LX Commentary #16: The Mummy

One of my favorite things about Chuck Klosterman—besides this coincidence—is his glowing judgment of an album by its cover review of A Love Extreme for Esquire.

One of my favorite parts of his novel The Visible Man is a scene where he’s clearly talking about a certain television show, but dances around the specifics just enough to let you figure it out for yourself. 

“The Mummy” was the first Benji Hughes song I fictionalized into a short story, but that story isn’t this chapter. As I said in the first origin story post, I wrote a dumb little ditty starring Frankenstein, Dracula, and Benji Hughes that inspired the core cast of the full length L Extreme novel but ultimately landed on the cutting room floor.

It took a real long time for me to figure out what a second attempt at “The Mummy” chapter would be. A few reviews speculate the song is (duh!) about a Halloween party. The fictional Benji character slept through a Halloween party we never saw way back on Side A, instead having a trippy Quantum Leap themed instrumental dream tribute parody type thing.

Ohhhhhhhhh, I thought. Maybe these parties don’t always end the same way…

Other tidbits:

  • Rereading that Klosterman article from Esquire, “He’s nice to animals and waitresses” possibly inspired the importance of the waitress character from “You Stood Me Up” in some subconscious way. (But then again, maybe “Jubalee” & “You Stood Me Up” influenced those line’s in Chuck’s review.)
  • Headshot of Thurston Moore from the film Slow Century; headshot of Benji Hughes from the Appetizer EP.
    “I never understood why Thurston Moore’s interviews are filmed like an Andy Warhol painting.”
    “It would make a good cover for a solo album with a different background color.”
    Early drafts had C & Frank trading off narration duties, but something felt off. Towards the end of the Heartman & Songstress extravaganza I started modeling the omniscient narrator after the Jeff Bridges character from LILILIL and was hesitant to break from his voice here. Figuring out who Frank really was unlocked my answer and let me have it both ways via Frank’s ability to “synchronize with the theta rhythm for narration” at the end of the previous chapter.
  • We’re flashing back to the unseen conclusion to “Waiting For An Invitation,” hence referencing the apology letter from that song.
  • A guitar magically appeared in Frank’s hands much like it did for Carlos Santana in the opening chapter.
  • Outside of the three characters, the Slow Century Pavement documentary is the only other thing in common with the original Mummy short story.
  • Props to Jenny Owen Youngs (who has no association with Benji Hughes that I know of) for the lyric “TV light glowing blue” in her song “Living Room” inspiring me to add the blue light here without too much of a leap.
  • This is the eighth chapter to feature at least one scene set at the small apartment on an okay side of town, but the first time the floorpan and contents are described in any detail. Earlier on the “white room” vibe was intentional; breaking that mold in this chapter is also intentional.
  • Watercolor by Nancy Hollinghurst
    “Benji emerged from his room as a hipster wolfman. Sunglasses. Unkempt beard spilling into his open blue shirt. Red cape. Fangs similar to C’s fake teeth, but not the same.”
    As long as I’m intentionally describing intentional things, the head-hopping here is also by design—made possible via Frank’s aforementioned ability to sync with the narrative rhythm (along with other mystical Lon powers.)
  • Everybody knows zombies love a party.
  • One of the bigger hints as to what’s going on is in this line: “C chatted up the DJ while she set up the brains of her operation in front of the living room windows.”
  • Electroencephalography (aka EEG) is a cool word, albeit a little hard to pronounce.
  • The DJ has 12,744 cover songs—the same number Brian Ibbott from the podcast Coverville had as of 2008.
  • Check out the LX Halloween Party Playlist on Spotify.
  • The line “The DJ raised her eyebrows. C raised the roof.” is mostly for Nate Pepper’s benefit, but fits the scene well.
  • Unsaid business: Frank tore the upper right corner of his business card into individual letters and mixed them in with the voting slips that turned up in Benji’s pocket in “Why Do These Parties Always End the Same Way?”
  • “You leaped into Benji, but you’re not Benji” makes more sense on a reread.
  • The final line “And that was how a werewolf, Dracula, Frankenstein, a mummy, and a ghost saved the DJ from certain death on fake Halloween…” accurately sums up this chapter, and also invokes the characters from the General Mills Monster Cereals.

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