How to work your way past officialdom, Marx Brothers style.
First: steal yourself a passport.
Not any passport, though.
Maurice Chavalier is on board.
The idea is not to fool passport control,
When you brazen your way up to the desk,
Thrusting out document and chin before bursting into song.
The idea is that they’ll know you can’t be Chevalier,
But they won’t know how to react,
And they might push you back,
Might give it the old slow burn and “d’oh!”
But – get this – then there’ll be another one,
And he’s got Chevalier’s passport, too,
And if they thought the last impression was bad,
This one is somehow worse.
This one is somehow Italian.
Or thinks he is.
And they might push him back,
And the one with the ‘tache that – surely? – surely must be painted on.
What the hell’s that about?
But they’re just the warm up.
They’re just leading up to the moment
When brother number 4 takes the passport and –
Gramophone strapped to his back –
Winds his way up into a Chevalier imitation
That can only, only be a recording,
But will still, for a moment, fool them,
When the fooling isn’t the point,
When the three of you – Italian, greasepaint, ‘tache, yourself
Are just waiting for him to be rebuffed
Because, when he’s pushed back.,
And as the gramophone winds down,
The distraction has been achieved.
He has got the date stamps,
And the ink pads are right there,
And the frenzied solo on the bald pate
Has nowhere else to go but the blackout
And the cut to the next scene.
And, every time, that’s how you win.
[Inspired by the Marx Brothers, and especially Harpo. Monkey Business, 1931.]
Mike Hickman (@MikeHicWriter) is a writer from York, England. He has written for Off the Rock Productions (stage and audio), including 2018’s “Not So Funny Now” about Groucho Marx and Erin Fleming. He has recently been published in EllipsisZine, Dwelling Literary, Bandit Fiction, Nymphs, Flash Fiction Magazine, Brown Bag, and Safe and Sound Press. His co-written, completed six-part BBC radio sit com remains unproduced but available to interested producers!