Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Hatfield and McCoy’s; part deux

Obviously what I thought to be an open and closed case, was just the prelude to the French Opera I call “Voisins”. Or as we would say in English, “Neighbors”. So let’s recap; my neighbor “watchdog” is seen taking 6 trailer wheels and a few trailer frame members and confronted in the act by Cindy, he changes the subject. I question him he replies they are his materials, the owner of the horses and of the parts asks him; he says I gave them to him. I tell him that’s not true, the two parties exchange words; the owner of the horses throws him (“watchdog”) about the interior of his car. End of story…..

Not a chance, I get a call from the Gendarmerie, our local police, and they ask for the phone number for the owner of the horses. I look it up in our notes and tell them the number and describe the location and town of where he lives. Interesting, probably following up on the theft of his material.

A couple hours later I’m in the kitchen and hear Cindy talking outside with our neighbor, the watchdog’s wife. I go out to see what’s up, and I am confronted with what I would imagine a rural casting call for “Brunnhilde “from “Ride of the Valkyrie” would resemble. (See photo above for reference) She along with her daughter and her daughter’s daughter are milling about with expressions you might see on posters illustrating “the greatest injustices ever waged on humanity.”

I enter (actually wade into, as in fecal matter) halfway into the greatest Shakespearian tragedy never written. The daughter, who is running away with the part of Brunnhilde, is not only gesturing with such despondency, but she is telling the tale as a nearly grieving mother who could not live without her littlest Brunnhilde. Let’s pick up where I joined in. I will tell it in English, although ideally it should be sung in Italian.

“We are but humble, simple farm folk, living our simple existence, spreading joy to the unenlightened. This dark stranger vaulted our gate with a bloody saber and a large bore shotgun. All the time, I am selflessly standing in front of my weeping infants, ready to lay down my selfless life, so that they might live, and go on to lead the lives of missionaries.”

“I wonder why he was so mad and threatening.” I ask.

“That is a mystery wrapped in an enigma, stuffed into a baguette” the neighbor’s wife offers. “We are mere pawns in this injustice. My husband “watchdog” is suffering the most. This madman was threatening us with the gun and pointing it at the little ones. On cue the daughter mimes a menacing figure pointing a gun, behind her mother.

(I find no humor in this aspect of the story, but Cindy and I imagine if this aspect of the tale were true the Gendarmerie would have taken him in. There was a wealth of misinformation and half truth told in this act.)

The wife of “watchdog” was starting to catch up with her daughter for the part.

“Abbiamo pensato che fossimo a essere massacrati, martirizzato come cani e mortalmente sacrificato per nessun motive.” She sang.

(We thought we were to be massacred, martyred like dogs, and mortally sacrificed for no reason.) Sorry I just wanted to see it in Italian.

The part was hers for the taking at this point, then she clenched it, she grabbed the part from her poor understudy of a daughter. She wept genuine tears, she so believed of their injustice, she wept. Cindy comforted her, it was sad. It is only as the story unraveled, and hidden truths were uncovered that I thought of this as a comedic tragedy. Were I a prop artist at this point I would have given “watchdog’s” wife a chainmail dress, a shiny two horned Viking helmet, and a Valkyrian battle axe.

After fifteen minutes of this country theater, and me asking two or three times to speak not scream, the troupe continues their soliloquies.

A script rewrite was definitely needed; forgotten facts have since been brought to light. Turns out the daughter of the horse guy came over and enquired where her wheels and frame members were, and when could she expect them. Well as in any opera, I imagine the volume was increasing during the conversation. Then it turns out the daughter of “watchdog’s” wife hit the smaller, although taller daughter of the horse owner guy. I think that was the aforementioned motive that was missing during the tryouts.

Later that evening the boyfriend of the girl that was hit arrives, (queue in trumpets and battle drums in the background) and the action ensues.

At this point “watchdog’s” wife’s daughter tries futilely to wrest the part from mom. With vaudevillian exaggeration she pantomimes the arrival of the evil caped figure. She mimes the world wide gestures for abundant drinking and “POT” smoking. She takes an exaggerated draw from an imaginary joint. But too little too late for being awarded the part; the Russian judge gave her a two. Sadly she over reaches by then telling me if he shot my child I would shoot him. Flailing madly with punch drunk inefficiency she tries the angered revengeful mother routine, but she’s reading off the wrong script to the custodian in the basement at this point.

I guess the reason it seems so laughable is that during this whole audition, they never mention that someone hit the horse owner’s daughter, and thus started the events rolling. They never admitted “watchdog” came onto our property and stole stuff, also setting this tragically funny audition in motion. And lastly, there has been a history of so much stuff being taken from the property, and who just went to number one with a bullet, on the suspect charts.

As the stage lights dim and we are returning into the sanctity of our house and the minstrels depart, I imagine I heard someone overweight singing, in Italian, with a lone thunderclap.


  1. I am not usually a fan of opera, however, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. I think you have found your pace..................gb

  2. Wow. Lovely prose. Nice to meet you. Your profile info intrigues me as I would adore restoring an old house in the French countryside. Bravo!