Saturday, October 17, 2009

Monotonous Rex

Okay, things could have been different. Sophocles could have been living in the age of tap dancing, or Neil Simon and, instead of Oedipus, given us "Monotonous Rex." It doesn't take a Greek to smell tragedy.

Living off the ocean of Maui, Max, an escargot, happened to find himself falling deeply and devoutly in lust with a shark named Hugo. When he's not out crawling on the shore, Max imagines himself drinking cappuccino in Venice waiting for Hugo to show up, but there are no sharks in Venice, not even goldfish, so instead he decides to thumb a ride to Montauk.

It's a cloudy day, late May, with the kind of wind that bites. Max spots his brother on a nearby sand dune rolling around in butter and garlic salt.

In another life, he could have written fiction like O'Henry instead of a tragedy. He could have been a great Russian tragedian. Yet, in this life his destiny is inextricably bound to those who plumb the deep sea.

If he could name one book as his favorite of all time, it would be "Moby Dick," of course, though he swears it's about sharks not whales. He's also convinced, as Hugo tells him, it's never incest when two sharks sleep together. Max takes a deep sigh, and curls up in his shell like a foiled accordion.

How monotonous, he thinks, when nothing is taboo.