Sunday, October 17, 2010

What Happens in the Mine Stays in the Mine

On deciding that organized crime wasn’t really for me, I was extremely lucky to be vacationing in the northern Chilean desert right around the time the miners were rescued, and to be able to strike representation deals with a pair of them. Most of their comrades had signed with International Creative Management (hereinafter ICM) or Wm. Morris, but I was able to convince Refugio and Guillermo, as I will call my clients — I will refer to all the miners by names not their own — that I would be giving them my personal attention, and making a 110 percent effort on their behalf, whereas with either of the aforementioned powerhouses, which I referred to scornfully as "your dads' talent agencies," they would be foolish to expect anything more than a 100 percent effort, and a lot of calls would both be made and fielded by callow underlings who were only just learning to enjoy wearing loafers without socks.

Much of what they told me about their and the others’ ordeal took me very much by surprise. One of their most surprising — and upsetting — revelations was that it was actually 36 miners, rather than the reported 33, who descended into the San Jose mine that fateful day this past August. In the 17 days before they were discovered to have survived the cave-in, with no way of knowing that they would ever be rescued, the 33 we saw emerging sunglassed and exultant last week slaughtered and barbecued the two non-Chileans, and immediately regretted having done so, as only the corpulent Bolivian we will call Adolfo was delicious.

The remaining 34 thereafter tried a variety of techniques to keep themselves amused and in good spirits. On Day 22, one of them had the idea of a spelling bee, but it proved impractical for two reasons — several of the men were illiterate, and the miners obviously had no dictionary down there with them. Dancing With the Subterranean Stars, the brainchild of “Luis” and “Mario,” turned out to be very much more successful, though with nearly tragic consequences. The partners in at least three of the half-dozen competing teams — who danced to a capella versions of the Chilean national anthem and Lady Gaga’s "Poker Face" — came to feel themselves in love, and their doing so engendered considerable jealousy among the non-contestants. When the second-place-finishing team of “Gregorio” and “Rudolfo” declared their intention to wed, in fact, it created a rift between those thrilled by the idea of having a wedding to dress up for, and those who believed they'd been quite tolerant enough condoning the idea of a civil union between the two. The opposing sides didn’t speak for nearly three days, after which the point became moot when Gregorio decided to go back to "Estefan" anyway, inspiring the spiteful Rudolfo to start a lot of unpleasant rumors about Gregorio’s erotic shortcomings.

On Day 46, "Alfredo," who before the disaster had been a regular at the Copiapo Gold’s Gym, declared himself fatally fed up with the lovesick Rudolfo’s “gimiendo como una perrita” (“whining like a little bitch”), crushed his skull between his hands, and claimed Gregorio as his own. He then proceeded to pimp Gregorio out to others in exchange for cigarettes, crack, and such favors as fanning him with the football and pornographic magazines their prospective rescuers were sending down to them; it is widely known that the temperature in their cave rarely dropped below 90 degrees Fahrenheit, though Chile is on the metric system.

Nothing is certain until all the t’s have been crossed and all the i’s and j’s dotted, of course, but I will confide that I have thus far arranged for my clients to appear on both Leno and The View, and to endorse Stars On Ice’s forthcoming production called Chilean Miners on Ice. I have contacted the campaigns of various beleaguered Democratic candidates to determine if they are interested in licensing my clients’ endorsements, but to this point only Harry Reid of Nevada, where there are lots of Spanish-speaking miners, has written a cheque.

[Today's title is by Claire.]

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