Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Stygian and Protean

I know, I know, two posts in one day. What the hell, right? But I had to link this post from Sargon the Terrible. It's a flash fiction piece which was his entry in our writing group's Christmas Fragment contest. The theme was Robots and the challenge word was "stygian."

The story itself reminds me of an incident from my past which compels me to name-drop. When I was reviewing movies for The Daily Oklahoman over twenty years ago, I went to Hollywood on a publicity junket for a movie called "Amazing Grace and Chuck." It was a mediocre movie about a Little League baseball player who refuses to play sports as long as there are nuclear weapons in the world, and the way his strike grows to paralyze the entire nation. I wasn't interested by the premise and didn't much like the movie when I saw it.

But I hadn't gone on the junket because I was interested in the movie. I went on the junket because Jamie Lee Curtis was in the movie, and I had a huge crush on her. There was no way I was going to miss the chance to meet her in person.

So the big day comes and there I am in a room with Jamie Lee Curtis and two other reporters. And I am so in awe that I literally can't form sentences, can't formulate a single interesting question. And at some point, as she is talking about incidents in her past career, she brings up an interview by "that bitch" from Rolling Stone or somewhere, who had used a word to describe her.

And she couldn't remember the word. "It means unformed," she said. So I figured, here's my chance to impress Jamie Lee Curtis with my vocabulary (yes, I'm that big of a geek). So I threw out a few words, but none of them were what she was thinking of.

So she waves it off and goes on to another subject, but she keeps looking at me. And I, of course, being both smitten and near-sighted, am staring back at her with some intensity. So much so that she stops the interview and says something like, "And see, now it's really bugging me, because you keep staring at me, and I know you think I'm stupid because I can't think of that word."

And of course, I can't say, "No, I don't think you're stupid. I'm just in love with you." So I don't say anything.

And the interview goes on, with many uneasy glances at me, and suddenly, she stops in mid-sentence and leaps off the couch, thrusting her finger into the air and shouting, "PROTEAN! That's the word! Protean! Write that down. P-R-O-T-E-A-N. Ha! I showed you."

And thus ended my one and only meeting with the celebrity girl of my dreams. I mean, there's no cursing robot-pirate in it, but you can't have those in every story.

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