Log in

No account? Create an account
An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2008-02-08 12:04
Subject: [fiction] Friday Flash — "Feghoot in Uruk"
Security: Public
Location:Nuevo Rancho Lake
Music:lunch break mambo
Tags:fiction, stories

Feghoot in Uruk

by Jay Lake

In the fall of 1936, having recently come into possession of a time machine, Ferdinand Feghoot, gentleman-adventurer, decided to combine its use with his secret passion: jazz.

"I shall take myself back to a suitable point in prehistory and introduce this highest form of human artistic expression," he wrote in a letter to the New York Times (which the Gray Lady rudely refused to print). "Upon my return to the future present, our time shall have been rendered into the future perfect."

Witticisms fully engaged, he hired several of Joe Bonanno's footsoldiers to assist in procuring a suitably talented jazz musician. Mikey "Marbles" Miglione, Festus "Fearless" Palestini and Maria "Don't Call Me Maria" Benevutto were dispatched with large sums of cash, a fast car and a steamer trunk well stocked with jelly sandwiches and gin.

The steamer trunk, of course, neatly fit into the rumble seat of Feghoot's time machine.

Marbles, Fearless and Don't Call Me Maria returned to Feghoot's New Jersey estate two days later minus a considerable amount of cash and sporting two black eyes and a cigarette girl. The steamer trunk, however, was filled with lounge singer.

"I am away, boys," said Feghoot. "Try not to pee in the pool." Strapping on his goggles, he perched on the saddle of the chronomobile and dialed himself into history.

As any student of time travel knows, displacement through time equals displacement through space. Else one would quickly wind up breathing vacuum at some distant point on the galactic ecliptic. Feghoot, having determined that prehistoric New Jersey, however otherwise salubrious, was not a suitable location for propagating his beloved lounge music, instead set his coordinates for Uruk, seat of the ancient Sumerian hero Gilgamesh. It was, after all, one of the earliest seats of recorded civilization.

The journey itself was unremarkable, a tiresome assortment of special effects not worthy even of Ed Wood. Feghoot soon found himself and his machine in a dusty street beneath a brassy sun. Naked children of color played nearby, paying his appearance little mind. Low mud buildings lined the street. Ahead of Feghoot was a temple or palace, the obvious architectural focus of the town. It was fronted by tapered pillars with something of the profile of pregnancy about them, topped by a flat roof, and faced with half a flight of irregularly spaced steps.

A vast man emerged from the building to confront Feghoot. He was larger even than that fellow Conan — or was it Conan Doyle? — muscled like a stevedore, and carried a bronze sword that could have spitted a St. Bernard.

Could it be the mighty Gilgamesh himself? Feghoot's heart raced.

"Dingir mesh!" bellowed the huge man.

Feghoot, alas, had lasped in his studies of classical Sumerian some years earlier. Music, however, was the universal language. He quickly scrambled to the rumble seat of his time machine and undid the straps holding the steamer trunk shut.

A very drunk Jimmy Durante -- badly in need of a shave -- clambered out, stumbled to the front of the machine and took a long stare at the mighty Gilgamesh. "Calabash!" he said.

The mighty Gilgamesh stared back.

History is being made, thought Feghoot with glee.

"Gim sumun bi shà-thir-ma u ba-rì!"

"Inka dinka doo," said Durante. Then he belched.

Gilgamesh smiled, spread his arms, and walked down the steps to embrace Durante, shouting, "Enkidu! Enkidu!"

◊ ◊ ◊

© 2008, Joseph E. Lake Jr.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.
Post A Comment | 14 Comments | | Flag | Link

User: coppervale
Date: 2008-02-08 20:16 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
That is just made of awesome, Jay.
Reply | Thread | Link

User: tim_pratt
Date: 2008-02-08 20:22 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Ow. That caused me physical pain. Which is the sign of a good Feghoot.
Reply | Thread | Link

User: dirkcjelli
Date: 2008-02-08 20:41 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Metric awesome... bigger than imperial awesome, to be certain.
Reply | Thread | Link

User: etcet
Date: 2008-02-08 20:49 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I fail at archaeological wit; ie, "I don't get it."

Clue, please? Table for one?
Reply | Thread | Link

User: etcet
Date: 2008-02-08 21:11 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)

You are a card, Lake, and should be dealt with.
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link

Karen, aka Ana Lake, ska Aine inghean Cathal: Cognitive Hazard
User: summers_place
Date: 2008-02-09 00:34 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Cognitive Hazard

*slithering off*
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link

Brent Kellmer
User: skaldic
Date: 2008-02-08 21:03 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Very nice.

Too quibbles, one of which might only matter to someone like myself, who used to be an historian.

1 -- end of the 5th paragraph, I think it's missing an indefinite article before lounge singer.

2 -- Gilgamesh was Sumerian, rather than Akkadian.

That being said, it gave me a laugh, which is rare for flash fiction (even when it's trying to be humerous). Thanks!
Reply | Thread | Link

Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2008-02-08 21:11 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
1 - Me being funny (or attempting to, at any rate)

2 - Me being wrong (and oddly, I already knew this)
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link

Brent Kellmer
User: skaldic
Date: 2008-02-08 21:16 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
In that case --

1 -- Ignore my comment -- I tend to be very much a literalist in what I read, which leads me to sometimes miss things others will find funny.

2 -- Do as you will with that (which you would anyway) -- I'm not sure many people would have caught that in any case.

Really though, nice job. To get me to laugh at such a piece -- and one about my field (history, not time travel) made for a nice afternoon.
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link

Warrior of Worry
User: warriorofworry
Date: 2008-02-08 21:19 (UTC)
Subject: Feghoot
When I have finished snorting the coffee from my nostrils, I will tell jou just how vewy bad jou are.
Reply | Thread | Link

Peter Hollo
User: frogworth
Date: 2008-02-10 05:05 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
*sigh* was my response :)
Reply | Thread | Link

Shaun C. Green
User: hollowpoint
Date: 2008-02-11 09:13 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Great piece, Jay! Really glad to see you joining in the F3 fun... :)

Reply | Thread | Link

User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2008-02-11 09:42 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Really enjoyed the humour. I love time travel when you can ignore the consequences and just enjoy the story.


Reply | Thread | Link

my journal
January 2014
2012 appearances