Tuesday, January 5, 2010

"Slava takes a drag of a cigar and gazes into the endless desert." Scene 8

I apologize in advance for this scene. It's necessary, though, to set up some (I hope) truly marvelous action later.

Scene 8


(scene: a shaded morning, thunderstorms visible over the plains. Day after the incident at Marty’s. We’re outside Thrasherville at some sort of ranch. Nik Antropov is riding slowly towards a house atop his black steed. Misha, his coyote companion, walks alongside.)


NIK

What you think, Misha? This the place?


(Misha, being a coyote, is silent.)


NIK

A ranch is a ranch is a ranch, after all.


(Misha seems to find this inarguable. Nik dismounts his horse and and approaches the door to the ranch house. Before he can knock it opens. Standing there is a grizzled old rancher, who may or may not have a lazy eye.)


MAN WITH THE LAZY EYE

Nikolai Antropov?


NIK

The same. And this (pointing at Misha) is---


MAN WITH THE LAZY EYE

(cutting him off) Vyacheslav Kozlov. Everyone calls me Slava Lazy Eyes, though, even though I have but one. I hear you’re good at herding.


NIK

I won’t deny it, Slava Lazy Eyes.


SLAVA LAZY EYES

Well, I have a project.


NIK

What kind of project?


SLAVA LAZY EYES

(long pause. Slava takes a drag of a cigar and gazes into the endless desert. Finally he speaks.) What do you know about the railroad?


NIK

Well, not much. I mean, I ride trains...


SLAVA LAZY EYES

But you are a good herder.


NIK

Yes.


SLAVA LAZY EYES

I hear you’re the best. That’s why I invited you to this place. You two come inside. We have much to talk about.


(Misha and Nik walk inside Slava Lazy Eyes’ spacious but rustic home. There’s a giant stuffed bear in one corner.)


SLAVA LAZY EYES

A beautiful creature, to be sure. Beautiful and majestic, but lethal. I had to kill that one long ago, back in the days when I was hunting and trapping up in Michigan.


NIK

Interesting.


SLAVA LAZY EYES

Can I offer you coffee? Tea? Bourbon?


NIK

No thanks. Misha?


(Silence)


NIK

None for Misha, either, thank you.


(Nik and Slava sit down in chairs, Misha sits on the floor. Slava has a cup of coffee waiting already.)


SLAVA LAZY EYES

So I shall get to my point. I’m thinking of breaking into the railroad business.


NIK

(leaning forward) That’s a tough business. The people involved, the magnates and tycoons...real vultures, very brutal people.


SLAVA LAZY EYES

They are brutal. Not brutal like the Cossacks and the imperial guards I came here to get away from, but brutal in their own way, certainly. That’s partially why I want to get into the business. I want to build railroads, but without slave labor---don’t deceive yourself, that is exactly what these people do with the Chinamen workers---and without the, shall we say, lawless business practices.


NIK

Are you one of those Decembrist types?


SLAVA LAZY EYES

(a distant, wistful look suddenly crosses his face) I was, once.


NIK

You were there in ’25? You look young for your age then.


SLAVA LAZY EYES

I wasn’t. My father, though, he was. Shot by the Tsar’s men. Not in the actual revolt, you see, but much later on, when got into a fight with a soldier at a tavern.


NIK

I see.


SLAVA LAZY EYES

I want you to help me, Nikolai. Help me build a railroad. A railroad built by cows.


NIK

(understandably a bit surprised) You want to build a railroad out of cows?


SLAVA LAZY EYES

No. I want the tracks to be built with cow labor. Well-paid and well-rested cow labor. Oh, I’ve made enough money over the years. Selling furs from my hunts, prospecting and all that gold stuff, ranching. I can afford to buy enough grain for all of them. I just want to prove it can be done. But it can only be done if I have the best cow-herder around to help me. What do you think of that?


NIK

(raising his eyebrows, stroking his chin) It’s certainly ambitious.


SLAVA LAZY EYES

Will you do it?


NIK

(a brief pause) Yes.

9 comments:

aaron said...

...

why do i feel a Fellini homage coming on?

Daculafan said...

Eat Moar Chickin

Mortimer Peacock said...

Aaron-

Not consciously, but it probably will happen. He's my favorite, so I'm pretty sure his influence is so pervasive that making a 10th rate Fellini movie is inevitable.

If only we had a Nino Rota to add a fun but melancholy score...

Mortimer Peacock said...

Other influences on this thing include these two men (Gilliam and Rushdie), in style if not in quality: http://twitpic.com/wq9o8

Apologies to everyone that I keep posting links to Twitpics. Roger Ebert just has so many good ones.

Mr. Speaker said...

Morty, I haven't read this yet cuz I've been working on an epic halfway home (to tee-times) piece for my time-killing habit As the Birds Drown. But I can't seem to figure out how to embed a damn youtube file like I did for Frederic Chopin. Is it simply the magic of Val Kilmer that blessed my attempt or am I screwing up by selecting "file:" and then pasting in the http:// address minus the "http://"? Would you mind lending a helpful hand here or via e-mail when you have a chance?

Thanks bud!

Mr. Speaker said...

Guess I won't be showing this entry to Slava on Sunday night!

Lazy Eyes Kozlov! Love it.

Cows you say? You want a railroad made of cows??!

Priceless.

Mutton Sourdough said...

When they complete it, at the celebration shindig afterward, are you gonna have a stampede through the background a la Blazing Saddles?

Mr. Speaker said...

I got it Morty! Duh. Thnx again.

We need to do a Tombstone showing + bowling + Wii + drinking or something very soon!

krisabelle said...

If the railroad biz doesn't pan out, how 'bout #13 opening a stylish men's apparel shop called Slava's Minks n' More? Lord knows someone's gotta step in as the lead trendsetter in Thrasherville now that XLB's gone norte.