short with a gesture.

“My captain’s preoccupied with similar tasks, I assure you,” she replied sternly.  “But I vouchsafe she won’t change the date on such flimsy pretenses as those you seem to extend.”

“If you’ll allow me to… ”

“You?  Under no circumstances.”  Tellebrandt Maurison’s hand was now fully covering his saber hilt.  Fatima’s eyes narrowed.

“Then, good madam,” he spat sardonically.  “On behalf of my employer Sir Edoard, I challenge thee to a duel beyond that of our wits.”

With that vague-but-somewhat-threatening remark, he applied a firm tug on his saber to loose if from its sheath for combat.  A deafening pop and a sudden pain stopped his arm in its tracks.  He gawked as it fell limp to his side.  Without letting go of the hook, Fatima had drawn one of her pistols, cocked the hammer and shot his dueling arm square on the bone in one fluid motion.  No further fight would be seen, as Tellebrandt clutched his bleeding arm and opened his mouth slowly as if to scream.  Satisfied with her technique of persuasion, Fatima spun the empty pistol back toward her and pushed it back into its place on her bandoleer.  She’d been practicing that quickdraw maneuver for many years, but this time it was an existential work of art:  a perfect act conceived and executed.  She waved away the remaining smoke from the pistol.

“In this state,” Fatima declared triumphantly.  “You’re quite obviously less than duel-worthy.  If your Sir Edoard still has such trifling business with the captain after this incident, he will show up in person and take it up first with me!”  Accompanying the dusty stench of gunpowder was a wet hint of human blood, and now Tellebrandt’s silent maw began to usher noises of pain and complaint.  “Don’t attempt to summon the Falcons:  the ones portside are only interested in settling stolen cargo cases, since goods and tariffs are their ducat-flows.  Personal disputes between two non-residents of Crail like us rank next to those of treehuggers and monkeysquids –  a curiosity more than a case.”  Tellebrandt doubled over onto his knees.

“This is an injury most foul, you…” he said through clenched teeth.  Fatima drew a fresh pistol with the same hand with which she shot him.

“I hear such injuries are thrice as painful when shot twice.  You’d best be hence.”  Though wounded and angered, Tellebrandt rose to his feet and walked away rather calmly, a drizzle of escaped blood drops staining the harbor.  When she raised the hook again, her hand began involuntarily shaking from the excess adrenaline.  She heard her name called.  It was Magnus.

“What’s the trouble worth all the noise?”  he shouted down from the shipdeck, his long blond hair hanging lazily overboard.

“I just turned away a bad actor, ‘tis all.”

“Waking up some of us, that’s what you’re doing.”  Magnus said with a yawn.  He’d clearly been napping when not needed at today’s rehearsal.  “An actor, you say?  Too bad – we could’ve used a few extra hands on this production overall.  Well, at least you only winged him, or else we’d have to use Duchamps to pull some strings with the Falcons to look the other way.”

“Never you mind,” she said, changing the subject.  “When’s your plank-watch begin again?”

“Quarter of an hour, which is when Nell and the captain need you for rehearsal.  How are those lines coming?”

“Perfectly fine,” Fatima said, but as she looked down at the dock she immediately knew this was an outright lie.  Her book was gone.  Now she really couldn’t remember her lines.