Hugo Plays Nasty
“Hugo, I don’t like you like this,” she says.
He raises one eyebrow with no apparent muscular effort.
“Is zis so? Vell, I think soon, you will be liking it wery much. Wery much…indeed.”
Smoothing his slacks he sits at the table and looks up with a touch of eagerness. Canines creep out a millimeter or two.
“Und now, I will be most happy to experience your EXCELLENT chicken pie.”
She looks at him.
He tucks a plaid napkin into his t-shirt with pigeon movements.
“Zere is…perhaps …a prrrroblem?”
“You are not a fucking Nazi, Hugo, and I do not make you fucking chicken pies!”
She leaves the room with baby tears considering a plunge from her eyes.
“Typical!” he says with a few milligrams of spittle.
“And it is for this reason, my friend,” [he is alone in the kitchen] “that they fail. But for ze sousand year rrrrrreicch FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION.”
He stamps his hand on the table from a finger-height, then he smooths an errant strand of hair and crack-cocks his head just below the threshold of looking like a crazy man.
He arrives on set the next day. Stormtroopers smoke cigarettes and talk about the Lakers. Carpenters REPAIR the Warsaw ghetto. Holding his ebony riding crop behind his back he walks out for the lighting test. The world is white.
“So Hugo…I had an idea about today’s scene.”
“Yeah, well I was thinking that just for a moment, after he gives the order to open fire on the crowd, we hover on his face and we see him…swallow…blink. Like he has crossed his own internal rubicon and it scares him.”
“An interesting idea, my Jewish friend. Now…go back to your elders and tell them zere plot has FAILED! There shall be…no…[half giggle] svallow. Zere shall be no [eye boggle] blink. Zere shall be only FIRE UND BLOOD UND STEEL!”
The director can’t speak. He is in an actor bubble. He usually just rides these out then goes and yells at the sound man.
“Now…” [Hugo really wants to sit but the chairs are too far away. Nazis do not walk to things. Things are always just a step or two away from Nazi.]
Hugo thrashes the air with his crop. No, that’s not right. That’s pantomime. That’s silent movie.
“Things…SSSINGS…are” [falling apart]
[Things are falling apart]
[I’m losing my NAZI!]
Hugo pats his Doberman in front of the fire, swishing cognac around and seeing arrows chase over Europe in the red swirls that play on the surface.
“Fools,” he utters through a gate of teeth.
He looks again at the note.
“Hugo, I am going to stay with my mother until this stupid movie is done. You don’t need to be a method actor to play a goddamn Nazi. Stay in the house, stay the hell away from the deli and get a fucking grip. Love, Laura.”
“FOOLS!” and the note is in the flames.
Okay, he thinks. Maybe I went too far. I went too far.
He untucks his shirt. And walks to the window.
Outside the window, subhumans shuffle.
But he doesn’t notice that he thinks that way.
A short while later the movie comes out.
He hisses anaesthetic into us.