From Randall Munroe’s Wikipedia entry I learned he founded the Limerick Database to collect all the funny classics and new limericks that people could submit. It changed my life. I highly recommend reading the 150 top-rated limericks. However, since the website now seems to be defunct, I won’t try to submit my brilliant creations to it.
Instead, for now, I’ll publish them on my LifeBlag, and I’ll start with a limerick about the book and movie that have been on my mind for the last couple weeks: The Silence of the Lambs. I realized I was remiss in never having seen the movie, but after I discovered it was based on a novel I committed myself to reading the novel first. I added both the novel by Thomas Harris and the movie on Blu-ray to my Amazon wish list. Luckily, the novel was very cheap, about $5.50, so I bought it in the summer and read it this month. I don’t own a Blu-ray player yet, nor do I plan on buying Blu-ray discs or players for a couple years, but Kathy insisted that after I finished the novel, we had to watch the movie; we rented it and watched it last week.
To save you and myself from an overly detailed comparison, I’ll say the movie was about as close in content and in quality to the book as any movie/book combination I’m familiar with. Even though Anthony Hopkins won the Best Actor (not Best Supporting Actor) Oscar for his portrayal of Dr. Hannibal Lecter with less than 17 minutes of screen time and the English-speaking public is almost unanimous in regarding Hannibal the Cannibal as the greatest movie villain of all time, an additional few exchanges or perhaps an entire scene between him and Clarice would have made the movie and his performance more powerful. The deleted scenes included some bits of their conversations that were almost verbatim from the book, that would have given Hopkins even more chance to shine, and that would have given viewers more insight into Clarice’s psyche.
Anyway, here’s the long version of The Silence of the Lambs in limerick form. It takes some things that were exclusive to the book and at least one that was exclusive to the movie, but it’s all basically the same story:
In Behavioral Science they sought
murderers who victims caught
one after the other
to rape, skin, or smother
and regarded their humanity not.
Young Starling was but a mere student
whom, Crawford thought, ’twould be prudent
to send on an errand—
she’s young and she’s fair and
she might reach the madman we couldn’t.
Alone in a sunlight-less cell,
Lecter burned in his well-deserved hell
To get in his head,
to avert one more dead,
to glean clues he won’t straightforward tell:
Young Starling was charged with this task.
Jack needn’t a second time ask;
she was eager to prove
she could easily move
up from her roots, which were white trash.
Down behind plexiglass screen,
he dropped clues for Starling to glean:
A head in a jar
in an old victim’s car
told more than it would, at first, seem.
Another young body emerged,
a girl of considerable girth.
Clarice helped to print her
and noticed that in her
mouth a cocoon was insert’d.
By feigning impairment he caught her,
the tough junior senator’s daughter.
About a fourteen?—
his judgment’s quite keen
for a fiend who takes women to slaughter.
Back to his lair they sped.
Mere scraps and lefto’ers she was fed.
Trapped in a well
in his dark, homemade hell,
her heart filled with mis’ry and dread.
Her pleas and her promises failed
to sway the man who had her jailed.
Put lotion on skin,
send it back up again,
in exchange for her excrement pail.
He doesn’t just capture and kill,
nor does he rape for the thrill.
He covets, Clarice,
to transform, find peace:
the motive of Buffalo Bill.
Clarice divulged long-hidden pains—
quid pro quo was the name of their game—
of horses and sheep
that haunted her sleep,
but Hannibal gave her no name.
In his new high-security cage,
Lecter showed neither malice nor rage
until, with a key,
he broke himself free
and escaped with a cop’s borrowed face.
The first body wasn’t the first;
’twas the third, weighted down to divert.
Why try to hide it
so no one would find it
till after the second or third?
The rationale didn’t quite register
till Clarice grokked the clues Dr. Lecter
had fed her in pieces,
and then said, “Oh, Jesus!
He must have resided in Belvedere!”
To Fredrica’s hometown she went
to interrogate family and friends.
But what gave her a start
were the girl’s sewing darts
like the ones in the last victim’s skin.
Their former employer to seek,
hot on the trail was Clarice.
A sewing professional,
he’s skinning himself a boutique!
“Yes, we know, from Johns Hopkins, a name
with a typo: not Jamie, but Jame.
An address near Chicago
where he shipped pre-imago
caterpillars that later became
the moths and the grand butterflies
with which Jame Gumb identifies.”
Far away’s where the game is!
She was feeling quite anxious
but was closer than she realized.
He acted aloof but complied.
Nothing he said seemed contrived.
A moth in the air.
Mr. Gumb met her stare.
The moment of truth had arrived.
Chasing him down underground.
He was hiding and couldn’t be found.
The girl screamed in fright,
and then out went the lights
and Clarice was left feeling around.
Silently watching her search,
with his night-vision goggles he lurked.
His pistol he cocked,
she turned and she shot,
and he toppled there…dying…inert.
Now Hannibal Lecter’s in hiding,
but doubtless his time he is biding.
On Doc Chilton’s trail,
but he still didn’t fail
to send Clarice Starling his tidings.
Our heroine has proven supreme
and ended the psychopath’s scheme.
And now the lambs’ cries,
as Lecter surmised,
will no longer torment her dreams.