Life Imitating Art
copyright 2003, by
These characters were created by Thomas
Harris. They are used herein without permission, but in the spirit of
admiration and respect. No infringement of copyright is intended, and no
profit, of any kind, is made by the creator, maintainer or contributors to this
Feedback to Author
He put the keys to his beat up old car on the hallstand and proceeded to remove his coat. Draping the coat over the staircase balustrade, he leaned against the pillar and kicked off his shoes. Leaving them where they lay, the dishevelled man padded barefoot across the naked floorboards to his kitchen for some refreshments. It wasn’t until he reached the door that he began to sense that something was amiss… he was sure he had turned off all the lights before he had left the night before; and what was that smell? Surely he had not left something cooking on the stove… and if he had, he would be damned if it would be smelling this good. Shaking his head dismissively – it had been a long drive, and he was exhausted – he opened the door without caution and was not prepared for what he saw. There, standing across the room with their back to him, was a smartly dressed man who looked to be going through the contents of a… picnic basket???
“Good evening Mr Hopkins.” Said a chilling voice… distant and distinguished, yet eerily familiar. Tony winced for he had mistakenly thought he had the advantage of surprise.
Then, finding his voice, he responded. “That’s Sir Hopkins… this is my house…”
He was cut off “I hope…” the man chuckled, turning around to face him “…that you do not think I am interested in assuming your home as my own.” The look of disdain was evident in the man’s dark eyes.
Tony stood, paralysed in shock, at the sight before him. It was like looking into a mirror, only different… a chill went down his spine. He was completely flabbergasted.
The good doctor closed his eyes slowly, flinching with distaste. A man of his age and station should not be using such vulgarity. He opened his eyes. It was more like something Clarice would say, not a man worthy of a knighthood. His mind wandered to his Clarice… and then his eyes darkened. Had this man encountered HIS Clarice?
“Look at you with your cheap car and loose tongue… call yourself a knight, hmmm?”
Tony saw red. Who did this guy think he was… breaking into his house then looking down his nose at him. “Who the hell are you and what do you want?” he snapped.
The good doctor smiled. It wasn’t a reassuring smile. “Quid pro quo dear Tony… do you mind if I call you Tony?” Tony offered no response. “Does my appearance intimidate you?”
“Look… I don’t care who you are. Just get the fuck out of my house!”
“My my Tony, that was most uncalled for! If you haven’t already noticed I am trying to prepare dinner!” Dr Lecter waved his arms, directing Tony’s attention to the array of fine foods spread across the kitchen island that was separating the two men.
“Oh well excuse me! I come home to find an intruder cooking gourmet whatever in my kitchen, and I’m supposed to be grateful???”
“Well judging by how you keep your kitchen I would suppose so, yes.”
“FUCK YOU! I’m calling the police!” Tony turned to leave the room but Dr Lecter was too fast and before he knew what was happening, Lecter had blocked his path.
“I’m afraid I cannot allow you to do that.” Dr Lecter politely informed his captive, his ever present harpy flashing into view.
“How dare you try and tell me what I can and can not do in my own home!” Tony was shouting now, and in his anger he was oblivious to the knife until he felt its sharp edge pressed into his throat.
“A census taker once tried to test me and I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti…” Dr Lecter hissed in Tony’s stricken face. “I must insist that you refrain from bringing premature harm to yourself. I came a long way to see you and I would hate to see our time together cut short.”
Tony let his body relax – this situation was fast becoming dangerous. Best to tread carefully.
Changing his tact: “Hey, now I can see you up close I must say you bear a striking resemblance to myself. Are we related?”
The Doctor tucked his Harpy away and took a step back, inclining his head. “In a manner of speaking…”
“Right then, I apologise for getting things off on the wrong foot… perhaps we can start again? You already know who I am but I’m afraid I don’t have the pleasure…”
Dr Lecter extended his hand “Hannibal Lecter, MD. It’s been most interesting to meet you at last.”
Nervously accepting his hand, Tony swallowed. This guy was a bigger lunatic than he had anticipated. He’d heard of other actors being stalked by obsessed fans, but surely this guy must take the cake. Now to live to tell the tale…
“Don’t look so worried, Tony…” The Doctor was as sharp his harpy in interpreting the ghostly pallor on Tony’s face. “I intend this to be a friendly house call… although I must confess that after your initial reception I was giving serious thoughts to eating your wife.”
With that the good doctor winked. Tony laughed nervously. It was a joke, right?
Dr Lecter continued, now back to preparing the feast. “However, first impressions aside, I see no reason that we can not continue our game. So tell me Tony, you still have not answered my question…”
Tony looked puzzled. “W-what question?”
“Really Tony, you should pay more attention.” The Doctor looked up from his work, then seeing the blank look on Tony’s face. “Do I intimidate you?”
Tony struggled to answer… in such company it is sometimes hard to find the most “safest” thing to say. “Um… er…I don’t know”
“Oh come on Tony, you can do better than that! Thrill me with your acumen… and don’t like, or I’ll know.”
“Yes I guess you do.”
The Doctor looked satisfied with the effect he was having. But he said nothing more on the subject and proceeded to busy himself with opening a particularly stubborn jar of foodstuffs from Dean & Deluca.
After what seemed like an eternal silence, Tony spoke up. “So, what are we having?”
The Doctor’s eyes flashed. “You should never ask, it spoils the surprise.”
Tony said a silent prayer and hoped that this deluded soul was not as sociopathic as the character he was so brilliantly portraying.
“Do you need any help?” Perhaps if he could just get his hands on a butcher knife he would have a chance…
“No I’m just about finished, but please if you would be so kind as to grab the wine bucket and follow me into the dining room I would be most obliged.”
Doing just as he was asked, Tony picked up the wine bucket and studied the label of the bottle therein whilst he made his way into his dining room. Chateau D’Yquem: whoever this guy really was, he must have money. It was probably the only thing keeping him out of an institution.
Walking into the dining room closely behind the good Doctor, Tony’s view was partially blocked. It was not until the Doctor had relieved him of the wine bucket and gone to place it on the bureau on the far side of the room that he saw screenwriter Steven Zaillian sitting at the head of the table.
“Tony, old friend, I must thank you for setting this up” Steven’s voice was slow and slurred, and he did not rise to greet him. Tony rushed towards his colleague… something was not quite right. A hand level with his chest stopped him in his tracks.
“If you would please take a seat, Tony, we can get started.” Dr Lecter was polite, but firm; and Tony had no choice but to cooperatively sink into a nearby chair. Was that six fingers he had seen on that hand? Surely not.
Looking to Steven, then at the Doctor (who now had his back to the pair), Tony leaned towards his friend. “Steve, are you OK?”
Steven shook his head. “No, actually I have a bit of a head ache but apparently your friend here” at this he notions towards the Doctor, “reckons you’re out of aspirin.”
As if on cue, the Doctor turns around and positions himself behind Steven. “Actually Steven, what I said was ‘Aspirin will spoil the infusion’.”
Tony’s mouth fell open, aghast… the pieces began to fall into place “No way…”
“Ah yes Tony! I see you’ve caught on at last!” The Doctor’s eyes flashed.
Tony blinked his eyes in disbelief as he continued to watch fiction unravel before his eyes. He was mortified. It was impossible but could it really be him? Was this a nightmare? A sick joke?? He shook his head. “Why??…”
The red pinpoints of the Doctor’s maroon eyes narrowed as he looked Tony square in the eye. “Why I simply wanted to show my appreciation for Mr Zaillian’s interpretation on my life.”
“He’s pissed cause I didn’t give him Clarice” Steven informed him in a childish sing-song voice. “Isn’t that right, Doc.”
“Quiet Steven, or I’ll have to send you to the kiddie’s table… you remembered what happened to Ridley when he decided to be a bad boy.” Chastised Dr Lecter as he worked the scalpel around the ready made incision in Steven’s skull. He was of course, referring to director Ridley Scott who was at that moment resembling Wound Man in Tony’s cellar.
“Tony, I’d say help yourself to the wine – it’s an excellent vintage – but of course you don’t drink.”
“Oh actually, I think this time I’ll make an exception.” Tony replied, holding out his glass and trying his hardest not to regurgitate his breakfast. The Doctor stopped what he was doing and poured Tony a glass then left him with the bottle so he could get back to work. Tony downed it in a single swig… the Doctor looked displeased but merely shook his head.
“I tried telling him that in Hollywood the bad guy can’t get the girl…” Steven piped up as Lecter sliced a piece of frontal lobe from his brain and transferred it to the pan. “…mmmm… that smells good. What is that?”
“Dinner.” Dr Lecter replied indignantly; then, picking up the cooked meat with a fork he offered it to Steven. “Okey Dokey here we go!”
Steven devoured his own flesh like a man possessed with an insatiable hunger. Tony heaved, and poured another glass of wine in an effort to keep his stomach down.
“Hey Tony you really ought to try some of this…” Steven suggested as he greedily accepted his third mouthful. His speech was becoming more and more inaudible. Tony shook his head sadly, not able to bring himself to speak.
Dr Lecter smiled coldly. “Isn’t it beautiful when life imitates art… hmmm?”
With that, Tony passed out.
copyright 2003, by
Feedback to Author