Friday, June 15, 2012

Uncle Einar

It's been a rough week and a half.  My wife has pneumonia, and I have whooping cough, which explains why I have been sick since the first week of April.  I have since learned that the Chinese call whooping cough the "hundred day cough" ... which means I'm good to go until the first or second week of July.  Hence, few posts here.  Too busy being sick.

A couple of local friends who actually read this nonsense expressed an interest in the Ray Bradbury audition piece that I used to use, from his short story, "Uncle Einar," which I mentioned in my last entry.  So here it is:

"Uncle Einar's beautiful, silk-like wings hung like sea-green sails behind him, and whirred and whispered from his shoulders whenever he sneezed or turned swiftly.  He was one of the few in The Family whose talent was visible.  All of his dark cousins and nephews and brothers hid in small towns across the world, did unseen mental things or things with witch-fingers and white teeth, or blew down the sky like fire-leaves, or loped in forests like moon-silvered wolves.  They lived comparatively safe from normal humans.  Not so a man with great green wings.

"Not that he hated his wings.  Far from it.  In his youth, he'd always flown nights, because nights were rare times for winged men.  Daylight held dangers, always had, always would, but nights!  Ah, nights he had sailed over islands of cloud and seas of summer sky.  With no danger to himself.  It had been a full rich soaring.  An exhilaration.

"But now he could not fly at night.

"On his way home to some high mountain pass in Europe after a Homecoming among Family Members (some years ago) he had drunk too much rich crimson wine.  "I'll be all right," he had told himself, vaguely, as he beat his long way under the morning stars, over the moon-dreaming country hills beyond the town.  And then--crack out of the sky!  A high-tension tower!

"Like a netted duck!  A great sizzle!  His face blown black by a blue sparkler of wire, he fended off the electricity with a terrific back-jumping percussion of his wings...and fell.

"His hitting the moonlit meadow beneath the tower made a noise like a large telephone book dropped from the sky.

"Early the next morning, his dew-sodden wings shaking violently, he stood up.  It was still dark.  There was a faint bandage of dawn stretched across the east.  Soon that bandage would stain and all flight would be restricted.  There was nothing to do but take refuge in the forest and wait out the day in the deepest thicket until night once again gave his wings a hidden motion in the sky."

I was surprised that I still knew it.  I double-checked it against my copy of The Stories of Ray Bradbury, and was amazed at how accurately I remembered it.  Bradbury fans will notice a few changes in punctuation or a change in word ("under" becoming "beneath" for example) to accommodate my speaking style, but it's all Ray.  Like I said last time, beautiful images, complex language, and a great way to show a director what I might be able to do without boring him with a monologue he's heard a thousand times.

I miss those days sometimes....

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