“And so I says to him I says, those aren’t buoys!” I grinned as Throat Punch roared with laughter, putting a button on the perfectly crafted joke by making a gesture with both hands “Buoys!” Who says women can’t be funny?
I laughed so hard in return that I began choking on the sawdust air and fell to my knees coughing, Martialla looking down her overly thin nose at me “Jesus Ela, you’re laughing at your own joke so hard you fell down.”
I grabbed her sturdy mule-like frame to pull myself up, wiping away tears of laughter and almost choking to death “I can’t help it, I love this guy!” I nearly gave Throat Punch a companiable cuff on the shoulder but then thought better of touching him and turned it into an awkward kind of one person high five motion.
Martialla shook her head like a disapproving school marm “Ela he can’t even understand you. I doubt he could understand you before he got shot in the head.”
I stood on tiptoe for a moment to examine the oozing purple hole above Throat Punch’s right eyebrow “What is that in there? Is that a black maggot or a piece of necrotic flesh?”
Martialla raised an eyebrow “Does it matter?”
“I thought it was funny” said Asmuda quietly, one of the Jesus twins, part of their religion must be mumbling everything because all these gals seem to whisper for no reason.
Martialla wheeled on her like an angry badger “Throat Punch getting shot in the head or Ela’s joke?”
The wastelander seemed to visibly shrink under Martialla’s stare “The joke” she squeaked out even quieterly.
“Why?” Martialla demanded aggressively “There is no way you understand those references, do you even know what a rowboat is? Or what a buoy is? Or what a parson is? I don’t even really know what a parson is exactly.”
Asmuda had a hand on her killin’ knife like this was going to turn ugly “I don’t understand the words, not really, but . . . it’s the rhythm I think. Something about the way she says those words makes me laugh even though I don’t really understand them.”
I grinned at Martialla as Dirt Tooth added “I like it too, the way she talks has a pleasing ear flow, back and forth like the connecting rod.”
I can only assume that a connecting rod is part of a train. Even though he was supporting me I wanted to shout at him because all that dullard ever talks about is trains. I don’t know how the people in Bomb Town ended up worshipping a bomb, but I feel like I’m seeing some intermediary stage of the railroad people before they start burning sacrifices to the Almighty Caboose in another generation or two.
Martialla covered her face “Jesus Christ, you people need to quit encouraging her.”
I gestured at the vast grey expanse of grit and dead trees around us “We have a long way to go before we get to the base or drop dead from exhaustion, what do you suggest we talk about?”
“We shouldn’t be talking at all. Every time you speak you lose moisture.”
I looked for a rock to throw at her stupid face “Are you saying I spit when I talk? Suffering succotash!”
“No, well yes, you do spit when you talk, but no that’s not what I mean. There’s a lot of water vapor leaving your body when we exhale, which you do when you talk, you should breathe through your nose and keep talking to a minimum.”
“Not likely” muttered Cresha, the taller of old Ela’s guards.
“Exactly” I said, choosing to misunderstand her “we need to keep our morale up. Who wants to hear some showtunes?!”
Martialla grunted in defeat “Did I ever tell you my Fargo story idea?”
I was taken a bit aback since Martialla is the most uncreative person I’ve met “No. I don’t think the Coen’s do sequels. I learned that the hard way when I was trying to pitch my idea for the Big Lebowski Two – Lebowski and Lebowskier. Ethan had his goons eject me from the funeral, that was Prada I was wearing and they ripped it! I sent the bill to his production company and I never heard anything. That was a two-thousand-dollar dress!”
“You stole that dress from Gwyneth Paltrow” she objected.
“Doesn’t make it worth any less” I pointed out reasonably “if anything that makes it more valuable. I know a guy in Hungry that pays good money for anything worn by female celebrities, and some of the slenderer ladylike male ones too. Your Johnny Depps and whatnot.”
She shook her head like she was trying to get that comment out of her brain“This wouldn’t be a sequel, this would be more like a spinoff, another story in the world of Fargo, maybe with a few connections to the movie but a separate story standing on its own.”
I scoffed “A spin-off movie? That’s not really a thing Mar, you spin off TV shows not movies.”
She nodded “This would be a TV show, like on HBO or Showtime.”
I laughed “That’s not how that works, you can go from TV to movie, Addams Family, Brady Bunch, South Park, Beavis and Butthead, crap like that. But you can’t go from the big screen to the small. And that only works with comedies or nostalgia crap, you can’t take a dramatic feature film and turn it into a TV show, who would want to watch that?”
She held her hands out like a bimbo at a boat show “What you’d do it is present it as a new concept of premium dramas, high-end shows in TV with cinematic quality utilizing the ability of a serialized format to dig into the world you’re creating. When you watched Fargo didn’t you wonder how Jerry got himself in trouble? And the mechanic, Shep, what’s his story? The Fargo mob? And what happened to the million dollars? You can’t cram all that into a movie but with a limited run series you could explore that kind of thing.”
I laughed again at her naivete “That is too much for a movie, you’re right about that, but it’s not enough story for a show either, how are you going to get twenty-six episodes out that?”
“I was thinking we could just do eight or ten episodes like on the BBC.”
I laughed almost as hard as I did before “No one’s going to greenlight that you rube! How are you going to make money with a third of a show?”
“Well they’re especially not going to greenlight anything now since they’ve all been dead for a century” she agreed wryly “The idea is that this guy asks his girlfriend for fifty grand, her family is rich, not rich-rich but Midwest rich. And she says that she’ll loan him the money but she’s not just going to give him fifty grand. This pisses him off so he gathers up his buddies and they come up with a plan over. The buddies will snatch them both up and get ransom from the girlfriend’s parents, the guy’s in on it so he can make sure that the girlfriend doesn’t escape and encourage her to get her parents to pay-up in his role as fellow victim. They can pretend to rough him up and what have you
When they do it they chloroform the dude for real to make it seem more legitimate but they didn’t tell him about that and chloroform makes him super sick so he keeps telling them to untie him because he’s so messed ep and he halfway doesn’t remember what the plan is because of the drugs. They don’t untie him because they’ve come up with their own plan anyway. He told them to ask the parents for a hundred thousand, he’d get fifty and they’d split the other half, but instead they ask for a million.
They ask for the million and do the whole ‘don’t call the cops’ we’ll know if you do bit, but the parents immediately call the cops who tell them not to pay the ransom, or if they do, not right away. So the kidnappers don’t know what to do now. Not only that, but one of them has been hooking up with the girlfriend on the sly and he decides they should work this angle their own. He slips away with the girlfriend and tells her about the whole scam and then they call the parents asking for half a million.
Since the girlfriend is gone the original guy says the jig is up, let me go, but the rest of the kidnapper buddies are still trying to get something out of the deal so they don’t let him go. Yhey continue to try getting the parents to give them some money even though they only really care about their daughter and don’t give a shit about the guy. Not only that, but the parents offer a reward for information and one buddy who heard the plan but didn’t get in on it goes to the parents and tells them about the meeting the guy for beers where he talked about setting up this whole thing.
At this point the parents tell everyone asking them for money we know this is a scam, we’re not going to give anyone anything. The girlfriend’s side action loses it, he stops pretending and he starts beating on her for real while she’s on the phone with the parents. She’s screaming about how it’s real now and the parents think that’s all part of the act too. He gets a knife and starts cutting on her but it doesn’t matter because the parents think it’s a scam. They hang up and she’s all bloody and messed up so he drowns her in the toilet because he doesn’t know what to do at that point.
The original guy finally gets loose and throws some punches with his former buddies and asks where the girlfriend is and they say that the side action dude kidnapped her for real in the middle of their fake kidnapping and they don’t know where they are. One of the buddies gets spooked and pulls out a gun, the guy gets it and accidentally shoots one of the other buddies and then he runs out looking for the girlfriend.
Meanwhile side action has come too far to not get any money out of this deal so he goes to one of the parent’s business thinking they’re going to be there, which they aren’t, and he takes the workers and some customer hostage. Our main guy hears about it and he runs down there waving his gun around and they end up shooting each other.”
I thought about it for a moment “Well it’s definitely Fargo-esque, a bunch of amateur criminals screwing things up and everyone ends up dead for no real reason. But the kidnapping is too close to the plot of the movie. And what you have there is like four episodes maybe, and where’s your female lead? Who am I going to play? Not the kidnapped girlfriend that’s for damn sure.”
“You’ll be the cop who’s trying to unravel it all.”
“You barely even mentioned the cops!”
“Well, I don’t have it all worked out yet, it’s just an idea.”