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MacDonald, John D. – Game for Blondes (1952)


In which Martin, a man who has spent the last few months as a drunk after a car accident killed his wife, is hunted down by time travelling blonde women for a scavenger hunt (because he has red hair and mismatched eyes).

What, you need more than that?

The pursuers are “Three arrogant, damp-mouthed, hot-eyed, overdressed blondes-sugary in the gloom” and I defy any of you to explain to me what “damp-mouthed” means. After they trap this man after following him from bar to bar, he wakes up naked, “impossibly, incredibly clean” in a mirrored room, which then drops him into a room with the three blondes again. they now have green lipstick painted in a rectangle on their face, and are dressed in spraypaint. They provide clothes for Martin to change into, which in turn provides the reader with the perfect symbolization of the unrecognizable-twentieth-century trope:

The garments were recognizable, the material wasn’t. A sartorial cartoon of the American male, mid-twentieth century. Every incongruity of the clothing exaggerated. Sleeve buttons like saucers. Shoulders padded out a foot on each side. No buttons, no snaps, no zippers. You just got inside them and they were on, somehow.

He then ends up in a garden full of people dressed in historical clothing – all of whom have red hair and mismatched eyes. The host of the party approaches him and engages in that other well-worn time-travel trope: broken future-English.

“Hard to say. You past. I future. Is party. My party. My house. My garden. Having game. Sending ladies our tempo, lot of tempos. All same thing. Bringing only with red on hair, eye brown, eye blue. Hard to find. For game.”

Martin is rewarded for his participation by being sent back to a time and place of his choosing. He goes back to the evening before his wife died and lives happily ever after.

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