Friday, July 6, 2012

...For readers with short-attention spans...

Let's face it, as Americans, we like our prose, fast and furious. Quick. Rapid-fire. Designed to please. No time to dawdle, just cut to the chase. Bim. Bam. Boom. Rat-at-tat-tat. Blam, blam. Make it sizzle. Make it zing. Keep the story moving, always moving. Make it shine. Make it pop. Cut out all the lame description and keep those characters talking...and doing stuff... Consider the following except from chapter 1 of a soon-to-be-released best-seller, entitled Implode the Circus Tent by up-and-coming author, Mr. Dale Dean Yonkers Grisham Price Leonard Apologetica. Sit back and take note all you Proust fans and Musil addicts, all you Henry James wannabes, this is how it should be done. Am I right?

I sprinted down the road, chasing the blond-haired clown. The one with the wrinkled shirt, the red nose, the big floppy feet. Circus in town, next to the vacant lot. Main Street and Vine. Hey man, stop. I'm talkin' to you. I said stop. I order you to stop. The blond-haired clown, drops his ice cream cone, looks back at me, stumbling. Who, me? Yeah, you. Me? You want me to stop? Yes. I take out of my briefcase a long, menacing taser. I show it to him, slowly and deliberately. Wanting him to cough, to start sweating. Wanting him to blow his nose with that ridiculous multi-colored handkerchief. And he does. Are you a cop or somepin? But I don't wait for him to finish. And I don't try to explain. What did I do to you, man? You're a clown, that's all. I can't stand clowns. I have an irrational fear of them. Well? Well. He panics, falling over backwards as I close in.  You can get help for that, man. You don't have to hurt us clowns. He reaches into his clown bag and pulls out a large ridiculous looking pop gun. He aims and fires. There are no bullets, just a flag that says "Bang." You fired first buddy, now it's my turn.  I smile and walk slowly, robotically, into his personal space. Just then, I hear a young woman screaming: no Bertrand, no. I'm Bertrand by the way. The screams fade. She runs away in horror. In a few seconds the scene will descend into dust and noise: Punch. Slam. Bounce. Biff. Zaaapppp! Why'd you tase me bro? I just wanted to. That's a lame reason. Yeah, I know. Well....uh....whadya gonna do now, 'cause now you just made me mad. He pulls off his wig. I'm just gonna wait. Wait for what? Wait for you to do somepin. Like you want me to fight back? Yeah, whatyda got, clown? But just then the young acrobatic woman with the braided dark hair came zooming by, running at us the way acrobats run. Out of breath, in that brazen leotard of hers. You two should not be fighting. Who is this boy - she says, half ignoring me. No matter. She says the words using a heavy accent possibly European, possibly fake. Clowny ("Kah-la-howny") - she purrs - you've got to help me. I owe Rico $500 Euros.  Euros, I say. You mean dollars. What? Clowny ("kah-la-howny") are you listening? The clown pretends to be oblivious. No can do. Rico will hurt both of us - do you understand? Can't you see that I'm in the middle of beating up this punk? What punk ("poh-unk") ? Are you talking to me? Are you talkin' bout me? Now I really want to go ballistic on this clown. This stupid kid with the taser. Are you blind? That does it. I reach with my taser, but the acrobatic lady body blocks me and I fall hard.

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