Fifty Shades of Grey (published in 2011) is the first in an erotic-romance trilogy by E.L. James—that is to say, Erika Leonard James, another lady trying to be scholastically pseudonymous like J.K. Rowling, P.L. Travers, etc….It’s enormous success and salacious content was the impetus to a pretty-good SNL commercial parody. Apparently it was originally intended as fan fiction for the Twilight novels? But in truth it is as much like Twilight as Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms. (In fairness, Fifty Shades and Twilight do both take place in Washington State.)
Anyhow, it’s more like fan fiction to the 1986 film 9 ½ Weeks: You have this very successful, wealthy, humorless, but sexy dude, Christian Grey (Mickey Rourke in the movie, who plays…“John Grey”? Curious). He seduces a young, innocent, naïve, but sexy lady, Anastasia Steele (Kim Bassinger in the movie), whose name I suspect is partly inspired by the romance novelist Danielle Steel. It turns out they (both Christian AND John of the same last name) like their sex to be rough…and kinky. The ladies (both Anastasia AND Kim) are shocked at first—and a bit put-off. But it doesn’t take long before both of these nubile ingénues realize they like it, after all.
The book is more filled out than 9 ½ Weeks (obviously), has better character development (if you’ve seen the movie, then obviously), and is more gratuitously, sexually graphic (not so obvious, but trust me). And, without totally spoiling the novel (or the movie?), I’ll just vaguely say they both end pretty much…mmm…identically! But what’s important to know ahead of time is this: If Fifty Shades was made into its OWN faithfully-adapted movie, I would think it would be X-rated (or whatever the kids are calling it these days, NC-17 I guess)—unlike 9 ½ Weeks’ comparatively tamed-down R.
Cons: Occasional clichés, an overuse of “pursed lips” and faces that “flush,” and a sprinkling of lame and/or nonsensical phrases, like, “my breath hitched.” (Oh, and if you’re a feminist, you may not like the whole BDSM, Dominant-male/submissive-female thingy, FYI. Though the plot is somewhat about compromising between these two polar opposite, star-crossed lovers.)
Pros: A nicely-written blurb on the back of my paperback copy, I assume scrawled by the editor/publisher, poetically and metrically claims: “Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.” I don’t know about that. But I will say it has some kick-ass scenes, like: “He flicks the [rider’s] crop and it hits my sweet spot with a sharp slap, and I come, gloriously, shouting my release.”
Part 1—The Hyperspace Byway
Taking the Hyperspace Byway out of downtown Milky Way on the Orion-Cygnus spiral arm leads to a relatively quiet and mostly insignificant urban neighbourhood about 26,000 light-years out. If one took the SS off ramp, one would be dumped into the vicinity of a Podunk planet—home to an unusual race of species—that happened to be variegated along a multiplicity of ridiculous socio-political boundaries. One of these had the odd name of “England,” and was, by chance, home to Mr. Richard P. Greene, Esq.
Incidentally, not too many ventured out that way off exit SS. And if they did, it was typically during spring break. On a dare. After having downed a few quattuordecillion Cosmic Corkscrews. Chased by an even larger quantity of Galactic Gorgies. Followed by a hulking, colossally sized…kumquat.
Two kumquats, to be precise.
Part 2—The Cottage
Mr. Greene didn’t live in just any English house; rather, it was a cottage. And it wasn’t just any cottage. This cottage was situated in an idyllic northern countryside with green pastures, grassy glades, and chlorophyllous meadows…herds of sheep and cows roamed and grazed…lavender heather, yellow daffodils, and red tulips blossomed to aesthetic beauty…golden grains grew to edible ripeness…and cobalt-blue herbs perfumed the air….
Inherited as the heir to a long line of ancestry that had been in the area for millennia (the original Greenes having been some of the first settlers who migrated from Germania to the emerald isle of Britannia, shortly after the last rock was flippantly dropped at Stonehenge), Mr. Greene and his 750 acres was dubbed, all those years ago, “Greene Acres.”
Mr. Greene’s cottage was actually erected in the nineteenth century. It replaced the former erection. Which in turn replaced another older erection. Which, of course, replaced even another older erection. That, naturally, replaced even yet another older erection. Which, it stands to reason, replaced even yet furthermore another older erection. All the way back to the original Greene erection when the first Greenes arrived all those ages ago.
Notwithstanding the ebb and flow of innumerable erections, the exact plot of land never changed. And as far as Mr. Greene was concerned, it never would.
After all, many graves of those ancestors were just behind the cottage, from the very first Jebediah Greene all the way down to Mr. Greene’s father. It was ever so important to the Greenes to be close to their ancestors as a result of their Buddhist philosophy—which is odd when one considers the Greenes started this ancestral worship shortly before the conception of Mr. Gautama himself. (And even odder when one considers the Greenes are, in fact, less Buddhist and more…mmm…vitalists?…spiritualists?…who are known to have “seen” the occasional fairy fluttering by, always amidst a rabble of butterflies; and their land has a buried reputation for being periodically infested with unsightly mole hills that the Greenes attribute to the common garden gnome.) Nonetheless, the Greenes believed in watching over and tending the burial plots of their ancestors for as long as Mother Earth existed. And they believed in occasionally reciting poetic soliloquies to their underground progenitors in search of spiritual solace.
Mr. Greene’s great-great grandfather erected the current Victorian-era edifice of classic and pristine rustic-vintage: rubblework stone walls, timbers, a golden-thatched roof, shuttered windows & potted sills, and ornate bargeboard eaves hanging over, none other than, green gables. In fact, one might even say this exact, specific cottage was the chief inspiration to not only a young L.M. Montgomery, but also a young Thomas Kinkade when he, for the first time, chose to put brush, to paint, then to canvas, all with the delicate touch of his adolescent, pre-pubescent hand.
On this particular eventide early in spring, the Sun’s setting rays shone brightly amid an azure and rusty sky. There had been a bit of sunny rain earlier in the day, but that had all cleared out. The fluffy white and pink clouds drifted by like fresh cotton candy. Butterflies and “fairies” skittered hither and thither. Moles and “gnomes” dug. The opening melody of Edvard Grieg’s “Morning Mood” gently played from a crackly phonograph within.
Mr. Greene stepped out of the parlour onto his cobblestone porch to puff on his home-grown tobacco. He smoked from an olde calabash pipe that had been hand carved long before Sir Arthur Conan Doyle penned his world-renowned detective whose later stage actors made said accoutrement famous. Mr. Greene usually smoked with his right hand hanging sophisticatedly from the pipe whilst his left casually rested in the pocket of his wool-grey cardigan. He would do this habitually before heading down to the twenty-seven head of dairy cattle, particularly in the early evening after he had eaten supper.
Today’s meal consisted of a hearty serving of steak & kidney pie with a side of blood sausage and Yorkshire pudding. He washed it all down with fresh, warm, creamy, non-pasteurized, non-homogenized, raw milk that utterly came from the udders of his black-and-white Holstein cows.
But now he was smoking on a satiated belly, ere sauntering down to the bovines for the second time that day. He did this twice in every twenty-four hour cycle: in the early hours of dawn and in the early eve before dusk. He was an olde-timer who didn’t care much for modern electric pumps; he always did his milking by hand—and after seventy-five years of squeezing teats, he had developed quite strong and callused grippers, indeed.
He relished the taste and smell of tobacco after supping, along with the breeze that blew in from off the Irish Sea as it mixed with his scented flowers and fragrant herbs. The light wind caressed his olde bony cheeks and narrow nose; it ruffled his bushy grey eyebrows and salt-&-pepper mutton chops, as well as a few loose strands of his comb-over hidden under a tweed flat cap. He gazed with ease and satisfaction at his comfortable home and life of husbandry there on Greene Acres.
He sometimes liked to imagine as he looked round the farm, pretending to see images from his departed ancestors’ lives…watching them trim the hedges and artistically shape the topiaries…observing them herd the livestock with crook in hand…drawing water from the stone wishing well…chasing the butterflies and fairies away to direct their butter-like droppings elsewhere…tilling the dark, rich soil…stacking the remaining mole and gnome carcasses into a composting pile after their massacre from the soil being tilled with massive, Clydesdale draught horses and heavy steel ploughs…reciting poetic soliloquies….
As he stood there this particular Wednesday eve dreaming and expertly blowing blue smoke rings, his olde hag of a wife was finishing up her thrice-daily ritual of hand washing the earthenware. She called from within the olde cottage:
“Papa…?” she screeched out trying to overpower “Morning Mood” in her irritating falsetto. It was a voice that curiously resembled a man trying to sound like an olde hag of a woman. “Papa…? When you head down would you take—”
And before he…ahem…I mean “she” could finish, her hubby, Mr. Greene, heard a rumbling of subwoofer proportions, accompanied by a deafening—but different—screech that astonishingly drowned out the grating screech of his wife (as well as that of “Morning Mood”). A shadow darkened over him.
In an instant, Mr. Greene saw his home disintegrate in a white flash from the blasting flame of rocket engines.
Like a 16-ton weight dropped from the sky, a massive, towering, E.T.-like spacecraft (though more slender, and more…erect) settled snugly in the midst of Greene Acres with a loud, dusty thud. It touched down on the exact plot of land formerly occupied by Mr. Greene’s cottage, his wife, and his ancient ancestors’ graves—flowers, herbs, butterflies, fairies, moles, gnomes, Holsteins, Clydesdales, sheep…and all….
Part 3—The Spaceship
Black smoke and noxious gases hissed forth from the rocket. It was now fully docked within a massive, charcoaled crater of its own creating. An airlock opened near the cupola top; steam and air spewed out, along with a deep, loud, rhythmic, bone-jarring, foot stomping, handclapping…
…accompanied by Freddie Mercury’s tenor, singing:
Buddy you’re a boy
make a big noise
playing in the street
gonna be a big MAN some day
you got mud on your face
you’re big disgrace
kickin’ your can all over the place…
Amid the chanting chorus of “We Will Rock You,” an alien emerged from a small orifice topping the rounded tip of the elongated ship. It stepped out and stood on a captain’s walk. It casually circled round the platform in cream loafers. It was dressed in white gabardine slacks, a brass-buttoned navy-blue blazer, and a yachting cap. And aside from the pouty lower lip protruding from its mouth, there was also a lit blunt.
He gazed out into the blue sky; the bright orange, nearly-setting sun; and across the lush foliage of this enchanted and colourful land dubbed Greene Acres. A partially charred, coughing fairy flitted by as gracefully as a bumblebee with a missing wing, and crashed blindly into his neck—then defecated. The dapper alien swatted it like a gnat and flicked it away for dead. Then took another puff on the ganja…
…held it in…
The anthemic rock song faded out as Captain Skrodum’s voice faded in: “Now this would be a jolly spot to play a round of bocce,” he said to no one. “Hell, we could play badminton out here…or cricket…or even….”
He then looked down to spy a good spot in the sheep-shorn grass to start a game of croquet and, a bit startled, noticed another bloke WAAAAAY down below…at ground zero….
“Oh! Hulllllloooo!” he shouted to a sooty-looking Mr. Greene…who continued to stand on the only remaining vestige of his home—a charcoaled stone porch. He was filthy black and motionless…and a hairbreadth away from the edge of the burnt crater—being the very spot where his beloved Kinkade-esque cottage and Terry Jones-esque wife used to be and the infernal spacecraft currently was. He was peering up with dropped jaw and pipe in mid-motion falling from his lips. The smoking gourd banged down the side of the ship with a distant echo.
After taking another drag on his cigar-encased joint as he patiently waited for the pipe to finish its descent, Captain Skrodum of the Fvallus-XY continued: “I say, dear fellow, I hope my vessel is not a bother. But perhaps you could be a good chap and point me in the proper direction where my mates and I could get some crumpets & tea….Oh, yes, and also where we could get a spot of petrol—we’ve had a long flight from the Galactic Centre, you see, and just emerged from hyperspace which dumped us out…” he looked round trying to gather his bearings, “…ummm…here?….Hmm. Uh…where, exactly, is ‘here,’ anyway? I was busy cleaning my kumquats—both of them—while watching an episode of Red Dwarf on the telly, you see. Embarrassingly, I wasn’t paying due attention to anything past planet XXX-69 in the binary DD star system.”
The olde rustic Englishman down below who was looking like a London chimney sweep from 1852, was trying to grapple in his mind what just happened as one tries to grapple a squirmy fish in the creek.
“I say, dear fellow, can you speak?” inquired Captain Skrodum.
“Are you mute, mate?”
Finally, the olde man gathered his wits and started to breathe out sounds. First quietly, then his carbon-coated throat grew louder as he coughed out each phoneme, each word, slowly, and in a graceless Cockney he’d never uttered in his respectably-long life: “…wha’…in…bleedin’…’ell…?”
Taken aback by Mr. Greene’s unfashionable tone, Captain Skrodum said (even louder, if possible, and clearly emphasizing the key words this time for this simpleton lest he be forced to repeat himself thrice): “I say, mate, we just emerged from HYPERSPACE which dumped us out HERE! We could use some CRUMPETS & TEA—preferably of the genteel type—and some high-grade PETROL….Oh, and yes, come to think, also some high-grade ‘crackers’—and not the kind you eat, if you know what I mean. Now, do be a dear bloke and point us in the proper direction?”
After a bit more of a pause, Mr. Greene finally raised his blackened, trembling arm. With a traumatized mesmerism, he uncertainly pointed south.
Captain Skrodum, with full certainty, turned his head slowly astern. He was wearing a rather large and quite subconscious Cheshire-cat grin. His doobie jutted out like a Cuban cigar from his sparkly-whites, much like a typical Douglas MacArthur pose. After a momentary pause while some singed butterflies flitted overhead dropping their “butter” on his white hat, his clenched teeth squeezed out an oblivious “Brilliant!” to no one in particular. He then snapped out of his southward gaze. “Right, then….Well, cheerio,” he said indifferently, then tipped his yachting cap in habitually ostensible gratitude. He flicked the ashes from his Mary Jane stoggie (which fluttered down into the olde man’s cataract eyes), then proceeded to adjourn back inside the Fvallus-XY. In the process, he unwittingly squashed under cream-loafered foot the recently-deceased fairy he’d wittingly flicked from his ascot-adorned neck.
As he re-entered the little orifice at the bulbous tip of this very large rocket, instantly, as if on cue, Angus and Malcolm Young’s electric guitars came chiming out of the ship. After a few measures of spine-tingling magic, the bass and drums slammed in hard on a 4/4 rock beat. These dulcet tones lead into Brian Johnson’s raw-edged, flesh-spitting vocals:
She was a fast machine
she kept her motor clean
she was the best damn woman that I’d
While inside, Captain Skrodum suddenly realized he recognized the olde buffoon on the ground. He thought he may have been a bit hasty with the fellow. He turned back toward the door, paused as he considered this a moment, then realized it was a mere fleeting thought that fluttered away much like the butterflies outside—especially when he clued in to the fact that his missing an episode of The Black Adder was on the line.
“Take us south, Charles,” he ordered, as the rousing chorus of “You Shook Me All Night Long” kicked in. The fop turned back inside hammering the round door shut (crushing and killing the already-crushed-and-killed fairy) while rushing towards the telly.
Meanwhile on the outside, Mr. Greene had at that point noticed some bumper stickers carefully placed on the long shaft of this amazingly enormous ship. One informed: “If I’m Speedin It’s Cuz I’m Touchin Cloth.” Another posited: “I ♥ Spinal Tap,” which was right next to the “Keep On Truckin…er…Flyin” decal. And yet another, this one more interactive with the reader, informed in a Q&A style: “How Am I Flying? Call: 1-800-EAT-SH*T.” Strangely, that message seemed to be somewhat at odds with another that stated: “Questions About My Flying? Talk To The Owner…160 Feet Up!”
Charles then fired up the engines of the Fvallus-XY. The spaceship rumbled and roared, then squirted off like a shuttlecock. The rockets of which totally unnecessarily, but nonetheless, happened to have created much more of a blast and an infinitely larger crater than it did when landing—utterly obliterating the last of the sparsely remaining flowers, herbs, butterflies, fairies, moles, gnomes, Holsteins, Clydesdales, sheep…and all….
Mr. Greene’s wife, Mrs. Greene, hadn’t felt a thing during that landing, by the way. And incidentally, neither did Mr. Greene himself—during blastoff, that is. In fact, the last thing that went through his mind before his mind ceased to be, was, of all things, another bumper sticker.
This one with the balmy and soothing words:
[T]he great globe itself, yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve….We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.” ~ William Shakespeare
Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily.” ~ William Ockham
Compelled by the clamoring crowds and after much consideration, I, Amorphous Intelligence, have chosen to appease the adoring masses and reveal my true identity to the world. My mask is removed. I lay myself bare before all. I am…William S. Razor, Ret.
As such, I’ve started this new blog—Razor’s Ramblings: The Ranting Ravings, Resounding Writings, and Romping Repartee of the Resourcefully Reasonable and Reputedly Romantic William S. Razor, Ret.
Thoughtful. Humorous. Aimless.