Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Uncollected Works of Umero Nuno

As many of you know I have had the wonderful pleasure, honor, and imposition to be named the executor and gatekeeper of the estate of Umero Nuno, thought by many to be the finest satyrist ever to come out of the region that spans the mountains of Portugal and the valleys of Peru.

To say this task is Herculean is to risk offending every bodybuilder who ever daydreamed themselves into a movie about his exploits, imagining this Grecian turn to be the fulcrum upon which their meteoric ascendancy to the highest ranks of state government ever hinges.

When the order from Mr. Nuno's lawyers came to my door they were accompanied by bootstraps and jackdaws, flowers and incense, kicks and kisses. They were leaving nothing to chance. If I happened to be a masochist they'd convince me. A pansy? Even better. Thankfully I was both and needed very little convincing.

In all honesty it was a dream come true of sorts. Not in any literary sense for I'd never heard of Umero Nuno before that fateful day. No, this dream coming true had deeper roots than any simple recollection or appreciation of any single man's identity. The plopping on my desk of the comprehensive list that I was entrusted with against my will showed me in some final way that I was not in charge. Never would be. My career was over. I was now the Keeper of the Flame. Or at least the guy who had the list of everything he ever wrote and how to get your hands on it. Which can be an equivalent to Keeper of the Flame in some deep jungle dialects which Mr. Nuno was very likely familiar with. And thus the mystery begins...

Who was Umero Nuno? Where did he come from? Why did he come from there? Why didn't he just stay where he was? If he'd stayed where he was, would I still be in the place I'm in now? Would I have been given the Keys to the Kingdom had he refused to budge? Would any of his writing been more palatable in any sense, either in comprehension or enjoyment? Hard to say. But know this...he did come from where he was, he was who he was, and what fell to me and ultimately beyond me and to you dear reader, is something that poses questions far more troubling than these, and most likely harder to answer.

Controversy surrounds his birth certificate, which has defied analysis ever since it fell into the hands of the Carballatran regime in Lower Yeltsa. Nuno had angered a minor bureaucrat by mounting a puppet opera that presented the Department of Licenses and Practices as a crucible of ultimatums and recrimination. No texts survive, only the small notice in the paper which recounted a terrible buggy accident that resulted in the fire which mangled the left hand of a semi-well-known puppeteer of the region.

The bureaucrat decided that the very existence of a document legitimizing this sort of craven idolatry and rabble rousing needed to be at the very least altered. Therefore the date and locus of Umero Nuno's birth is either July 12, 1917 in Hamburg, Germany or October 27, 1933 somewhere on the Ivory Coast.

After fleeing the uproar which attended 'Pupperetta Gargantua: File # 237', Umero Nuno dropped from sight. But thanks to papers which I accidentally fell asleep under my third night living in the storage space he'd rented in Oaxaca, Mexico, I was able to trace his movements to a certain degree. Allegedly.