O meu hovercraft está cheio de enguias

I saw this on twitter and it’s a good image for Martialla current day – I don’t know what copyright I’m in violation of, as always I apologize

I’m not a writer.  Actually that’s not true, since everyone else is dead instead I’m the best writer in the world.  This journal I’m writing will become classic literature in the future.  While I’m at it I suppose I should set about re-writing all the world’s great novels and claiming I’m the original author.   See you in hell Tolstoy!   

Anyway, I was not a writer in the world I came from is the point.  However, I know a thing or two about scriptwriting.  There are a lot of ways things that can go wrong in a script.  The stakes could be too low.  The conflict could be too easily resolved.  The characters could be subordinate to the themes they’re meant to embody which makes them flat and lifeless to the audience.  The characters could be poorly defined.  In particular character motivations are tricky.  The list of issues goes on and on.  It’s really kind of a miracle that anything good is ever written given the many pitfalls that can befall the screenwriter.   

One of the common problems with writing and the one that is my personal pet peeve is when there’s a story with bunch of characters so a writer will think “oh no, character number four hasn’t done anything in a while” so they’ll wedge in a stupid scene where that character solves a problem with whatever stupid hook the writers gave to try and make them memorable.  According to every movie ever made, every character has a special skill, and that skill will eventually save your life, regardless of how impossibly stupid it is.  The dumb kid that likes jazz will blow up the alien spaceship by playing their saxophone, or Jennifer Lopez will break open a bank vault with her ass. 

The second Lethal Weapon movie has a great example of this horrible instinct.  The first scene is Mad Max getting out of a straightjacket for the amusement of his co-workers, so you better believe that later in Lethal Weapon Two the bad guys are going to put Mad Max in a straitjacket and chuck him into the sea.  You know that classic way of killing someone. 

I was in a deleted scene for Lethal Weapon Two you know.  One of my only gigs a kid actor, I was the daughter of the “diplomatic immunity” guy.   But check this shit out, they’re currently developing Lethal Weapon Five where my character comes back for revenge, but they’re talking about giving the role to Charlize Theron, that emotionless coat-rack from the Keanu Reeves devil movie!   Can you believe that?  I’m available!

What does this have to do with anything?  If this was a movie this is where I would sneer in derision because they writers are trying too hard to make the Ela character seem useful.  She can’t fight like the other three or fix a car or fly a plane but she has girl social skills!  I mean it’s true, I do have girl social skills up the ying-yang, but the thing about movies is that realism is often not appreciated – people hate reality, it’s boring, that’s why they’re watching a movie.   

I used my talking powers to arrange for us to tag along with one of Aquaman’s water caravans which will get us in the general area of the car parts store.  And I befriended some renegade plainspeople to escort us the rest of the way there.  And I got the Jesus Lady people to send a couple folks with us to fill out our ranks a bit.  They’re religious fanatics so they should be useful if we get into a scrape.   

And that’s all fine and dandy but here’s the super sweet sixteen part.  We’re going to be traveling by water clan hovercraft.  A hovercraft!  And I mean a real one people, not the bullshit ones from my time.  We had things they call hovercrafts but they were just dumb boats, they “hovered” on the water the same way my feet “fly” on the ground.  But King Trident has an actual hovering machine that they use for his water runs.   

Lucien was confused by how excited Martialla and I were by the prospect of checking out the hovercraft. He thought it was technology from our time.  He was disappointed when we told him that there weren’t any real hovercrafts in the year 2000.   Like personally disappointed in us, like we should have invented it or something.

There’s a metal plate thing on the hovercraft that says “United Cattle Company” so at some point after the turn of the millennium but before the end of the world there were cowboys flying around on hovercrafts rounding up cattle.  I have to assume these space cowboys also had jetpacks and laser-lassos.  Now that’s a movie idea!   

Martialla had to ruin everything of course, saying that it looked like the desert skiffs from “Tattoo Nine” in Star Wars, which is a stupid name for a planet even by Star Wars standards.  To get her back I asked her if she was talking about the USS Enterprise.  She threatened to punch me in the boob but she said it with a smile.  Hovercraft! 

Martialla bombarded the crew with questions but it quickly became apparent that they had no idea how it actually works, they’ve just learned what buttons and levers they need to toggle and tweak to make it go.  I’m pretty sure there’s a name for that.  When the underlying technology has been lost but people still know how to use it day to day.  If the thing ever breaks down that will be it because no one understands the mechanics.

There has to be a lot of that going around these days. 


  1. Damn, Ela getting meta-narrative!

    Not sure if it applies to post-apocalyptic machinery, but in coding, when people use something without understanding it we call it “cargo-cult.”

  2. I’ve never been able to form a mental image of Martialla before. Now I’ve got one.

    I could never get into the Lethal Weapon franchise, at all, but I vividly remember watching that scene (the straight jacket escape) the first time through and thinking “this is going to come up again.”

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