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FAN #91d: Sábado Gigante

by M. G. Alderman

V. O vos omnes, qui transitis per viam, attendite et videte.
R. Si est dolor simils sicut dolor meus.
V. Attendite universi populi, et videte dolorem meum.
R. Si est dolor simils sicut dolor meus.

--Fifth Responsory at Matins, Holy Saturday

Over the Southern Vandalia-Mexico del Norte Border
1830 Hours, 13 July 1974

She couldn't stop thinking, she couldn't take it any more. His words, his lips, his soul, his eyes -- his heart, his Jeffersonist heart. His cause. Her cause. Their cause, for they were still one, through space and time, no matter where he was. She knew it. But she was the co-pilot, she was the subordinate, the inferior, as always. Keep flying, keep following Captain Murdock's orders, d--mn you Hawke. Not now. Not bl--dy now. She did not know what she was looking at; she had ceased to care. Then she realized she was looking down, and she saw the mountains beneath her for the first time in months.

The splendid, beautiful, jagged, pure, perfect mountains, the mountains she tried so desperately to ignore when she flew over them. They were too beautiful for her to bear. And she saw him -- saw his eyes, beautiful, gentle eyes, the eyes of a splendid hawk, just like his name, and he was telling her to do it. She sucked in her breath.

"Navigator, belay that order. Chart a course south-southwest," she said, calmly, looking over at the pilot, Captain Murdock, whose commands she had just directly contradicted.

He stared at her for a moment, saying nothing, wondering if the last minute had actually happened, too strange for words. Then, he exploded. "What the h-ll are you doing, Stapleton? That'll put us straight across the line into bl--dy Gringo territory."

"I know, Murdock, I know," she said quietly, and he realized she had drawn her revolver and was pointing it directly at his heart.

Excerpts from script of Sábado Gigante, with comments from producers, 13 July 1974 Episode; third draft, 11 July 1974.
Translated from the Spanish.

MAJOR DIETER: ...You have become tiresome.

[Two GUARDS race stiffly on to the stage and drag the GUEST off, goose stepping all the while. There are sounds of someone getting beaten up in the background].

Join us next veek on Kriegheit, ven our guest vill be Field Marshall Hermann Hochstetler, author of the new book of poetry Odes to Common German Household Appliances.

Az alvays, I am your host Major Dieter. Until zen, now is ze time on Kriegheit ven ve marsch! Sieg!

[He gives the stiff-armed salute associated with Chancellor Bruning. Then he and his assistants goosestep offstage.]

Theodore Army Air Station, California
2130 Hours, 13 July 1974

The truth was, Ev had trouble remembering if Sábado Gigante was any good or not. She doubted it was, but by this point she had essentially bored herself to sleep in the grubby little guest room they had assigned her to. She remembered an annoying laugh track, the greasy host Don Francisco with his wrinkled, heavily made-up froglike face constantly mugging the camera, and also that the guest was some dippy smiling blonde with a hyphenated last name, Cameron-Díaz. Odd, usually it was Mercator that did the guest starring; the show was broadcast from the Gran Teatro Vicente Mercator, which, from the few glimpses she could see offstage, was another mega-megalomaniac reinterpretation of the Aztec temples of Mercator's spiritual forebearers, typically garish, plebeian and with plenty of gilding and neon for the masses to enjoy themselves in.

She didn't remember too much clearly, just two German weightlifters in spiked helmets. A fellow with a trumpet wearing a mask or hood or something, La Chacál de la Trompeta. Some weird chap, a grown man, dancing around in a giant bee costume, and then there was -- what exactly was it? More fantascience parody? She couldn't say--

Excerpts from script of Sábado Gigante, with comments from producers, 13 July 1974 Episode; third draft, 11 July 1974.
Translated from the Spanish.


VOICEOVER: Los Conjeads. They came from the farthest reaches of space, from a world over a million light years away, the planet Remúlaquo. Dispatched by their Governor-General High Master Lord Timekeeper Monajano, they came with a fleet of star-cruisers to seize the world from humankind. Unfortunately, la Señora Conjead was driving and they ended up in the Sea of Cortez. Then el Señor Conjead lost the speech they were going to give to the government demanding absolute submission. Then they heard that their planet was cutting back on the space program. So they've decided to stick around for a while and collect some decorative souvenir spoons. Their answer when questioned about their identity? Somos de la C.N.A.!

We join la familia Conjead -- el Señor Beldaro, la Señora Primát and their daughter Conchita -- en route to Earth from a brief visit back home to Remúlaquo. Suddenly, they have collided with an object!

BELDARO: We have collided with an object.

CONCHITA: They have said that already.

PRIMÁT: Your navigational abilities are again deficient. Get out of the vehicle and investigate.

CONCHITA: Please minimize any delay. I must urinate.

[There is a knock at the door of the vehicle. Enter the TORY SPACE BIMBO.]

[Producer's comment handwritten onto script: Have we had a word about the TSB re costume? I'm thinking a shiny fight suit, maybe one of those three-cornered hats you always see in the movies about Lord Nelson, maybe a monocle; and, of course, get wardrobe to buy a red wig in that new style that's the thing up there, named after that space cadet woman, Gilmore? The Evangeline, that's it. Get an Evangeline wig. Oh, and how about a scratchy fanfare of Rule Britannia?]

TORY SPACE BIMBO: I say, who are you and what in blazes are you toffs doing in my absolutely smashing flight path?

Theodore Army Air Station, California
2130 Hours, 13 July 1974

D--mn. Good God. What on earth is that supposed to be, the hat, the suit -- the monocle? And knocking? I mean, knocking on the door of the space shuttle? Good Lord, no wonder we're ahead of them in technology. I mean, really.

"Absolutely smashing"?

And then Rule Britannia. Good God.

Oh, d--mn, bl--dy d--mn their greaser ar--s. She's me. SHE'S SUPPOSED TO BE ME. She's wearing one of those d--mned wigs. Now everyone's got their hair styled that way now. Outrageous. Is that all I am to them? To anyone? Just a frame to parade in the latest bleeding fashions? Every time I pass a woman on the street, fat, thin, tall, short, old, young, with that bl--dy haircut, I feel just a little bit angrier, and a little bit less like myself, as if they could just take me to bits and auction off my attributes like relics to the highest bidder. Am I just a caricature of myself?

Is that all those d--mn folks want from me? I'm a captain in his Majesty's forces. Does that bl--dy mean anything anymore? Does it mean anything I went through years of training, years of preparation, years of blood-soaked memories of my own father's death, to serve the Confederation, to soar above the heavens? And all they want out of me is a bl--dy hairpiece? D--mn. D--mn! D--mn the idiot that put that photo on that magazine cover. D--mn the old cows who want to ride in on the tails of my toil, to take a piece of the heroism that isn't bl--dy theirs. D--mn that greaser Emilio, showing off in front of the little lady pilot. Is that all I am? And d--mn those greaser comedians with their smug humor and their--

She watched with helpless anger, her eyes glowering as they seared the screen at her crude counterfeit.

Continued excerpts from script of Sábado Gigante, with comments from producers, 13 July 1974 Episode; third draft, 11 July 1974.
Translated from the Spanish.

BELDARO: Greetings. The collision was caused by your navigational error.

TORY SPACE BIMBO: Zounds! Visitors from another planet?

BELDARO: Negative, negative! We are not from another planet. CONJEADS [in unison]: Somos de la CNA.

TORY SPACE BIMBO: Not bl--dy likely! I'm from the CNA, and this isn’t one of our spacecraft!

PRIMÁT: We are from France.

CONCHITA: We are from the Fukienese Republic.

TORY SPACE BIMBO: You're bl--dy lying, the lot of you. Dash it all! I must report this to my superiors with all dispatch!

PRIMÁT: Beldaro, activate the mental neutralization device.

BELDARO: An excellent suggestion, spousal unit. Madam space-person, your attention please.

TORY SPACE BIMBO: I say, wat? Wat wat?

[Beldaro pushes a button on the console and a Juan Baillaires ballad begins to play.]

[Producer's comment; handwritten onto script: Which one should we use? How about Aura Lee FN1. It got quite a response when he played it on the show last time he was on.]

TORY SPACE BIMBO: Watwatwat? Ooh, aah! Goodness gracious me! Must resist...must resist...[She falls to the floor moaning]

PRIMÁT: Resistance is futile. [To Beldaro] As you know, Beldaro, these sounds suppress all mental activity in the female earthling of the North American subspecies. Put her back in her vehicle and let us return to our domicile unit.

CONCHITA: With maximum celerity, parental units. I still need to urinate.



VOICEOVER: In the spirit of fraternal union with our German allies, Telemundo Mexico is proud to present this week’s installment of Levantando Pesas con Hans y Franz.

[Sounds of a Prussian march. Hans and Franz appear standing in front of a very obvious painted alpine backdrop. They are dressed in weight belts and heavily padded athletic costumes, incongruous by comparison with their spiked military headgear. A rack of rifles is standing by instead of their usual weightlifting gear].

HANS: Soy Hans!

FRANZ: Y soy Franz!

HANS AND FRANZ: Y estamos para bombarte [They clap together once] a ti!

HANS: First of all, do not adjust your vita set. Zis eez our acktual size. Ja, ja. Franz and I come from a little Austrian town of veight lifters, ze home of Rainer Volfcastle FN2. It was us who taught him all ze secrets of weight lifting, we turned Herr Volfcastle man from a flabby little girlie man into a big strong German, Ja.

FRANZ: He was really girlie, ja! Ve vere his cousins, ja, and every Christmas ve vould tie his flabbly little pectoral muscles together like a bow and put him under the Tannenbaum, and believe me my friend, no one would open him. Until ve taught him ze zekrets.

HANS: But today ve decided to to do somezing a bit different, because not just are all Germans muy bombado, but are ramrod straight!

FRANZ: Very straight, who needs flexibility?

HANS: Ja! Ja, ve are all zo disiciplined and stiff and big, ja, you can use us to draw straight lines mit ein pencil!

FRANZ: Ja! We are at ze rifle range today, we're going to show you how to shoot this big gun [They clap together once]

HANS Y FRANZ: Right straight!

FRANZ: Because if you can't, you shouldn't be laughing, you little girlie men out there, because you are so flabby, and you don't have a big gun! Get a big German gun like ours, ja, not flabby at all!

HANS: Ja, no big gun! Ve vould have to take you by your flabby love handles and wrap them around your fat body.

FRANZ: And take you out to the garbage can, because that's where trash like you belongs.

[Franz picks up a rifle and aims].

HANS: Now I'm going to aim and hit ze big white man at the end of the range, and I have to stand so stiff and straight. He'll make such an easy target, because the white man is so big and flabby and I'm just going to shoot [He claps and drops the rifle on his foot] him up! Ow! With ze big gun!

FRANZ: [Incredulous] You vant to do vat to the flabby white man? Hans? Ve are good Germans! Straight Germans!

HANS: But very stiff Germans, ja!

Theodore Army Air Station, California
2130 Hours, 13 July 1974

Ev wasn't getting this. It sounded vaguely obscene, and on top of that, didn't make much sense. The Imperial German Navy, yes, what with being away from female contact for months at a time, the slightly off-color humor might work in context there, but the German Army? And the white man? What's this? Oh -- it means target in Mexican Spanish. Ironic for such a racialist nation.

She remembered Emilio had used the word at target practice that afternoon. She didn't know why he'd suggested it -- maybe -- no, of course, that couldn’t be why. Just a way to pass the time on the base in between official business. She was here to fly planes, after all. It was great fun though, great fun beating him, wherever the invitation came from. Great fun showing him she was more that just a d--mn wig.

It comes full circle again. D--mn. Stop it. Stop thinking about it.

What was Hans doing now? Or was it Franz? She'd lost interest; she reached for the remote control, and then, suddenly she drew her hand away. The screen had changed completely; a solemn-looking Mexican newsreader in an omnipresent suit and turtleneck was sitting behind his desk. Was this part of the skit?

Bl--dy h--ll. She tried to make out the man's words; it was late, the set was tiny, he was speaking too fast in that ridiculous U.S.M. Spanish.

"The head of air traffic control at Miguel Huddleston Regional Airfield has confirmed rumors that a North American spyplane has landed on site just outside of Conyers, El Norte. He has not chosen to confirm or deny whether the plane's pilot or co-pilot has defected from North America, as we have heard. We are told that the crew of eleven is now in custody."

What in blazes -- what in bloody blazes is this?

"We have received a vita of the crew's first appearance."

Bright lights mingling with dry darkness; a man in a dirt-colored flightsuit running towards the camera gesticulating; a high, hysterical voice screaming -- in English? The camera jerks roughly over to see a young woman in the flying uniform of the R.C.N.A.A.F. thrusting herself forward crazily as two Mexicans, wearing the bizarre traditional sombreros of the Constabulary with their incongruous fatigues, pull her back, drag her away, restrain her mad wrestling. Her face, severely beautiful -- for once it is really beautiful -- has gone pale, and blood slices lightly across her cheek from a cut. Her cropped dark hair is glossy with sweat, matted and tangled, and her silver-grey eyes swivel wildly in their sockets. She is screaming something about the Tree of Liberty, about the Intolerable Acts, about nature and nature's God, and that she holds these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal--

Good God. Good God. Alex Stapleton. The woman whose father I--

It was self defense.

Was it? I had killed her, killed his daughter too. I sent her into the arms of the enemy, d--mnable little hayseed.

Evangeline, hundreds of miles away simply sits there in bed, stunned, and then, almost inaudibly, murmurs to herself, "Well, well, well. What have you gotten your poor little self into this time, Alex?"

And she says it with pity, perhaps for the first time in her life. The first time, perhaps, since the day her own father was killed by Mexican fanatics, the idols that her one-time-friend fervently worships. And she hates them all, the Jeffersonists, the Mexicans, the comedians, the complacent idiots in her own country, with only her superior officers, with only the Confederation as the last bastion of light in this dark world.

For Ev knows that this neophyte's faith in Thomas Jefferson, crucified on the tree of Liberty, will be short-lived.

"And now back to our regularly scheduled programming."

Ev does not, however, return to Hans and Franz and the flabby white man. She only hears the breaking of glass as her copy of Trent's Fighting Airmobiles careens into the screen of the vita, smashing a tiny aritificial cosmos into nothingness.

Forward to FAN #92: A Royal Audience.

Forward to 13 July 2012: The Two-Headed Snake.

Forward to Ev and Alex: The Defector.

Return to For All Nails.