A Little Too Igor
by Thomas Lee Joseph Smith
1816. Europe. A town in southern Germany. Torches are everywhere and farm implements are evenly distributed throughout the crowd. The mob is standing outside city hall waiting on the mayor, waiting for instructions.
Also waiting for the mayor and standing on the steps is, Herr Rumpfeld, the chief of police. He’s wearing wire-rimmed glasses and a Germanic uniform with a short cape. He’s been the chief of police before, under other administrations.
The mayor comes out. The mayor is wearing a grey suit. The mayor is wearing a grey hat. The hat has a little white feather. The mayor begins his speech.
“Citizens of Liechtenstein, you all know why you’ve been called from your homes. As farmers, you’ve always known there are things to worry about, but this problem isn’t minor, like the problem we had last year, when we had a mere... excess of weevils. Now we are in real danger. There are monsters in the world.
“To the south sits Dracula... sitting in his dark chateau... sharpening his white teeth, waiting for us to lapse into pink complacency so he can harvest our women and children.
“To the east, the Wolfman wearing a tattered shirt and no shoes and clawing up gypsies and travelers. And the invisible man... well... who knows where he is.
“And here... here we have our own little concern. The monster. Frankenstein’s monster. Made... not begotten. Finally we have proof that man could have been made in six days. So much for stem cells. So much for pure science. A monster is running loose in our province.
“Now I’m not one to make speeches. But I know how to get the job done. And I know you’re with me, ’cause... you’re either with me or against me. Some say the monster wants a confrontation, well I say, ‘bring it on’. We’re going to bring down the monster and we’re going to do it right now.”
He starts to move away from the microphone. The group by the steps part, leaving the police chief and the mayor a path so they can get to the head of the mob.
Before the mayor gets ten feet from the microphone a voice from the back of the mob yells out, “And what if the mill should burn?”
The mayor stops. He looks around. Reluctantly he moves back to the microphone. “We’re chasing a monster... why should the mill get burned?”
The man in the back row moves forward. “I’m just saying, what if the mill burns? We’ve all got torches, the mill is highly flammable, a part of this group was instructed to head towards the mill. I’m just asking: what happens if it burns?”
The mayor leans in to the microphone, so his voice has more authority. “We have ample insurance for that. Planning has been seen to.”
Behind the mayor is a group of men. One of the men is shaking his head. He touches the mayor’s sleeve. The mayor turns around and they talk. The mayor turns back to the microphone.
“The people are instructed not to burn the mill. Everyone be careful with your torches and be respectful of property. If the mill gets burned I’m going to be pissed. Okay let’s go.” He starts to leave the podium.
The same man calls again, “At least we should think about getting a wagon.”
The mayor sighs. His shoulders slump. He goes back to the microphone. “Why would the mill getting burned make us buy a wagon?”
“A wagon to haul flour. If we buy the wagon before the mill gets wrecked, it’ll cost about half what it will cost if we buy it after the mill gets wrecked. As soon as that old wagon-maker knows we’re desperate... well... We should send someone right now to purchase an option to purchase a wagon. With five dollars in his hands, that might save us a couple hundred later on. Five dollars... just buy an option and we can hold the price.”
The mayor nods. The chief of police takes a key from his pocket. He hands the key to one of his subordinates. “Take it out of petty cash. You and two men go over to see Kurt Nailman. Get his name on a sales slip. Make sure you don’t get charged for any undercoating or those jumping pneumatic axles or bone-jarring surround sound... any of that nonsense.”
“Is there anything else?” The mayor asks.
The man is almost at the podium now, only on the other side. “We should send a few men to guard the doctor’s lab.”
“Who are you?” the mayor asks.
“I’m Ted Longview. I work for the street department.”
“Why should we guard the lab? The monster escaped from there, he’s not likely to go back.”
“Who’s to say, but there are dangerous compounds in there. And we don’t know where the professor’s assistants are. Maybe they’re creating another monster right now.”
The mayor nods again. He’s not used to agreeing with people, but he can do it if there’s a crowd. “We’ll send six men to guard the lab. Six more to guard the cemetery. Six to look for Igor. A dozen or so to stay behind and watch the village.”
“I believe Igor is dead. I think the monster killed him,” someone else says.
“We’ll still look for him... for questioning.”
“How will you question him if he’s dead?”
The mayor asks, “Haven’t you been paying attention to the plot?”
The mob leaves the town square. On the way out of town they tear down a big statue. Half of the mob head towards the river and half head towards the forest. The monster is running. The monster is confused. The monster is running away but is hampered by the big boots he’s wearing. His trail is easy to follow.
A man with a garden weasel in his hands says, “I was in the first mob, a few years back.”
“What was that like?” asks the man walking beside him.
“It was much easier. We just made him leave Mr. Wate’s cottage, the one that Mrs. Gillespie claimed she had title to. We pushed him back a little. Now it looks like we’re going whole hog.”
The mob spots the monster. They chase him towards the mill. The monster breaks the door and enters the mill. Inside, in the dark interior, with giant wheels spinning and giant gears grinding in the background, the monster climbs the thick steps. He reaches a balcony and steps outside. He can see the mob down below. The monster stretches out his arms.
Below, the mob gets quiet. “He’s going to say something.” says one of the farmers.
Above, the monster tries to gather his thoughts. “I remember too many things... and they all confuse me.” He thinks. He holds his head. “I remember throwing a rebellious little girl in the water... but I can see now that wasn’t a good idea.
“I remember Igor tormenting me; Igor calling it sanctions when he beat me with a whip.
“I remember being told I could have Mr. Wate’s cottage; Mrs. Gillespie told me so.
“I remember Mr. Wate was stealing things from my garden, reaching over the fence and stealing from me. He called it slant gardening.
“A long time ago we owned Mr. Wate’s cottage, the Frankensteins owned that cottage, and then it was taken away. I only thought to get it back.
“I don’t understand... what’s happened to me? When I fought with the Wolfman, the mob was on my side, giving me weapons and advice, even weapons of mass destruction... though the mob was also giving weapons to the Wolfman.
“And then when the Vampire was a bat and he entered the no-fly zone they shot at him.
“I remember when I was just a little monster I used to get visits from these people. They said I was doing good work keeping King Kong out of the oil fields. When King Kong pulled into Afghanistan they gave me stronger arms.
“I used to be friends with the chief of police and now he hates me. And now they have me surrounded and up in this mill and they surround me with torches. Who can understand the workings of this world? Who can understand the alliances we make?”
These were weighty issues for a brain that had once been soaked in preservatives. The monster tried to convey his thoughts to the crowd. “Huuuunnnnrrangh,” he said, trying to make himself understood. “Huuuunnnnrraggghhh,” he said, clarifying one of his previous statements.
Some of the mob were inside the mill, having battered down the door. They were climbing up to where the monster waited. A group of twenty men found the balcony. Two men grabbed the monster but he shook them off. One fell sixty feet into a pile of straw. The other wasn’t that lucky; he hit the arm of the mill as it roared past, and he bounced high and then he slid down the side of the mill and he crashed into a pile of rock.
The mayor, still below and not in any particular danger said, “Anyone hurt trying to stop the monster will be well taken care of.”
The monster said, “Huuuugghhnnn!” and shook his head, which meant he wasn’t too sure.
One by one the mob threw their torches at the wooden structure. Flames began to shoot out of the door and out of the windows. The monster could be seen flailing around and it appeared the flames had him. Only... he fell through the floor and hid in the basement for a while, only to fall through another floor later on.
Word flowed out from the little province. Now that the monster was gone other monsters came. From near and far they came: Mothra, Godzilla, The Creature from the Black Lagoon. Soon the whole province was having problems.
“We should have closed the borders,” the mayor said. “Hey, Longview, why didn’t you think of that?”
“I did,” Longview replied, “only... the mob you brought was too small. There were about a dozen things I thought we should have been doing, only there were never enough torches.”
“Was I right to chase this monster?” the mayor asked.
“Hard to say... for the effort we made:
we could have put a naval blockade around Skull Island,
we could have moved Eddie Munster into a more stable family, so he didn’t grow up to be a druggie...”
“But was I wrong?” the mayor asked.
Longview looked thoughtful, “We won’t really know until the next movie. If it’s another ‘horror movie’, filmed far away like in Transylvania or Darfur we might be okay, but if it’s an ‘action adventure’ filmed in Dallas or Chicago, then we’re screwed.”
Copyright © 2007 by Thomas Lee Joseph Smith