D: Colin, this is Diana.
C: What’s up?
D: You got another letter from you know who.
C: You mean she’s written again? I thought sure the envelope and the stamps would keep her happy. What’s she on about this time?
D: She’s a member of that weird Friends of Firth we read about in the Swedish magazine.
C: Bloody Hell, this is worse than we thought. Those people know EVERYTHING about me, and I mean everything, and she’s part of them???
D: Yes, and proud of it, apparently. Listen to this: “I am a member of a very special group. There are about 160 of us, and we communicate through Email. Our one year anniversary is this week. We range in age from 68 to 14, and live in all parts of the world.”
C: Oh God! -- Livvy honey, forget ironing the shirts, get me three Excedrin quick! She doesn’t mention old movies I should see again, does she? I still haven’t got over “All the King’s Men.” It was in Black and White, for Christ’s sake.
D: No, but she HAS sent you something she composed all on her own.
C: It’s not a poem, is it? I hate those poems. “When I too long have looked upon your face...” Sentimental crap, I call it -- and with that fag picture they took of me.
D: No, just something Geoffrey Clifton might have written... wait, there is a poem stuck in the middle...Should I read it to you? Its Yeats.
C: No, spare me that. The grand old Irishman? Just send it along. God, I’m tired. How old is this woman anyway? 60 plus, isn’t she? Wish she’d learn to meditate and sit quiet like my Mum. Those Americans take too many vitamins. Any ideas on what I can send her this time?
D: How about that sweet picture of you in the trendy Italian sweater? Or maybe the one in your cutting edge purple suit?
C: No, this has to be so special that she is literally struck dumb from happiness....What’s that Livvy? I don’t think a signed copy of Nostromo will do it....Wait a minute -- Diana, are you still there? Book me a flight on the Concorde to -- where does she live again?
D: Ridgewood, New Jersey
C: Right! Ridgewood New Jersey. I’ll just pop on that old flight jacket of mine, and give her a quick look see. When she opens the door, I’ll flash my dimples and my jacket. I figure it’ll take at least six months for her to get up off the floor.....Anything else?
D: Well, you remember those Japanese ladies and the Yfront thingees? Are you ready for used Arsenal shorts? There must be 1000 here already.
C: Loud moan and running steps....
Hallo, this isa Livia. Colincito will calla you back..He’s in the lav.
Murph -- Queen of the Weirdos
Meanwhile, I found this small announcement on my daily visit to the Hackney Web site: FROM: The Hackney Weekly Shopper -- February 6 Issue
LOCAL RESIDENT TAKES ACTION
Colin Firth, Hackney's most disinguished citizen, announced today the formation of Colin's Combatants, a local citizen's group formed to protect the lives of Hackney's law abiding residents. They will patrol the streets in groups. In deference to Mr. Firth's most famous characterization, The CCs will be armed only with extra heavy pinky rings and blunderbusses.
Mr. Firth, who recently returned from an extended stay in the United States and Italy, found that his flat had been broken into in his absence. A state of the art vacuum cleaner system and his collection of rare Miles Davis LP's went missing. Then, two days ago, while posing for a publicity picture in the town square, his red Maxima was stolen. Unfortunately, his fiancee, Livia Giuggioli, was sitting in the car at the time.
"I love Hackney," the actor said, "But matters have definitely gotten out of hand. God knows where Livy is. I can only hope the dastards who stole my car and her with it have the decency to return it...l mean HER!" A ransom note has been received The police will only say that Miss Giuggioli is safe. The car was not mentioned.
Colin's Combatants are recruiting through newspaper and radio appeals. Thus far, 50,000 women have volunteered and one gentleman. a retired stage hand. Mr. Firth is now in the difficult process of cutting the group down to a manageable size. "it's a tough job, but someone has to do it," shouted Firth, surrounded by clamoring supplicants. "We want to give Hackney back to the people, and these dedicated folk will get the job done."
Scene: A small second hand clothing emporium - “Ze Second Time Around” - On a narrow French street somewhere in the south of France:
A Stranger wanders into the store, looking with a jaundiced eye at the bins and racks of clothing on display. As she moves into the interior, the proprietor, an overweight grubby man in a soiled vest, approaches her. Obviously agitated, he speaks.
“Mon Deau! Look at ze man over there. Again he comes into my place! I not even have time to put ze lovely things away!”
The Stranger notices for the first time a tall dimly seen figure in a far corner pulling item after item out of a large cardboard box. He holds each up and carefully inspects it before either tossing the poor piece back, or, with a wide grin, placing it carefully on a growing pile of chosen clothing.
Whistling happily, he goes about his work, oblivious to his surroundings. She watches sympathetically, sorry the poor man has come to such a state.
As she watches, he finishes his shopping, and carries the items to the owner.
“This is my lucky day! Look what I’ve collected!”
Wearing an old French World War I helmet on his curly head, he holds up a sweater apparently made of large mismatched squares of old knitting. The predominant color seems to be puce.
Proudly he displays a pair of pants, vertically striped in bright green and yellow. Holding them up against his slender waist, he glows with pleasure.
“These’ll do me for a few good years.”
Finally, he picks up a tattered great coat from the counter, and shrugs into the sleeves. The collar, a fur of undetermined species, frames his handsome face. Down the front, the few remaining buttons glow with sequined splendor, and the torn hem brushes his worn Birkenstocks.
“By all that is spotty and gormless! I’ve searched the world for a coat like this. Thank you sir, for your wonderful establishment. What do I owe you?”
The Stranger watches all this with astonishment. The gentleman is serious. Poor benighted soul.
Just then, an elegant young woman rushes through the front door.
“I KNEW I would find you here.” She cries. And going up to the man, she grabs at the clothes he holds tightly to his chest.
“Colin, how could you! After all we’ve talked about and after Dr. Fettuchini’s little talks with you! Look! Just when I thought I had seen the last of old khaki shirts and gugley sweaters, I find these in the corner of your closet!”
She pulls a sorry pair of jogging pants from her reticule. Each knee is patched, and the seat bags out as she hold it up.
He lunges for the pants.
“I stood still for the facial, and the hair weave. I rode in that beastly carriage. I agreed to be filmed in Armani, But, by God, woman, you’ll not take these away from me.”
So saying, he gathers up his prizes, stuffs them in a brown bag, and runs from the establishment.
The young woman looks despairingly at the owner and the Stranger.
“Do you see what I must put up with? They say you never really know a man until you marry him. How true! How sadly true.”
And she walks slowly after the loping figure, her shoulders slumped with defeat.
My Nightmare...Confessions of an Unsubscriber
Easy, Mary, easy. Are you taking your Firthadon?
Just popped three, but it’s no use. I’ve got such flutterings in my stomach and pains in my heart! You have to help me.
Talk a bit about it. Get in touch with your inner feelings. What exactly is happening to you?
Ever since I said good-bye to my beloved Friends of Firth, my days have been endless, and my nights full of terrible dreams. Last night I dreamt I went to The Colin-y Castle again. The gates were barred before me, but as in many dreams, I passed through them, and traveled up the winding drive. It was overgrown, and the branches whipped against my face. I struggled on, and there, in the moonlight The Castle stood. It seemed in the moonlight that light streamed from the windows, and for a minute I thought I heard laughing women’s voices and deep familiar rumbling laughter, but it was the trees, the trees, blowing and shaking in the wind. The clouds covered the moon, and then I saw it as it is for me now, empty, cold and abandoned. It was so terrible, Doctor. I haven’t slept since.
In the morning I sit at my computer, staring at the empty screen. I’m afraid to turn it on, but I know I must, I must! Dear God, I must!
Calm yourself.. You turn the computer on...? Tell me.
I turn it on, and there big as a quarter, sits my little world icon, mockingly inviting me to click on it and enter the AT&T Net world. I try to look elsewhere... Maybe a little Pagemaker today, or a couple of letters in Word. I think I’ll try some Free Cell. Scrabout always used to help....Maybe my worn picture from Photoshop of Colin in Leather...
But it’s no use..I’m drawn to that little blue orb...I click, and there before me lays the Net. Desperately I go again to www.grinnet.com/~meluchie/firthlist/ But all I see is a black screen with the words. “No Entry for Murph.” How does she do that, I wonder? It isn’t fair. But the worst is yet to come.
There sits the MAIL button!!! Maybe today, I think, maybe today there will be some shred of news for me, some reason to go on....But when I click, and see “searching for new messages,” no happy chord rings, no dark smooth voice says, “Glad to see you.” Only one message, “You can earn $5000 a month in your spare time using your computer!” My life is over, doctor, my life is over!!! I log off, and weeping now, I turn on my WAV files and say to my computer, “Play it, Sam, play “Why Have You Come?” again. And Sam Computer plays it, while waves of sadness and lost opportunities wash over me. I lay my head on the keyboard and give myself over to despair.
What have I done, Doctor? Why did I think I needed time for books and the Yankees, cooking and long walks again? I must have been mad to unsubscribe! You must help me, please!
There, there, my dear, of course I’ll help you, my pretty one...Just get on here with me, and we will fly straight to Oz.
Oz?? Oz?? I don’t want to go to Oz -- I want to go the The Kingdom of Firth! Doctor, why is your voice so cracked, and where did you get that green face, that hat, and that broom!! Oh, Colin, I am lost foreverrrrr
Murph -- as she once was called
An Ode To Nostromo -- After Percy Dovetonsils
Charlie loves the mine,
Several armies fight --
Nostromo needs forgiveness,
Give me Thomas Birkin,
You are right: unfortunately,the movie 'Femme Fatale' is beneath contempt and
Avast, me hearties!
It wasn't his best, and
Loyal and faithful,
We should be so lucky