Brandi Homan
EXCERPT FROM
BURN FORTUNE (A NOVEL)




THE MERE ICONOGRAPHY DOES NOT MATTER

In the new high school auditorium, they’ve hung movie posters from like the seventies that no one cares about. Horrible-sounding movies lined up in a parade above the lobby windows all featuring the same actress. Sometimes I stare at them while practicing flags and pretending to listen to Marci. Sometimes I’m so bored I put them in alphabetical order:

Airport
Breathless
Lilith
Paint Your Wagon
Saint Joan

At least that Breathless one sounds okay.

I bet there’s sex, lots.




JEAN SEBERG

I start asking if anyone knows the actress in the auditorium posters. Marci doesn’t. My Boyfriend doesn’t.

I ask flag team sponsor Coach T, who says Jean was from here and got kind of famous but mostly in France, no big deal. She thought she’d seen some of Jean’s movies, Jean was decent.

Airport, maybe. The Mouse That Roared.

Tell me more about this mouse, I say.

Metaphor, she says.




PAINT YOUR WAGON

Paint Your Wagon is the only Jean Seberg movie the library has. The librarian, Mrs. Devereux, brings me her own copy of Jean’s biography from home, says she’ll order more films.

This movie’s about some miners going west to look for gold. In the opening credits it’s all scruffy-looking men. It hits me that I know the theme song, we sang it for chorus in fourth grade:

Where am I goin’ I don’t know
Where am I headin’ I ain’t certain
All that I know is I am on my way

Whoa, there are no women in the whole town and when Jean comes to visit, her husband (who already has another wife, Mormons) AUCTIONS HER OFF.

The man who wins is a falling-down drunk who has Clint Eastwood argue for him. No wonder people love Clint Eastwood! I didn’t know he ever looked like that, pinched but not the shrunken head he is now.

Oh my god Clint Eastwood is SINGING.

Of course Jean falls in love with Clint instead of his scurvy friend she was forced to marry.

WHAT OH MY GOD SHE MARRIES HIM TOO.

SHE MARRIES CLINT. She has two husbands!

We sang the theme song for two husbands in fourth grade!

And they say the word horny! Several times!

This is one fucked-up movie.

At the end, the whole city falls to the ground.




MAPS

After that weird polygamy mining musical, Jean Seberg has my attention.

How do you start from here and end up there?

Born and raised.




LUCK

The biography Devereux gives me says the director picked Jean out of 18,000 hopefuls to play Joan of Arc in his movie Saint Joan.

I can’t get picked first of twenty for dodgeball.

I can twirl a flag like a motherfucker, though.

Ask anyone.








Brandi Homan holds a PhD in English, Creative Writing (Prose), from the University of Denver and is the author of two books of poetry, Bobcat Country and Hard Reds, from Shearsman Books.

Note: Text includes source material from Saint Joan by Bernard Shaw.