Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Indiana Jones and the Abyss: A Fragment

The Cast:

Harrison Ford: Professor Henry (Indiana) Jones, 38, archaeologist, adventurer, lover, our hero.
Karen Allen:    Miss Marion Ravenwood, 30, Indy’s love interest, us.
Paul Freeman: Dr. René Emile Belloq, 45, Indy’s nemesis, a villainous Frenchie, Time.
Musclemen and Mummies: The arms of clocks everywhere.

Marion! Marion. Listen to me.
Start anywhere. Pick anything. Random
paragraphs. Find one. Just read it. “He
reached the inner chamber of the tomb.
‘Osiris curses he—’ He? Whom? The key
cartouche was missing. A granite wound
grinned grotesquely at him. Hacked away.
Deliberately. And recently. René.

The stale aroma of a cigarette—
Gauloises—suggested the Frenchman.
His rival. Vandal. Yet. Amentophet
still lay in his sarcophagus—still band-
aged tightly; the mask the six bald priests had set
on Pharaoh’s face almost four thousand
years ago rested on the young king’s brow—
still glittering, still golden. Nothing stolen. Now,

Why? Stubble growing through a scar
irritated Indiana’s chin.
He scratched it with his flashlight. On the far
wall there appeared a royal procession:
Four horses led a chariot. War.
Conquest. Famine. Death. He was certain
this predated the Apocalypse
of St. John. A whistle passed his lips...”

No! Try again. Wrong episode.
If we weren’t busy over an abyss
I would explain it all. It’s hard to hold
a lecture swinging on a whip like this.
Trust me. Just trust me. Somewhere—down the road—
we will get back to Pharaoh and Osiris.
Look, Honey, if you wanted to know more,
you really should have read the script before

you took the part. So, try to focus. Try.
We’re clinging to existence by a thread.
Everybody knows we’re going to die
before we are finished. So, skip ahead,
past where René will ask me, “Why?
Why do you waste your life among the dead,
Professor, excavating legends—stones—
to sit in some Museum? Doctor Jones,

exactly what do you get out of it?
An evening in Byzantium? A tan?
Americans. Tourists. Buffoons. You love it:
how love runs through your lives just like this sand
runs through my fingers. Shall I prove it?
How useful love is to a dying man?
Look. Two identical canteens. One full
of water. This one—empty—love. All

you have to do—untie his mouth—is choose.
Choose one canteen and then we seal you in.
If you select the water, you will lose.
If you pick love, then, I will see you win.
I guarantee a postcard marked ‘Toulouse’
conveying your—affection—for Marion
will be arriving in Nepal next week.
Choose wisely, Indiana. Let him speak…”

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