Myron Kaufman’s illustrated homage to animal-human love continues in this second installment of Horse Scents. Read Part I (and an introduction by Charlie Kaufman) before diving into the bizarre world of E-MALE.
Part II: E-Male
About one year later.
Klieg lights painted inverted white cones of light on the polluted black night of Los Angeles. A brightly lit red carpet parted a sea of fans, photographers, and the curious. Celebrities were everywhere.
There was Peewee Herman, on the carpet, decked out in his plaid, snug-fitting blue and orange tuxedo. Two inches of white socks showed between the the tops of his shiny black shoes and the bottom of his trousers.
The movie Horse Fever was being premiered at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, and a gaggle of entertainment types had shown up to be seen and to show off their finery, jewelry and mammary.
P. Diddy was making the scene in a black cashmere coat with an ermine collar. Rosie O’Donnell, looking pregnant in silk tails and cummerbund, towered over little Danny DeVito, who was dressed in a blue sailor suit. Ben Stiller, his hair carefully disheveled, walked next to a bloated Doctor Phil. Dozens of familiar faces with names that don’t quite come to mind meandered on the carpet.
Horse Fever was a true story of true love. The unusual and controversial film told the story of Sidney Kupitz, a tele-salesman for a window renovation company, who married Bertha, a beautiful carriage horse who worked in Central Park, New York. Sidney was played by Pee Wee and Bertha by Winkie the Wonder horse.
The featured characters include Bernie himself, played by Billy Crystal, the veterinarian and Bertha’s obstetrician, Dr. Friendly, played by Dr. Phil, and Bertha’s owner and carriage driver, Aldo, played by Ben Stiller.
Arriving a little late, but not so late as to miss the paparazzi, was the talented and ubiquitous Meryl Streep. Ms. Streep played the role of Sidney’s Aunt Lotte. She was dressed in a white satin gown with a short train, which was held by either a small adult or a child, in a horse costume.
The star of the movie (and indeed the talk of the town) was a 15 inch high creature, half-human and half-horse, named Dobbin Biscuit. He played himself. Dobbin is the biological son of Bertha and Sidney, and the adopted son of Bernie Biscuit. Standing quietly next to Bernie, his head resembled a whiskered Sidney, and his body a miniature, extinct horse. He wore a gold-embroidered apron, which covered his uncircumcised penis and balls and hung between his front legs. He was shoeless, revealing multiple toes on all four feet.
Bernie looked handsome in a conventional tuxedo with a contrasting yellow T-shirt. He was talking quietly to Dobbin, who seemed excited and frightened, being unaccustomed to all the people and the attention that was being foisted on him. Dobbin moved closer to Bernie, grateful for Bernies’ smell and affection. When confronted by one of the aggressive entertainment reporters who asked, in a load voice, whether Dobbin was having a good time, he replied “AMAM YM TNAW I TUB YPPAH M’I.”
Bernie immediately understood Dobbin’s seemingly cryptic, plaintive, response, having studied Hebrew in preparation for his bar mitzvah. Leaning over he kissed Dobbin lightly on the lips and said, “I understand.”
The preview audience loved the movie, as did the critics, the liberals, and ultimately the paying audiences everywhere, but especially in the coastal U.S. Bernie was suddenly an A-list celebrity, disgustingly rich and eternally grateful to Dobbin.
After the movie, after the parties and interviews with the press, Bernie and Dobbin retired to their hotel suite and, the following day, left for Bernie’s spread in Hoboken, New Jersey.
Dobbin was scared but not completely unhappy to be celebrated and the center of attention. His nagging discontent wasn’t because he was neglected or missing any of life’s necessities or luxuries at Bernie’s palatial estate. On the contrary, he had huge lawns on which to gambol and graze, swimming pools and saunas, gardens, large screen TV’s, tutors, books (especially modified to accommodate his peculiar language), pets (most of which terrorized him), and best of all, Bernie himself, who clearly loved him. Bernie was his dad and Dobbin loved him, but he longed for his biological mama and dada, neither of whom he had ever seen.
Even more important than his idealized, almost mythical parents, more important than all the gardens, foie gras and other luxuries, more important than his will to live was Dobbin’s need to see and be near his own kind. Beings who looked and smelled like him. Beings of his size who could understand him. Beings he could truly love, or hate or fuck; beings like himself. This longing seemed impossible to satisfy.
Bernie, like many good and thoughtful dads, was not completely unaware of Dobbin’s melancholy or his inner needs. But he was busy “making a living,” and his own plans and needs often came first. It may not be possible, even for a caring dad, to satisfy all his child’s desires.
Before Bernie bullied his way into Sidney and Bertha’s life at their New Jersey love-nest, he had made a living producing low budget movies. Of course “making a living” producing movies is not the same as making a living gutting pigs in an Iowa meat-packing plant. By making Horse Fever, Bernie lifted himself to the status of artiste and into the ranks of the five hundred richest men in America. Professionally he was often featured in People Magazine, the LA Times and Variety, to name a few. Bernie was now a “major player,” and he owed it all, he believed, to Dobbin.
Producers are practical, and Bernie hadn’t lost sight of the fact that Dobbin had not outlived his box office attraction. As a dad and as a businessman, he had ample reason to do what he could to make Dobbin happy. Bernie considered bringing Sidney and Bertha to live at his estate, but by order of the court, Sidney was not permitted to have contact with either Dobbin or Bertha. Bertha, on the other hand, was a different case. Bringing Bertha to New Jersey to live with with her famous son seemed like a wonderful way to brighten Dobbin’s life. This could be easily accomplished by buying Bertha from Aldo.
Aldo, as he had already demonstrated, was a shrewd negotiator. He understood the importance of his property, and he got Bernie to raise his original $20,000 offer to $125,000. Aldo got to keep the carriage. Bernie didn’t fight too hard; if pressed, he would have paid a million for Bertha. Maybe more.
Moving to New Jersey suited Bertha. She was tired of getting up early and trotting around Central Park, pulling that heavy carriage. At Bernie’s place, everything was better; the food, the barn and of course, being with her baby, at last.
Dobbin’s mood brightened. He had some one to play with who loved him unconditionally. Just as importantly, he loved her. Her sheen returned and Bernie felt good about things. There was, however, a fly in the alfalfa, as they say. Verbal communications between mother and son were limited to facial expressions and expressive sounds. This didn’t bother Bertha as much as it did Dobbin. Bertha was used to responding to a whip, a scratch on the ear, or a soft whisper, but not Dobbin. He had the brain of a person. A dyslectic person, maybe, but an analytic one. This mother/son barrier was a disappointment to Dobbin who, with the exception of Bernie, had no one to whom he could fully unburden his lonely heart. Bernie was a busy man, and at times an impatient one, but he was usually empathetic. In the fashion of the entrepreneur, he often solved problems by bringing in specialists. In this instance, he brought in Winkie the Wonder Horse to act as a conduit between Bertha and Dobbin. It didn’t go unnoticed that during the shooting of the movie, Winkie and Bertha had gotten along very well, often chatting during the frequent waiting periods common in shooting a movie. Maybe bringing Winkie into the New Jersey stable would help, not only Dobbin but also Bertha. After all, she deserved a little, God willing, romance in her life.
Winkie literally understood Dobbin and Bertha as well. The threesome clicked. They were attracted to each other and it was if a cloud had lifted. Dobbin enjoyed the horse laughs, the horseshoe pitching contests, and the general horse shit. It was fun for him to see his mom and Winkie nuzzling, and he was thrilled to hear that Bertha was with foal. Thrilled but worried. Where would he fit in, in the new family? How would he get on with his sibling who, from birth, would tower over him? Would Bertha have time for him with a new baby to take care of? Dobbin’s fears were well-founded. Things were not quite the same for him after his brother’s birth. Winkie was sympathetic, but not a completely disinterested party. Bernie would listen but was, frankly, getting a little annoyed with Dobbin’s continual dissatisfaction and complaining. Doctor Friendly came to Dobbin’s mind: he was a friend and a professional well-acquainted with all the facts. Doctor Friendly was the kind of consultant that Bernie himself would choose. It was no problem at all to get him to agree to hire Doctor Friendly to help Dobbin and to get Dobbin off his back, so to speak.
Sidney, on parole, was having a difficult time. He didn’t have to register as a sex offender yet, although HAWP (the CIO, Horse And Wagon Pullers union) had recently petitioned the federal courts to place horses under the protection of the child molestation statutes, since most horses had the mental capacity of teenagers. Notwithstanding the disposition of this action, when Sidney ventured from his home he was harassed and sometimes physically attacked by incensed citizens. He was often taunted with the phrase “Are you in yet,” made famous by Horse Fever. He needed some fresh air and some loving contact. Aunt Lotte had a large apartment and he knew she loved him. He pleaded with her to let him stay at her place until his infamy cooled down. Reluctantly she agreed, for a limit of six months. She demanded that he grow a beard and moustache, wear tinted, horn-rimmed glasses, and stay away from the horses. After allowing six weeks for his facial hair to come in, he moved in with his aunt. Just prior to his making the move, she boarded her bitch poodle, Fou-Fou.
Sidney loved living at his aunt’s place. It was roomy and quiet and with his new look, people passed him in the street without recognition. Outside, the horse-and-wagons were lined up, waiting for customers. He loved the sight and smell, and once in awhile he caught a glimpse of Bertha. He stayed across the street and thought of a happier time in his life. Tears welled up in his eyes and a lump formed in his throat, but he was grateful to be where he was. Life with Bertha had had a terrible ending, but their five years together were the happiest he’d known. Would he ever experience such bliss again? He decided he would spend the six months at his aunt’s home trying to come up with a scheme to recapture that bliss. His life literally depended on succeeding.
He worked at his job as a tele-salesman, took walks, and, except for meals with his aunt, spent his days and nights thinking of a future life for himself. He was certain that Aunt Lotte was serious about the six months. She missed Fou-Fou and visited the kennel twice a week. Sidney, meanwhile, loved his aunt but needed the kind of love he had experienced with Bertha and longed for the son he had never seen. He wanted the pleasure of seeing Dobbin grow and the pride of seeing him become a man, surpassing him in every way.
It seemed hopeless. Maybe he would have to find an alternative to the ideal, but he needed companionship and love. Neither men nor women turned him on, sexually. He loved horses, that much was clear, but the notoriety of his life with Bertha seemed to rule out a mare as a mate. It took four months, but he finally came up with an idea that appealed to him. Its success would depend on Aunt Lotte’s participation; he needed money to make it work. He laid it out for her.
Sidney would establish a website, “The Existential Man-Animal Love Enterprise” (E-MALE). He would find a foreign country with no extradition treaty, preferably a country with a good climate, and move there to establish an idyllic resort for people who preferred the company of other species, preferably vegetarian animals. The resort would enable everything from short term relationships to marriage. It would specialize in horses, not only for riding but also for all social and sexual intercourse. Other animals would be available for customers with non-equine appetites, as long as those animals didn’t represent an unusual threat to other guests. The internet would be the means of introducing the resort to potential users.
E-MALE would be Sydney’s business and his home. Grand ideas bubbled in his head. He would have a spa, a casino, and horse-racing. The facility would provide wedding receptions and medical and psychological services for its clientele. It would develop into an international tourist attraction not only for those into bestiality, but also for the voyeurs and the curious. Sydney would publish a periodical called “Horse Scents.” He would take his lemon and turn it into lemonade. No, not lemonade; into champagne. He would become the Hugh Hefner of inter-species sex and love. He would be rich and respected and wear a bathrobe, all the time. He would be a pioneer.
Aunt Lotte sensed the excitement in Sidney, but she couldn’t possibly have imagined the vastness of his dream or the depth of his longing. Lotte seemed somewhat prim and set in her ways, but she was a person who welcomed challenge. Her life story was somewhat surprising. Brought up in a conservative and religious home, she married late in life to a bisexual singer of Spanish folk songs named Randy. They had no children. One year they tried swinging and didn’t like it much. Lotte was really smart. She worked her way up to V.P. of Financeat Global Travel and Adventure Inc.. She got Randy a job in the mailroom, where he chain-smoked Virginia Slim cigarettes, wore a lounging jacket and custom-made wing-tip shoes. But now, retired and widowed, Lotte was bored and lonely. She wanted something new in her life.
She listened intently. Sidney was completely taken off-guard by her immediate grasp of his idea and her wildly enthusiastic attitude. She loved it as a businesswoman. She loved it as a woman. She volunteered the use of her vacation home in Guatemala. The thought of using and living on her estate, named Cantalose, was appealing to her and factored into her ownership percentage. She had not been there since Randy passed away, and the thought of leaving the noise and cold weather of New York and settling in a place she described as heaven was like a Christmas gift. She couldn’t wait to start planning E-MALE. Not only did she want to finance the project, she wanted to take an active role in running the place. Sidney could not have asked for more.
Aunt Lotte’s dream of a final grand adventure was on the verge of coming true. She and Sidney immediately started planning and agreed that they needed an experienced stable-man. Sidney recommended Aldo, who not only knew horses but was an expert negotiator and would be ideal as a hands-on general manager. Lotte saw the wisdom of Sidney’s suggestion, and a mutual confidence and bond started to form between these two very different people. Lotte’s business acumen made her ideal as CEO, and her investments would add an additional prudence to all of her decisions. Sidney, with his celebrity and experience in bestiality, would be ideal as the Head of Sales and Marketing. Doctor Friendly was a candidate for Chief of Medicine and technical adviser to Lotte. And so the planning went on until the sun was coming up.
After a cup of coffee and a cool shower, Sidney started to lay out the front page of the website. It looked like this.
DO YOU LOVE
TROPICAL SEA BREEZES?
HOW ABOUT WARM SANDY BEACHES?
THATCH-COVERED BUNGALOWS AND 24/7 ROOM SERVICE?
HORSEBACK RIDING AND RACING?
FINE WINES AND AWARD-WINNING CUISINE?
CUDDLING UP WITH A WARM AND WILLING MARE?
MAN-ANIMAL LOVE ENTERPRISE will provide all of this and more.
Sidney finally hit the sack.
Lotte contacted Aldo the very next day, and he jumped at the opportunity offered by Cantalose. He ended up with a very generous salary and negotiated a terrific stock option plan. Lotte extended Fou-Fou’s stay at the kennel for an additional three months. Sidney and Lotte made to-do lists.
Doctor Friendly arrived at Bernie’s estate for his meeting with Dobbin et al. It was a beautiful day and they all sat on the grand lawn. Dobbin, with the help of Winkie translating and his computer with a huge custom made keyboard, finally got his point across. He was asking Doctor Friendly to consider him an endangered species and seeking funding from the government to develop more of his kind. He wanted to make a proposal to an agency that would fund the creation of males and females of Dobbin’s kind. This was what Dobbin needed, more of the same. Friendly owed it him.
The idea was intriguing to Dr. Friendly and could be the crowning achievement to a career that, until Dobbin came along, was pedestrian, at best. The meeting left him light-headed, but excited. He left promising to give the request serious consideration and to investigate potential issues, (with the help of other specialists like lawyers, ethicists, project managers etc.), and he would come back with an answer as soon as he could. Doctor Friendly did feel responsible for poor Dobbin’s plight, but he had to consider AAUHNJ’s involvement, as well as his own career and responsibility to his absent wife and two kids. When he got back to his office he had a message that Sidney had called.
He briefly wondered what that was about, but immediately forgot about it and went on to call his wife. He wanted to explain Dobbin’s dilemma and his feelings of sadness. He hadn’t seen or spoken to her since he took on the Sidney/Bertha case. She had moved into her sister’s house, in Scarsdale, N.Y., that very day. Since he had started to treat Bertha, Victoria couldn’t stand the sight or thought of him. It wasn’t that Victoria didn’t like horses. It was that she felt strongly that God didn’t approve of homosexuals, or the mixing of species. She was appalled by the Liger, the mule, tree grafting, mixing of the races or religions and yes, social intercourse of any kind between the working and the professional or leisure classes. Her position was that Dobbin’s situation came about due to man’s meddling in God’s domain. Any further interference in that sphere would lead to further grief.
The kids, who were close to college-age, decided that Victoria’s position was unreasonable, and chose to stay with their dad. Friendly missed her at first, but his work kept him busy and his thoughts of her slowly receded. He missed the company of women in general, and that became stronger with time. Dobbin’s demand for humane justice touched him and he thought it might touch Victoria too. It didn’t. Well, that was that.
He called the provost at AAUHNJ to disclose Dobbin’s idea. Dr. Doolittle thought that the university wouldn’t tolerate any more “Dobbins.” An experiment is an experiment, and Dobbin worked out fine for all concerned: Dr. Friendly made science news, and the university got interest and publicity. But, he said, “We were lucky last time, and no more of that. Back to meat and potatoes for AAUHNJ.”
Dr. Friendly called his attorney and asked him to start divorce proceedings.
He then called Bernie and asked him to pass along his regrets to Dobbin. He was sorry but he could not help, for personal reasons.
He was depressed by his personal issues and felt guilty about Dobbins’ situation. It took a few days before he remembered Lotte’s call. She explained her relationship to Sidney and went on to outline Cantalose. She asked for a meeting and they agreed to meet on Thursday, with Sidney. The E-MALE project had quickened Lotte’s step and she got a new, slightly more frivolous, hair-do.
The Thursday meeting, by Lotte’s design, included both Bernie and Dr. Friendly, as well as Sidney and herself. It turned into a watershed for Dr. Friendly, and a new and exciting opportunity for another award-winning film for Bernie.
The Cantalose project would guarantee sufficient income to provide for Dr. Friendly’s comfort and his kids education. This income would be independent of retirement funds due from AAUHNJ. The adventure of leaving the university to live in Guatemala would have seemed impossible on Wednesday, but now, with the promise of financial security and the possibility of doing research in the area of hybrid sentient beings without having to contend with the boundaries imposed by a conservative overseer, or concern about violating the law, was like opening a window on a spring day. Lotte was willing to provide seed money to get him started, and he would have access to the whole world in seeking funding from private or governmental sources. It didn’t go unnoticed by Dr. Friendly that Lotte was very attractive and not much older than he.
Lotte invited Bernie to sit on the board at Cantalose if he invested enough money in the corporation. There was the prospect of doing a film about the place when it got going.
The board was formed. It consisted of Lotte, Sidney, Friendly, Bernie, Aldo, and Doolittle.
Doolittle was Lotte’s idea. When she heard about him, she proposed his name to the others, explaining that it would be useful to have a naysayer to keep everyone on their toes. It turned out that once he exchanged his starched white shirt for a more casual look, he was good company and good for the company.
Of course there were start-up surprises and growing pains, but Cantalose became an international success. Some of the many wonderful things that happened were:
Myron Kaufman is a painter and writer based in Pasadena, CA. His work appears regularly at the Offramp Gallery.