Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Petite peepers

I wrote a story for my fiction workshop that had a character telling the story about the time he tackled a man fleeing the police. As the cops were taking him away, one of them said, "Let's go, short eyes." The storyteller realized from this that he had just helped them catch a child molester.

One workshop member said something to the effect that the only way he could know arcane prison slang like that was if he himself had been a child molester. This got kicked around for a couple of minutes, with me sitting their thinking, Um, I wrote this, you realize. Finally, the teacher came right out and said this was starting to get weird and she wanted to emphasize that in no way was anyone saying... She didn't actually finish the sentence, but everyone was on board with what she meant, and we moved on.

Nobody actually asked me where I had learned this phrase; if they had, I could have told them I had two sources. One was the play "Short Eyes," written by Miguel Pinero, which was made into a movie, starring a young Bruce Davison and featuring the film debut of an even younger Luis Guzman. It's a pretty intense work, about a pedophile who finds that prisoners mete out even tougher justice than society.

The other was from the old Doctor Demento favorite "Kinko the Kid-Lovin' Clown" by Ogden Edsl. They're better known for their song "Dead Puppies," which I never found funny as it's too "oh my aren't I outrageous" for my tastes. "Kinko" has that quality too, but somehow the excessive innocence / excessive creepiness works to greater effect there.

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