Monday, April 2, 2007

Sam Louden

Sam Louden, primarily a gardener, also writes poems, short stories and other ridiculous foolishness.

“This is my idea, see?” said Lenny. Lenny was always pitching something. Sometimes it was softball; sometimes it was the hull of a ship; usually it was a deal or a scheme—depending on one’s perspective. He could sell lonesomeness to Ekalakans. He could talk the pants off a nun. He could negotiate with terrorists. He was smooth and persuasive. He was also ugly as all hell.

“I don’t want to hear it,” said Virginia, grabbing a firm hold of her pants.

“Musicals! People love musicals. They love to make fun of them. They love to gag at their ridiculous sentimentality. They love to point out the absurdity of people breaking out into song — in harmony, with dancing. People love to pretend they hate musicals, but they can’t get enough of them,” he said.

“I’m skeptical,” she said, debating if he looked more like a javalina or a road kill.

“Of course, I’m just beginning!” said the man, who in truth resembled a severe laboratory accident in progress more than javalinas or road kill. He expounded on the need for Butte to have yet another blue ribbon tourist attraction. He continued with how the glorious city needed — deserved — an emotional pick-me-up. He concluded with the saliva of sincerity dripping from his malformed mouth at the climax of his argument eloquently tying the entirety in one beautiful whole. “Yes, Butte, whose history begs for the honor it long ago earned in sweat and blood and has so long been denied; Butte whose people—strong, pulchritudinous, and hospitable magnify its glory in too humbly mute of tones; Butte whose best days are yet to come; this Butte, my Butte, our Butte; our majestic, beautiful Butte is the miracle it has waited for!”
Virginia, enthralled, wordlessly begged for the miracle. Her wide eyes, doublewide with excitement, implored Lenny for the clarification he paused to make. He clarified magnificently, explaining how a musical play about the Mining City, performed there would attract tourists, employ locals, boost the local self-esteem, and reestablish the Richest Hill on Earth as the preeminent cultural force in the Inter-mountain West.

This would take organizational skills Lenny lacked. Virginia, however, was practically made of organizational skills. She had developed a formula to determine anyone’s personal sock needs. She was ridden out of Helena on a rail for demonstrating shortcuts through red tape that could eliminate hundreds of state bureaucratic jobs. She trimmed out nearly fifty percent of her own useless DNA. This was why Lenny needed her. Holy Butte would rise from the ashes, borne by the silk of Virginia Sullivan’s networking and Lenny Crenshaw’s hot air.

Lenny neglected to go into the devilish details of his plan. The specifics were in some cases too sensitive to leak for fear of Anaconda beating them to the punch. Other details, namely the Screaming Panda bit, were sensitive for other reasons. Some things simply need the context of the entire Butte the Musical experience to even comprehend. In minutes Virginia had secured two theater venues, acquired the necessary permits from her cousin Eddie in City Hall, and enlisted the support of the unions. Now Lenny sat gaping in awe of the presence of excellence.

“Can you find me producers?” he asked.

“There isn’t enough loose capital here to float a Sunday school skit. There’s no way we can scrounge up the scratch around here for the epic production we’re talking about,” said Virginia, as yet unaware of the obligatory Hungarian contortionist or the expensive yodel chorus.

“Do you know anyone in Bozeman?“ he said.


Sam Louden said...

So my idea was that Butte, a city with which I am in love, is a good subject and that musicals are funny so Butte the Musical might be a funny subject.
Starting a Foolish Words story is fairly easy if you have a funny subject. The thing pretty much writes itself, especially when you send it off to other people to expand and expound. A helpful trick for setting the stage for ridiculousness is just to drop absurd mysteries like names at a Hollywood cocktail party. This mystery seeding gives later writers headaches trying to figure them out or fake them out (the preferred method). These cheap laughs can develop into running gags or the gagging runs. Either way, it renders foolishness.
I envisioned Lenny to wear a green suit and am surprised no-one shared this vision. That's the way the panda screams.

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