Friday, March 16, 2018

The Soul of the Plot

The Soul of the Plot
Bobby Derie

"I need the plot of a comedy." Mallory said aloud, staring at her paper. The women next to her didn't even look up from her book as she answered: "A Nazi falls down the stairs and dies."

Mallory looked at the woman. A hoodie stamped with the university logo, pajama pants. The book was Gormenghast. "And the plot of a drama?" she said.

"The Nazi is old, in retirement. Hiding. The MOSSAD agent has been staking him out for weeks. She knew the names and faces of his victims at the camp. Had her grandparents' numbers tattooed on her arm. Not enough evidence to prosecute, no. No way to extradite, no trial, not for a geriatric old man. But a line of fine wire, just at ankle height, at the top of the stairs..." She looked up, to meet Mallory's eyes. "A Nazi falls down the stairs and dies. The last thing he sees is her, waiting for him at the bottom. Watching."

"...a thriller?"

"Someone knows. Watches. The grandson. He's never asked what the old man did, during the war. He prefers not to know. But he sees her, one day, watching the house, the old man on the porch. She asks the hard questions, when they are private, but she worms her way closer and closer into the house... The grandson suspects. He must. He wants to tell the grandfather, resolves to. Ah, yes...there is the struggle... which is stronger in the heart, the woman he just met, or his own blood..."

"Sounds like a romance."

"All good romances have in them the heart of tragedy. All true romances end in tears, not happily ever after. What the grandson fears, at the end, is to be left...not with the woman, not with his grandfather, but with nothing."

"And this MOSSAD agent? What does she get?"

"To see the sun rise, warm and high about the Mediterranean. To know it is done, and the circle is complete."

"Not much room for a sequel."

"You Americans," she put on a terrible accent. "Always so commercial."


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