…Of All The Arts — Chapter 3

III. For A Few Robinsons More

You were always in search of me

Takes a second to find what you seek.

The Dillinger Escape Plan

“Paranoia Shields”

“…A VHS tape?! Now that’s futuristic! You’ve got to be kidding me!”

“As good a data carrier as any! We’ll have to use what we’ve got! After all some movies were never released in any format except for VHS.”

“If there is no other choice then so be it. How do you suppose to get in there?”

“That is not a problem. Since I’ve got the Robinson’s book with me it’s possible to establish a connection between our world and that of ‘Signor Robinson’.”

“Put the tape into the recorder then, and let’s get over it!”

***

On the screen, a man with a grumpy face, wearing pants made of grass, waistcoat of indescribable colour and a shapeless headdress, was trudging along the sea-coast, speaking fervently into a transmitter, which, without a doubt, was dysfunctional.

The Man put the book gingerly in his pocket and touched the screen tenderly with his fingertips. He was sucked in immediately and completely.

As the Man emerged on the sea-coast, Signor Robinson came closer, showing no sign of fear and bewilderment. He kept the same pace, but stopped talking to himself. Without a word he took the book from the Man’s hands, opened it at exactly the same spot at which the Man was forced to give up the reading earlier, and started to shake the book fiercely.

First, there came the sounds. Startled yelps and muted swearing were accompanied by clatter of utensils and splashing of the water. Then finally Robinson Crusoe emerged from the book, falling clumsily on the sand, face-forward. He got up promptly, apparently enraged, but quickly subdued his anger and looked attentively on his more recent version.

Definitely, there was some resemblance between the two of them. The original Robinson wore similar outfit of grass pants, waistcoat and conical hat. He was however, better build, heavily bearded and wore more pleasant facial expression than his Italian counterpart. He also had a small hatchet, attached to his waist.

Finally the two Robinsons shook their hands. “Thank you most kindly, sir” – muttered Robinson Crusoe. “Va fanculo![1]” – muttered Signor Robinson in response. The two of them were obviously content with each other. Then Robinson Crusoe shifted his gaze to observe his surroundings.

“So far I’ve only exchanged one deserted island for another. How do you plan to return home, sir?” – He stared at the Man intently, waiting for response.

The Man was busy examining the book. Most of its pages were utterly blank now, save for the part that the Man has already read. But as he opened his mouth to answer the question, yet another odd thing happened.

Suddenly everything disappeared, including Paolo Vilaggio’s character. The Man and Robinson plunged straight into black and white ripple and monotonous buzzing.

***

“What is this?! Where are we?!” – Robinson thrashed his limbs wildly, unsuccessfully trying to hold on to something.

“This is the white noise! A badly recorded tape! Some part of the movie is missing” – replied the Man.

Having nothing to hold on to, both men entered the state of free fall. Their efforts to change the situation proved to be futile. They couldn’t reach the edge of the screen, and most certainly couldn’t return to the apartment.

“We have to do something! I’m almost deaf and blind from all this noise and ripple!” – Said Robinson, clutching the Man’s hand tightly.

“Signor Robinson! Signor Robinson!” – The Man started to yell desperately. – “Help us, please! Aiutarci[2]!”

These words, at last, had the desirable effect. A plump hand with short fingers emerged on a screen, took the Man by the collar of his t-shirt and pulled him alongside with Robinson into another part of the movie.

***

Signor Robinson examined hapless travellers closely, found no sign of physical damage, muttered another obscenity, and turned away from them. He had a companion now. Wide-eyed, lean and shapely black girl stared at the Man warily. Robinson Crusoe, in turn, fixed his gaze on the girl. He eyed her as avariciously, as any man would, after spending several years travelling aboard various ships with solely masculine crew.

“Si chiama Venerdi![3]” – Signor Robinson introduced the girl quickly, before devoting his attention to her completely

Her voice chimed melodically, increasing Crusoe’s affection, as she spoke to Signor Robinson in Italian. The Man deciphered only the word ‘Robby’. He understood, however, that it was time to get out of the movie.

“Concentrate, Mister Crusoe! Take my hand again. I’m going to rewind the movie right to its end. Time to go home!”

The man produced a remote controller from his pocket and pressed the button. Events of the movie started to flow rapidly past them. As it turned out, Robinson Crusoe somehow managed to follow them, without missing anything important. At some point his hand clutched the Man’s elbow tightly, causing him to stop pressing the button.

“I’m sorry, sir, can you stop for a moment? It seems like our Italian friend is in danger. He helped us twice. I suppose, we might want to return the favour.”

The Man looked around. There was no doubt, that ‘Robby’ needed help. Down in the sea, at quite a distance from the shore, there was a neat white yacht. A middle-aged woman with a preposterous haircut was standing at the upper deck. Her face wore triumphant and predatory expression. She was looking directly at Robby.

Robby was trapped. Hopelessly.

A giant fishing net descended from the yacht, wrapping Robby completely in its tight embrace.

Robinson Crusoe averted his gaze for a moment to look at the Man, and couldn’t believe his eyes. The Man’s face was radiant with joy.

“We absolutely should help him, my friend! And I think I know how!”

The Beretta was already in the Man’s hand. Robinson was bewildered.

“But it’s dysfunctional! We saw for ourselves!”

“It stopped being dysfunctional as soon as we set our feet upon this shore! In this fictional universe Lars von Trier has no power over us, and his pretentious set of rules doesn’t work here.”

“Even so, who do you intent to shoot? And how can you be sure that you’ll hit the mark at such a distance?”

“The bastard, who writes us, didn’t even bother to give me a name or a description, remember? And that gives us some advantages. It is also very fortunate, that the movie is Italian, and its director is well-known not only for his comedies, but also for spaghetti westerns. In this, he was almost equal to Sergio Leone. So, I might as well be The Man With No Name!”

Confused by this extensive explanation, which, of course, seemed nonsensical to a man from 17th century, Robinson wasn’t ready for what happened next.

The Man’s appearance and posture changed entirely in an instant. The most prominent details of his attire were now a wide-trimmed hat and an olive green poncho with white pattern wrapped around his shoulders. There was also a cigar in his mouth. All in all, he looked exactly like Clint Eastwood’s character from the Dollars Trilogy. Awe-struck Robinson noticed that the gun also underwent significant changes.

“Yes, it’s no longer a Beretta! It’s Colt Single Action Army 5 ½! With rattlesnake grips, of course!” — The Man promptly took aim and pulled the trigger. The bullet cleanly severed the rope, by which the net was attached to the yacht.

“Robby!” – exclaimed Venerdi, who stood motionless on the shore while her beloved was captured, unable to do anything. Now she splashed through the water, eager to help Robby, who was striving to release himself from the net.

“Our mission is complete! Now, we are almost free to go!” – The Man was keeping the sailors at bay with his gun, preventing them from recapturing Robby.

“Don’t you think we should take this strange couple with us as well?” – asked Robinson, watching as the sailors from the yacht and the black men from the girl’s tribe started to move toward each other with equal determination.

The man took three more shots, splashing the water and discouraging both sides of the conflict from taking any further actions. Robby saw the opportunity and ran towards the Man. The girl followed him, clutching at his hand.

“All right! It seems like they wouldn’t mind to get out of here. And we don’t want to cause an interracial conflict” – agreed the Man, and took Robby’s hand. Robinson Crusoe was more than pleased to hold Venerdi’s hand. – “Let’s give these morons something to cooperate on! Let them chase us. The movie is about to end. I can see the closing titles on the horizon!”

And so they ran. As the Man predicted, the extras tried to chase them, but the titles were too close.

Falling through the titles felt very much like what Alice must have felt while falling through the rabbit hole. When the movie came to a full stop, the screen turned off by itself and the whole foursome appeared in the apartment, where the journey started.

“Make yourself comfortable!” – exclaimed the Armchair cheerfully. – “As I can see, you’ve managed to release two Robinsons from the grip of various malevolent forces! I’m impressed, my boy! There was a fair amount of overacting on your part in the final scene, but nonetheless, take my sincerest congratulations!”

The Man wasn’t sure how to react to such profuse praising. Robby already managed to take the Armchair, with Venerdi on his lap.

“Mister Crusoe! Stop staring at the girl” – The Armchair obviously was forced to remain silent for too long, and now tried to compensate it. – “We shall fetch you some beautiful actress from Lars von Trier’s movie, when this story is over. I wouldn’t advice to take Charlotte Gainsbourg, for her characters are extremely unstable in both ‘The Antichrist’ and ‘Nymphomaniac’. Possibly, Nicole Kidman from ‘Dogville’ or Bjork from ‘Dancing in the Dark’ will match your tastes? We shall see!”

“There is still one problem left” – reminded the Man – “The ending of our own story”.

“A problem? Not anymore!” – The Armchair was extremely proud. – “Your adventures amused and inspired me! Watching them, I was able to think of a solution both brilliant and simple!”

“Speak it out loud then!”

After a lengthy dramatic pause the Armchair finally spoke.

“We, ladies and gentlemen, should make our story into a movie!”

[1] ‘Go fuck yourself’ in Italian

[2] ‘Help us’ in Italian

[3] ‘Her name is Friday’ in Italian

 

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…Of All The Arts — Chapter 3

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