Thursday, February 21, 2013

I’d like to thank the Academy…

Photo source: Wikipedia
The Academy Awards are upon us once again. So it seemed like a good time to post this excerpt from my novel Full Asylum. It's mostly self-explanatory; the one thing that you'll need to know is sabo is short for economic saboteur. Economic sabotage is a new category of crime created in the wake of the Third Financial Crisis.

        “And the Oscar for Best Gaffer goes to…Guy Smith, Three Koala Studios.”
        Guy walked down the aisle to the stage accompanied by the Three Koala theme song and the audience’s applause. His denim vest, tool belt, and work boots were out of place among men in tuxedos and women in evening gowns. Accepting the gold statuette, he stepped up to the podium. Behind him, two life-size replicas of the trophy in his hand guarded an ornamental art deco fence. “You know,” he said with an Australian accent, “a few years ago, nobody thought there’d be an award for us gaffers.”

        On the TV at the foot of the bed, Guy Smith explained that this wasn’t just his victory; all gaffers were winners. Lacey rested her head on Gimbel’s bare chest as he poured out the last of the Volta Cola. Her hair was tousled, as were the bedcovers. On the floor, silk pajamas mingled with Gimbel’s pants and the broken pieces of his clock radio. “What’s a gaffer?” she asked.
        “Lighting,” said Gimbel as he handed her a half-filled glass. “The gaffer takes care of all the lighting for a movie.”
        “They give an award for that?” Lacey asked skeptically.
        “Well, there’s skill involved. But in any case, it’s Everyone Wins a Prize Night.”
        On the television, the presentation of awards paused for a musical number. Men in top hats and tails twirled their canes as they sang “Hurrah for Hollywood.”
        “Are they still doing that old song?” Lacey asked.
        “They updated the lyrics,” Gimbel replied. “In the mind of Hollywood, that makes it practically avant-garde.” He turned up the volume so she could hear better.

Hurrah for Hollywood.
We’re always doing good in Hollywood.
We lecture you on global warming
While we’re performing,
And sabos better beware…
        The Oscars went to commercial. Gimbel flipped through the channels. He paused when he saw Bulldozer and the Coroner facing each other across a wrestling ring.

        “WHEN I’M FINISHED WITH YOU,” the Coroner said, “THEY WON’T BE ABLE TO TELL YOU FROM A DEAD FISH AT PIKE’S PLACE MARKET.” The Seattle audience cheered the mention of a local landmark. Hearing someone sneak up behind him, the Coroner turned just in time to see Titan swing a folding chair at his midsection. The Coroner went down like he had been dropped from the Space Needle.

        “You don’t really watch this wrestling show, do you?” Lacey asked.
        “Just for the soliloquies,” Gimbel assured her. He tapped the control pad and the scene returned to Masonic Hall. A split screen appeared. Six people waited eagerly to see which one of them would win the next award. “Hey,” said Gimbel. “What’s Isaac Ross doing there?”

Tomorrow: the abduction of Isaac

Michael Isenberg is the author of Full Asylum, a novel about politics, hospital gowns, and the movies. Check it out on

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