So you all know, of course, that Banjo Chutney and I went to Hollywood to make a film? Well we did. And what’s more, we collaborated on a story about it, which you can read here:
‘Our Trip to Hollywood’ by Banjo Chutney and John Le Baptiste
When we awoke in our twin-bed hotel room, the air conditioning said ‘ming’. The big cars were honking and the maids were speaking in a secret language. Banjo said it was called Spanish.
We put our tiny white penises and tiny white bottoms into our tiny white underpants. And we did so shamefully. For was not the sin of Adam upon us?
Then we got a callback from the agent saying that the meeting was scheduled for 11. He said that the producer was excited about the project. That made us happy, but then we realised we would only have 45 minutes for breakfast, so that made us worried.
All of the waitresses in the breakfast diner were curling their mouths upwards at the ends and presenting their teeth. They called us y’all and wanted to be our friends.
I had biscuits and gravy. When I peeled back the sickly sauce there was a sad-looking spongiform beneath it. So it ate it and tried not to cry. Banjo ordered a sausage. Its legs were still attached.
After vomiting in the alley behind the diner for half an hour, Banjo and I caught a taxi to the studio. Our eyes were bleary and our knees were trembling but Banjo opened The Braveness matchbox and let The Braveness crawl around on the car seat for a while. It fed on a discarded crumb from a child’s food-unit then it did a little happy click. Then it got back inside the matchbox. We felt a lot Braver after that.
The taxi driver was humped, boweeviled, jerry-cocked, through with all that shit, he said. We shrugged and he said ain’t that the truth.
The taxi pulled away and the driver said shall I careen all over the road or career? Banjo said could he Kareem and the driver shot a finger-pistol full of respect-bullets our way.
We pulled up in front of a monolithic temple of success. It was where the big boys make their big boy pretend pictures. I got out and sucked the free air but Banjo just doubled over in a pool of whimper-fear. I took out a slice of marble cake I’d stowed in my cardigan and he came round enough to fall onto the pavement.
We hallooed the rentacop at the gate and showed our labels on our shirts, proving we were who we said we were. Tough times, he said. Damn if it ain’t.
The cobwebby forest of shame was all around us. We sure felt puny. I pulled a floral kerchief with a flourish, aiming to look emboldened as a cabinet. No, hissed Banjo. These types are wise to us. But I parped regardless. For clarity.
Banjo bucked back, the smell of wickedness in his nostrils. His hooves hammered as he twisted in his hackamore. Whoa boy, I said. Whoopsy daisy, said Banjo.
For two days we rode in silence through the pine-whiny glades. We’d stop now and then to share a cereal bar or take off our hats and dust the flies from our maws.
On the third day we came to a grove called ‘reception’, where a woman brought us coffee, hot and black and steaming from a plastic thermos. Don’t you be fooling none, said Banjo. I ain’t fooling none, I told him.
Could I have been fooling none?
Soon the hot, black coffee was snarling in our stomachs and we were on our way to see the Wizard of Oz. That’s what the receptionist said. I didn’t understand the reference. We walked down the hall of fame. Signed pictures of all of the greats were there. There was Philip Hardcastle, Steiner and Moobuck and, best of all, Old Blind Manhandle: The Talking Hobo. Banjo saluted as we walked past and Old Blind Manhandle saluted back, sort of.
At last we reached our journey’s end. It was the office of the producer. He offered us a Fillet o’ Fish. He confirmed that the o’ stood for ‘of’. You’ve got balls son, he said, pointing at my shoulder. He took Banjo by the cheeks and said, Welcome Home, Son. Banjo looked at my eyes, but my eyes looked away.
Excuse me, sir, said Banjo. We’re here to make a picture. And not just any kind of picture. Not the kind of picture, for instance, that you might find on a porcelain saucer. A picture of a smiling Jack Russell, for instance, on a porcelain saucer. No sir, not that kind of picture.
The producer tried to speak but Banjo caught his words using his special Bluegrass Claw. No sir, said Banjo, we want to make a moving picture. You can call it a filmic yarn if that helps you to understand it better. What kind of moving picture you ask? (The producer hadn’t asked, because his words were still spinning in Bluegrass Claw purgatory, like the souls of a trillion Anabaptists.) What kind of moving picture you ask, said Banjo.
It’s a simple story about a little boy who wanted to be a human, summarised Banjo. It’s a silent musical. It’s an inert action film. It’s a heartwarming horror. It’s got thrills, chills, banjo fills, and none of the above.
Did you boys write it, said the taxi driver, who had followed us into the office. Yes, I said, we wrote it together.
How? said the taxi driver.
I don’t know, but we did, I said.
The taxi driver sent for his lawyers, who brought round some contracts, which we ‘signed’ using short tubes of ink. The studio gave it the green light, and we went into production the next day.
So I guess by now you’re probably wondering when you can see the film that Banjo and I wrote. Well, the chances are, you’ve already seen it. For, here it is.