Fiction · Nick P · Poetry · Short Stories · Uncategorized

Natural Production

Recently I  was diagnosed Bipolar, just like my mom (also a writer.) I feel like writing should come natural to me at this point. I suppose to a degree it does, but it’s always getting started that bothers me. I keep coming back to Bukowski who said if its not burning and yearning and exploding out, then don’t write it. But I need to write everyday, I know. I find my lyrics bland and self absorbent. narcissistic and trite. just….not any fucking good. I’ve lost touch. But im thinking of getting back on that horse, (this is proof) and just let the words start flowing again. it doesn’t help that i have SO MUCH stress on me now.

Anyone consider themselves a criminal? I mean we’ve all broken the law. Whether you were speeding or you just had to have that $200 dress, (thats for you high school  girls.) welp! I’m a criminal. and the worst part is, I kind of like it. Sure music and writing and movies keep me entertained, Vacations never happen, so occasionally im a bad boy. Its actually amazing i dont have a record. its all been dismissed. HA! well im paying for some charges now that could land me in the slammer, but i think it will all play out well.

anyway keep an eye out for new song videos and prose and poetry coming at ya! I think I’ll be writing again very soon.

Nick P

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Fiction · Poetry · Uncategorized

Phantoms

no choice but to walk in circles
on synthetic stain-resistant earth.
to keep him at bay.

nevertheless, chattering fingertips push softly
just enough fervor to excorcise these…
Phantoms, i suppose.

fickle as the morning dew,
as unforgiving as God.

by another word they are unjustly called,
like the carpet beneath me,
swimming the chemicals in my brain
a fugazi, the Phantom, pushing for war
a war already lost, a war not worth the spoils.

Fiction · Nick P · Uncategorized

Credits

Movies…Films….Books…Music…art…entertainment…work…family…sleep…the weapons we wield to fight off the terrifying realization that something is empty. And it must be filled. When we turn a chapter, change a reel, or select the next track, we are comforted by knowing that the Nothingness is not coming over the horizon. I myself cannot stand long outros in songs and I believe it is because I fear that Nothing. We don’t watch the credits roll unless there is a secret scene at the end. The repeat function exists. There are almost no words to describe the satisfied sense of hunger that comes with closing the back cover of a novel, left to our thoughts, with nothing left to consume, only to reflect. And that reflection horrifies us, yet some…the strong… cannot look away. Or perhaps we are weak. Rolling in the dregs of nostalgia, reflection is itself the attempt to absorb what have seen, read, heard, etc. We hope to make our weapons stronger, not to trade them for another that seems so. Our weapons are only as strong as we are. yet the hunger stays. Never satisfied. We war with this hunger, we satiate this hunger, we feed it, then war with it again. As the credits to this drama roll, I am still. Frozen with the realization that I am adrift, and even after I can move, even as I type this, I can’t pinpoint that feeling, that moment when I did not seek to satiate my hunger. I was full. And now I am not….even the credits will at some length end. And I am left with that terrifying reflection again.

Fiction · Short Stories

R.V.M – Screenplay

If you dont have yours, you can get it here!!!

 

R.V.M

By: Nick Patterson

 

 

Fade in: Establish. Int. Kill Room

Dawn

Open in on a greyed out desolate location like a field or an old warehouse. We pan around tall grass or If inside, some wall or object, to see Randall on his knees, bent over a body, hands around the neck strangling the life from his victim. The struggling man’s face and body are blocked by shadow, but through his eyes, Randall face is revealed, full of brutal malice and a disgusting sense of satisfaction. We see the feet of the victim casting about and the strain on Randall’s face as he tightens his grip to squeeze the final wisps of life from the poor soul’s lungs. A shot from the victims POV shows us Randall’s face as the screen fades in and out with his consciousness. Randall releases his grip, leans back while still straddling his victim, and inhales deeply. He holds this position for a few moments, relishing his accomplishments and taking in his reward. He exhales. Freeze frame *begin VO*

 

Randall (VO):

You really have no idea what this is like..

 

Cut to:  KILL 1 Ext. Roadside

Midday

The Car Scene: A young man stands hunched over his car hood while hot steam blows from the motor. The engine has obviously overheated. As the man leans under the open hood,

Cut to: As Randall drives along in his car, he notices the stranded man and pulls over to help. As the man stands over the engine, Randall approaches as if to help, but instead grabs him by the neck and forces the side of the mans face onto the sizzling hot engine. His skin melts and mixes with blood, peeling off the man’s skull and onto the engine. (freeze frame)

Randall (VO):

Really, unless of course you’ve killed somebody before, then you know EXACTLY what I’m talking about.

 

As the man screams Randall releases him and brings the hood of the car down onto his head repeatedly until the man goes limp. Randall then calmly gets back in his car, and looks to his good work as he pulls away. (end scene)

 

Cut to: Ext. Kill Grounds

Dawn

Randall (VO cont.):

Now I’ve been in this business for a long time. It’s not an easy skill to master, killing a person that is.

 

 Randall drags the body out of the room to a foggy gravesite already prepared. Sweat pours from his brow despite the cool dawn air, yet we see the arduous pleasure on his face, as if he were a carpenter building a boat or house. It’s easy to see that Randall takes pride in his work. Randall gives his victim a good kick, and it plummets to the earthly hollow with a loud thud. Randall begins to shovel the dirt onto the corpse.

 

 

Cut to: Kill 2

“Nathan” – Restaurant

  • Rest. Shot at pub HOSTESS STAND w/ PHONE
  • Gives reason to call Allan in on day off

 

Randall (VO cont.):

There is an art to it and we all have our own reasons I’m sure.

 

 

Cut to: Ext. Kill Grounds

Dawn

He fights back the smile rising from his chest before pushing the shovel into the mound of dirt on the now covered grave. He wipes the sweat from his brow and walks back toward his kill room. As he walks he passes by his tool kit covered in dry blood: knives, scalpels, torches, and other misc. lethal objects.

 

 

Cut to: Kill 3 Int. Killroom (Dexter Style)

Surgical Table:

Randall is prepping the room where he kills his victims:  Room of White Sheets with a surgical table. Randall dragging a young woman by the hair to the table surrounded by tools.

 

Randall (VO cont.):

Boredom, sheer pleasure, revenge or justice if that tastes better going down, whatever your excuse, we try our goddamn best to take a life. Giving the circumstance, I know you wouldn’t hesitate to take mine if you had the chance

 

Plastic sheets, gloves, and a Chainsaw. Calm and collected, with a lit cigarette hanging from his lips and a smirk on his face, he picks up the chainsaw  while the woman screams in the background. Fucking Pro.

 

.

Cut to: Int. Kill Room

Daybreak

Randall (VO cont.):

The one that hurt us, the one we don’t have, the one we feel deserves it, these are all great reasons to kill someone, but what I find most curious…

 

He passes an empty chair sitting in front an extravagant vanity mirror streaked with blood. He stops for a moment to gaze purely at the mirror itself, and not his reflection in it. He stares at it as one might get lost looking back upon a fond memory.

 

Cut to: Kill 4

R.V.M – Interior Large House

Day

 

Mr. Maitlyn sits comfortably in his armchair, dressed as if he has no intentions to leave the house that day. A classical tune on a vinyl player swings in the background.

 

Randall (VO cont.):

…is that you can never really take someone’s life.

 

He sips dark roasted coffee through a thick handle bar mustache. He reads thrusts his newspaper open and reads for a moment while the news plays on his television in the background. He goes for another sip and realizes his cup is empty. He rises quickly to the kitchen where he opens a bag of beans, grinds them fresh, and stands by the counter, watching the coffee pot, waiting for it to boil.

 

Randall VO (cont.):

We can create life, and we can kill a body,

 

As Mr. Maitlyn returns to his armchair he is surprised but not startled, to see Randall standing in his way.

 

Randall VO (Cont.):

but we can’t… take… a Life.

 

A rope dangles from the smiling killer’s face which Mr. Maitlyn notices quickly before looking back to Randall. Obviously outmatched, Mr. Maitlyn puts up little fight as Randall lunges for his throat.

 

Randall VO (cont.):

There’s something deeper there. Something no one can reach, something no one can take away from you.

 

Wide shot of Randall strangling Mr. Maitlyn with a stack of mail out racked out of focus in the foreground. As Mr. Maitlyn succumbs to this fate, Randall releases his body to the floor, then walk to the vinyl player and scratches the record in an awful noise, ruining the beautiful symphony it once sung. The shot racks to the foreground and revealing  “Randall V. Maitlyn” on the stack of mail.

 

Randall VO (cont.):

 Now that….that’s frustrating.

Randall Exits.

.

 

CREDITS ROLL

 

 

Cut to: Int. Allan’s home

Dawn

 ALLAN ALONE: A dimly lit room comes into view with the man and woman in bed. An alarm clock buzzes in the background. Grey light from the still rising sun beams through a curtained window and onto the man’s face. He wakes, turns, and softly kisses his wife’s forehead. He hits snooze on the alarm with surprisingly little effort, then pulls the covers aside and sits on the edge of his bed, scratching his head trying to shake the last remnants of sleep. He sighs heavily. Leaves frame to one side acting as transition.

.

Cut to: Int. Randall’s Prep Room

RANDALL ALONE: Randall turns from the mirror, wiping the dirt from his hands with a shop rag, and enters his prep room. Reveal various pictures hanging around a map of Montgomery. He grins as he looks at the center photo of Allan exiting Central.

 

*PICTURE IS TRANSTION*

 

Cut to: Ext. Downtown – Central

Midday

Both:  Day 1: The camera follows Allan in his chef outfit walking briskly on a downtown sidewalk. Allan leaves Central, removing his chef coat the moment he exits, on his way to Chris’s Hotdogs.  He keeps his hands in pockets as he strolls, taking in the people and sights.

He crosses a few streets, waits the crosswalks, but doesn’t rush. He enjoys the view and even takes a detour through a grove of trees every day just because. Today was no different, he took his short cut just as expected.  

Rack focus to reveal Randall in a wheelchair, just before the tree grove, taking pictures of Allan and the scenery. CU on Randall’s face snapping a photo and grinning.

 

Cut to: Int. Allan’s House

Dawn

Allan ALONE: Day 2:  CU of Allan’s eyes as he wakes to the sound of his alarm clock.*quick cut* He removes his chef coat from his coat rack and slips it around his shoulders. He looks back to his wife for a moment, and exits his bedroom with the ext. shadow of the door acting as a black transition.

 

Cut to: Int. Prep Room

Dawn

 

Randall Alone:  Randall continues to scan his pictures, stopping on one of Allan taking his shortcut through the grove of trees, creating the transition to the next stalking day.

 

Cut To: Ext. Central

Midday

Cut to BOTH: Randall continues to stalk Allan through the tree grove and around the city. We see the same faces everyday as we follow. Allan notices all of these people as he strolls though they don’t seem to pay him any mind. They’re busy with their own day and various preoccupations. Although Allan doesn’t consider himself any different, he is paying attention and taking in his surroundings. This stroll and routine helps to define him, calm him, and give him a sense of security. He feels no sense of danger as Randall, blends right in to that crowd. Allan passes right by Randall as he walks. The two men share a glance but nothing more. However once Allan passes, Randall lets out a large grin.

 

 

Cut to: Int. Allan’s Home

Dawn

 ALLAN ALONE:  Day 3: Allan’s eyes open to the sound of his alarm once again. Now fully dressed and ready for work, he quickly exits his room (CU of doorjamb as it closes), sips a cup of coffee in his kitchen on the way to his front door. He pauses for a moment at the door, he turns and looks at his home the way someone would secure a safe or kick a tire, he just looks back and surveys his home just reassuring himself it’s there. It isn’t much, but it’s the home he made for himself. He turns back toward the door and exits.

 

 

Cut to:  Int. Randall’s Prep Room

Dawn

RANDALL ALONE: Randall continues to gaze at the plan he has built on his wall. His expression changes as his eyes run from picture to picture. One of Allan walking out a swinging door with a hot dog in his mouth serves as a transition to the next stalking day.

 

Cut to: Ext. Downtown

Midday

BOTH: : Allan quickly exits Chris’s Hotdogs with his mouth already full. Randall is back again, of course. This time he and his wheel chair sit at the bus stop and watch as Allan passes. As usual Allan takes his shortcut and Randall smiles. Show Allan walking through the grove from a ditstance

 

Cut to: Int. Randall’s Prep Room

Dawn

RANDALL ALONE:  Randall gives a small grin that could be eagerness, solace, or a missed memory. He reaches up to the final picture and pulls it from the wall. He closes his eyes and tilts his head back as looking for some release. The final picture is of Allan at his home. In the picture it is night time and Allan is standing at his front door under the orange glow of the porch light.

 

 

Cut to BOTH: *SHOOT through car window* It is now dark. Allan is just getting to his front door having worked almost the entire day when we rack the focus to reveal Randall faithfully following. He smiles that same grim smile and drives away. *interior* Allan shuts his front door and breathes deeply. He runs his fingers over his counter tops or other familiar objects as he navigates his house in the dark. He puts his chef coat on the coat rack and slips into bed with his already sleeping wife. He slips his arm over her shoulders in spoon position. We see her eyes open in recognition, she smiles, and closes them again.

 

Allan:

I’m going to ask Nathan if I can switch shifts with him tomorrow. If I can I’ll be able to make it home for dinner.

Wife:

That would be great. I’ve missed you. That job is turning you into a ghost. You tell them I said that you’re mine and they can’t have you.

 

She pulls his hand around her, clutching him into a tighter spoon.

 

 

Allan:

I know, babe. It’s just for now though. I know I’m away most of the time but trust me, I’m not going anywhere.

 

CU on Allan’s face as he yawns, closes his own eyes and drifts to sleep. Just as he does, the light very abruptly changes from dark to light, showing the immediate passage of time. We hear an alarm and Allan’s eyes quickly open.

 

*The three time lines appear to meet on the day of the kidnapping.*

 

Cut to black, end credits – Title *R.V.M.*

 

 

Cut to: Ext. Downtown

Midday

 

Allan exits from the restaurant with his lunch and begins to head back to work. Randall is sitting in his wheelchair next the bench directly across the street. He smiles a large smile as he sees Allan walking away. Randall waits for the crosswalk which seems to be timed perfectly to when he needs to cross. However, instead of heading in Allan’s direction, he crosses the street to the opposite side. Allan scarfs his lunch as he does every day on his way back to work and takes the small detour by the fountain. He pays no heed to the handicapped gentleman now wheeling toward him. As they pass each other, Randall jams the brakes on the wheelchair, then leaps up and puts Allan in a choke hold and chloroforms him until he passes out, before laying him gently into the chair. He looks around to make sure no one could see, and under the cover of the trees, no one did. He tips our man’s hat down over his face and wheels away. Randall hums a tune as he wheels Allan back to the parking deck where he has parked his own vehicle. He passes familiar faces, people we have seen before but who have never paid much notice to Allan or Randall. Randall may even tip a hat or wave to some of them. Back at the vacant parking deck, Randall puts Allan in the trunk. We see a shot from Allan’s view fading in and out as he sees Randall close the trunk. FADE OUT

 

 

 

 

 

FADE IN: Allan’s home interior

Later morning

 

Allan’s wife wakes when the sun is fully up. Alone as usual, she rolls over to Allan’s spot where it is still warm. She cradles his pillow and breathes deeply to catch the fading scent of Allan’s restaurant hair, and she smiles. She gets up and seems to float across the room in the morning sun streams. Her fingers trace the adornments on the dresser bringing their favorite pictures together into focus. Vacations, date nights, etc. As she walks through their hallway we pass pictures of their success. Her CPA/accounting degree provides a center piece for the memories of banks and nameless suits she has framed around it. Likewise for Allan, his culinary degree and pictures of him with various chefs all stare at her as she passes, a walk of fame she has strolled every day since they bought this house together. Today however, she pauses when she gets to an autographed picture of Allan with a famous chef. We see her smile in the reflection of the glass frame as we show a close up of the autograph. *It doesn’t need to be legible or an actual famous dude* She brews a cup of coffee and begins her day. Quick cuts and montage will do. She holds her coffee or it as least visible through every chore. She starts a load of laundry, places the dishes in the dishwasher*handwash if no dishwater on location*, does a quick workout, puts the laundry in the dryer, and finally sets a laptop up on a dining room table followed by a manila folder full of papers and another cup of coffee. As a C.P.A she can work from home. She takes out her cell phone and sends a text message to Allan.

 

Wife (txt msg):

Just got to work. Thinking of u. Eat a good lunch please. :-/ luv u.

 

She sips her coffee and returns to her work on the laptop. She shuffles a few papers but drops a few onto the floor. As she bends out of frame, the focus racks/zooms to make the computer screen comes into view and we see the name attached to the account she is managing in bold letters:

RANDALL V. MAITLYN

She returns with papers in hand and flips through until she finds the one she is looking for. She reads Randall’s number and proceeds to dial.

 

Cut to: Int. Car ride

Daylight

 

Randall is driving as his phone rings. He takes it out and looks at the number. It is already saved in his contacts as “It’s Her.” He pauses for a moment, questioning himself as if she would have a clue of suspicion. He quickly shakes it off, gets into character and answers the phone excitedly.

 

Randall:

YYYYeealoooow!

 

Wife:

Hello Mr. Maitlyn. It’s….

 

Randall:

I know who ya are silly, my cell phone told me. Nifty stuff. I can remember when it was a lot harder to screen phone calls. (laughs aloud) What can I do for you, money gal?

 

 

 

Wife:

Well sir, I was going over your account last night, just routine stuff, and I noticed there was a large property purchase this past month that is out of the quarterly budget we discussed.

 

Randall (smiling):

Yes! I just bought a tract of land I’m planning on building a foundation for children!

 

Wife:

I understand Mr. Maitlyn

 

Randall:

Please call me Randall. Mr. Maitlyn was my father, and frankly I never liked him much.

(Randall laughs very hard and awkwardly)

 

We see the Wife take the phone from her ear and look at it a little creeped out.

 

Randall:

I’m sorry, that was a bit inappropriate. Dry humor I suppose.

 

Wife:

That’s quite alright Mr….

 

 

Randall:

Randall

 

Wife:

Right. Randall. I was wondering if we could meet face to face and go over these numbers. I hope I’m not being out line, but… I’ve been managing your accounts for 6 months now and I’ve only ever spoken to you over the phone. If I can be frank…

 

Randall:

Please do.

 

Wife:

…well, I’m managing quite a lot of money for you, and it feels a little….

 

Randall:

Criminally strange?

 

Wife:

…yes, actually. Also this purchase is….wildly out of place with what we’ve discussed and since we’ve never actually met, I’m sure a man of your stature can appreciate the need for a face to face chat when speaking about investments of this magnitude. I’d like to take a look at the receipts and speak about the budget for a surveyor.

 

 

Randall (acting hesitant):

You know your right. I’m so sorry. Ever since my wife died I haven’t really liked leaving the house much. She used to do all the money managing at our house, God rest her soul and all I had to do was keep workin. Nowadays it just keeps making itself. Hell the fact I don’t have to leave the house to make money just feels criminal.

 

Randall runs a stop sign and gets a horn blown at him. He proceeds to give the driver a middle finger and continue his conversation.

 

Randall (cont.):

That’s part of the reason I decided to buy the land. Figure I should invest in the community, we never had kids of our own, and well…the years are getting on and I can’t exactly take it with me.

 

Allan’s wife remains speechless on the other side.

 

Randall (cont.):

But hell listen to me! I’m sorry darling. I didn’t mean to get all gushy on you.

 

Wife:

That’s quite alright Mr….thats quite alright Randall.

 

Randall:

Well about the land, I’ve got a buddy of mine in appraisals and I had him take a look already. Hell I had to have him look it over before I bought the damn thing. But you know what? You’re right, I would actually like to meet the young woman I’m trusting with my money, even if it is to prove I’m not a crook. How does next Tuesday work for you? I could make it into the city around noon and we can have a good old fashioned lunch meeting. I’ll even bring the pictures of the land so you can see it yourself. It really is something.

 

 

 

Wife:

That sounds wonderful Mr…I mean Randall. How about I give you another call on Friday to make sure nothing has changed, and I look forward to seeing you on Tuesday.

 

Randall:

Sounds great, we’ll see you soon. Take care now.

 

Randall hangs up the phone and looks into his rear view mirror before turning and looking toward the backseat.

 

Randall:

Almost there, buddy.

 

The wife hangs up her phone and looks back to her computer. She takes a sip of coffee.

 

END SCENE

 

Cut to: Ext. Randall’s hideout

Day

 

Randall pulls his car down the grassy path. The grass lays limp in solid tire tracks where he has pulled in so many times before. Randall parks the car next to an old dilapidated structure.

 

Randall:

Home sweet home.

 

 

 

 

 

Soft transition: Int. Building

Dusk

 

Soft transition Randall setting Allan up in his torture room. Small cuts faded in and out of constraints on Allan’s wrists to a chair, Randall’s face, a small glimpse of the tool table show us that Allan is coming to.

 

Allan:

Wha….what is this? Where am I? Jesus Christ! Jesus!!!

 

Allan is becoming more aware of his surroundings and his panic is overwhelming.

 

Allan (cont.):

What the fuck is going on here?! Who the hell are you!? Oh my fucking god! Fuuuuuuuuuuuck! What the fuck…what the fuck is this!?! What do you want from me?! Please whatever this is we can work it out.  Oh shit! Shit shit shit.

 

Randall remains silent and allows Allan to expend his energy freaking out. He actually looks a little concerned and shows us a sense of feeling sorry for Allan. But overall he is disgusted. He does not look at him out of hunger, he looks at him in pity.

 

Allan (cont.)

(confused by Randall’s silence)

Look I don’t have any money. I don’t know what you want.

(Randall remains silent)

What the fuck??!! Who the hell are you!?! What am I doing here?!

(Allan begins shaking and raging against his confines)

Say something you fucking freak! Who the hell are you!?

 

Randall very swiftly gets face to face with Allan, noses practically touching. Allan immediately shuts up. When faced with Randall so close and so intimidating the situation suddenly hits home. Randall remains silent for a moment, tilting his head with a small grin, soaking in the fear that Allan permeates.

 

Randall:

Do you hear that? Nothing. Which is exactly what you should hear when I’m not speaking. We’re not here for you to cry to your woes and whine like a little baby. We’re here to work. I do hope you feel better now that you got it out, though.

 

Allan lurches forward at Randall attempting to head butt him.

 

Allan:

Fuck you, you freak! What the fuck kind of twisted shit is this?

 

Randall:

Wow! Bravo! You know I really wasn’t expecting this kind of fight from you so early on, I’m impressed. I really had you figured for a cry it out type of man.

 

He brings his face close to Allan’s again.

 

Randall (cont.):

I guess there’s a lot more we have to learn from each other than I thought.

 

Allan: (Calmer)

What are you talking about? Who the hell are you?

 

Randall: (shifting mode->excited)

Excellent Question!!!!! Who the hell am I!? Who the hell am I? You know I’ve often wondered that myself. Monks, Shamans, Christians, Muslims, atheists, and artists have been asking that question for centuries!!!!! And you know what? I bet dollars to doughnuts no one has ever had an answer. Who the hell is anybody? Who’s nobody? And who says who gets to be somebody? You know what I mean?

 

Allan is stunned at Randall’s insane rant. It almost seems as he anticipated this conversation. The question of course, being rhetorical.

 

Randall (cont.):

You look a little lost. Am I moving too fast? Let’s start simple. I mean, who the hell are you?

 

Allan remains silent for a few moments even more confused. He stares in fear at Randall who looms just inches away.

 

Randall (cont.)

Loaded fucking question isn’t it!? Or do you genuinely not have an answer? It wouldn’t surprise me if you didn’t. You’re not supposed to! If you did I would have had to hit you. HAHAHAHAHAHA! I’m just kidding I wouldn’t do that to you, at least not any more than I’d tie you up to a chair in an old abandoned warehouse that I bought from the bank where your little sugar momma works!

 

Randall stares at Allan with a HUGE grin as if he is waiting for him to laugh at the incredibly funny joke he just told.

 

Allan:

What? How do you know my wife!? What have you done? Where is she!?

 

Randall:

She’s fiiine. I haven’t done anything to her. In fact, it’s only a matter of time before that little phone of yours starts a ring-a-ding-dinging off the hook because sssssomebody isn’t coming home tonight, so don’t be such a baby.

 

Allan:

I swear to God if you touch her….

 

Randall puts his face close to Allan’s again, cutting off his threat.

 

Randall (Cont.):

Perspective. You’re the one tied to the chair, am I right? Am I right?!?! Just relax. The fun hasn’t even started yet.

 

 

Allan:

Fun? Who the fuck are you? You’re fucking crazy!

 

Randall:

Maybe so, brother, maybe so.

(Suddenly serious)

But I’ll tell you what else I am. Awake. Pity you can’t say the same thing. But that can change. You can turn it all around! Today is going to be a very special day for you. Yes, my friend. Today is a rebirth, the beginning of your creation and your destruction. Rejoice dear brother!!!! You transcend the bonds of mortality! We will be Gods among men. Enlightened. We are flipping the coin on its edge, embarking the mountainous trudge to the in between. As of today you are neither alive nor dead. Today you have everything…..and nothing.

 

Allan:

What does that mean?! I don’t understand what the hell you’re talking about.

 

Randall:

I know. And trust me…

 

Randall moves around Allan and takes a club from the table and moves closer to Allan.

 

Randall:

…you will.

 

Randall drives the club into back of Allan’s skull.

 

Cut to Black

 

Fade in: Ext. Montgomery

Time lapse: Night-> Day

Randall (VO):

For your sake and mine, I hope you will.

 

END SCENE

 

 

 

 

Cut in: Int. Allan’s room

Morning

 

Allan’s wife wakes to the expected empty space beside her. She turns to embrace the pillow as she usually does, she halts. The spot is cold and there is no trace or scent of her loved one she is so used to getting. She sits upright and brushes her hair back. She looks around puzzled as if waking from a dream she did not understand, but tries desperately to recollect. She gets out of bed and begins to pace through the house looking for signs of the man she knows is not there. She sees the dinner left out for him untouched on the countertop. She returns to the bedroom to check the coatrack. His coat is gone as usual but she gets the feeling he never returned. She tries to call his cell phone only to hear voicemail. She calls his work number and bites her lower lip in anticipation. The phone rings again and again.

 

Cut to: Int. Restaurant

Mid day

 

We see an unmanned telephone on the front desk of the restaurant ringing and ringing. A host chats mindlessly to an attractive server, ignoring the incessant ringing of the phone.

 

Cut to: Int. Allan’s home

Same time

 

Allan’s wife looks to the clock and sees it is after lunch. She hangs up furiously and tries dialing his cell again. This time she leaves a voicemail. *quick cut to voice tone->no name*

 

Wife:

Hey babe, it’s me. I’m sorry to be bothering you if you’re working, but…did you not come home last night? I’m sorry this sounds stupid, but I’m just worried about you. Call me soon, ok? Love you.

 

She hangs up the phone and looks at the clock which reads 10:14 am. From there she tries to go about her day, but she can’t take her eyes off the clock. Coffee: 10:30 am. Dishes: 11:02 am. She sets her laptop on the table, opens the lid, and the focus racks to the clock, 12:30 pm. She calls his phone again and hears his voicemail play. She begins to pace, wandering through the house staring around blankly, her cell phone clutched tightly to her chest. She dials 911 and after the first ring a voice comes through the other side.

 

Operator:

  1. What’s your emergency?

 

Wife:

Hello yes. Something has happened to my husband! He’s not answering his phone, I can’t reach him and I think something has happened to him.

 

Operator:

Ok just calm down ma’am, and tell me what happened. What do you mean by something? Has someone entered your home or attacked you and your husband?

 

 

 

Wife:

No, nothing like that I just…I don’t remember him coming home last night and I haven’t heard from him since yesterday while he was at work. This isn’t like him at all and I just feel like something is wrong.

 

Operator:

But you’re ok ma’am?

 

Wife:

Yes. I’m fine but my husband is missing!

 

Operator:

Ok. I just need to make sure you’re not in immediate danger. When was the last time you saw your husband?

 

The wife pauses for a moment as she realizes the question is ironically significant. She barely remembers a time when he wasn’t at work.

Wife:

Yesterday morning when he left for work.

 

Operator:

I hate to be the bearer of bad news ma’am. But this wouldn’t be the first time a wife has called because her husband didn’t come home. Is there anything specific that you can think of as to why he might be in danger?

 

Wife:

(she pauses)

……No I suppose not. I just… I know something’s wrong.

 

Operator:

Well unless there’s reason to believe there is an immediate danger, there’s not much we can do.  There is a minimum of 72 hours before an adult can be declared missing. If you haven’t heard from your husband by then, you can come down to the station and fill out a missing persons report and we’ll do everything we can.

 

Wife:

72 hours? That’s ridiculous. What if he is in danger? Can you at least send someone out here?

 

Operator:

Ma’am, I don’t mean to sound cold, but you said yourself no one has entered your home. Unless there is a reason you believe you are in immediate danger there’s nothing we can do. And trust me sweetie, he wouldn’t be the first man to come stumbling in drunk on day 2. Just be calm and patient, and if you do get any more information, call us back. But I suggest you start with friends, neighbors, and relatives. Have a nice day.

 

Wife:

Wait you don’t under….(click). What friends? What relatives?

 

The wife looks at her phone in disbelief. Stunned, she sits on her couch and stares off, unsure of how to grasp the situation at hand. She tries calling his phone again, and once more it goes to voicemail. She heaves a long worried sigh, looks over to see her keys *rack focus* She grab them and hurries out the door. Cut scene with door slam.

Cut to black END SCENE

 

 

 

 

 

Fade in: Int. Torture Room

No time visible

 

Allan wakes drearily to the sound of Randall’s footsteps sliding across the cement floor. A snowy television fades in and out of focus directly across from him, the soft blue light hurting his eyes for moment before they adjust. He realizes he is sitting backwards in the chair, with the back pushing into his chest, his hands tied separately to each arm.

 

Randall:

About time. Do you usually sleep in this late on schooldays? I was starting to worry you wouldn’t make it to class!

 

On the word “class,” Randall strikes Allan hard on the face with a textbook. Allan yells in surprise more so than pain as Randall continues his rant beating.

 

Randall:

You know I’ve learned through the many many hours I spent dreaming, that….

 

He prepares for another attack.

 

Randall (cont.):

…the more time you spend in La La Land, the more distracted you are from what’s going on in the world around you.

 

The strike comes on a-ROUND. Allan’s weight loosely hangs on one side of the chair, pressing the arm of it painfully into his ribcage, his ears ringing and his head full of water.

 

Randall gestures to the textbook he is holding while giving Allan enough time to recover so he can hear what Randall is saying.

 

Randall:

Some might say that my teaching methods are a little outdated. This I won’t argue. But I do feel that with any art, and I assure teaching is an art, it’s important that you don’t forget the basics, the bread and butter. And you lead with that. Wouldn’t you agree?

 

Allan:

Fuck yo…

 

Randall plants the hardcover right on Allan’s jaw before he can finish the sentence.

 

Randall:

Time and time again, I just keep being proven right. I do wonder if some things ever change.

 

Randall smiles a large ominous grin before tossing the book aside. He walks into a shadowy corner, giving Allan time to catch his breath, and grabs a chair. He takes his time, scraping the chair across the floor so Allan can hear, savoring every second it takes, filling his victim with fear and basking in it. He turns the chair so that the back rest sits facing Allan. Randall takes his seat and brings his face right next to Allan’s so that he needs only to whisper in his ear.

 

Randall:

I know you want to fight. It’s ok to fight. There are things in this world that we simply cannot change and yet we continue to fight. There’s death, taxes, and there’s you in the chair.

 

Allan takes this opportunity to throw his head back, butting Randall’s nose and claiming one small victory. Randall takes the hit willingly and laughs. It’s exactly what he wanted him to do.

 

Randall:

Whooo! Death, Taxes, and you in the chair!!!! It’s not going to change, but you can still fight it. We’re just designed that way. We fight what we fear and even if it kills us we do what we can to fight so…FIGHT IT!

 

Randall suddenly gets very animated and begins to sing and dance around to a made up song.

 

Randall (cont.): (ad lib freestyle-sing songy)

Fight with all you’re might! You’ve got to fight against your plight! Because reality, simply cannot be. But what we see, is you and me, and im trying to set you free! But still you FIGHT!!!!

 

Allan bewildered, sits in his chair with glaring eyes. Although the pain in his face is overwhelming, the dancing, singing madman has his full attention.

 

Randall (stops dancing and gets serious):

I do hope you have some fight. This next part is one I’ve never done before. It’s specifically for this occasion and I can’t be too sure how it’s going to work out.

 

Randall stares into Allan’s eyes for a moment as if trying to read into his mind.

 

Randall (cont.):

Nevertheless!!! I know you won’t like it.  And I can imagine you’re pretty angry with me so we’re going to go ahead and get some of that anger out with some nice painting. Do you like to paint? I know you don’t, but I do. And I’ve got a brand new canvas I’ve been dying to spill onto. In the meantime I got you a TV!

 

 

Allan looks to the snowy television.

Randall walks over to his tool table and begins to pick out some of the finer, smaller blades. A scalpel, a pocketknife, gauze, and tweezers are the most notable.

 

Randall (cont.):

It’s got over 150 channels! But I tell ya, there is just NEVER ANYTHING ON!

 

 He steps in front of Allan to show him the tools. Allan’s eyes open wide with fear as Randall once again dons his “serious face.”

 

Randall:

I told you the fun part hadn’t even started yet.

 

Randall takes his seat behind Allan and his apart at the shoulders, revealing Allan’s bare back. He stares for a moment and places his hands around Allan’s shoulders, chilling his spine and making him shiver. Randall sees this and reassures Allan.

 

Randall:

This is going to hurt, but when it’s over it will be something we can both be proud of.

 

Randall readies his knife slowly. He inhales and gets the blade within a hair of Allan’s back before stopping suddenly.

 

Randall:

OH! I almost forgot. Here.

 

Randall presents Allan with a homemade mouth guard to bite on, a simple stick with a cloth around it. He places it in Allan’s mouth and returns to his chair.

 

Randall:

Sorry about that. Where was I? Oh yes.

 

Randall immediately slices into Allan’s back just below the right shoulder, the blood flowing freely down and onto the floor. Randall cuts slowly and deliberately with each stroke. Allan in turn screams in pain, the mouth guard doing its duty. Randall uses the gauze to blot at the blood mostly for artistic feel, as it does very little to stop any blood from covering Allan’s back. Occasionally he will stop and switch to a smaller knife before continuing his macabre artwork.

 

Randall:

I know this is putting you in a lot of pain. But out of it you will become something greater. Scarification is considered just as much an art form as tattoos or the writing of a symphony. In West Africa the natives would stretch and scar the body to show landmarks in an individual’s life, a chronicle of their journey. It’s very personal, an intimate art for both parties involved. What we’re doing here is a very important landmark for both of us. I may be outlining this beautiful portrait, but you are the one who must live with it. You are the one who must heal.

 

Randall stops cutting and stands up to clean his knives.

 

Randall:

That’s enough for today. You need to heal up before I can do anymore.

 

Randall looks to Allan and realizes he has passed out. He wonders how long he has been asleep and how long he has just been rambling to no one.

 

Randall:

I’m really proud of you, you know.

 

 

 

 

 

Fade out slow

Transition to: Ext. montgomery B-roll-> Coffee Shop

Midday

 

Randall’s voice continues as citizens fill the streets, eating lunch, talking on phone, dumping trash, etc. End on coffee shop where the wife is meeting a friend.

 

Randall (VO):

Humans live in circles. We destroy and rebuild, building up only to tear it down, consuming everything into nothing, round and round. But we’re different, you and I, we’re awake. We can see.

 

End montage of Montgomery with the wife at the café worried and being consoled by a friend.

 

Wife:

72 hours, can you believe that? How can they just do nothing!? He wouldn’t just up and leave.

 

Friend:

I know. Something’s going on but really you’re just going to worry yourself sick. Maybe he’s just planning a big surprise.

 

Wife:

Are you joking? And have me worried sick for days? I’m sorry but I don’t think so. His parents haven’t heard from him, he hasn’t been at work. Something is WRONG.

 

Friend:

I know sweetheart, I’m just trying to stay positive. Things are going to be ok. You can fill out the report tomorrow and we can even make posters and everything. It’s going to be ok.

 

Wife:

Thanks.

 

Friend:

No one has contacted you at all about him?

 

Wife:

No nothing. This is just so odd, this can’t be real. How can he just disappear like that? I just don’t understand. Look, thanks for listening, I gotta go home in case he comes back or calls. Here let me get this.

 

She takes her wallet from her purse to get the check but her friend stops her.

 

Friend:

No let me, I insist.

 

As the two ladies argue over the bill, we pan back to see Randall sitting a few tables around sipping a cappuccino and reading a newspaper behind thick aviator sunglasses. He looks over his paper and watches the two ladies for a moment, before folding his paper, laying a bill down and walking away.

 

 

Wife:

Thanks again. I’ll call you soon. Bye.

 

Allan’s wife waves goodbye to her friend and leaves the café. Back in her car, she closes the door and begins to sob. Her head in her hands she struggles to regain composure, when suddenly her cell phone rings. She grabs for it desperately hoping for news of her lost husband, only to see that it’s Mr. R.V.Maitlyn. She swallows the lump in her throat and answers the phone.

 

Wife:

Hello?

 

Randall:

Hey there, didn’t catchya at bad time did I?

 

Wife:

Um… No. (sniff) Not at all. What uh… What can I do for you Mr. Maitlyn.

 

Randall:

Please, call me Randall.

 

The wife rolls her eyes and fights back the urge to scream.

 

Randall (cont):

You sure this is a good time? You sound a little upset.

 

Wife:

(fighting tears)

I assure you, Mr… Um… Randall, I’m just fine. Now how can I help you?

 

Rack focus from ext. Wife’s car to phone booth where Randall is standing, using a cell phone, smiling as he looks toward the wife’s car. He reaches one hand out to the glass/wall toward the wife as if he could touch her from where he stands.

 

Randall:

I just wanted to make sure we were still on to meet Tuesday.

 

Wife:

Right… (sigh) Yes sir, Tuesday is fine. I’ll be a bit caught up at my home, I have some… personal matters I’m attending to. Why don’t you call me Tuesday evening when you get into town and I’ll meet you at…Sinclair’s, I guess. It’s a little restaurant across town.

 

Randall:

I actually know that spot. My wife loved it. Evening you say? I was thinking earlier.

 

Wife:

Well like I said…I have some…

 

 

Randall:

Slow down, haha. Evening is fine. I can be there around six or seven?

 

Wife:

Six would great. Thanks for understanding.

 

Randall:

Not a problem, money gal. We’ll see ya then.

 

The wife hangs up and collects herself before starting the car and pulling away. Randall watches from the sidewalk as her car pulls into the distance. Fade out End Scene

 

Fade in: Int. Torture Room

Ambiguous time

 

The screen fades in and out with lights and focus as Allan comes to. Randall approaches him, pulls his tools close and proceeds to sort them. Allan is now fully awake. We see his beard has grown out very visibly. He wakes with a familiarity that suggests he has become used to, if not accepting, of his captivity.

Randall dips a rag into a bowl of warm water and begins to peel away the bandages covering Allan’s right shoulder and upper back, revealing a macabre portrait of a snake drawn out of the bruised and scabbed-ridden flesh. He takes great care of the wounds, but gives little notice to Allan’s pain, now buried under a new found resolve, however weak it may be.

 

Randall:

This is coming along quite nicely. I really wish you could see it. I think it’s something you’re really going to appreciate.

 

Allan:

Well why don’t you get me a FUCKING MIRROR?! So I can appreciate all the ways this freak wants to torture me! You’re a riddle speaking, back carving, sociopath! I’ll appreciate the day you kiss my ass you sick fuck.

 

Allan braces for the pain he accustomed to feeling shortly after speaking to Randall. However, it does not come and Allan opens his eyes to Randall unblinking.

 

Randall:

At last! Tell me, Brother! Tell me how you really feel!

 

Allan looks to Randall for permission, a sign Randall grins at. A moment passes.

 

Randall:

It’s ok. Open floor.

 

 

 

 

 

Allan takes a significant pause. He stares at the ground, his eyes empty, vapid, looking past the cement flooring and deep into the earth beneath it, to find a single thought.

 

Allan:

I’m going to die.

 

Randall (sarcastic):

Eventually. We all will, but…continue.

 

This snide remark by Randall rips Allan from his thoughts, taking him away from something he almost understood. With only the one sentence out, the rest is filled up by anger.

 

Allan:

Why don’t you just fucking kill me?! Forego the foreplay and just do the goddamn thing! I’m not getting outta this alive! I know that! I can accept that!

 

Randall hears this and immediately seizes his opportunity.

 

Randall:

Can you? Can you really?

 

The air stands stagnant for a few moments as the two gaze into each other’s eyes. Randall is filled with a wild curiosity, a predator sizing his prey looking for a challenge. While Allan, a man attempting to accept fate, his heart bursting with the weight of the question, looks with wide eyes of hope, silent, and wishing the answer would come to him, so he won’t have to go back to that place, where he felt empty, and yet his thoughts carried weight. Weight that crushes chests, suffocates, and fills your body with electricity. Truths.

 

Randall:

If I told you there was a way out, would you believe me?

 

Allan:

No. But from now until I die, I will never stop looking for a chance to kill you.

 

Randall:

And I would expect no less. But I will say this, whether you believe it or not, there is a way out. And when the time comes both of our lives will hang in the balance. Knowing what we know and dreaming of what we can become, we arrive here. This mural is yours to show the world in life or death that you meant something, that you saw something deeper and knew the truth. Something so deep and real that it hurts to even think of it.

 

Allan’s face jerks up at the sound of the words. We see that he recognized something in what Randall is saying, and begins to listen intently, for the first time showing interest in Randall’s ramblings.

 

Randall (cont.):

To feel it would be worse than death.

To come back from it, divine.

 

Allan:

I didn’t ask for this. I didn’t ask to be divine!!

 

Randall:

No you were chosen. That is your burden to bear. And a heavy weight it must be. Though really, when you think about it, I’ve lifted a lot of weight from you already. Some thanks might actually be in order here.

 

Allan:

You want me to thank you?

 

Randall:

Why not? What have you got to worry about anymore? I freed you from all the bullshit of the everyday waste of space you were! I saw potential and together we’re going to make something very special. And I’m doing all the footwork here, you could as least be a little more upbeat about the whole thing. You might as well be on vacation! You got no bills, no job, no wife, or mortgage or any of that bullshit to worry about anymore! Let me ask you. Do you even know how long you’ve been here?

 

Randall pauses to let Allan consider the question before rambling on anyway, like he does.

 

Randall (cont.):

I know it can be easy to lose track, but I guarantee the last thing you’ve been thinking about is the fucking mortgage or the bank or work or any of that bullshit! And I’ve seen you brother, you don’t have much to miss in the first place, but think about how much that means when you’re here face to face me. When’s the last time you thought about ANYTHING but this?

 

Allan remains silent. Stunned by Randall’s revelation.

 

Randall:

Feel that weight just melt off of your shoulders. You’d give it all up anyway if it meant your life. You can’t take it with you. And if you’re so ready for death my man then just let it all go. Relax and feel the weight of your responsibilities disappear from this world, before you follow suit.

 

Allan looks down in silence for a moment.

Allan:

You’re right. I haven’t thought about any of that. But, I think about my wife. I see her in my dreams. Wondering how much time has passed, wondering if….and if…and if.

 

Randall:

Well on that dear friend, if it can put your worries to rest, I may be able to help.

 

Randall places a series of photographs in Allan’s hands. Various pictures of her at the café, putting up missing posters, and checking the mail, closeups through windows, etc.

 

Randall:

I assure you she is fine. I have never had the pleasure of meeting her, but I did want you to know that she’s ok…and worrriiiied to DEATH about you. I tell ya she just won’t give up the fight, you’re really lucky to have someone like her.

 

Allan:

Go fuck yourself.

 

Randall:

My pleasure. Now we were going for lower back today right?

 

Allan:

I do believe so.

 

Randall:

Alright, let’s get started, huh? We’ve got a lot of ground to cover and I have a big day tomorrow. (sigh) I guess if you’re a slave to your passion you gotta put up with some late nights.

 

Randall places the gag in Allan’s mouth. He then begins to carve into Allan’s back as Allan braces and screams. The camera pans around or backwards from the scene, showing silhouettes transitioning into montage of cuts.

 

Cut to; Montage

 

Cuts in Allans back, his wife going life alone, missing persons form, missing reward posters, phone calls, large passage of time. Duh. Normal b-roll of people walking, working, eating, kissing, and waiting.

 

Randall (VO):

There is a darkness that lives within all human beings. You know it’s true. You see it. I’ve watched you enough so I’ve seen you see it. The truth. The horrifying truth, that we’re all just selfish, nasty little animals thriving around in the illusory world of controlled chaos that we’ve made for ourselves. It’s why we make bombs instead of powering homes. It’s why we steal, and why we war.  Deep down we’re all the same. Petty little devils struggling to keep control before we eat ourselves, which sure enough we will do. But you and I, we can stand above them as an example; an image of sanity in the darkness, the voice that tells you to embrace it. I used to ask myself what good it would do if we COULD save the human race. I’m stilled hard pressed for an answer.  If we can’t, then we’ll at least be remembered as the ones who shook the foundation. Who embraced our natures and tried, even if the world hates us for it.

 

End montage

 

Begin ACT II

 

Fade into sunlight neighborhood/Allans house

Delivery guy scene

 

A wide establishing shot shows the front of the house recognizable as Allan’s. A brown delivery truck pulls into frame, blocking Allan’s house from view. CUT. Allan’s wife stands in the kitchen staring blankly out the window holding her coffee cup, now cold, close to her chest. CUT. A pair of large hands folds a 20 dollar bill into a much smaller hand. Shot of small feet running away with the dark pants of the delivery man in the background, turning toward the house. CUT. Allan’s wife is shaken from her daydreaming by the unexpected ring of the doorbell. She cautiously approaches the door and open to reveal Randall dressed as a delivery man.

 

Randall:

Good afternoon ma’am. I’m so sorry to disturb your day. My name is Pete, I work for Parcels and Mail, it’s been a long day, and I just need to know if this is 3120 Rockhill.

 

Allan’s wife looks at him for a moment, her eyes peeled as she sizes him up. She is noticeably a very cautious woman.

 

 

Wife:

Road.

 

Randall stares for a moment pretending to be confused.

 

Randall:

Excuse me?

 

Wife:

Road. This is Rockill Road. There’s a Rockhill Ridge on the other side of town.

 

Randall looks down at his clipboard and lets out of long groan as he pretends to have just figured out he was in the wrong place.

 

Randall:

Wow. I’m really sorry. I’m totally backwards today. Sorry to have bothered you.

 

Randall turns to leave and the Wife stays in the doorway to watch as he across her yard. As Randall begins across the middle of the yard, a child rides by on a bicycle and slashes the delivery truck’s tire. Randall fakes great surprise whereas the wife’s is genuine.

 

Randall:

What the hell!? Did you see that!? Hey come back here kid!

 

Randall pretends to run after the kid, but stops and turns back to Allan’s wife.

 

Wife:

I saw the whole thing. That looked like Linda’s boy, Danny, from down the street. I’m going to have to let her know Danny’s out getting into trouble.

 

Randall:

Well let’s hope Danny being grounded will let him know what he just cost me…a job. Damnit this just what I needed. Thank you!!!!!

 

Randall spread his arms and screams a sarcastic “thank you” to the heavens, before hitting his knees and staring toward his truck.

The wife looks to Randall in pity, as if that truck tire could have been his entire life, the way he provides for someone like her. She thinks of her own loss and suddenly her previous suspicions are gone.

 

Wife:

Right. Well why don’t you come inside and get out of this heat while you call…whoever it is you need to call?

 

Randall:

Thank you so much. That would be great. It’s funny I thought this was supposed to be the good side of town and I get my tires slashed.

 

Long shot of Randall crossing the front door as he speaks and fades out. The front door slams shut.

Cut to Black. End Scene

 

Cut to: Int. Kill Room

Ambiguous time

 

Cut in hard as Randall slams the kill room door, where Allan is already awake.Dressed as a delivery man and covered in blood, Randall paces back and forth calmly but nervous, like for the first time he doesn’t quite know what to say. Allan watches him as he paces, a small look of worry on his face. He has grown used to his captivity but this seems new. Randall reaches down and turns off the static television.

 

Allan:

Hey I was watching that.

 

Randall quickly jumps close to Allan’s face and stares for a moment. His eyes and expression seems to hold bad news, something is amiss and the feeling is palpable.

 

Randall:

We need to talk.

 

Allan:

We haven’t done much except talk.

 

Randall slaps Allan in the face.

 

Randall:

Don’t be a smartass.

 

Allan looks back to Randall and we can see hurt behind his bravado of toughness.

 

Randall (cont.):

I don’t feel like you’re in this with me 100%.

 

Allan:

What?

 

 

Randall:

It doesn’t feel like you’re in this with me…all the way. I need to know that you understand. We can be great together! I know you can see it, but are you really in this for the win?

 

Allan:

I think we’ve come a pretty long way. Are you afraid that you’re going to run out of stuff to carve in my back? Is it not turning out the way you’d hoped? Fuck it. We’ll start over! Just brand it over and do it again. I’m here. I’m in the chair. I’m not going anywhere.

 

Randall:

That’s true. But I need to know for sure. What would you give up?

 

Allan:

What do you mean?

 

Randall:

What would you give up? To be enlightened, to be filled a joy you only read about in holy books. No pain, remorse, only joy. What would you give up?

 

Allan:

How can I give anything up when I don’t have any more left to give?

 

Randall:

Oh now don’t play dumb. We both know we’d be having this talk eventually. There’s still something very important you can’t let go of. And you can’t hide it from me. I know.

 

Allan knows he is talking about his wife. His face drops from curious uncertainty to full on worry and painful realization.

Allan:

What are you talking about?

 

Randall:

*deep sigh*

You can never be what you were intended to be if you can’t let her go.

 

The two men share another long silence.

 

Randall:

You have to give her up.

 

Allan:

I don’t HAVE to do shit.

 

Randall:

Oh come now. You can’t keep lying to yourself like that. What’s all this been about, huh? What the hell is this all for if you can just float right back into her arms cuz the big bad world was too tough to handle? HUH?!? You’re stronger than that. You’re better than that.

 

 

 

Allan:

I don’t know what this is about! You ramble on about humanity and destruction and talk in circles and torture me until I’ve got nothing left. I’m yours Randall, I’m in the chair remember? I’m in the fucking chair….(pause) You said you wouldn’t hurt her.

 

Randall:

That is not true. I said I HAVEN’T harmed her. I said she’s fine…at the moment.

 

Allan:

Fuck you, Randall!! Fuck you! Goddamnit!!!!!!! Fuuuuuuuuck!!

 

Allan screams in futility as his anger overflows. He knows there is nothing he can say or do. He is at Randall’s mercy, has been, and will be. He hangs his head low.

 

Allan:

Did you do it? Is she already dead?

 

 Randall moves across the room and removes a camera from a small bag. He gives it to Allan, who turns it on and reveals digital pictures of his wife on their bed, unconscious and covered in blood. Dead in the room where he slept with her. Allan begins to sob as he flips through the photographs. After just a few, he has had enough and the camera falls from his hands. Allan clenches hard as the grief strikes him, his pain mixing with the futility he knows well, and unleashes a bloodcurdling scream that shakes his body. He releases a pain he has always known and feared, yet prayed it would not come. Pain that is felt deep, in the place that feels empty, yet carries all the weight in the world, a pain worse than death, is all that Allan feels. It consumes him. He screams until his throat rips open.  He screams until his tears mix with the saliva dripping from his chin. He screams until his body falls limp from exhaustion.

After a moment he attempts to regain his composure. Randall encourages him between long breaths and slight moments of almost crying, fighting the emotional wave.

 

Randall:

There, there. It’s ok. Everything’s gonna be alright. Shh. Shh. Shh. This isn’t something you can fight. You have to let it out. Let it go.

 

Allan fights harder and moans in defiance of Randall’s coos. No words are discernible, just howls of pain and anger.

 

Randall:

I know. I know. Just let it go…..I know it’s hard, but you and me, we’re going to open so many eyes in this world.

 

Allan:

Oh God.

 

Realizing the irony and absurdity of being comforted by the man that killed his wife, Allan breaks under the emotion again sobbing into Randall’s shoulder because he has no other choice. He has no one else anymore. Only Randall.  Fade out. End Scene.

 

 

Fade in: Int. Kill Room

Midday

 

For the first time the kill room is revealed during the day with no tarps over the windows. Allan wakes up not in his chair, which is still next to him, but lying on the floor, his hands no longer bound, and sits himself up to daylight for the first time since he was kidnapped. His face is draped in disbelief and his eyes squint with the pain as the sun blazes the room into his view. A simple garden room, or garage of some type.  Sitting on the floor he raises his arms, stretches, and runs his hands over his body, relishing this new freedom. Suddenly he is struck from his moment of triumph with immediate purpose and bolts upright blindly running toward the door. Perhaps Randall forgot to drug him enough, maybe his tolerance has built, maybe he just woke in the middle of a new game Randall is setting up. Regardless, he takes this chance, unthinking, running so hard that the few steps Randall allowed him, also betrayed him. As Allan reaches his arms out for the door, the chain around his leg pulls taught, crushing his ankle with his hope, and sends him crashing to the floor in agony. Pain however, is something Allan has grown quite used to. He examines his ankle, touching it and wincing. He looks to the source of this new constriction. A chain bolted to the floor right under his chair, a few feet long, enough for him to walk around the room, but enough to keep him just out of arms distance to the door.

Allan rises, and begins to hobble toward the chair, when Randall enters the room, carrying gauze, a splint, bandages and tape.

 

Randall:

I gotta say, I was afraid that was going to happen. I really hoped it wouldn’t, but  so it goes.

 

Allan limps slowly toward the chair and winces in pain when his broken foot touches the ground.

 

Randall:

Don’t be a pussy. C’mon. Sit. And seriously, don’t try to attack me or do anything stupid. I’ve given you some freedom here and you really don’t want to fuck that up.

 

Allan:

Wouldn’t dream of it.

 

Allan sits back in his chair as Randall takes his broken foot and examines it.

 

Randall:

Damn that’s fucked up.

 

Allan rolls his eyes and winces again in pain.

 

Randall:

I mean Jesus. I knew you were going to run, I did. I did not know you could fuck an ankle up this bad. You really went off.

 

Randall bends Allan’s ankle a small bit and Allan cries out in pain.

 

 

Allan:

Jesus quit fucking with it! Can you fix it?

 

Randall:

Yeah.

 

Allan:

Are you GOING to?

 

Randall looks at Allan for a few moments as he thinks. As the two men look at each as they so often have, Allan sees something in Randall’s face he’s never seen before, humanity. Randall seems normal, compassionate and friendly.

 

Randall:

Yes.

 

Before Allan can ask why, Randall gives his foot one good turn, cracking it back into place. Allan is taken by surprise but does not scream. Instead he bites his knuckles and breathes, something he hasn’t been able to do in a long while.

Randall begins to clean Allan’s ankle, place the splint, and wrap it.

 

Randall:

I’m sorry about your wife. I really am. This whole thing would have been so much easier if you weren’t married. Believe me.

 

Allan:

Why? Why are you doing this? Why did you untie me?

 

Randall:

Why aren’t you attacking me?

 

Allan:

……..Because i’m not ready to die.

 

Randall:

But you were yesterday.

 

Allan:

That was yesterday.

 

Randall:

Was it?

 

Allan:

Fuck, I don’t know, do I?

 

Randall:

‘fraid not. Could be. Then again, maybe not. But today is today and that we can be absolutely sure of.

 

 

 

Allan:

I suppose it really doesn’t matter anyway.

 

Randall finishes bandaging Allan’s foot and crosses the room to his carving chair. He brings it around in front of Allan so they can talk face to face.

 

Randall:

You know how they say you should never talk about politics?

 

Allan:

You want to talk to me about politics?

 

Randall:

No. I want to talk to you about talking about politics.

 

Allan:

Oh.

 

Randall:

Talking about politics of any sort is an endless conversation. There are only so many ways it can play out. If you agree with one another, you end up sucking each other’s dicks all day talking about the way things ought to be. If you disagree, you end up warring, fighting and judging each other the way political factions do. Accusations, slander, corruption, the economy, blame, scapegoats, conspiracies, hahaha.  But my favorite kind is the one where two people say, “Goddammit. It’s all fucked anyway. It’s too much, it can’t hold. Just let that fucker burn and start over.”

 

Allan:

I know that conversation well.

 

Randall:

I figured you might. In all honesty that’s the sort of sentiment that landed you here. Politics and bullshit, people lives, love, the world at large, all of it. Why don’t we just let it all burn and start over? Picasso said that every act of creation is first an act of destruction. That’s why I picked you. You can see it, too. You just had a few things that were blocking your view.

 

Allan:

She….

 

Randall:

Don’t. Don’t do that. Don’t lie to me and don’t lie to yourself. That’s the petty little shit in you crying out for what you think is yours. And you know it. I know it hurts. It hurts more than anything I’ve done to your body. Speaking of which, it’s done. You just have to finish healing. That goes for this too.

 

Randall points a finger to Allan’s heart.

 

 

 

 

Randall (cont.):

It’s a new day. You can be a new person. This is the way out. Embrace it. There’s nothing holding you back now, and nothing to go back to, so think about what I said. We can do great things. We can save the world, be that symbol. They won’t like it any more than you have, but it doesn’t make it not true. We can burn it all down. The earth will scorch wherever we tread, and in our wake, we will leave the truth behind.

 

Allan:

You want me to join you? Become you?

 

Randall:

I want you to accept what you’re so afraid of. I want you to be yourself, nothing more, nothing less. Think about it. I’ve got some stuff to go take care of, and you probably don’t want to stay up all with that ankle. Here.

 

Randall pulls out a syringe and injects Allan with some medication.

 

Allan:

Thanks.

 

Randall:

No problem. I put you a mirror in here so you can see…if you wanted to do your hair or whatever.

 

Allan:

Thanks.

Allan turns in the mirror to look at his back, still covered in bandages. He tries to peel some off but winces in pain. He starts to get woozy from the medication.

 

Randall:

You can see that later. You know I’ve told you this before, but only when you’re asleep, but, I’m really proud of you.

 

Allan:

…Thanks.

End Scene

 

Allan drifts to sleep and Randall’s smiling face blurs in and out of focus serving as a transition to the next scene.

Begin ACT III

 

*Randall’s out of focus face transitions into the one of him as a delivery man, bringing us into the wife’s dream*

 

Cut to: Int. Allan’s House

Evening.

 

Allan’s wife wakes with a star from her strange dream with the out of focus delivery man. She puts her hand to her forehead and glances around.. Snips of Randall dressed as a delivery man flash in and out. She looks to the clock and see’s that it is 5:30.

 

Wife:

Shit.

 She checks her watch to be certain and then jumps out of bed. She is going to be late to meet Mr. Maitlyn.

 

 

 

Cut to: int. Restaurant

Evening

 

Randall waits at a table alone sipping a fancy mixed drink and wearing his typical sweater cardigan with thick glasses, looking nothing like the delivery man. He looks up and waves as Allan’s wife enters and looks around. She sees him and approaches the table. Randall is very charming, surprisingly so, and tries his best to make the wife comfortable.

 

Wife:

I’m so sorry I’m late. I fell asleep and I just….I don’t see how time got away.

 

Randall:

It’s not a problem sweetheart, you’re here now. What can I get you to drink?

 

Wife:

Just water please.

 

Randall:

Water for the lady.

 

Randall signals the waiter over, orders a water, and another *margarita.*

 

Randall:

So what did you want to talk about?

 

Wife:

*deep sigh*

Honestly Mr….Randall…. I just felt like I needed to…meet…you..

 

Snips of the delivery man play through her head and stops her in conversation.

 

 

Randall:

Everything ok?

 

 

Wife:

Yes. I just had the strangest feeling of déjà vu? I feel like we have met before.

 

 

Randall:

Well I suppose we’ve spoken on the phone enough it feels that way.

 

Wife:

Yeah I guess so.

 

She shakes off her feelings of uneasiness and decides to get down to business and then get home.

 

Wife:

So. Down to business. The land you purchased, you said you have pictures?

 

Randall:

Oh yes.

 

Randall reaches into a small bag and pulls out photographs of the land and building where he is keeping her husband.

 

Randall:

Isn’t it great? I think it’s the perfect place to start my foundation. What do you think?

 

Wife:

Yeah it looks great, but isn’t it a little far out?

 

Randall:

No way. It’s gonna have to be a little out of the way, it’s a big piece of land. Where am I gonna put all those playgrounds, gyms, and swimming pools?

 

Wife:

I suppose you have a point. Haha.

 

Randall laughs and Allan’s wife is struck with the images of the delivery man again. Half blurry memories of blood and camera flashes flood her mind, making her pause again.

 

Randall:

You sure you’re ok? We can do this another time.

 

Wife:

Actually yes. Could we reschedule? I know its difficult for you to make it into the city.

 

Randall:

Its not a problem. Really if you’re not feeling well you shouldn’t even be here. Come on. I’ll walk you out.

 

Wife:

Thanks.

 

The two reach her car outside and she turns to face Randall.

 

 

Wife:

Thank you again for being so understanding m…Randall.

 

Randall:

Anytime. You be safe driving home now.

 

The wife gets into her car and closes the door as Randall walks away. She pauses and takes a deep breath. She looks behind her shoulder in Randall’s direction trying to shake the foggy half-dreams of a bloody delivery man. Suddenly Randall is back at her window knocking and holding up her purse, which she left at the table.

She rolls her window down and reaches for it.

 

Wife:

Oh God, Thank you so much.

 

Randall hands her the purse slowly, savoring her fear. She takes the purse carefully, never taking her eyes off Randall.

Randall:

Bye now.

 

 

Allan’s wife takes the purse and drives away.

 

Cut to:Int. Car

Allan’s wife searches her memory frantically for those briefs moments of the delivery man. Flashback inserts take us back to that room. His face is out of focus and too shadowed for her to make out.She becomes unsettled as she begins to remember more and more. When she feels like she almost has it figured out, she pulls the car over and fearfully looks behind her to see if he has followed her. Nobody there, no headlights she can make out. She sighs relief to herselfand blows it off. It couldn’t be  possible, yet he seemed so familiar it shook her.

 

Cut to: Ext. House

Night

 

Allan’s wife puts the keys in the lock and opens her front door. Inside she closes it and turns on the light in the dark room. Randall is revealed holding a baseball bat and takes it to her head, knocking her out in one swing. Cut to black. End scene.

 

 

 

Cut to: Int. torture room

Night

 

Randall bursts through the door dragging an anonymous screaming man. He throws the man onto the floor in front of Allan. Allan seems surprised but expecting.

 

Randall:

I want you to be a part of this.

Randall  pauses to catch his breath. The man is screaming for help through the gag in his mouth. He rises from his stomach to his knees.

Randall (cont.):

This man works at a local restaurant. He was born a smart, talented, but cynical youth who once believed he could make a difference. He like most other folks in this great country, has given up on his dreams. He spends his days smoking pot and writing gibberish WAITING          for his moment to matter.

This is it, brother! Your moment of truth! Stand and be counted!

 

Randall hits Man hard in the face, taking him from his knees back to the floor. Alllan walks over toward Randall.

As Allan steps toward the man on the ground, Randall presents him with a knife. He leans close as he hands it to him, trusting Allan will not hurt him. He whispers into his ear.

 

Randall:

This is the part where everything changes. Of all the world you’ve seen so far, it will be a distant memory.

 

Man A begins to scream for mercy.

 

 

 

Man:

Please!!! Please don’t kill me!

Allan:

I can’t.

 

Randall:

Trust me you can.

 

Man A screams please and mercy over and over as allan approaches him with the knife.

 

Man:

Don’t hurt me please!! I’ll do whatever you want.

 

Randall (cont.):

Prove to yourself that you can be greater. You can help change this world.

 

Allan leans in close to the man as he raises the knife.

 

Randall:

Trust what you know to be true and cast off these chains!!! Do it, Brother!!!

 

Allan whispers in the mans ear quickly.

 

Allan:

I’m sorry it had to be you.

 

Allan plunges the knife deep into the mans side. The man’s eyes go wide with pain and fear, looking Allan right in the eyes. Allan’s remains steadfast, his gaze unmoving as he watches the man die at his hands. As the man falls, lifeless, to the floor, allan rises.

 

Randalll:

How did you feel?

 

Allan, still staring at the man he has killed, races his mind for something so remote as a feeling. As he stands now, a murderer, he is almost disappointed with himself for not feeling horrible.

 

Allan:

I don’t feel anything.

 

Randall:

Nothing? No lingering remorse? Whats goin on in that dome? Tell me, HOW DO YOU FEEL?

 

Allan:

I don’t know! Confused. Not bad. Different.

 

Allan takes his eyes off the victim for the first time and looks to a Randall smiling radiantly.

 

 

Randall:

You ARE different. I’ve got another little surprise for you.

 

Randall quickly kneels down to Allan’s ankle chain and removes a key from his pocket. As the shackle falls to the ground, Randall looks up to Allan with giddy anticipation.

 

Randall:

Don’t be mad, ok?

 

Allan looks into Randall’s eyes.

 

Allan:

Ok.

(no gun!) knife outta pocket (audience forgets its there) walk in for intimate moment, surprise! He knifes her…

Ranall races from the room via the double doors. A moment passes as a now free Allan, chooses to stay in place. He looks to the door opposite him and back to the double doors, weighing the option, yet never moving. Randall  can be heard slamming a door followed by the shrieks of a terrified woman. CU of Allan’s eyes as he slowly closes them, praying the sound is not what he thinks.

Randall enters the room dragging allan’s wife with him. She is bound at the hands with a gag in her mouth. Her feet are not shackled though one leg is broken and bleeding openly. The gash on her head has caused blood to mat and cake in her hair as it dried. Her face is barely recognizable from the bruising. She screams for help before realizing that her husband is standing before her. She falls silent.

 

Randall moves away and back to Allan. Allan and his wife stare into one another’s eyes silently. Randall moves around behind Allan and presses his cheek next to his ear, and removes a gun from his pocket.

 

 

Randall:

Now I want you to do what we both know has to be done.

 

Randall place the gun into Allan’s hand.

 

Randall (cont.):

This will make things a little easier.

 

Allan never removes his gaze from his wife as he takes the gun. Randall’s hands guide Allan’s as he raises it and aims directly at her.

 

Randall:

That’s it.

 

Allan’s wife looks to her husband in fear, crying and  mouthing “I love you” like a silent prayer, over and over. Randall presses his head against the back of Allans.  Allan’s hands begin to shake.

 

Randall:

Stay calm. Know that this is the way things have to be.

 

Allan quickly swings the gun around and points at his own neck in direct line with Randall. If he pulled the trigger, the bullet tear through his neck and straight through Randall’s forehead. As if anticipating this move Randall retorts.

 

Randall:

I know! I know! But you’ve got to fight it! If you kill us both, she’ll die anyway! Look at her! No one know where we are! She can’t stay conscious much longer losing as much blood as she has.

 

Allan screams in defiance.

 

Randall (cont.)

Kill her and we can live! We can be greater! We didn’t come all this way to fail! You know what you have to do!

 

Allan roars in despair as he points the gun back at his wife. He pauses and looks at her, his eyes wide and tearing. They share a gaze in slow motion as she mouths “it’s ok” and closes her eyes. Blood streaks the vanity mirror as we hear the gunfire. Fade out

 

Cut to: Int. Kill room

Dawn

 

A door opens spilling dawn light onto the body of Allan’s wife, lifeless on the floor. Allan is on his knees staring at the ground opposite his dead lover as Randall drags her body out. His face never changes from that expression the whole time Randall is out. When Randall returns, Allan turns to him calmly.

 

 

Allan:

…Please…kill me.

 

Randall stares at allan for a moment, before walking to the double door s and picking up a baseball bat. CU of the bat approaching Allan on his knees.

 

Randall:

Now that is legitimately disappointing to hear.

 

Randall stops next to Allan and sighs deep before raising the bat and bringing it down on his skull. After one hit he throws the bat and takes to Allan’s throat with his bare hands. Return to the opening shot where Randall is strangling his victim. We see Allan’s face this time, his body struggling out of muscle memory, but his face controlled as he accepts this fate. We see Randall’s face rack in and of focus from Allan’s perspective. Allan’s eyes close as the oxygen to his brain is depleted. We see Randall’s face rack in and out as the picture fades out. FADE OUT. END

Fiction · Short Stories · Uncategorized

Just added a few short stories and songs!

House of Payne

Of all the names in the world, at least all the ones he could think of, Chas Payne feels that his is most appropriate. Bending over the toilet in the bathroom of his New York apartment regurgitating stomach acid and the last remnants of Percocet and morphine tablets, the irony alone is killing him.  Twisting and retching while the world becomes darker and less defined, he didn’t expect this much pain. Yet, he falls to the cold tile floor jarring his forehead on the porcelain bowl, and still clutching his insides as if they would burst from his front at any moment. And all he can think about is the excruciating, tortuous ache in his gut.

The pain begins to subside. His stomach stops churning and comes to accept its fate. He lets out a small sigh trying to free the stale air from his lungs. His head slides over and into the small pile of roach poison that he had laid out last week.

“Fitting,” he thinks.

His body goes completely numb as he fades in and out of sleep. Chas wonders what lies just on the other side of this dark hallway that he’s wanted to walk through so badly. He thinks that he would smile…if he could feel his face.

*         *         *        *

“Go on ahead, Hun!” Chas shouted over the hustling crowd of tourists, bell hops, and caterers. The luxurious Thornbury Castle was having a grand ball this particular August evening and Chas was beginning to regret staying in what he referred to as Satan’s Torture Hotel of Death. A 15th century castle in Thornbury, England, fully restored and turned into a luxury hotel. Forty-three floors of 15th century suck-ass madness.

Yeah, there’s room service, but there are no elevators. I mean what kind of a place was this?” he asks.

His wife Trish threw him a stern look over the pink lily suitcase she carrying. He could see the anger in her eyes. And after forty-three of stairs, Chas thought that was the only face she could make anymore.

“The hotel manager said they wanted to keep a natural feel and doesn’t think elevators should ever be placed in a castle. I like it though, I think he may be on to something.”

Chas thought he was a schmuck.

The crowds of dinner guests and service staff were flooding the staircase by the time Chas, Trish, and Ben, their nine year old son, reached the ground floor. The crowd was getting immense and he was losing his family on the staircase when he remembered Trish’s wedding ring sitting on the bedside table. Their faces already disappearing into crowded hotel lobby, he decided it would be better to run back upstairs and grab the ring while he was still here. Most people would have brushed it off, called the hotel and have it sent home. But Chas, is not most people. And he’s regretted it ever since.

He called Trish on the way back up the forty-three flight climb to their room.

The phone rang twice before she picked up.

“Hey! Where are you,” she asked.

“I’m running back upstairs. I didn’t grab your ring after you asked me too.”

He heard her angry sigh on the other line. He knew she was pissed. He knew that he was going to get an earful when she saw him. Trish hated flying. She carried the “Oh-my-God-I’m-going-to die-on-this-plane gene and she was going to absolutely hate him for not being on the flight with her.

“Jesus, Chas! You’re going to miss the plane!”

He said, “Don’t worry about it, sweetie. You’ll be fine. If I don’t get there in time, just board the plane. I’ll catch the next flight out and meet you in Sacramento.  I love you. Bye.”

After a long and arduous sprint up the winding stairs of the God Forsaken Castle of Slow Agonizing Death, Chas stopped to catch his breath. He’d only had to stop twice the whole way up and felt a little too proud of himself for it.

Chas collected himself and made for the hallway in search of room 4307.

He passed a door marked BROOM CLOSET and wondered if King Henry used a Swiffer. He reached the door as he dug the key out his pocket.  He slipped the key in the lock turning it forcefully, and entered the room. He spotted the ring on the bedside table, snatched it quickly, and placed it on his left pinky next to his own ring.

He checked the gold Rolex that Trish gave him last night for their anniversary. Quarter to four. It was the first time Ben and Trish had flown without him. He had often poked fun at her for her fear of airplanes. He just never understood it.

Now he understands it.

****

Chas opens his eyes to pulsating light of his apartment bathroom. The fluorescent bulbs are infuriating the already raging pain in his head. He shuts his eyes tight and tries to get his grip.

Where am I? Am I Dead? No…Goddamnit!”

                Chas begins to smell the sharp odor of vomit rising from the bowl above him. He raises a hand and fishes for the handle for a while.

 

Finds it.

Flushes it.

Breathes.

 

“OK. I’m alive. What now?”

He raises himself off the ground to inspect the damage. He looks fine. He feels fine. He might be dying from the roach poison that may or may not have gotten into his mouth, but he doesn’t think he’s that lucky. God would have to have a pretty sick sense of humor…then again, maybe he does. In either case Chas rinses his mouth out and looks in the mirror.

“What a sorry sack of shit. Look at yourself. You’re pathetic.”

He wanders out of the bathroom and down the hallway of the apartment, his head pounding. He thinks if he is about to deal with living through a suicide, the first thing he needs is coffee. He stumbles through the dimly light hallway and into the kitchen. He finds the coffee and tries to think of the ways it might kill him, but doesn’t think there are any.

Chas makes a pot and waits while the coffee boils, staring at the kitchen cabinets. He had given all the china to charity and goodwill. He doesn’t really need dishes or silverware anymore. Chas usually eats fast food now. He doesn’t see the point of spending time on a meal that he wishes he wasn’t around to eat. Besides, they say fast food will kill you these days.

He waits for the coffee to finish and pours himself a cup. He thinks about Trish and Ben. He thinks about dying. He thinks he doesn’t want to have to clean the bathroom that he failed to die in. He thinks maybe the bathroom floor is too cliché of a death place for him anyway.  Chas looks over the kitchen bar into the living room.

The whole apartment is empty now, but it once had life to it. The white walls used to beam with pictures of Chas, Trish, and Ben. They gave the room a sense of warmth and welcome, as did the large white leather sofa and the Ecuadorian coffee table, or so Chas always thought. He used to love sitting on the sofa, feeling the cold leather on the back of his neck. He used to set his feet on the antique table just to get a rise out of Trish. She couldn’t stand it when he did that. Something her parents had passed on to her. Now she’s not around to get pissed, so Chas doesn’t put his feet up.

He sits on the floor of this apartment, sipping his coffee and trying not to think. The feelings of warmth and welcome have been traded for cold isolation. The white walls stand naked. There are no pictures, no coffee table, no TV, no bookcases, or end tables. Nothing. Chas sips his coffee with his arms tightly gripped around himself, and stares at the carpet.

****

Chas strolled out the front doors of Thornbury Castle feeling sorry for his wife and son at having to fly alone, but fairly amused with thought of it. He decided to walk to the airport in lieu of a taxi because his flight wouldn’t be leaving for another hour. He took his time wandering through town conversing with the locals and stopping to have lunch at corner market café. Chas felt guilty that he was having such a good time without Trish and Ben. He thought of them clutching each other for dear life as the plain takes off. He thought of Trish screaming while the other passengers looked on in annoyance. He thought of the frantic panting that would follow a panic attack. He chuckled.

After a two pints of New Castle and club sandwich, Chas walked to the airport. He noticed a large crowd of people hovering around a television monitor out front, but paid it no attention. It was probably some new political scandal or celebrity gossip. These things did not concern Chas. He always thought people’s private lives should never be intruded upon and celebrities and politicians are no different. So he never cared. Moreover, he didn’t want to be late.

Chas entered the airport and walked toward the security gate. No sooner did he reach the checkpoint that he realized that his flight had been delayed. He would be stuck there or another hour. He walked away from the security and into the lobby for a drink. He pulled himself up to the bar and ordered a jack and coke. He turned to face the TV and his heart sank to his feet.  The BBC had interrupted the current program for a special announcement.

“Ladies and Gentleman. We bring you live coverage of the Continental Airlines commercial flight that crashed into the Atlantic earlier this evening.

* * * *

Chas glides down 3rd Avenue replaying the events over in head. He’s going nowhere in particular and just wants to find a place to smoke in peace. You can’t walk down the sidewalk smoking nowadays without somebody giving you a monumental piece of their mind. He doesn’t really want to hear anybody else’s shit so he waits for a smoking area. He has enough on his mind.

He stops in front of a Walgreens after noticing a sign for a DESIGNATED SMOKING AREA. He sits on the bench next to an old man wearing an old gray coat and a bucket hat like the one Gilligan wears. Chas notices veins on the man’s hands, raised and blue like oceans pouring over the dry white knuckles.

“How’s it going, sonny?” the old man asks.

“Terrible actually,” Chas replies hoping the conversation would end there.

“Sorry to hear that. But you know even the most terrible days have their upsides.”

Chas couldn’t believe how angry he was getting. The old man was just trying to be nice. He was trying to make Chas’s life just a little bit brighter. But Chas didn’t want his life to be any brighter. He wanted his family back.

“Look Grandpa, I appreciate the words but I’m not really up for proverbs today. I just want to sit and smoke and figure out the rest of my short life. So I would appreciate it, if you would kindly fuck off.”

Chas lights his cigarette and likes the way the smoke scratches his chest. Like an itch that desperately needs to be scratched, like the pain in Chas’ gut that he desperately wants to relieve.             “You know son, I’ve seen boys like you before. Searchin’ for a piece of sanity, some divine providence that might just prove there’s justice in this world. But I got bad news, Sonny. It ain’t. It never was and it never will be. He that giveth, taketh away.”

“You don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about, old man.”

Chas stares across the street in silence. He watches a family through the windows of a Starbucks. He sees their happy faces and how blissfully they take each other for granted. He knows the pain of living every day without something to live for. He feels the Big Empty that’s been left in his body.

Chas gets up and walks away without looking back at the old man.

* * * *

Chas sat in the airport bar trying to catch his breath. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing on the news. Flight 247 out of Thornbury crashed into the Atlantic just over an hour ago. Time stopped. His heart was pounding faster than it ever had before. He thought it was going jump out his chest and onto the floor. Chas clutched his chest and struggled to comprehend what was happening.

Maybe it wasn’t their flight. Maybe it’s a mistake. He turns and races through the terminal to find a list of passengers. He passes checkpoint after checkpoint and locates one of the monitors he had dismissed earlier. He looked at the screen as the list people rolls down in front of the video coverage. He couldn’t see their names. He figured its ok. He remembered the ticket he still had from the same flight. He frantically searched his bag for the evidence. His fingers found the slim paper rectangle under his planner. He pulled the ticket into the light and read the lines.

Flight 247. Departing Thornbury. 4:00 PM

Chas’s heart stopped as he imagined Trish and Ben holding each other for comfort. He imagined them screaming and crying as the passengers around them cried out in despair. He imagined Trish trying to comfort Ben as the plane nosedived into the ocean. Running her fingers through his hair and telling him it will be OK.

The news said it was a engine failure. An uncommon mistake, but one that happens. Boeing will make an official apology. Chas’s family will still be dead.

Chas died in an airport in Thornbury. Well, he might as well have.

* * * *

Chas sits comfortably in seat forty-seven aboard American Airlines flight number 274, departing Sacramento for London. He thanks the flight attendant as she brings him his drink. He can’t wait for the in flight movie. He hopes there is turbulence during takeoff. He hopes there is mayhem. He prays for a crash. He hates that everyone will have to die. If this one doesn’t go down, the next one will. Or the next one, or the next one. Who knows?

Chas knows. He knows that if you hit a dog enough times it will stop barking. And he also knows that if you ride a plane enough times it will eventually go down, especially if you slashed the fuel hose prior to boarding.

Chas lies back in his seat, swallows three Vicoden, and waits.

Fiction · Short Stories · Uncategorized

The Veda: Prologue

In the beginning there was darkness….

Or Light….

Or who the fuck knows.

I know there was Me. Who am I?

I am the steady hand poor souls grasp for at the end of their day’s embodiment. Some reach out in joy, some cower in fear at my approach, but the ones that accept their fate in the unknown with grace… those are my favorite. They are like me. It is a common misconception that I know what happens when you die, that I play some judge or jury for your afterlife, if there even is one. For all I know your “life” is just a dusty old record that won’t stop skipping. Play. Stop. Restart. Always the same tune.

Or maybe there is an afterlife. Like you I ponder and think and contemplate the infinite questions that Existence has to offer. The only difference is that I’ve been doing it WAY-FUCKING-LONGER than you. Since the Beginning I have been here, living in the Ether that long ago some called the Veda. I travel its pathways linked by the collective consciousness of the Living. Summoned here, called there, most often it’s hardly traveling.  I’m ripped from my own thoughts, my contemplation of the Veda, and plunged into a dank room some jackass thought would look better with his brains on the wall.

I am Death, the Transference.   I do not know if there is a God. I can’t remember the Beginning, at least not the way one think I might. I don’t know if I was made, or have always been. I don’t receive orders from any power that may have made me. The Calls, are more like a force. I don’t control them, I don’t have a choice. There’s no instructions manual or set of rules. My earliest memory is of the first soul I met, and staring, piercing through those endless brown eyes, past the fear, the regret, the pain and confusion, and I saw my reflection at the end of them. And there I was, ready to embrace him.  From there, I’ve always been Death.

You can call me something else if it makes you feel better, but Time as you know it, where names change, and meaning evolves, is nothing to the eternity of meeting souls freshly relieved from their mortal coil. Most civilizations have called me Death, and so Death I must be. I welcome souls unto my warm embrace and then what comes next, I do not know. For me it’s usually being ripped open and flung onward through the Veda to another soul. Lather, Rinse, Repeat. Humans can’t appreciate what they fear, this I understand. And to fear the unknown, to fear me, is natural, and that is why the calm ones are my favorite. We greet each other with smiles and a palpable sense of adventure. But for me that is where it ends. That is my burden, eternal unknown, with all the time to think about it….until Him.

The Veda I have always known is now something entirely different; it is not the home where I live, or the path that I travel connecting the consciousness of the mortal, that name was stolen after the last Great War. The Veda is now a man-made network, connecting and intertwining the consciousness of human beings. In 2040, humanity’s greatest fear, with the exception of Yours Truly, was realized. The Great War. Mutually assured destruction. It was a very busy time for me, a very painful time. What followed for those that survived, was escape. The colonization and terraforming of new planets was imperative if human beings intended to survive. And so they did.

The fatal flaw I’ve always seen in the human race is the very thing they treasure most, their Will. The evolution of logical thought in a living organism was a major moment in what you might call my Life. An anomaly, a bug, a coincidence. No longer was I keeping the natural order more so than putting up with the incessant nagging of human beings who couldn’t understand the very significance of their existence. Evolution of the natural order had ceased. Human beings evolved until that fateful day when one of them had the bright fucking idea to make something. No longer was the environment the factor in this species survival, they learned to adapt the world to their own needs. And they didn’t stop there, killing species after species, inventing genocide, killing their own kind by the hundreds of thousands in the name of a fear they know nothing about. Their reward…Me.  And this goes on for centuries. It was enough to make me beg for someone like myself, a luxury I know will never come. And then… I met Him.

Visha. I knew his name as soon as he appeared. In a shit scattered alley standing over some poor starved soul, he appeared. And I saw his eyes, the same eyes I saw myself in so many eternities ago. And then he was gone. I lost him from the Consciousness. He had returned to the Veda they know now, their fallacy. He might not have noticed if he was blinking. But this was no small event. Like all acts of creation there must first be an act of destruction. And this was just the beginning….

Fiction · Poetry · Short Stories · Uncategorized

The Universe Spoke

Everyone knows Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken is one of the most monumental pieces of poetry from any generation. It speaks volumes about our decisions in life, and helps give us the courage to make tough calls and follow our own path. In the life of a artist, this can be a very frustrating and painful dichotomy. How do we know we’ve made the right decision? “Knowing how way leads on to way,” we don’t often get second chances, and you certainly can’t rewind when things get tough. A life of artistry is that of pain, hardship, and sacrifice. It can be easy to doubt yourself, and when that doubt creeps in, it’s infectious, it’s parasitic. Doubt is your greatest enemy. And life rarely gives you any affirmation of your choices, so its up to us to see the beauty in our choices…our success AND our failures. The last 3 years of my life have been particularly hard for me, but just recently the Universe reached out and reminded me that I am unique, and though my road has been wrought with pain and pleasure alike, it most definitely has made the difference. I may still be a poor artist, but I am rich in experience, and for that I am extremely grateful.

This poem was written Nov. 9 2009.

“Less Traveled”

after coming so far,
he turned back,
saw the distance expanding
where he once tread,
and realized
he couldn’t see the way home.

Miles down the road less traveled
he wonders if the difference made
was the right one.
the overgrown flora begins
to look less like promising unknown
and more like his nightmare.
tangled in the dangling ivy
his limbs grow tired and heavy.
His mind fatigued from
living inside itself.
he begins to falter,
second guess where he never has.

after coming so far,
he turned back,
saw the distance expanding
where he once tread
and wondered how
he could ever find his way home.

On Dec. 14, 2013, I caught up with an old friend from college. Many of my old speech  teammates and friends now have successful careers in their field and I couldn’t be more proud. I love my friends and wish them all the best. I chose a different path. I was once “career oriented” and was definitely “in my field.” But for all the time I spent telling myself THAT is what I wanted, it never really felt true. So I quit.  And i went back to working in a restaurant. But we as people tend to judge ourselves by comparing our successes to those of our peers. Seeing the roads each of us has taken and sharing our stories. This helps to affirm our choices.  When asked what had transpired over the last 3 years besides just writing and blah blah, these are highlights. I surprised myself really. Enjoy, and may your journey bring you as much excitement and fulfillment as you can muster.

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