Thursday, September 29, 2011

Short Story Competition, Horror (1000 words or less.)

I put an ad on “Craigslist” for a man. I haven’t had sex for in like forever. I haven’t had a boyfriend since I was diagnosed with “Huntington’s.”
The specialist told me about it when I was 30.
My father died from it when I was 15.
I’m 33.
The symptoms have started. The confusion in my head. The tremors. The constant nausea. I’m not sticking around for this thrill ride. I spent the last three years getting my stuff in order. Quit my job in administration at the airlines. They gave me a wheelchair, but I’ll never use it. The wheelchair sits folded in a closet. I’m not going out that way. I figure I have six months before I go out in a warm bath with a belly full of booze and pills. I’d like to get laid before things get too far.
I wasn’t involved with anyone when I was diagnosed. I couldn’t see myself out there looking for my soul mate when I knew he’d end up wiping vomit off my chin while I cussed him out from the dementia. I watched my mom take care of my dad. It killed her. Literally. She had a fucking heart attack at my high school graduation. Good onya, Mom. Thanks, Dad.
As my body betrays me, my sex drive doesn’t. So, I put an ad on “Craigslist” in Women Seeking Men. The ad was simple, “Single woman, athletic build, blue eyes, brown hair, seeks a night of romance,” which is code for a fuck. “I’m not a pro. Include pic. I have.”
I got about 600 replies. I would have taken that as a compliment if I wasn’t so realistic. Who doesn’t want a night a free bonking?
I settled on some dude named, “Carl.” Around my age. He looked like a tall Eddie Vedder from “Pearl Jam.” He wrote me back saying, “Hey, do you have a name? I’m tired of games. I’d just like a little company too. Maybe we could hang and see how it goes? Carl.”
So odd his name was “Carl.” My dad’s name was Carlos. My mom called him Carl, but he hated it. She thought the nickname was endearing.
I emailed him back, “Carl, my name is Darla. You won the lottery. LOL.” We made plans to hook up.

I stare into Carl’s eyes. We sit on the rooftop of my loft. I live in a 1940’s building made of brick in Downtown L.A. My neighbor’s littered the roof with candles, plants, and a couch. It’s a warm summer night. The perfect place to get it on. We languish on a worn Chinese rug on the ground. Carl’s eyes are bluer than mine. He has this, like, perfect bone structure. Not too masculine, not too feminine. He’s wears an “Orange Crush” tee-shirt on and a pair of old cords. We’ve kissed twice. His mouth is soft.
“Darla, why the ad? You’re kinda awesome.”
“Cause dating sucks?” I try to toss it off.
“No doubt.” He nods.
“Why’d you answer the ad? You’re really fucking cute.” I giggle sophomorically.
“I was looking for a car.” He smiles ruefully.
“No way.”
“I was looking for a car and my computer went to Women seeking Men. I thought, lemme check this out. Freak after freak, I swear.”
“Right? Total freaks, right?”
“And then I saw your ad,” he goes on, “and I was like, man she is pretty. And straight up. Like honest. So I thought, why not? If she’s a freak, I’ll leave.”
“But you didn’t leave.” I put my hand on his. Our fingers entwine. He has calluses on the tips from carpentry, or maybe he plays the guitar. “I have Huntington’s.”
He looks up at me. “What?”
“I have Huntington’s.”
“Oh my God.” He says this with the most gentle empathy. His mouth lines with concern.
“I don’t know why I just told you that.” And I don’t.
“This is insane.” He’s speaks so quietly. “I don’t know you either, Darla. I mean not, like at all, but I feel like I don’t want to leave.”
“The roof?”
“No.” He takes a second. “You.” And then a shaky breath. “How weird is that?”
“Kinda weird.” I agree.
“It’s just that, I like you.”
“But, I’m sick.”
“But, I’m not.”
“But, it would be bad.”
“Okay. Okay. Look. You know what? It’s okay. We’ll deal with it later. Let’s just deal with us now. Kiss me. Let’s just stay in the now.” He pulls me to him and kisses me again. So sweetly. So delicious.
I surprise myself when I reach for a shard of glass from a broken votive just past his boot and shove it in his neck.

He pushes me off him and falls back with a howl. Blood spurts from his neck like something out of a “Monty Python” comedy. I stand up and kick him in his side. The tremors begin.
“You can’t love me! I’m dying! You can’t love me!” He tries to get up. He can’t. Blood in his eyes blinds him. I lift an aluminum chair and smash it down on his head. “No one gets to love me! I have six months left at the most! I don’t have room for your love, Carl!” He won’t stop moving, convulsing. “No one gets to love me!” I slam the chair down on his head, once, twice, three times, twenty times, I don’t know. Enough times until I can see the bone of his skull.
He’s not moving anymore. His eyes aren’t blue. His mouth isn’t worried. His hands are only red. The sun is starting to rise. I walk to the edge of the roof. I stare at the city all dewy and new in the morning. I look back at Carl all broken and finished.
Life is a trial. We all get the death penalty. I suddenly realize that maybe I’m not handling this Huntington’s thing very well at all.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


I am sorry to depart this information to all you guys who have been living with this confused mythology for your entire lives, but here is the real - bigger is NOT better.
If I am being unclear let me clarify - a big penis is not a better penis. As a matter of fact a big penis is frightening.
No-no-no, don't be thinking, "But, that's what women want."
No, that's what YOU want.
Imagine this. Something, (a penis) the size of a baby's torso, erupting from your Calvin boxers, coming right at us. You imagine we are about to swoon with the glory of the size.
You know what we are thinking?
Get that thing away from me. Put it back. I have to run. Maybe there's a way I can get to the street and hail a cab, or just run home in my bra and underwear.
Know what? I don't have the stomach to go there. Let me just say this. Our vagina's are not made out of leather.
Imagine this if you will. You are on your knees or your back and someone is shoving a baseball bat down your throat over and over and over, saying things like, "Aw baby, you're so good. Take me baby. Take all of me." You, are gagging.
Nice mythology - the thought that a bigger penis is a better penis.
For all you men out there who have spent your lives feeling insecure because you do not have a penis the size of a lamb shank... chill out. We like you best.
Know what's better for women when it's bigger?


We LOVE it when our jeans are are a lot bigger on us then they were the week before. Talk about a sensuous feeling? Loose jeans, being lifted past our thighs with ease, resting quietly on our bellies, without having to wrestle the buttons.
THAT TURN US ON! Yes, a nice piece of fresh fruit and a big, huge, pair of comfy jeans can rock our world.
Just keep in mind. There is one fantasy that does not hold true. Porn penises hurt if a woman is not a porn star. We can't walk right for days. We look like cowboys who just crossed, "Red River." Some of us have to use crutches or canes after an encounter with a large penis. I know of a woman who was stuck in a wheelchair for a seven weeks.
You know what we like that is big?

CAKE! We like huge pieces of cake. Cake is luscious and yummy. Cake makes us feel giddy and warm. Cake envelopes us. Cake gives us a sneaky, blushing high.Just like your normal, less than normal, or a little bigger than normal penis. When a penis is fine and fits, knows how to shimmy and shake - it is even better than cake. A very close second.Know what else we think the bigger the better?


The bigger the bath tub the better. We are warm, enveloped, the water brushes ever so gently around our skin. Our bodies free-float through wet, hot, scented bliss. We drown in the luxury, soft waves, relaxed, replete. We like bigger jeans, cake and baths. We do not like...
Not at all. Want to please your woman? Please yourself. Enjoy who you are and what you have because I promise you, your woman, or any woman would. Leave the myth behind. And make us scream.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Fuck Dance

Since my last article I have had to move to another safe-house as the Ya-Ya-Sisterhood-of-the-Traveling-Pants have put out a Jihad on me for publishing trade secrets. Me, I just want a decent relationship as much as you do. So at the risk of my own life, let’s get down to business. I speak now of the familiar tribal custom which shall formally be known here as The Fuck Dance. And it goes a little something like this --

You’ve met her. She rocks your world. You’ve got a non stop hard-on for this woman. You would do anything for her, even go down to the nearest store and get her a box of Tampons. She feels the same way. She’d do anything for you, even watch you and your loser team play softball in the bone-chilling cold. All she wants your hands on her. Everything you say is funny to her.

This is what we commonly refer to as "the honeymoon phase." While it lasts, there ain’t nothing better.

We all want it to be easy. But life comes down on the honeymoon phase as quickly as a trannie on Eddie Murphy.

One day—oh, say about 6 weeks in—you find you’re no longer thinking about her all the time. You go back to work. She goes back to work. You start attending your weekly poker game again. You no longer leave a meeting to take her calls at the office. You begin to compartmentalize again. You’re serial multi-tasker. Your mind functions like a Rubik’s Cube. She doesn’t understand this. All she knows is that you seem to be preoccupied, pulling away. As far as you’re concerned, you’re not. But she’s beginning to wonder if you still care as much as you did when you were spending 24/7 making out.

You, being the serial multi-tasker, eventually get around to noticing this. So you decide to go out of your way to a mall after work to get her a little something-something. She’s your wet dream girl. She deserves it. Hmm…flowers? No, they die. Might as well burn money. Jewelry’s out of the question—it’s just a little token gift.

Ah—there it is, tempting you from every Gap-filled corner of America: Victoria’s Secret! You come home with a beautiful, delicate peignoir. Pink—kinda virgin-whore fantasy. And with the tiniest little thong.


Your sweetie greets you at the door with a warm hug, a deep kiss, and then she eyes the package. For her? How will she ever thank you?

Blowjob of course—after she opens your gift.

Or maybe not.

She sees the lingerie she throws it in your face.

And so the dance begins.

She: “A THONG? You expect to get laid tonight!"

Translation: “Since when do you decide the fate of my pussy?”

You: “What did I do?”

Translation: “What did I do?”

She: “This isn’t a gift for me, it’s a gift for you."

Translation: “Work’s been a real bitch and my mother is driving me crazy and now you come home with a cheap polyester thong and expect me to bend over ass up?”

You: “I just wanted to get something for my baby.”

Translation: “Sex would be nice."

She: “You can’t just spring this on me. It makes me feel like I owe you sex.”

Translation: “The honeymoon is over.”

Sadly, yes. You’ve had your six weeks of blow job bliss, now it’s time to pay for the piping. I’m not saying there won’t be periods that remind you of the honeymoon stage. But the reality is, if you want your needs met, you’re going have to do some work.

Not that it’s going to be a constant battle or you’re going to have to go at it hard like Olin Curtz and Fred Miller—you’re just going to have to be smart.

I’m gonna school you.

Women are like new baseball gloves—you have to work them in and grease them up until they get all soft and curve to your every digit. If you’re gonna do that for a new baseball glove, you might as well do it for your woman too. It’ll make your life a helluva lot easier.

Rule #1: Never, I mean never, make the assumption that bringing home lingerie to your girl is going to pop her weasel. She really will think it’s a gift for you and not her. She will feel like she is trapped and obligated to bang you. This will piss her off and you will be eating kibble out of your not-so-theoretical doghouse.

You need to do some prep work if you’re gonna get on the fuck dance floor.

So to get what you want and what she wants, you’re going to have to man up and put in the work. This means a few days prep before you treat her to your favorite lingerie.

Tell her she looks unusually pretty in the morning.

Ask her if she’s sporting a new dress because her figure looks fantastic.

Rub her back when you pass her by.

Kiss her on the forehead for no apparent reason.

Do the dishes just because.

And if you really want to get her in that thong thing, take out the garbage without being asked.

She’ll want you so bad she’ll have that virgin/whore lingerie on faster than Ben Johnson can run the hundred-yard dash.

Of course you still care about her. But now you have to show her.

That takes a little work.

It’s the fuck dance, gentlemen. It’s not that difficult.Just remember to grease the glove.

Sunday, January 6, 2008


DISCLOSURE: All women are crazy, but you have to live with them.I’m female. I don’t think like you do.

I’m living in a safe-house right now because I’m writing this essay. I’d rather my own sex not try to hunt me down and kill me as I try to change our world. This is vital stuff, guys. I’m giving away trade secrets here. So, let’s get down to work. In the sacred words of Rodney King, “Can’t we all just get along?” Frankly -- I have hopes.

"The First Tier Guy - He Rarely Gets Laid."

You and your buddy are going out for the night. Hit a club. Hit a bar. Find you some ladies and get your groove on.

You’ve got your game on. Maybe you’re sporting some Hugo Boss, or D&G, with a little a little Armani thrown in for good measure. You work out. Carry a Blackberry, and have a clean shave. You don’t smell like someone threw a bucket of Aqua Velva on you. Your nails are clean. You are ready to throw down.

Your buddy, who you’ve been friends with ever since college, has always been a fuck-up, but that’s okay, he’s good people, he cracks you up. He’s going out tonight with you. He’s wearing baggy jeans from The Gap, an oversized Fubu tee, and Bono-esque fly glasses. He bites his cuticles, doesn’t have TIVO yet, and still calls the ladies, “dude” to their faces. You’ve called him a pig, told him to grow up, but he’s not that guy. Guess what? You let the man be, cause he’s your boy.

He’s the Second Tier Guy.

You know it. He is oblivious to it -- yet he’s way more likely to get laid than you, Mr-Hugo-Boss-Blackberry-carrying-First-Tier guy. How can this be possible, you’re thinking. You smell better than he does, you can actually dress yourself, and you make your bed in the morning. Why are the odds on his side? I’m going to explain it to you.

First, let’s look at your gender of choice… mine.

Two women are going out to hit the bars and do a little clubbing tonight too. They’ve been friends since they met at a book club years ago. They’re both hot. One is a blond. One is a brunette. They wax, get mani-pedis on a regular basis, work out, and their breasts are real… and real nice. They’ve decided to take a taxi to the club or bar tonight in case they meet someone.

See, and this is where I hate to disappoint you, these girls are NOT going out tonight to get laid. They want to meet a nice guy. They’re sick of dating. They want to settle down. They want a boyfriend. They want you to call once a day to check in and see how they are. They want to introduce you to their friends and family. It’s not that they want to marry you right away, it’s just that they want a man in their life. One man. That’s why they are taking their waxed-bodied-manicured-toes-and-BCBG Max Azria- strapless dresses to hit the same hot spots you are. Makes no sense, right? Polar opposite needs that will never be met -- or so you think.

Second Tier guy may have a girl in his bed tonight.

This is the madness of evolution, guys. It’s Darwinism at its worst. Ever since we have crawled out of the slime only to become primordial beings that hunted and gathered, we’ve been at cross purposes. Both sexes have elemental, primal chips in our brains. Yours tells you to spread your seed. Ours tells us to find the strongest mate possible and create as many offspring as possible to continue this, our human race. You are absolutely right to want to go out there and get as much mad pussy as you can. Thing is, you ain’t gonna get the pussy if she doesn’t think there is a possibility you are her hunter and gatherer.

This is where the First Tier Man falls into the Vortex -- and the Second Tier Guy gets the girl.

You and your buddy see these two beauties in a booth at the bar you both happen to be at. You grab your buddy who is stealing maraschino cherries from the bar and pull him over to meet Blond and Brunette. You ask if you can join them. The invite you to sit down. You, the first Tier man, like Blond. She has a fresh, dewy look to her. You can almost feel yourself inside of her. Your buddy is left with Brunette.

You order drinks for all and keep them coming. Blond is impressed. You ask her name.“What’s your name?”
TRANSLATION: “Are we going to do it tonight, cause I’m buying all the drinks here?”

She says, “I’m Daisy.”
TRANSLATION: “Generous guy. He’s buying us all drinks. And he doesn’t smell like someone threw Aqua Velva all over him. I wonder if my mom would like him?”

You ask, “So what brings you ladies out tonight?”
TRANSLATION: “Getting your swerve on?"

Daisy says, “Oh, we just wanted to get out. Cut loose. Have some fun.”
TRANSLATION: “I hope he has a job.”

You say, “Yeah, me and my buddy here needed a night out too. Been working too hard.”
TRANSLATION: “Okay, I lied. I am just here to get laid.”

Daisy seems to relax after her first drink, “So where are you from?”
TRANSLATION: “I hope his parents are still together and he likes kids.”

You answer, “I just moved here from Chicago.”
TRANSLATION: “I just moved here from Chicago three years ago, but maybe she’ll think I’m lonely and sleep with me.”

Daisy says, “You have the most amazing eyes. I’ve never seen a color like that before.”
TRANSLATION: “He’s definitely boyfriend material. He can dress. He’s polite. And he’s not putting the moves on me like some kind of masher. If I keep throwing the compliments at him, maybe I’ll have a shot. Doesn’t hurt to put my hand on his forearm lightly. He’ll definitely think I’m interested -- in having a boyfriend.”

Daisy pust her hand on your forearm ever so gently as she smiles at you, a warm, sexy smile.
TRANSLATION: You are in.

But, you know what? You’re not.

Across the table Brunette and your buddy are having their own conversation.

You’re Buddy says to her, “Dude, you into the White Stripes? I can’t stop playing them in the car. Hey, the waitress didn’t bring lime with my tequila, bummer.”
TRANSLATION: “Dude, you into the White Stripes? I can’t stop playing them in the car. Hey, the waitress didn’t bring lime with my tequila, bummer.”

The Brunette says, “I’m not really into the White Stripes, but I’ll order more tequila with you.”
TRANSLATON: “My girlfriend got the good one and I’m left with this loser in Bono fly glasses. Might as well get loaded.”

Your buddy says, “Cool, let’s do some shots. By the way, nice tits.”
TRANSLATION: “Cool, let's do some shots. By the way, nice tits.”

You’ve charmed the pants off of Daisy -- figuratively. She likes you. Seems to respect you. Hangs on your ever word. And why shouldn’t she? You’re first Tier guy. It might have been nice if she would have drank a little more. But you have mad skills. This deal is closed. Or is it?Across the table, your buddy and the Brunette are getting hammered on your dime.

Your buddy says, “What’s your favorite movie? Mine’s “The Godfather.” No, “Scareface”. No, you know what, if they could put “The Godfather” into “Scarface”, that dude, would be the perfect movie. I have both on DVD at home."
TRANSLATION: “Wanna come to my crib, and fuck to “Scarface?”

Brunette says, “I’m not really into violent movies. I liked, “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.”
TRANSLATION: “Damn this tequila is making me horny. He is kind of cute in an ADD kind of way. I haven’t gotten laid for like three months. Daisy’s all hemmed up in the First Tier guy. I’m not going to let this night be a complete fucking waste, I waxed. And anyway, maybe he’s a good kisser. It’s not like I’ll ever have to see him again. If he asks for my number I’ll give him my ex-boyfriend’s. I’m drunk, hormonal and he seems like a fun guy to throw down with.”

The Brunette says, “I’d look at your DVD collection.”
TRANSLATION: “I won’t fuck you to “Scarface” but I will fuck you.”

The bar is closing down. Both you and your buddy have been preoccupied with your potential hook-ups. The girls kiss each other on the cheek, no animosity involved. The Brunette goes off with your crazy buddy.

You, lucky dog, get to take Daisy home. Things couldn’t look more promising as you tip the valet and hold her car door open for her. Her legs are smooth, soft and shiny in the half-mast moonlight.

Your buddy parked on the street. He and the Brunette are arm in arm, stumbling to his car.

You walk Daisy to her condo. She’s demure, erotic and sweet. You watch her soft, bare shoulders as she fumbles for her keys.

You say, “Maybe I could come in? Have a night cap?”
TRANSLATION: “Let’s knock boots.”

Daisy says, “Know what, I would, but I am so tired. And I’m afraid if I let you come in and we have another drink, things will get, you know, out of control. And I really like you. I’d like to see you again.
TRANSLATION: “This guy is perfect. If I let him in and he gets me to bed, I’ll be waiting by the phone every day until he calls. And if he doesn’t call, I’ll be all depressed and eat a pint of Hagen Dass every night for a week. Anyway, I can tell this guy had morals. I don’t want him to think I’m easy. Guys never go for girls who are easy. Better I test him out and see if he’s sincere. He seems sincere, but still, I want him to want me, and he won’t want me if he’s had me. Maybe on the third date, when I can tell if he’s serious, but not tonight. I want to lock this guy in.”

Daisy asks for your Blackberry. You give it to her,confused. Why isn’t she letting you in? You’re First Tier Guy.

Daisy, smiles at you, a bedroom smile of things to come as she puts her information into your Blackberry.

She says, “Call me. I’d really like to see you again.”
TRANSLATION: “You’re not getting into my panties tonight. You’re way too much of the perfect hunter and gatherer. You’re going to have to work for it.”

She kisses you on the cheek and lets herself in her condo, locking you out. Locking you out? First Tier Man? You stand there in the florescent glow of her hallway. You’re stunned. How could this happen? It was all going so well.

It’s that primordial chip, my friend. She saw you as a POTENTIAL. It’s the most dangerous thing a guy like you looking for some pussy could be.

You walk to your car, frustrated, pissed. You erase her number from your Blackberry. All you wanted was a booty call. You are, after all, the First Tier Man.

At your buddy’s place, he and the Brunette and sucking down more tequila and shagging like there’s no tomorrow. Because there isn’t. Not for this relationship.

Second Tier Guy got some, if for no other reason then she was in the mood and he was clearly not boyfriend material.

So guys, as I sit here, looking out the window at my little herb garden in my safe-house, I can only tell you this. Sometimes being the First Tier Guy can be a problem, because despite the fact that you don’t feel like being relationship material, most woman are going to think you are. This leaves you alone at the end of the night, with your credit card maxed out, looking for your favorite porn DVD.

Trying so hard to be the First Tier guy isn’t really helping your game.

Next time wear Bono fly glasses instead.


Thursday, December 20, 2007


Shawn Schepps

Los Angeles – Late Summer – 2006 - David called me. David is this independent producer guy I had known for years from just being around. So, David calls me. He says, hey, listen, I’m working with this Russian producer … Boris.

Let me take a step back here. All names used tonight have been changed to protect the innocent, me, I’ve altered these names so no one kills me. I don’t mean kills me like, yells at me. I mean kills me as in pushes me off building, or sends me radio-active pie or something.

Anyway, David calls, very enthusiastic, and tells me that he is working with some Russian producers who are great, they are making an indy film based on a book, the movie is green lit, the money is there and it’s going to shoot in Moscow.

Boris wanted to see me --

I wanted to see Moscow --

I met Boris the Russian producer in his condo in Westwood, which he called a penthouse just because it was on the top floor.

He was chilly. Told me to come in and sit down. Boris checked me out like a horse he might purchase, would I perform, was I strong, could I be broken, would I run.

“So, you write dialogue fast?”

"Yeah, I write dialogue fast."

"Good because we need fast. And what you think of book?"

Oy the book. The book was an unpublished manuscript written by a high ranking member of the Russian government. The author was in his mid-fifties -- liked to hang out with lesbians in karaoke rooms. His unpublished novel was about two under-age girls who go on a journey to follow their idols, a girl band called, “Piercing.” While the two girls are following this band they lie, have sex with each other, have sex with different guys, shoot up, get raped, someone OD’s, they live in train stations, fall asleep in their own vomit, one of the girls kills the other’s girls mother, they ended up in a with two life sentences in the gulag where Piercing comes to play as they watch through their prison cell. BEAT It was like reading Bukowski squared to the Edger Allen Poe power with no skill except for the skills involved in being a huge fucking pervert
I told Boris the truth. I think, that there is no way, you can make a movie out of this source material that anyone is going to sit through.

Boris took a minute, looked at me like I was a dog and said, Yes, I agree. But what you do about it?

I launched into what I would do about it and ended my pitch with -- but I couldn’t write anything about Moscow without seeing Moscow.

"So, I send you to Moscow."

That’s how I ended up in Moscow, sitting at some small, broken down studio, think KTLA meets Compton, in a dinky, dim office at a long table surrounded by Russian producers, guys in their fifties. Boris, David my American producer and Sasha, who they called the fertilizer king because during Yeltsin’s reign he managed to acquire enough manure to become the one of the top three manufacturers of Russian shit.

And then there was, Rasputin. My arch enemy. Boris may have looked at me like I was a dog, but Rasputin looked at me like I was a cunt.

Rasputin was I’d say 6’5” easily, big man, big chest, big belly, pink faced, a self-proclaimed woman hater, alcoholic, chain smoking, narcissistic bully who talked in a voice so strained it sounded like his balls were tied together under his pants. He had white hair, the breath of someone whose liver is screaming get me out of here and eyes were so blue and sociopath you never knew when he would snap and go for the neck. He was some uber-rich fucking gangster who had made three B movies and thought he was Scorsese. I was under the impression I had been hired to lighten things up. Rasputin was having none of it.

"Shawn, you don’t know what you are talking about. This is love story. This is movie about relationship. The spectators who watch this film -- he meant “audience”, the spectators want sexy movie. Tragic movie. These girls kill commit murder to see their favorite band. You don’t understand, you are incompetent, this movie has meaning, and you have to develop meaning, but you do not understand meaning, so how can you write movie? You don’t understand this movie. I am the only one who understand this movie! Boris why you bring her? This is nightmare!"

At which point he threw up his hands and stormed into his office, no doubt to smoke his 97th cigarette and drink two bottles of vodka while David, Boris and the fertilizer king froze in passivity.

When I got back to my hotel room I cried. It was a big cry. A scared cry. What had I gotten myself into? I just wanted to see Moscow and write a quirky little movie.

David and I were taken to a French restaurant built to make you feel like you were entering another century and dining in the wine cellar of a castle. Tasteful, extravagant, and exclusive. Boris and Rasputin were there waiting for us. As soon as I saw Rasputin’s bloated, face loaded with broken capillaries, I thought about my two best girlfriends. I imagined how they might handle this unruly situation. I knew exactly what they would do.

I sat down next to Rasputin. I looked him straight in those psychotic blue eyes and I said, "Look, you’re not allowed to talk to me like that. You are not allowed to disrespect me. You are not allowed to tell me that I am incompetent, or that I don’t know what I am doing because I did all the research before I came here, I read the book, I made my notes -- and I’ve also had three films made, and mine, all of them, were hits, they made money, they were fiscally successful -- so don’t tell me I don’t know what I’m doing -- and do not disrespect me in front of other people."

Later that night when all the film investors had gathered, while everyone was chowing down on pate and steak, slamming vodka after vodka, chain smoking and laughing, Rasputin stood up. He made an awkward speech about how thrilled he was to have David and myself with them to celebrate the beginning of their movie and what a special American writer I was -- Rasputin, hammered and feeling generous, lifted his glass to me. He didn’t smile. Even when he tried, Rasputin lacked even the charm of well, let’s say -- Rasputin.

After dinner, I was thinking sleep, but no, these guys party like, look these are fifty-some-odd year old men and they party like bacchanalian heathens. It’s one club after the other. The producers and investors, drink vodka like crazy people. Shot-after-shot-after-shot-after-shot… Oh and by the way, if you’re ever in Russia, here’s a little tip -- don’t sip your vodka, you have to knock it back, because it you drink it slowly, people assume you’re an alcoholic. Isn’t that cute?

It was every night with these guys, huge gatherings for dinner, the fertilizer king always by my side ordering vodka after vodka., food and vodka, vodka and food and security guys sitting around in Armani suits carrying guns, Rolls Royces, tricked out, high end Mercedes, Jaguars, designer everything, stunning mistresses, conspicuous consumption and glory.

Days, I went location scouting in Moscow, that’s the reason I was there, to see it. The villages were bleak and desolate. The roads, if you could even call them roads, had been neglected, forgotten to the extent that they were severely cracked and rose up with the tension of the earth. The houses were small, fractured, dull and sinking into their foundations.

I wandered into what could only be described as a ghetto filled with communist-era apartment buildings, the windows covered in graying lace, dirty towels and bare clothing lines. There was an abandoned muddy playground. It had rusted monkey bars and benches with mold on them.

This was mother Russia.

The night before I was eating steak, slamming vodka, and being presented with decadent deserts, and the next day I was standing in a rat infested ghetto, where people wore second hand clothes, and looked at me with deadly suspicion. A little boy waved at me, dirty and pale. I waved back. Abruptly my driver whisked me into the car and told me the little boy was a gypsy and soon his people would come out of the apartments and take everything I had.
We drove back to Moscow, a city marked with rodeo drive wannabes, overshadowed by hundreds of tall, dank, filthy communist apartment buildings. The women walked to the train stations with their heads down. Men, drunk during the day, weaved on the streets. I guess they sipped their vodka.

Back at the tinker-toy studio, we sat at the long table beating out the third act of the movie, which was impossible because Rasputin had to disagree with everything. Even Boris was getting sick of it and they were starting to argue in Russian while the fertilizer king juggled phone calls. After a particularly heated argument, Rasputin sat down next to me and smirked.

"How would you like to die?" The other producers watched me closely.

"Um, are you asking me this as a theoretical question?"

"No, I want to know, how you would like to die?"

I had no idea how to answer this – I was freaked out – I said, "I guess shot in the head."

"Good. because if I don’t like what you put in outline I want to know how you would like to die."

Then -- the crazy motherfucker bursts into laughter. As does Boris, David and the Shit King as if it’s natural to threaten the life of a writer just because you’re a sociopathic control freak. It was high school.

They all laughed because the other guy laughed. They were not strong, virile men. They were bullies. Pussies -- Drifty sailors with a maniac at the helm.

Later, a friend said, I should have told them I wanted to die by being locked in a room with as much Vicodin as possible.

I had seen Moscow.

I was flying home first class per WGA rules. The seats turned into beds. Once the Xanax kicked in, which seemed like hours into the flight, I finally laid down.

I thought about those grimy-high-rise-communist-era-apartments that crowd Moscow like a plague, the looks on the faces of the women who worked menial jobs, joyless and tired, the faces of the mistresses, desperate to hold on to their rich men -- and the face of Rasputin -- a scavenger who had prospered by picking away at the fiber of his people so he could have more.
About halfway through the flight, in my spacey Xanax and Ambien state of mind, I had a thought -- a thought I’ve never had before when returning from my many travels abroad. A thought that really surprised me. It was this.

I cannot wait to get home. I slowly sat up, and I thought, I want to go home, to my friends, to my life, to my dog and to all the opportunities that lay before me.

I want to go home.

To America.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Slap The Dog

I took my dog to puppy class the other morning. He’s a fast learner. I didn’t get much sleep that night, I was on the internet until four in the morning chatting with some guy who said he worked on Wall Street in New York, was 33 and wanted to trade pics. Pics to those not affiliated with the cyber world are short for pictures. The reason it’s called a “pic” and not picture is because people on the Internet don’t like to spell. It’s too hard for them. It doesn’t matter if they’re educated. These people just don’t think it’s important to spell and punctuate and capitalize. They have no interest in rising to the best our complex and gorgeous language has to offer. They don’t meet language in the eye and embrace it like they would a best friend. No, in cyber world, people don’t care about the language; only care about sharing naked pictures of each other and masturbating.

B-R-B is short for “be right back”. L-O-L is short for “laugh out loud”, the more advanced sometimes prefer the acronym, R-O-F-L which stands for, “rolling on the floor laughing”. Sometimes I close my eyes and visualize the people of this great nation, on their carpets, hardwood, tile, sisal and linoleum, rolling on the floor with laughter. What a wonderful world this would be.

I have my own acronyms, like STFC, “Shut the Fuck up”. Once I told some slime bag that I had a withered arm, was 4’3” with a distended hip and lived in a mental institution. He asked me if I liked to give oral. To that I replied and this is my favorite acronym, EYM, which stands for “Eat Your Mom.”

The guy from New York sent me a naked picture of himself… I’m sorry, “pic”.

He was hung like a donkey.

I did not invite him to send me a naked picture of himself all buffed out, trimmed underarm hair, burly muscles, no fat mass and a 9 ½ penis that was only over shadowed by the size of his balls which hung like breadfruit. I told him his picture looked gay. I told him that gay men would love it. He thought I meant he was gay and took offense to my statement like the fag that he probably was.

I don’t know if this was the guy’s picture. He could have been a woman with transgender issues or prisoner in lock up somewhere, or a greasy old Haitian guy living in Detroit who has dreams of becoming something else, someone else, somewhere else, and lives it all through the miracle of the World Wide Web.

I don’t know. I don’t care. When I get home and it’s late I just want someone to talk to. I sit in my bed, tea and cigarettes next to me, hop on my laptop, and explore the infinite world of bad grammar on the Internet.

My girlfriend and I have been Internet dating. I have met many men this way. One guy was named Jihad. What Jihad failed to mention in our few phone calls prior to the date was that he was married and had a little girl. Jihad, or Holy War as I like to call him was still living in the same apartment with his Salvadorian wife who had found religion and was more turned on by Jesus then Jihad. I also discovered that Jihad’s name was really Kevin, and he changed it while investigating the Nation of Islam. There wasn’t any chemistry between Holy War, and me but he did booty call me at two in the morning the next night. I was pretty clear with him that I was not a walking vagina and would not be ingesting his Holy War sperm in any orifice. And anyway, he couldn’t spell either.

Then there was Bruce. He could spell. Bruce and I had a phone relationship for a very long time. He sounded crazy but very smart, which I like. He had the voice of a DJ and the conspiracy theories of a paranoid Libertarian. His catch phrase was, when we get together we’re going to do boy-girl stuff. I can’t wait to do some boy-girl stuff with you. You’re going to like it when I kiss you neck and we do boy-girl stuff. Bruce said he was 44. He thought the boy-girl stuff was adorable. It bugged the shit out of me. I was willing to check him out regardless. Because there is always that maybe. Maybe he’ll be a good man. Maybe the boy-girl stuff is a playful way to talk about sex and I’m being too critical.

Being single scares couples. Couples people are afraid for you and of you. They don’t understand how you can sleep nights alone. How you can bear it. They don’t understand why you like in some cockeyed way your freedom that you don’t need to be accountable to anyone. That’s the good part of being single. On the other hand, it’s hard, for me at least not to have a partner to tell my day to. It’s the part I hate the most, not having someone to tell my day to. Being coupled is a grass is greener dream. And as well as I know this is as well as I have purchased and A ticket to that dream.

I met Bruce the Internet boy girl stuff guy. He was a freak. Of course the picture he sent me of himself was 20 years younger then the balding, chapped lipped man who cooed at me over tea about doing boy girl stuff. And he wouldn’t stop talking. I didn’t know what he was saying. It was like he was speaking in Yak. No one really walked on the moon – boy girl stuff – Black Ops – boy girl stuff - QVC selling Euro Dollars – boy girl stuff – cattle mutilations – boy-girl stuff – US shadow government – boy-girl stuff. The US government infected its population with AIDS boy-girl – what the hell? Are you kidding me? Is that the world you want to live in Bruce Boy-girl-stuff? Cause I’m having none of that. And I don’t walk the Art Bell road and you wanna know something else? I don’t do boy girl stuff because I was a woman. I am a woman and I want to do man-women stuff. When I told Bruce I didn’t think we had enough in common to hang out he said, but you like me, don’t you? Such a funny and frail question I thought. I was a stranger. What did it matter if I liked him? But it mattered to him. So I said yes. I said yes because he needed to hear yes and I knew it. I understood it, even if it was as delusional as wearing a wedding gown to a soccer match in Argentina.

Why was I meeting these Holy War, Boy-Girl stuff men on the internet? What was wrong with me? Did I do it because they couldn’t see me right away? Because I wouldn’t be judged for my size right away? Is my size an issue for them or for me? I hated how I looked. I hated my war with food and my body and that I binged and my body grew and shrunk and grew again. I hated that I didn’t look like Jennifer Anniston or have her hair. Or have the ability and patience to blow dry my own. I’d rather be constipated for a month than blow out my own hair. Once a really long time ago my friend Julie asked me why I walked around like I was apologizing for myself. I wasn’t like Julie who walked into a room with her beauty strong as a tsunami. I am a big girl. You can’t win when you are a big girl in this city unless you take the city out of the equation and believe you are lovable. Big isn’t lovable. Big is unacceptable. Or so I thought.

I took my dog walking one night. Across the street was this hip-hipster guy with two huge Alsatians. I stopped and stared at their beauty. I was jealous of the dogs. What had I come to? My dog, a Shepard lab mix named Harper had no interest in the super cute guy and his gorgeous dogs. Harper just wanted to smell the grass. Harper just wanted to feel the world around him, happily. Completely content. I balked at this show of unconditional love for himself and his world. And suddenly the cute guy with the beanie and the van duke and the gorgeous dogs looked tawdry to me. Like the dogs were his worth, his diamonds, and in their reflection he sparkled. Harper just sparkled. He likes the dog he is. I had an epiphany then. Harper loved me because I loved him. He loved the grass because it was grass. And he was happy being a mixed breed. I’ve read books, I’ve been in group therapy, regular therapy, ad naseum, but never have I seen so clearly what it is like to just be. Not care about the Jennifer Anniston dogs across the street. Just be.

Something in me opened. Shifted. I am good and sexy and viable. At least my dog thinks so.

I met someone not too long after that. He can’t spell but that’s okay because he’s from another country. I met someone who looks me in the eyes, is proud of me, patient, thinks my butt is sexy and calls me a tiger. He is someone I can tell my day to.

And I feel different. I get afraid that he will go away. But he stays. He is the gentle in the night. He is my internet substitution of all the pics, lols, rolfl’s and brbs. I changed. I let him in. I let a fine man in. The Internet chapter is closed. And when I walk my dog, I thank him. He is who he is and does not reach for chaos to make him feel calm. I’m a slow learner.