Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Metamorphosis, The Musical


As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.

He was lying on his hard back and when he lifted his head a little he could see his dome-like brown belly divided into stiff arched segments and his numerous legs, which were pitifully thin, waving helplessly before his eyes.

"I must remember to cancel the exterminator," Gregor thought.

"What has happened to me?" he wondered.  "I, who walked out of A Bug's Life!"  Would this put a crimp in his hoped-for career as a hand model?

Gregor looked at the alarm clock ticking on his bureau and realized that he must be at work within the hour.  Lateness was not well tolerated at his office,  and he had already used the excuse of transforming into a gigantic insect for lateness several times before, each time without notable success.

"Gregor," called his mother, banging on the door. "You're late."

"Yes, I am getting ready, mother," said Gregor. "Just brushing my mandible,  I mean teeth!'

"I don't mean to bug you,"said Gregor's mother.  

"Bada Bing!"  said Gregor.

Gregor readied himself for the day as best he could, crawled to the door of his room, and curious to see what others would say when the saw him,  pulled the door open with his maxillae. 

"Oh my God!"  screamed Gregor's mother.  "Gregor,  you look disgusting!  Though nowhere near as bad as comedy writer Bruce Vilanch." 

"What are you talking?" chimed in Gregor's father.  "He looks way worse than Bruce Vilanch.  It's your cousin Greta he's not as bad as."

"I don't think he's quite as revolting as Aunt Greta," said Gregor's sister, "who's turned more men gay than a Robert Pattinson pin-up calendar.  But I would appreciate it very much if he got his antennae out of my eye!"

Gregor now realized that this was not going to be one of his better days.


"Whatever will happen to poor Gregor?" cried Gregor's mother after Gregor had retreated back into his room. 

"He will live a frustrated life," said Gregor's father "although he will turn his energies into helping his fellow insects and just when he doubts the value of his own life,  a kindly angel will ..."

"Where are you getting all this?"

"It's in the nature of the story.  You know ... Capraesque."

"You idiot," said Gregor's mother, "this story isn't Capraesque, it's Kafkaesque!"

"Oh," said Gregor's father. "He's fucked then."

Back in his lonely room,  Gregor pondered his bleak new fate.  He could not return to work, that much was certain.  He would be ridiculed and ostracized by his employer and his co-workers, and there was as yet no law against insectual harassment in the state.

"Bada-Bing!"  said Gregor once more.

And what would he do day after day in his silent room?  Would he ever get used to masturbating to Entomology Today rather than the Internet?  

Gregor thought of his family with great love and tenderness.  He knew they would stand by him no matter what the burden, no matter what the cost, no matter how long it took for him to get better. 

Just outside his room,  Gregor's mother, father, and sister were busily constructing a giant fly swatter.

"I just had a thought, " said Gregor's father.  "Instead of swatting him,  let's exhibit him like the Elephant Man."

"Yes," agreed Gregor's mother. "We could dress him up in silly hats and teach him to juggle!"

"And I'll finally get to meet Matt Lauer," said Gregor's sister. 


The days passed slowly for Gregor. 

Fortunately Gregor was comforted by the warm-hearted care and love he received from his sister, who nightly spouted a series of choice expletives while dumping a generous helping of fecal matter into Gregor's room for his dinner. On nights when she was feeling less ambitious, she brought take out from Olive Garden

Gregor thought about his past life before the metamorphosis. True, his job selling joy-buzzers to engineering majors was not always satisfying, but he had the contentment of knowing he was making the money to gradually pay down his father's  gambling debts, support his mother's meth habit, and save for his sister's boob job.

"I did have a good life after all, very unlike my life now as a bug," thought Gregor, thereby totally trashing the central theme of the original novel upon which this stupid parody is based.

Eager to share his new found perceptions with his family, Gregor crawled on his many legs to the door of his room,  flung it open with his antennae,  and there before him was his family and some other vaguely familiar people,  their voices all raised in song:

"Hark, the herald angels sing,  Glory to the new born king ...." 

Gregor felt for his face. It was human! He felt for his chest. It was human! He felt for his penis. 

Two out of three ain't bad. 

"But what has happened?!" cried Gregor.

"What has happened is that you are a pain in the ass, George Bailey!" declared a little gray-haired man who clapped him from behind and spun him around.

"Clarence?" said Gregor.  

"First it was 'Clarence, what if I'd never been born?'  Then it was  'Clarence, what if I were transformed into an enormous bug?'  The cost of make-up and costuming alone is killing me, George!"  

"Yes, I remember now. My name is George, not Gregor."

"Yeah, you insisted on being a German Jew for this go-round.  What are you gonna ask to be next year, George Bailey, the Octomom?!!"

"Mary!  Kids! And now I realize I really do have a wonderful life!" 

"Yeah, George, maybe you do, but my afterlife sucks because of you!"

"Hark,  the herald angels sing," sang Mary,  Janie,  Pete,  Tommy,  and Zuzu, along with Gregor's  mother, father, and sister, "Glory to the new born king ..." 

"What do you know?" said Gregor's father, making a fist and playfully poking Gregor's mother in the ribs. "It was Capraesque after all."


Sorry there really aren't any songs, folks.
What do you want from a dippy little parody 
two weeks before the election? 


Glynn said...

What? No dancing girls in a row dressed as the Cockroachettes?

Perry Block said...

I intended to do a musical but couldn't come up with any songs. But I liked the title so much I kept it.

If you can suggest a song parody or two, I'll add 'em.

Marisa Birns said...

I loved this! Very, very clever.

Perry Block said...

Thank you, Marisa.

I try to keep you advised of each installment in my "classic works series." I've pretty much run through every book I've ever read the Cliff's Notes to at this point.

Have any suggestions for other great books?