Taos Horsefly, June, 2001

I have known Marco Perella since he was a wet-behind-the-ears Italian boy from Texas, a knockabout, an ersatz cowboy, a deflowered hippie boy. I’ve known Marco Perella for 30 long years.

I love Marco, so I volunteered to write a review of his new book—his only book, I should say. I recall the look on his face when I made this magnanimous offer: I would identify it as a look of fear. Rightfully so. I write essays about myself, the world according to me. I don’t review other people’s writings, but I do remember the rules of reviewing a book. Don’t get personal. Don’t bring yourself into the writing. Don’t use the word “I.”

So back to Marco’s fear. He probably scoured his memory to recall if he had ever done anything to offend me, because here I am holding the big Famous Author scalpel in my right hand, wielding the power to make or break this poor guy (in Taos County anyway).

Enough about Marco. I’m in Michigan visiting the folks at the cottage on the lake. It’s 47 degrees outside on June 4th and I’m sitting in the bathtub trying to get warm. Outside the bathroom door, my brother shouts at me by the blazing fire, “What are you doing in there? Why do you periodically keep laughing?”

I have laughed myself across 2,000 miles of these United States. my nose buried in Marco’s book. l laughed at 32,000 feet over Iowa. I chortled on the Amtrak train from Milwaukee to Glenview. The kind of good time belly laughing that makes everybody look over at you, kind of annoyed and envious, wishing you’d keep your good times to yourself and shut up.

What Molly Ivins says in the forward to “Adventures of a No Name Actor” is absolutely true: Marco Perella is to-die-for funny. More than that, he is the antithesis of the obsequious toad licker that he usually portrays (according to him) in movies. He moves in and through the murky waters of Hollywood and fame like a water moccasin, his tongue flicking in and out, until ZAP! he stuns some poor famous dupe like Oliver Stone or Ned Beatty and brings him down to our level.

I, of course, being a reclusive, elitist, reverse-snob Luddite from Taos, New Mexico, have no idea what or who Marco is talking about. Ned Beatty? Oliver Stone? The last time Marco and I went to a movie with our spouses, I ranted and raved for hours about the harm caused to society by gratuitous violence. He went on to see the movie five more times.

Marco usually plays the characters that make me grind my teeth. In the last chapter of the book, he describes a made-for-TV movie entitled “Billy Sabbath: Alien Killer.” Marco plays the part of a Nephilim, an alien race who have been in hibernation since the last meteor extinction. Now they’re back and planning to “reclaim our planet from the infectious human vermin who have thrived in our absence.” I am not able to describe the events that lead up to the eradication of the character that Marco portrays because this is a family publication, but the clincher is that Marco is required to drop from a bar eight feet above the ground and then run away with “superhuman,” special effects-enhanced speed. Marco had major knee surgery one month before this scene and was basically a cripple, but when they threaten to replace him, he executes said high altitude drop and takes the next day off to flee to his doctor for cortisone shots and a knee drain.

Eventually Marco is shot by Billy Sabbath’s cyanide pistol while indulging in an unspeakable act, and Marco the human being is somehow blasted in the chest by a special effects bomb and ends up in the emergency room, where they tell him to get a life and get lost. After the last shot, the last cut, the last print, Marco laments, “I am such a movie animal, I am actually proud of my ability to take abuse. Tomorrow I will wake up sore from head to foot, my knee throbbing and puffing, my ribs aching, a two-week bruise starting over my heart. I will develop a terrible eye infection from Karo syrup and dirty paper towels. I have just portrayed. a character who meets his maker while wanking. And all this somehow makes me professionally satisfied. I am fulfilling my destiny. Spank me.” — Linda Fair