Monday, February 1, 2010

Chutney Goes to Camp

In my last post, about Gombrowicz's Ferdydurke, I discussed pupas, cuculs, tushes, pre-teens, and half-wits. I also used the phrase "Hands off the Tush!" All of this called to mind an idea for a novel or screenplay I've been developing for some time, Chutney Goes to Camp.

Anatomy of a Chutney

A Chutney is a species of furry creature. A typical pre-teen Chutney is pictured at right. Most of the important features are visible there. Teen Chutneys are generally timid and well-behaved. They all wear beanies, suspenders, shorts, and sandals. Their shorts are absolutely packed with pockets—it's like stripes on a tiger: the more the better. If one were to look inside these pockets, one would find maps, compasses, comic books, field guides, and vials of chutney in various flavours (apple, mango, banana, pizza) prepared for them by their Mama Chutney.

A prominent physical feature of an adolescent Chutney not visible in this photograph is its extremely large bottom. Mama Chutneys are naturally very fond of touching their Baby or Teen Chutneys' bottoms. It is a typical form of Teen Chutney rebellion, however, to forbid their Mama Chutneys from touching them there (especially under the shorts). Thus the highly typical Teen Chutney exclamation, "Hands off the tush!"

Life Cycle of a Chutney

Chutneys are remarkable in one respect: though they reproduce asexually, there are nonetheless male and female Chutneys. This is explicable as follows. When they are born, all Chutneys (Baby Chutneys) are male. They remain male through the Pre-Teen and Teen phases. At the end of the Teen phase, however, female reproductive organs develop. At the stage indicated by the lightning bolt in the above diagram (click to enlarge), the male reproductive organs fertilize the female ones. This process of consummation consumes (in the chemical sense) the male reproductive organs and the Chutney is left a (pregnant) female.

A Chutney becomes pregnant only once in its (his and her) life. Population increases through twins and triplets, which are not uncommon, though single-Chutney births are the norm. In their adolescence all Chutneys are male; for a short time at the end of their Teen phase they become hermaphroditic; and then all adult Chutneys are female.

There is one uncommon deviation from the above-outlined developmental schema. This occurs when fertilization does not take place in the Thunder Bolt stage and the male reproductive organs are not consumed. Though technically hermaphroditic, these childless Chutneys continue to live as males. They are called by other Chutneys "Weird Chutneys" and are regarded both with suspicion and reverence. The trusted Weird Chutneys work at Summer Camps; the others constitute a Chutneian Underworld.

Chutney Goes to Camp

The novel or screenplay Chutney Goes to Camp follows a Teen Chutney (named Chutney; a common Chutney first name) to a Summer Camp. Such camps have special significance in the lives of Chutneys. It is at Summer Camp that the Thunder Bolt Stage occurs. With instructions from Camp Counsellor Weird Chutneys, Teen Chutneys are sent off into the woods for a period of several weeks to undergo their life changes. They leave as incipient hermaphrodites and return pregnant females.

Mama Chutneys send their children to camp at the first sign of Teenness (looking for signs such as unwillingness to allow their tushes to be touched or refusal to eat chutney). It is unusual for a Chutney to experience its Thunder Bolt Stage in the first year at camp. Most Chutneys spend 3-4 summers at camp.

Chutney Goes to Camp is envisioned as the first in a series of Chutney Summer Camp novels/screenplays. The first installment is designed primarily to introduce the reader/viewer to Chutney life; Chutney will not undergo his Thunder Bolt Stage in his first summer at camp. Instead the plot will focus on his struggle to fit in with other Chutneys (led by the coolest Chutney in camp, Chuttz, whose return from the woods as a pregnant female ends the novel/film) and to resist the efforts of a deviant Weird Chutney (Chutnikoff, the dance instructor) to pervert him and sabotage his normal progression through the stages of the Chutney Life Cycle.

An advantage of a film version of Chutney Goes to Camp would be the inclusion of a number of Chutnikoff-choreographed dance/song numbers, such as a Backstreet Boys-style backwards-chair-punctuated version of "Hands off the Tush."

The Chutney project is but one currently simmering in my imagination. Other works and series to be outlined in future posts include The Adventures of Criffin J. Masterclaw, Kitten Pirate, a series of high-seas adventure tales with a feline protagonist; Adamillo, a multi-generational saga based on the life of a Texan armadillo raised in Poland; The Adventures of a Dirty Cookie, a serial comic strip about a dirty and filth-loving bipolar cookie; and Poo Poo the Musical, a musical play about the efforts of Poo Poo the Cat to be elected mayor of Skunkopolis.

1 comment:

Dorvid said...

Octogenarian Chutney Goes to Kabul or: How I Learned to Stop Spreading Pizza Chutney on My Rear-End