Thursday, 12 August 2010

The Old Boys

A continuing and occasional series of short pieces featuring legends who have slipped into an alternative universe. This time - Quentin Tarantino in Nativity Massacre

The child was maybe seven years old, dressed in a sheet with a messy crop of blonde hair and tears dribbling down his flushed cheeks. Other boys and girls stood around him on the bare stage, their eyes wide and their mouths open as the tall man in black paced back and forth, his arms wide and fingers spread as words spat themselves from his mouth at intense volume. Most of the words the children didn’t understand, but a few of the older ones knew they were words they would be punished for saying themselves. Swearing was very wrong.

‘Eleven times I’ve told you to walk across to the door and knock loudly,’ said the man, now standing with his hands on his hips and levelling his cold stare at Charlie, who was now shaking as well as crying. ‘Eleven fucking times! How hard can it be, really? Please, tell me?’

‘I, I, I duh-duh-duh-duh don’t kn-kn-’

‘Let me tell you something, Son, I had a crowd of Chinese extras on set at the Shaw Brothers who could take direction better than you, than all of you, and the only English they knew were the words for money and beer.’ The man stopped and sighed. ‘I assume you all understand what I’m saying?’

None of the children answered, just looked past the man to the sound of the gymnasium door closing, and the relief on many of their faces was obvious as heels clicked across the wooden floor towards them. Charlie ran his sheeted sleeve across his face and left a streak of tears and snot on the cotton. The man span around from his young cast and looked at Mrs Collins. Short and gray, plump verging on heavy, and the head of school drama. And since Miramax had pulled funding and every other studio had rejected his scripts and pitches, his direct superior.

‘Excuse me, Mr Tarantino.’

‘Yes? Can’t you see I’m working?’

‘I apologise. But do you really think this is the right way to approach this? Terrorizing the students in this manner. And I’m not sure some of this material is appropriate.’

‘What? ‘Vision’ isn’t always appropriate, Ma’am, neither is art. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t right.’

‘But I really don’t think the headmaster would approve of-’

‘Of what, exactly?’ Tarantino interrupted, pushing his cap back on his wide forehead.

Mrs Collins swallowed hard before she answered. ‘Of young Charlie Edwards calling the three wise men “motherfuckers”’.

‘Well, do you want to keep this play in the past, Mrs Collins, or make it fit for a modern audience?’

‘I can appreciate certain modern interpretations, Mr Tarantino, such as changing the stable for a drive-in motel, but I must protest over the use of the language.’

‘This is how people on the street talk, Mrs Collins.’

‘Perhaps so, but Joseph promising to penetrate the behind of the Innkeeper-, I mean, Motel Owner’s Mother is rather strong for six-to-nine year olds.’

‘It’s a strong world that we live in. People get fucked in the ass on a daily basis.’

‘Not at this school, Mr Tarantino.’

For a moment there was a standoff as they stared at one and other, their eye contact finally broken when one of the boys broke wind, perhaps with nerves. A small ripple of giggles began until Mrs Edwards silenced them with a practised stare. Tarantino took a step towards her.

‘What do you want?’ he said, his tone more controlled. ‘Tradition? Or cutting edge?’

‘What I want, Mr Tarantino, is for the parents of this establishment to buy a ticket, watch their little darlings, drink a glass of overpriced wine afterward and go home with a warm Christmas glow while the school counts the takings in the hope that we can buy new books next year. If we go down your route, we’ll have the governors rioting in the aisles and civil lawsuits bought upon us before we’ve got time to breathe.’ At this she also took a step forward, until they were almost nose to nose, and spoke in a soft voice. ‘Do we have an understanding?’

‘I’m going for lunch, I don’t need this.’

Mrs Edwards smiled as he strutted towards the doors. ‘I take it we do then? Don’t forget we have a staff meeting at one.’ She stopped, and then almost inaudibly under her breath, and purely for her own amusement, added, ’Motherfucker.’

Quentin Tarantino stepped through the doors and into bright sunlight, washing him in a wave of heat. His car was on the far side of the parking lot and he was already visualising the beer stashed beneath the seat. He started to whistle the melody to The Good, The Bad and The Ugly - that seemed to happen a lot recently. Cowboys liked guns, and a gun seemed like a very attractive prospect these days…

(c) 2010 Rich Wilson


Anonymous said...

Love it bro!! X