Friday, July 23, 2010

The Blues Brothers: The Lost Tales, part 4

(DJMurph's quick note: don't get too used to these chapters coming out at lightning-fast speed; this one seemed like it would be a quick knockout, and it was a brief vignette which deserved airing.)

Like I mentioned, so many characters in the novelization of the Blues Brothers get even the most minor bits of expansion from their portrayals in the movie, yet sometimes they're worth sharing here with you, the fellow fan. See if you recognize who they're speaking of here...

It was, finally, the day. The alarm went off shortly after dawn, jangling noisily less than a foot away from where the beautiful blonde's head lay on the pillow. Her eyes opened quickly as one hand silenced the alarm. Then, contrary to what might be expected, the lids did not close again to allow the sleeper another twenty winks. Shifting her feet out from beneath the covers, the young woman put them on the floor, rubbed her eyes one time, then dropped down on the pile carpet to do fifty pushups.

The two minutes of rapid exercise served as a tonic. The woman sprang to her feet and strode to the closet, where she drew out a pair of jeans, a sweat shirt, knee-high woolen stockings, and jogging shoes. A minute later she emerged from the bathroom, looking as if she had spent an hour with a Hollywood makeup expert. In the kitchen of her modest apartment, she drained a six-ounce glass of unsweetened grapefruit juice, downed a half-dozen vitamin C tablets, and was out the door.

A ten-minute drive brought her to an abandoned sanitary landfill between Marquette Park and Ogden Dunes, Indiana, a flat section of land broken only by irregular piles of unburned detritus missed by the bulldozers. Otherwise the area resembled the stunted remains of a bombed-out city that had been buried by its own former inhabitants out of sheer embarrassment. Because it was still quite early, long before the wind would blow in off the lake, a heavy fog clung to the ground, transforming the godforsaken territory into an eerie moor.

The woman parked her car near one of the mounds and went around to the trunk, from which she withdrew a long object wrapped in a blanket. Sticking the blanket and the object under one arm, she picked up a sheet of heavy cardboard lying on the floor of the trunk, leaned it against the fender, and closed the trunk. She then picked up the cardboard and walked several hundred feet to the nearest pile of unburned garbage, against which she leaned the cardboard, arranging several large stones so that it would not slide or fall down.

Satisfied that the cardboard was just right, she moved a hundred yards away, paused, frowned, then continued walking until she was perhaps three hundred yards from the pile against which the object rested.

After a lengthy examination of the stunted landscape to make certain no one was watching her, the blonde dropped the blanket onto the ground, baring a heavy metal-and-wood object that veterans of World War Two would have recognized immediately as a Browning Automatic Rifle. Jamming a clip of ammunition into the piece and slilding the bolt to pump a round into the chamber, she dropped to her stomach and allowed the weapon to rest on the bipod support at the end of the barrel. She then took a deep breath and fired two rounds singly, followed immediately by a rapid emptying of the entire clip. As soon as the piece was empty, she reached for a second clip,
inserted it, and squeezed the trigger until the sudden silence and array of shell casings to her right told her she had expended the ammunition.

With another glance around the landscape, she wraped the BAR in the blanket and retraced her steps to the garbage pile and the cardboard target. Surveying the results of her quick fusillade, she smiled, noting that no less than ten shots had struck the area roughly corresponding to the shape of a man.

Even better, four of the irregularly shaped holes were within the boundaries of the victim's head, which just happened to be a life-size glossy picture of Jake Blues.

Now those of us who have seen the movie more than twice recognize the above scene to relate to the woman Jake ditched at the altar. While for most of us that character has indelibly been linked to Carrie Fisher's excellent portrayal, it's cool to see how this character began life, before casting took the character (at least visually) in a different yet just-as-rewarding direction. Also, I really appreciate the way that Mitch Glazer (the author of the novelization) sets it up as if it were playing out on the screen, not revealing what the cardboard standup is for until there is a gun present, not revealing until the very end that it contains the glossy of Jake.

Incidentally, Bill Murray just gave an extensive interview, in which he spoke of currently being in the process of filming a movie of a script written by, you guessed it, Mitch Glazer. It will be a wonderful movie to watch, if we're to gauge its quality by what we're reading within this novelization; I'm looking forward to it!


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