Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. This week’s Spotlight Creator is Rais Bhuiyan:
Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. This week’s Spotlight Creator is Rais Bhuiyan:
What’s a rich man without a solicitor?
Previously Johnny Eager, big game hunter extraordinaire, had a tete-a-tete with a rhinoceros.
The sign above the office door on the London street said “Flip, Fop & Flimby, Solicitors at Law.” “Kind of like lawyers, these solicitors, only English,” thought John Smith, Lady P. P.’s Daddykins. He checked the address to see if it was the one given him by his friend, the prominent New York City lawyer, Norman Amelioretius Nestorsteen. It was.
John Smith had come to London to “give the old girl a poke,” the old girl being his Pocahontas Shipping Line. It was his way of making sure the business got the hands-on treatment she needed. A poke here and a poke there and pretty soon things were hokey-pokey-ing along nicely. All that poking had turned the Shipping Line from a line of tramps into the proper ladies the ships were meant to be.
When he heard the news that there were those about to commit malfeasance against his only child and cheat her out of her titles, he did what he always did. He took matters into his own hands. He was not about to allow anyone to steal what was rightfully hers. But to get to the right course of action, he first had to gather all the facts. Then he would give things the poke they needed to resolve them in his little Mary-Mary’s favor.
He opened the door and stepped into the solicitors’ office. Behind two small desks sat two small men, one on the right, the other on the left. Immediately John Smith knew which was Fop and which was Flimby. Like Chessie, Quill’s older brother, Fop was dressed to the nines with a spot of rouge on each cheek. Any woman would have been pleased to be seen at his side in society. The American could tell he was a dandy dude or rather a doodley dandy as his rich buds back in the Big Apple would say. A regular fop-about.
However, to say that his partner, Flimby, was dog-faced insulted the breed. Hyena yes, dog no.
“Mr. Flimby?” John Smith bowed his head toward Flimby. “Mr. Fop?” He bowed in the direction of Flimby’s partner.
“Yes,“ Flimby said. He was always the one who said the said first.
“Isn’t there a Mr. Flip as well? At least, that’s what I was told.”
Flimby harrumphed his best harrumph, then spoke in a solictoristic monotone, “Not to be flippant about it, Mr. Flip is no longer with the firm. He became rather flippant with a case not too long ago. Drove the client flappers if you know what we mean. Ended in a duel and had himself dueled to death.”
“I see,” John Smith said, looking around the office. There were books and papers and papers and books scattered everywhere. “Let me introduce myself. My name is John Smith and I need your help.”
Fop took a sniff of snuff from his diamond snuff box. “You are not English.” Fop sniffed. “Aristocratic English gentlemen are our only clients.”
“You were recommended. Your reputation is highly regarded by your peers in America.”
Flimby was duly impressed that the firm’s reputation had made it all the way across the pond to the Colonies. He stood up to offer John Smith a chair. “Perhaps we could …”
“We cannot,” Fop interrupted. “It isn’t done, sir.”
Little did Fop know that what John Smith wanted he got. John Smith was a gambler, and he knew how to convince others to show their cards. He had bluffed most of his life. Bluffing was what he did and bluffing was what he would do now.
“I see,” John Smith said, accepting Mr. Flimby’s offer of a chair. “Then you don’t need money. Because I have money. A lot of money. And I am here to make any inconvenience worth your time.”
“You have money?” Flimby asked.
Fop challenged his partner, “It isn’t done, Mr. Flimby. How could we ever live with ourselves?”
“Money can soothe,” John Smith winked, “the worried mind.”
“That’s true, Mr. Fop. Money does soothe. And we do like money, do we not?”
“You’d sell your soul to the devil, Mr. Flimby, if you thought it would bring in a pound.”
“How else are you going to bribe Saint Peter to get him to let you through those Pearly Gates?” John Smith said. “Money does that.”
Fop was having none of this. “It will get you a first-class ticket to hell.”
This was always their strategy. Flimby would be hospitable, offer to take the case. Fop would have an excuse to refuse it. The client would offer more money. Eventually the walls of Jericho came tumbling down. Mr. Fop would yield. Regretfully so. Still, he would yield.
“I would hate,” John Smith said, “to have you go against your conscience. I suppose I must find another solicitor to take the case. But I had heard you gentlemen were very receptive.”
Fop realized he was losing the case. Like the good solicitor he was, he yielded to a point of order. “It is possible that my conscience could be soothed if it was an interesting case. Of course, it would have to be interesting.”
“I see,” John Smith said. “It does involve a titled person.”
“Ah,” Flimby said, sitting back down behind his desk. “A titled person you say.”
“You don’t say.” Mr. Fop popped a lozenge into his mouth. His interest was piqued in a piquéd sort of way.
“I do say,” John Smith said.
“Tell us more.” Flimby was all ears and that was an easy thing to say since his ears looked like wings that could lift his head right off his tiny little body.
“It involves a certain Lady Marye Caterina Wimpleseed-Prissypott of Haggismarshe.”
“How do you know this lady?” Mr. Fop winked. “Your mistress?” A mischievous grin crossed his face. This was getting interesting indeed.
John Smith’s face turned red. But he held his anger in check. A smile crossed his lips. When he wanted to check his anger, he smiled. “I resent the implication, sir. Said lady is my daughter.”
“I do apologize, Mr. Smith,” Flimby said, “for my impetuous partner. At times, he gets carried away a bit. I am sure he meant no harm. Did you, Mr. Fop?”
“I do apologize,” Mr. Fop said apologizingly. “I only meant to say … oh, never mind. I apologize. Sincerely I do. Am I forgiven, Mr. Smith?”
“Well,” John Smith said hesitatingly. He now had these gentlemen in his hands. They owed him for the rudeness of Fop, and he wasn’t about to let the rooster out of the hen house, no sirree. “Here is the situation. There is talk coming from your House of Lords concerning my daughter. I want you to investigate the matter. If there is any proof, I would like a list of men who might be receptive to changing their minds. If you know what I mean.”
“We could do that,” Flimby said.
“It might be costly,” Mr. Fop said.
“You let me take care of the persuasion. You worry about the sense and sensibility. I want you to relate to me who has the sense and who has the sensibility. That way I can be persuasive with their pride and prejudice.”
“Ah,” Mr. Fop said, revealing his true self, a man who cared more for cash than for privilege. “This could be very interesting indeed. Might even involve members of the Queen’s own household. They might be persuaded. The old biddy does keep them on a short lease, economically speaking.”
John Smith rose out of his chair. “So, we have a deal?”
“I do believe so,” Flimby said. “It may take some time. But I do believe so.”
“How may we reach you, Sir?” Mr. Fop asked.
“I shall be at the Northanger Abbey Hotel. I can be reached there.” John Smith reached over and shook their hands. Then he went to the door, opened it and walked out onto the London street.
Next Week a Texan saves the day.
They’re all on their way to work. Some translators. Some teachers. Some work in banks and some don’t. They all have one thing in common. They’re on the way to a job.
They catch the Emerald City Express from the Yellow Brick Road to Wiz Blvd. They all work for the Wizard. They are the happiest of people. Well, most of them are. Some still have a hangover from last night’s partying till all hours.
They partied to celebrate Dorothy’s return to the Emerald City. She was gone for sixteen months. Doesn’t seem like much but Oz had gone to hell in a handbasket since she took off for Kansas. Now she was back, and already she had reasserted her position as the Go-to Kid. She had taken care of the Wicked Witch of the North.
Three months ago, WWN, better known as Hissy Fitt, came down from the North. She had revenge on her mind. She’d made a bid for the Munchkin Sock franchise and lost it to Snow White and the Seven Sneezes.
As she rode her broom into town, she kept saying, “Winter is coming.” Can you imagine? “Winter is coming.” What in the name of the long legged frog was that all about?
Hissy took the Emerald City in three seconds flat. Oztown didn’t have a clue what hit it. It had no defenses to speak of. Before you could say, “Before you could say,” the City was snowed in. The Munchkins were freezing in their little booties. Oz was affright with fright. There was snow everywhere.
At first, there weren’t any complaints. The kids got some time off from school. The workers got to stay home and drink eggnog. A month later and all the workers had used up their vacation and sick leave. The kids were driving their parents nuts because they were downright bored. “Enough of snow ice cream and snowball fights. We want to go back to school and play with our friends,” the kids said in their high-pitched kiddie voices.
And there was no break in the snow. It just kept coming down. The roof of the stadium dome was weighed down with snow. So much so, the roof came crashing down upon Oz’s Green Mealies, the Wiz’s own Quidditch Team. Just when they were about to give up hopeski, Dorothy’s house landed on Hissy’s head and killed her. Only her pointed ears could be seen. And quickly they melted.
At that moment, the snow went away. Suddenly it was springtime in Alaska again. So, as you can see, there was cause for celebrating. For now, they suffer through the hangovers and get back to what they do best. Their jobs.
Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. This week’s Movie Spotlight is “BUtterfield 8” (1960):
“BUtterfield 8” is the original Sex & the City. Only the sex is on the darkside of the city. It has nothing to do with fashion or true love and happily ever afters. Elizabeth Taylor won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Gloria Wandrous. Gloria is one of those people who has been getting up on the wrong side of bed for so long she can’t quite remember when she wasn’t.
Gloria works as a model businessmen like to have at parties for companionship and to spice things up. She has a special relationship with one of the businessmen, Weston Liggett (Laurence Harvey). He’s married and he wants to set her up as his mistress. He doesn’t want to marry her. It would mean he would have to give up his social status and his wife’s money. At one time, she thought he was her way to dig herself out of the life she’s buried herself in. He’s just as much a loser as she is. They’re a match made in hell.
There is one good thing in her life. It is her friend, Steve Carpenter (Eddie Fisher). They grew up together. He’s the only real family she has. He ended up looking after her when her father died and her mother went to work. Now he’s engaged to Norma and she’s not happy about his relationship with Gloria. It’s platonic but she feels threatened.
Weston has a wife, Emily (Dina Merrill), who knows about his wandering ways. But she makes a decision. She is not about to give up on him.
Unfortunately Gloria believes in fairy tales and happy endings. Until she realizes happy endings are not for her.
Based on John O’Hara’s book, this could have been turned into a cliché of a story. It is the powerful performances that redeem it. Especially Elizabeth Taylor’s.
Taylor transformed herself from the wonderful Velvet Brown to the loving daughter Kay Banks about to become a bride in “Father of the Bride” to the society girl Angela Vickers of “A Place in the Sun” to Maggie the Cat in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” the institutionalized and Catherine Holly of “Suddenly, Last Summer”. Finally she inhabited Gloria Wandrous, her most powerful performance until then. With it, she stamped her name in the stars.
Only once after that did she reach the epitome of performance she was capable of. That role was Martha in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf”. With this transformation, she had become one of the great performers of tragedy in the 20th Century.
It is wonderful seeing a great actor or actress at the top of their game. And that is why I give ”Butterfield 8” a thumbs up.
If all else fails, grab a branch and swing. Or up a tree without a poodle.
Previously our heroine on board the steamship S. S. Twit.
Meanwhile in another part of the world, the tall and handsome American big game hunter Johnny Eager stood in the jungles of darkest, deepest, dark Africa. Eager was a young man of extraordinary intellectual acumen. And he had lots of muscles to flex too.
His women friends called him the Eager Beaver because his gun often went off way way too soon. At his side was his always-there sidekick, his Tonto to Eager’s Lone Ranger, his Watson to Johnny’s Sherlock Holmes, the incredibly loyal and true blue Norwegian Karl Lutefisk.
Now you’ve heard the phrase, dear reader, “up to your knees in elephant poop.” The two men stepped out of the jungle and onto the veldt grassland. They sunk into the grass and up to their knees in elephant poop.
In the distance and aways off stood a rhinoceros. It was what we call a “biggun” South of the Mason-Dixon. It was a real biggun. The rhinoceros saw them. They saw the rhino. The rhino lowered its head. Johnny dropped to his knees. And you guessed it. Johnny was up to his waste in elephant shit.
The beast charged. Johnny Eager aimed his rifle at the rhino. The rhino charged hard down upon the big game hunter Johnny Eager and closed in fast. Click. Johnny’s rifle misfired.
“He is charging” the Norwegian Karl Lutefisk, Johnny Eager’s sidekick extraordinaire, yelled at the top of his lungs.
“Don’t you think I know that?” Johnny yelled back. He jerked a bullet from his belt.
Karl stood nearby, helpless. He was tempted to raise his weapon and shoot at the charging rhino. But that would anger his friend. Johnny Eager always liked to handle these situations on his own, no matter the consequences. It was a matter of pride. In that brief moment before the rhino reached Johnny, the Norwegian reflected on the number of times his friend had said, “If a man can’t take care of himself in times of danger, he doesn’t deserve to live.”
Before Johnny could finish reloading, the rhino barreled down on him with a charge sounding like thunder. Johnny’s eyes met the beast’s eyes. The beast reached him, its horn touching his chest, its breath an ungodly stench. A thought ran through Johnny’s mind. “My God, the fellow needs a dentist. At least, get some toothpaste and mouth wash.”
Johnny grabbed the horn and used it to propel his body six feet in the air. He flipped onto the back of the monster. His knife was out and slamming into the thick hide of the animal.
The tree branch caught Johnny Eager in the gut. It threw him toward the sky. Flying through the air, Johnny reached out to catch something. Anything. His hand reached and felt something solid. He grabbed desperately for it. It was a second branch. It stopped the big game hunter.
Stopping in midair that way is not a pleasant thing. But it sure beats the continued flight. After all, Johnny didn’t have wings.
His left hand grasped the branch tightly. Looking down, he saw the rhinoceros below him, snorting, digging into the ground, waiting for gravity to catch up with Johnny’s body. The beast looked up at Johnny. It had a grin on his face, almost seeming to say, “C’mon down. It’ll be a fair fight.”
“Right,” Johnny said to himself. Then he yelled out, “You okay, Karl?” He did not know what direction to call for his friend, so he yelled out at the jungle.
A still small voice came from above and aways off . “Ja. I am okay, ” it said. “I should have shot the beast.”
“Well, shoot him now.”
“I cannot,” Karl said. “My gun is down there and I am up here. After you jumped off his back, he came for me. I tried shooting him.”
“I didn’t jump. Got a branch in the gut.”
“My rifle misfired.”
“Mine too. It’s almost as if it had been planned by those fellows who sold us the guns. If we ever get out of this bitch, we’re going to have a powwow with them.”
Johnny’s right hand reached up and joined his left hand. With both hands around the branch, he looked down. The rhino, pacing back and forth, was only a few feet below Johnny.
The beast looked up, then stalked away, acting like its mind had turned to other things. It was still on Johnny. It turned back toward the big game hunter and stood still and watched.
“Don’t know how long this branch will hold,” Johnny said. “And even if it holds, I don’t know how long I can hold on. Where’s that rifle?” His eyes searched the ground below. He must have thrown it aways off when he jumped on the back of the rhino.
Hanging onto the branch, he felt naked without his weapon. If some of his hunter friends came by and caught him without it, he would be laughed out of the Big Game Hunters’ Big Game Hunting Society, a fate worse than death for a big game hunter. Well, not worse than death. But it was still pretty bad. He would be the butt of jokes from Timbuktu to Cape Town.
“We’ve been in bigger scrapes than this, ja,” Karl said, trying to pep his friend up. “We can figure this one out too.”
The only thing that would pep Johnny Eager up was for that rhino to be chased from there to the River Styx. “Not lately. Not lately.”
“Don’t tell me that your luck has run out. No, I will not believe it.”
“Damn, where’s that gun?” No rifle below, just a big assed rhinoceros.
“What did you say?”
“I am trying to see where my gun is.” Sweat dripped down Johnny’s forehead, almost blinding him. He blinked, trying to get the sweat out his eyes. “I have an idea.”
“Hope it is a good one.”
“Come on down and get closer to my branch level,” Johnny said, his hands, his arms growing tired. “And be careful. I know how you’re afraid of heights. If you fall, we’ll be up a tree without a blunderbus. Oh, that’s right. We are up a tree without a blunderbus.”
Karl began his descent. The sounds of the jungle were changing. In the distance, he heard a lion roar.
“It’s turning night,” Karl said. “Maybe he will leave.”
“Don’t think so. Tell you what,” Johnny said. “the next time he moves under me, I am going to drop onto his back.”
“Are you crazy? That monster will kill you.”
“I can’t wait for him to leave. When I drop onto him, I am going to grab the knife. It’s still in his back. I’ll pull it out and slam it into his eye. If I go deep enough, I will hit his brain.”
“You think you can hit the brain?” Karl asked, still making his way down toward his friend.
“Let’s not take any chances. When I drop, I am going to yell, ‘Now.’ At my yell, drop out of the tree, grab your rifle and shoot the bastard. We have to do this before it gets completely dark or you won’t be able to see him.”
“What was that?” Karl called over to his friend. He was now on the same level in the air as his friend.
The rhino looked up at Johnny Eager, then snorted and grunted its way back to the ground under Johnny.
“This damn branch is going to break any minute now. There he is. He’s getting close. Are you ready?”
“Give me a minute to get further close to the ground.”
“This is no time to take your time. Hurry.” Johnny heard the wind move through the branches.
“I am ready,” Karl said.
The rhino had stopped to check something out one tree over.
“Okay, here goes. Hey, down there, you dumb bastard. Get over here. Hey!”
“Is he coming?” Karl asked, his vision of the rhino blocked by several trees.
“Course not. Any other time and he’d be right under me,” Johnny said to Karl, then yelled at the beast. “Hey, hey you.”
This time the rhino seemed to hear Johnny Eager, big game hunter extraordinary. He approached Johnny’s tree. If Johnny had ever needed luck, this was the day. If things didn’t go perfectly, he was a ding-dong-done-daddy. He’d be hunting in those happy hunting grounds in the sky.
Crack. The branch broke.
Johnny fell, the tree branch still in his hand. Down, down, he went. “Now,” he yelled his cue for Karl to make his move. Down Johnny went and hit the rhino’s back. He faced the rhino’s tail. Quickly he spun around and whack a branch hit him in the face. He held onto the rhino’s back, grabbing the knife. He jerked on the knife. It did not give. The rhino was speeding away from Karl. Johnny jerked on the knife again. It came loose from the rhino’s hide.
The game hunter raised the weapon, then he tumbled off the back of the beast. Johnny’s body slammed into the ground. Hearing the rhino behind him stop his charge and turn, Johnny jumped onto his feet. From behind a tree, he saw Karl raise his musket and pull the trigger. Nothing happened. The Norwegian pulled the trigger again. Johnny’s left foot gave and he fell to the ground. His head turned and saw the monster only a foot away. It had death in its eyes.
Bam! Bam! Bam! Gunshots. The rhino dropped inches from from Johnny.
Johnny looked at the place the gunshots came from. Walking toward him was a familiar figure.
Next Week: Daddykins gets involved.