Wednesday, February 27, 2008

This is Duane’s Thing

Originally inspired by/posted as a story for Monster 155 on Stefan Bucher's Daily Monster. Posting stories in the comments of someone else's blog and then modifying them slightly and posting them here is the only thing I know how to do, except I can juggle and I know a little Spanish. Ask me to ask you where the library is, BECAUSE I WILL DO IT. The book comes out in a week; everyone's buying one, right? Great, awesome.


“This is an early concept sketch for the Admiral Ackbar character by Ralph McQuarrie,” our guide says, pointing to a black, blotchy illustration labeled “Ackbar #155”. We’re on the last leg of our San Francisco trip, and are touring Industrial Light & Magic (this is Duane’s thing). I don’t want to be here, but he put up with my whole family for nine days (we’re talking about talking about getting married so I said he had to meet them). So I can throw him this bone.

“As you can see, the character was a little tough to pin down and went through some pretty drastic revisions in the early stages,” the guide says, “This sketch is actually starting to get to the essence of the character, although here, you can see, Ackbar is female and the head is a little megalencephalic.” Everyone is quiet. “Biggish,” the guide says.

“And what is this little guy in the brain area there?” Duane asks. The tour guide sighs and said, “Jedi came out about a year after ET, and George was so impressed with it, he really got it in his head that Matthew De Meritt should play Ackbar.” He points at a part of the drawing that could best be described as “a little-boy-crouched-in-the-giant-brain-sac-of-a-squid-thing” and says, “That’s where De Meritt would have been positioned in the costume.” Duane leans over and stage-whispers to me, “De Meritt was the kid without legs that played ET.”

“Just in some scenes,” the tour guide says. He looks around nervously and then whispers, “George just gets these ideas and won’t let them go. They had already started production and it turned out De Merritt didn’t want to do it. Davis was already overextended...” Here, Duane whispers, “Warwick Davis: he played the main Ewok. And Willow in the movie Willow. And the Leprechaun in the move Leprechaun. And he’s been in all the Harry Potters.” The tour guide waits patiently for him to finish and then says, “...and so the part eventually went to Timothy Rose who, because of the way the mask was positioned, had to look out of...”

“The nostrils!” Duane shouts and raises his hand for a high five, which the tour guide gives him, but only after about ten seconds pass and it’s clear Duane isn’t putting his hand down.

We take a break not long after this, and Duane goes into the men’s room. The tour guide comes up to me. “Are you two serious?” he asks. I tell him it’s not really any of his business, but yes, we’re thinking about getting married, although as I say this, I think: this has been a tough nine days. He didn’t really get along with my family, and this fanboy obsession stuff really kind of came out of nowhere. Back in Madison, most of our friends are my friends and he doesn’t really act like this. “You don’t seem all that into this,” the tour guide says.

“Not really,” I say, “This is Duane’s thing. I’ve seen parts of Star Wars on TV, but that’s about the extent of my knowledge. I couldn’t tell you a single line that Admiral Ackbar said in that movie.”

About this time Duane comes out of the men’s room, and says, “Hey, you know how I took that multi-vitamin at your parents’ this morning?” (I nod.) “Well, when I was peeing just now, I looked down, and my pee was this fluorescent yellow color, and it was like my johnson was like this, I don’t know, like, flesh light saber. It was hilarious.”

I look back over at the tour guide, who raises his eyebrows and locks his eyes with mine. In a weird, hoarse voice he says, “IT’S A TRAP!

I look at concept sketch #155 for Admiral Ackbar. She’s wearing a wedding dress, and she has a little boy wedged in her brain making it impossible for her to move forward. I freak out, and what always happens, happens. My brain starts arguing with itself: “Prepare to retreat!” it says,

and:
“You won’t get another chance at this!”

and:
“We have no choice!”

and:
“The shields are down!”

and:
“Commence attack!”

and finally:
“Move the fleet away from the Death Star!”

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