Smarts


child-with-glasses-370x208

He stood at the condiment bar and shouted into his phone.

What the fuck are you talking about? He screeched. Who the fuck told you you were smart? I’m the smart one in the family. I’m the fucking smart one. You’re not fucking smart. I’m the fucking smart one.

Caramelized honey latte, sir? I asked. I slid the cup toward him.

He looked up and gave me the friendliest smile I’d seen all day.

Sure! Thanks!

His voice was so jolly it made my teeth hurt. He took the drink from me and then turned back into his phone.

I’m the fucking smart one. Not you. Not the FUCK you.

I stared at him. He put some sugar in his already sweet drink.

No, he said. No, no, no. Fucking NO! FUCKING NO.

He walked away.

I kept staring.

And I wondered…

What could the other person have possibly said?

I’m assuming it was his brother that he was talking to. Did he call up and say hey brother, guess what? The IQ test came in and… well,, it’s 215. I’m a genius.

The man on the phone, the smart one in the family, probably took this really hard.

When he and all of his siblings came out of Mom, she had labeled them all. She had lined them up in a row and pointed to them, one at a time, and said to anyone around exactly what she thought they would be when they got older.

That’s the smart one, Mom said when the smart one came out.

This one’s the pretty one.

This one’s the dumb one.

This one’s the athletic one.

But this one? The first one? That’s right. He’s my special boy. He’s the smart one.

His whole life the smart one lived in the shadow of his mothers fateful pronouncement. He learned to talk first and it made him seem smarter than his babbling siblings. He walked while his kindred were still crawling around on the floor like slugs. He pooped in the toilet while brothers and sisters pooped their diapers and cried about it.

He was the smart one.

He wasn’t good at sports but that was okay because he was the smart one. He let go of the bat when he swung it, his footballs flopped out of his arms like drunk bananas when he threw them, and he considered it in the hoop if he hit the backboard with his basketball but all of this was fine because he wasn’t the athletic one, he was the smart one.

He wasn’t good at school but that was okay because he was just too advanced for his classes. The other dumb-dumbs held him back. Especially his brother the dumb one. Mom got him in the advanced program later that year, where he barely managed to advance to each grade.

Each time.

He was an alternate on the scholar bowl team. Mom couldn’t explain away that one. She didn’t try to. She just told everyone he was on the team and left it at that, and when they won the county championship she told anyone who would listen that it was the smart one’s doing.

It wasn’t, though.

But they probably didn’t know that.

The smart one didn’t get into the Ivy league. He went to State and eventually failed out. Mom didn’t say anything this time.

She didn’t say anything because she was in the hospital. Again.

Cancer’s a bitch.

The smart one took care of her as his siblings graduated college one by one, especially the dumb one. They all silently enjoyed the schadenfreude of the smart one’s fall from grace. They pursued careers while the smart one held his mothers hand as she lay in the hospital bed and told her it’s okay, mama. The smart one’s here. The smart one’s here for you. Tell me what you need.

She couldn’t articulate it half the time. She couldn’t remember him half the time. In the back of her eyes, though, in the back of her eyes the smart one saw the old fire of the woman who named all of her kids smart, dumb athletic and pretty when they were born, and goddamn it, she was right.

She had to have been right.

The dumb one got his novel published a week before Mom died. He called to tell her, but she was asleep and the smart one didn’t relay the message when she woke up.

The smart one was there with her the whole time. He had taken a part time job as the guy who takes parking tickets at the hospital so he could always be close.

He was with her at 2:38 AM when it happened. He felt the strength drain form her hands, and he saw that old fire go out.

No one else was there. It was horrible.

The smart one didn’t know what to do.

So he left the hospital and went to a Starbucks to get some caramelized honey latte and his brother called him.

The dumb one.

Hey brother, the test came back and my IQ is 215. I’m a genius.

The smart one’s stomach clenched up like rigor mortis.

He hand’t told anyone yet. He hand’t told any of them. They hardly ever visited. Would they even care.

He cared.

He was the smart one.

He was.

And then he was gone.

I watched him as he walked away. He didn’t have the gait of someone who’s mom just died.

He walked like an asshole who would yell at his brother over the phone that he wasn’t allowed to be smart because he was the fucking smart one in the family, not him.

He walked like a jerk.

I don’t know how I would walk if my Mom just died. Probably normally.

So I just watched him.

And I picked up a rag.

And I wiped down the bar.

And I put the rag away.

And I went back to making drinks.

And I thought:

No one would call somebody and say the test just came back! My IQ is 215! I’m a genius. It sounds like something from a bad movie.

Nobody would say that.

So I wonder…

I just wonder.

And make the next drink.

150814115053-15-coffee-health-super-169

A Circus


circus at night

“I’ve got this thing,” Mary said, brushing the braided hair from her face “this thing that goes on in my heart during the climax of movies and books. All the emotion. You know? When it builds up, it hurts, so I always just skip to the end.”

“What?” I paused mid-bite, my barbecue beef brisket hanging just inches from my mouth.

“It’s like a condition. It hurts my heart right here.” She pointed at her chest and laughed. It wasn’t a happy laugh. It was an embarrassed one. “I should probably tell my doctor. That’s why I watch Korean TV dramas. They’re very emotional. It’s sort of like my own therapy.”

I took a bite. I couldn’t think of anything to say. I had a hard time understanding what she was saying. Climaxes are the best parts of movies. Why would you skip it? Why would it hurt your heart?

I wanted to tell her that it couldn’t be safe. Stories are like creepy aunts: when she smokes in the car, you ALL smoke in the car. You pick up secondhand emotions from stories. It’s how we become invested in them. You feel the protagonist’s joys, their pains, their triumphs and their heartbreaks. It’s how the magic of cinema works. Not for one moment do you think you’re Miles Teller, but you’re part of his obsession as he drums his way to the top. You feel all his emotions. They build up and build up and then…

They release at the climax. It’s called the catharsis moment. If you just skip to the end, you never get that catharsis. They swill about inside you, just like nitroglycerin, and can blow up from a tiny bump.

It couldn’t be safe. I didn’t say anything, though. I simply savored the fact that Mia found some sriracha for my sandwich.

I just didn’t know Mary that well, so hearing that she couldn’t enjoy the best parts of everything I love came as a shock. This was our first day training, and I couldn’t get a read on her. There were some things I could pick up: she’s a very fast learner, but terrified to fail. Smart but self-conscious. She probably lived a really sheltered life.

Out of all the people I’ve trained, she’s the only one that has ever quoted the supplementary training material back to me. It’s really uncomfortable.

Most confusing and annoying of all, though, is that she never made any decisions.

When you train someone, one of the first things you do is teach them how to make a french press. They get to pick any coffee they want, and then we make it. It was a dream come true when my trainer trained me.

“You mean, any coffee?” I asked, wringing my hands, my eyes wide with wonder usually reserved for kids whose parents pretended to be Santa. Who, you mean he really is real?

“Yep, just go grab one,” Sunny told me.

My hand trembled as I reached for a bag of Kenya. It was heaven.

Mary just stared at me. I thought she might have misheard, so i repeated myself. “That’s right,” I said proudly, “go ahead and pick ANY coffee you want.” She still didn’t move. “That’s right,” I said, “any one at all.”

Mary just shrugged. “I don’t know.”

I blinked. “What do you mean you don’t know?”

“Just pick one,” she told me, shrugging, as if she was the trainer, “I’m bad with decisions”

“But you can pick any coffee you want!” I repeated.

“You should pick it.”

I shook my head. “I’ve tried them all.”

“Okay.” She just stared at me, her face utterly expressionless, like a fish or something.

“Fine,” I growled, “we’ll do pike.”

Pike’s place is the worst coffee we had at Starbucks. We made it, and it tasted like garbage.

“Is this how it’s supposed to taste?” Mary asked me, the subtext here being did you do it right?

“Of course it is,” I snapped, the subtext here being god I hope I did. “We just need to pair it with a pastry. That’ll bring out the nutty flavors.” I gestured to the overflowing pastry cart. “Go ahead, pick any pastry you want.”

Mary stared at the cart. “Anything catch your eye?”

She shrugged. “You pick one.”

I stared at her, my face unreadable, like a fish or something. “What?”

“You’ve tried them all. Pick something good.”

“But you can pick any pastry you want,” I said, “surely you have a preference.”

“I’m bad with decisions.”

It blew my mind. When given a choice, how can you simply choose to not choose?

I’ve met people like her before. The sort that refuse to make a decision, but freely complain when you’re forced to make one for them and they don’t like it.

I chose the pecan tart. It made the coffee taste awesome.

Mary didn’t like it. She doesn’t like caramel.

Even rats like caramel.

I bit my tongue as steam billowed out of my ears like a train whistle.

I just moved to the next part of training.

We learned how to warm food, clean the lobby of the store, restock the case with drinks and sandwiches, and brew coffee before we finally went to the espresso bar.

I showed her how to make a latte. She made me one. It was pretty good, so we went on to mochas and caramel macchiatos. She made them all easily and well.

“How are you feeling on the espresso drinks?” I asked her.

“Pretty good.”

“Do you want to practice some more?”

She shrugged. Some people are fast learners, so we went into making iced lattes and other easy drinks.

“Are you good on hot bar drinks?” I asked her. She laughed at me. Her eyes went wide, like I just asked her if she heard that her mother died.

“Good? I’ve only been doing this for twenty minutes.”

I narrowed my eyes. “But you shrugged when I asked if you wanted to practice some more.”

“I’m bad with decisions.”

I grabbed a cleaning rag and involuntarily squeezed all of the sanitizing solution out of it. I gestured sharply to the bar.

“Let’s practice some more.”

The rest of the day went back and forth like that until I couldn’t stand it anymore. I was on edge, jumping at any slight annoyance, barely holding it all in check.

We finished training at 9:00, but we were scheduled for thirty more minutes. I asked Mary if she wanted to leave early. She asked me if I did instead of answering. I told her we could stay if she wanted the hours. She asked me if I needed the hours.

My head nearly exploded. The shift needed our help closing, so we stayed. Mary did dishes. I mopped in sullen rage. Steam rose from where I gripped the mop.

We finally left at 9:30. I told Mary bye, and that i’d see her tomorrow.

I got in my car, turned on the lights and…

The parking lot is divided into three sections: The garage, the outdoor lot, and the far lot over by sports authority, where we had to park during the holidays.

There was a circus in the far lot. It took up the whole thing. A giant circus tent, with lights, one of those test of strength things, a ticket booth, popcorn stand, and all sorts of other attractions. Banners waved in the air, and multicolored lights on strings covered the whole area.

Carnies rushed hither and thither building the tents. Maybe some of them were performers, too. The tent wasn’t up yet. they were probably going to be working late into the night.

A circus.

A fucking circus in the parking lot.

What?

So I laughed. I laughed so hard I cried. Tears ran down my cheeks, and all the frustration and anger flowed out of my. My spring unwound.

It was a real catharsis moment.

I wiped tears from my eyes. I thought about Mary, and wondered what she’d think about the circus, but then I realized that she never would, at least not tonight.

I had walked Mary to her car. She had parked in the parking deck, and wouldn’t drive by the circus on her way out. She might not even know it was there until tomorrow, and tomorrow was a new day.

The timing was all wrong. She’d see it driving into work, look at it and just go “huh” and then drive by.

Parked in the wrong part of the lot. Jesus…

She wasn’t kidding about skipping the climax.

I laughed all the harder. I just sat there in my car and laughed for a long time.

I’m sure the carnies watched me as they built their tents. To the right of the construction, all the performers from the freak show probably stared at me as I howled like a loon in my car, all alone in a parking lot, under a street light.

The bearded woman would lean over to the frog kid and whisper in a voice deeper than Vin Diesel’s “what a weirdo.”

She’d tug on her beard as the frog boy licked his face.

“No kidding,” he’d say, “no kidding”

circus

I’m Back


terminator

I’d hit a rough patch about four weeks ago. Hit it so hard I think the wheel came off.

It wasn’t writer’s block. I don’t believe in writer’s block. Writer’s block is simply you not having fun with whatever you’re writing. It’s a blanket explanation, I know, but not having fun could come from dozens of hard to pen down causes. Things like: lack of research, wrong direction, stinkin’ thinkin’, and getting bored with a project.

I didn’t have any of those. I was working on WARLOCK COP, my TV PILOT about a guy who is a COP and a WARLOCK. WARLOCK COP is awesome. I was having fun writing it but…

I just couldn’t focus. I’d find myself drifting away, checking reddit, watching videos on woodcarving and guitar fabrication. Hell, I’d watch videos of other people playing video games.

I’d go on facebook and just scroll around. I’d write blog post around blog post. I’d fiddle with my fantasy football lineup without end.

I’d do all these things and then sit back and go “huh. I should finish warlock cop.”

I never did, though.

Then the internet went down.

I was outside, smoking my pipe and writing down ideas in a notebook when it happened.  There was a truck working on the power lines outside.  I heard screwdrivers and electric sizzles as the worked the pole next to my apartment building.

They finished after some time. My notepad was on the floor. The only markings on the page were pipe ash.

I was busy reading movie reviews on my phone.

Then, suddenly, the next page wouldn’t load. The WiFi wasn’t working. I switched to the LTE network and finished reading the movie review, and then checked the router.

It was working fine, just no signal. I unplugged it and plugged it back in.

It didn’t work.

The first tinglings of fear began to creep up the hairs on my back.

“It’s not supposed to happen like this,” I told the router, “this isn’t supposed to be possible.”

No internet. A millenial’s worst nightmare.

My life is spent on the internet. I pay my bills online. I get paid electronically. I find jobs, send queries, submit stories to magazines, and even write blog posts entirely on the internet. Hell, I get my television, movies, and entertainment form the internet.

The internet turns me into a sappy Nicholas Sparks story. I want to cuddle the internet, stoke its face and tell it “I’m nothing without you. Nothing.”

It was gone.

What was I going to do? What was I going to read? What was I going to WATCH?

Here’s out movie collection:

IMG_1217

The thought of putting any of them in the blu-ray player disgusted me.

I had nothing to do.

So I wrote.

The first day, I figured out the ending to WARLOCK COP.

Unplug, plug, the router still flashed red.

The second day, I wrote fourteen pages.

I fell to my knees and prayed in front of the router, extolling it with livestock sacrifice. It remained silent, and blinked its wicked red eye at me.

The third day, I wrote fourteen pages.

I itched all over. I had trouble sleeping without being able to doze off with south park on my TV.

While I was downstairs getting coffee, I ran into Adrienne, who is staying at my place until the end of the month. I told her how productive I’ve been.

“I guess it was all the internet,” I said, slurping on some hot-brown-bean water, “I kind of hope it stays down so I can finish my script.

Adrienne agreed.

The fourth day, I woke up to a text message from Jared. It just said “Internets up!”

Shit.

The next thing I knew, I found myself in my computer chair, about to hit enter and blast my monitor off to REDDIT land.

My finger hovered over the key.

I went downstairs to get some bean water. Adrienne and Jared were watching the Real World and Road Rules MTC Challenge.

“So the internet’s back up.” I told them.

Adrienne spun to face me. There was fire in her eyes. “No,” she said, “get back upstairs right now and finish WARLOCK COP.” I turned to get coffee. “No,” Adrienne commanded, “write.”

So I went back upstairs and finished it.

The internet’s an amazing thing. I don’t need to tell you guys why, because you’re on it right now, you already know.

Sometimes, though, it makes writing impossible.

So I guess I need to find a place to write that doesn’t have internet.

Either that, or find someone to yell at me every time I start to dither online.

Maybe this guy.

batman write

 

A Twitching In My Fingers


coffee farm

I wake up every morning twitching.  It starts in my toes, and then travels upward until it finally reaches my finger tips, which convulse like a dying spider.

Coffee.

But, I mean, come on, man.  I don’t need it.  It needs me.  What red blooded american can get started in the morning without a cup of joe?

Am I right?  Amirite?  A,md kmm lslkfdsmnfs fofdfsnj jkn

Sorry, my hand was spasming on my keyboard.  Be right back.

Ahh, that’s better.  Can you smell it?

Starbucks gives me a free bag of coffee a week.  I’ve sampled every single blend, but I make it a point of honor to grab a bag every week, no matter what.  I consider it a raise.  An extra dollar a day that I won’t have to spend on coffee.

Coffee.

Here’s my current stash, minus the dozen or so I pawn off to the less fortunate.

I could start my own store.

I could start my own store.

I don’t have a problem, though.  I’m just lucky to have that much coffee.  I am the one percent.

The first thing I do after twitching is go downstairs and make some coffee.  I usually make eight cups.  The only thing I hate about making eight cups is how long it takes for the god damn coffee machine to finish making eight cups.

What’s that?  Oh, sorry.  Just… I’m not myself until I’ve had my coffee.

I drink my coffee out of a mug I bought in Scotland.  I normally only have about two mug-fulls.

See? I told you I didn’t have a problem.

Scottish Coffee Mug

Oh, god.  It’s almost as big as the coffee machine.

I just measured.  It can almost hold a liter of coffee.  A LITER OF COFFEE.  That’s like as big as a BUBBA MUG.  Is Scotland the Alabama of Britain, or do they just market these things to oblivious americans whose concept of size is so corrupted from fast food that they look at this coffee mug and say “gee, I could drink one of two of those a morning back in my home, ‘merica.”

Almost a liter.

Maybe I do have a problem.

But as I always say, “what’s the point in being addicted to something if you can’t do it every day?”

Happy coffee drinking, readers.  You know we all need it.

coffee genie

A Tryst With Racism


pour over

He said his name was Carlos, and I wrote it on the cup and passed it down the line.  I, as I often do, immediately forgot his name as the plastic left my hand.  It’s a bad habit, but not an uncommon one at Starbucks.

He told me he needed another caramel macchiato, but this one was a hot one .  I wrote his order on the cup, along with a name, and slid it down the line of drinks.

Moment’s later, someone went on a break and I had to go bar.

It’s weird when you go on bar from register and there’s a long line of drinks.  You end up making drinks for people you already connected with at register.  It feels sort of dirty, like seeing someone you used to date while you’re on another date.  You hope they don’t tell everyone else you’re up to your old tricks again.

“Have a nice day?  A nice day?  He told me that not five minutes ago, and look how nice my day turned fucking out to be, waiting in a line for my god damn hibiscus.  Nice day?  Please.  Come up with something original.  And don’t listen to him when he says you have a nice bag.  He told me that one, too.”

So I just didn’t talk to the people I had already talked to.  They didn’t talk to me either.  There was shared understanding.  We both knew too much.

And then I got to Carlos’s hot caramel macchiato.

I doubt there’s anyone who seriously considers them self a racist, just like I doubt there’s anyone who considers them self a villain or a serial killer.  No no, they say, I’m not evil.  It’s everyone else that is.

I’m not a racist.

But…

I wrote Jose on Carlos’ caramel macchiato.

I don’t remember doing it, but there it was.  His name is Carlos, not Jose.  Jose is what a racist person would write on Carlos’ cup.  Jose or Pedro.  That’s what fat rednecks or Donald Trump call Mexicans when they complain about them taking our jobs or jumping the border or whatever.  And I wrote it on a cup,

I was terrified.  To me, for some reason, at that moment, Jose and Pedro were the most racist names possible.  I looked over at Carlos.

He hadn’t seen it yet.  Thank god oh praise the sun he hadn’t seen it yet .  He was watching, yes, he was watching, but he hadn’t seen it yet.  I reached around in my pocket and ah ha!  A sharpie.

The milk finished steaming.  The shots were done.  I had about six seconds to make the drink before the shots died and I had to start all over.

I scribbled out the name.  What was once Jose was now a big, black, angry scratch.  I looked up, and Carlos was watching me.

I handed him the drink.

I told him to have a nice day.

He asked me if I scribbled out the name.

I looked at the cup.  The name was clearly scribbled out.  There was no getting around this one.

I told him I had.

He asked me if it said Jose.  I blushed.  My throat itched.  I couldn’t stop blinking.

He knew.

I told him I’m not racist.

He said what?

I told him it was an accident.

He cocked his head and asked me why writing Jose was racist.

Well, you know, it’s like, a stereotypical name.  It’d be like writing George or something on white guy’s cup if you forgot his name.

He told me no it’s not.  It’s a name.  There are plenty of people named Jose.

So it wasn’t racist?

He said no.

Are you sure?

Yes, writing Jose on a cup isn’t racist, but thinking it was racist was.

I said oh.

He said bye.

And everyone was watching.  I went back to my drink, feeling like a big racist.

But then I realized that, since bad guys don’t think their bad guys, and evil dictators don’t think they’re evil dictators, and racists don’t think they’re racists, then, by thinking I’m a racist, I just proved to myself that I wasn’t a racist, right?  Right?

Right?

caramel macchiato

1800 Seconds at a Starbucks With No Line


StarbucksPic

I’ve often thought that opposites are the scariest thing in the universe.  What could be more frightening to a being accustomed only to light than darkness?  Only land than water?  Only existence than nothingness?

There comes a time in a man’s life when he has to ask himself the hard questions.  What’s he afraid of?  What’s his opposite?

I work at a Starbucks in a large mall. It’s not a bad job, and it’s actually a great break form writing screenplays and thinking all the time.  I never thought I’d have an existential moment there.

And yet I fucking did.

What’s my opposite?

I found it, this very night, while working the register during the late shift.  It all happened in the span of 30 minutes.

30 terrifying minutes where I had the opposite of a line.

Minute 1:

The two women stood about five feet back form the counter.  The squinted at the menu.  I asked if I could help them.  They didn’t respond.  They just stared.   I wondered if they even heard me.  They were probably going to order Very Berry Hibiscus Refreshers.  They had the look about them.  The thirst.

Minute 2:

They finally ordered very berry hibiscus, just like I knew they would.

Minute 3:

They went over to the bar.  There was no one else in line.  I drummed my fingers on the counter and let out a long sigh.

Minute 4:

Joe finished passing out their drinks.  I watched him do it.  His eyes were dead.  The smile was forced.  I could tell he couldn’t hang on much longer

Minute 5:

There still wasn’t anyone else in line.  Joe went to the back to do some dishes.  The shift was in the storeroom counting supplies.  I was all alone.

Minute 6:

I couldn’t believe it.  There wasn’t even anyone else in the mall.  The phone rang.  I picked it up.  There was no one on the line.  I crumpled up a receipt and tried to shoot it into a trash can.  I missed.  I picked it up and tried again.

Minutes 7 – 10:

I continued to miss.

Minute 11:

I heard a scraping sound coming from the somewhere by Bloomingdales.  It sounded like somebody was dragging a shovel on the tile floor.  The phone rang again.  There was no one on the line.  I walked out of the store.

Minute 12:

I looked toward Bloomingdales.  One of the overhead lights about 300 yards down flickered.  The scraping sound didn’t stop, but no one was there.  The phone rang.  I didn’t answer.

Minute 13:

Still no line.  I heard a splashing by the fountain.  The sound of a child’s laughter.  I wanted to go investigate, but someone had to stay at the front of the store.

Minute 14:

Things started to get weird.  A woman in a dress walked back and forth between the Disney Store and the Sporting Good store.  She carried an old, one-eyed teddy bear.  The phone rang.

Minute 15: I asked her if she was okay.  She turned to me.  She had no eyes.  “Today is National Hot Dog Day.” She whispered.  My heart seized up in my chest.  I told her I already knew it was national hot dog day.  Facebook told me.

Minute 16: The woman just stared at me.  I just stared back.  I noticed she actually looked more like a little girl than a woman.  Perhaps the girl from the fountain.o-BLACK-EYED-CHILD-570

Minute 17: This was certainly the longest I had ever gone without a customer at Starbucks.  The girl recommenced her wanderings.  She eventually walked away.  I went back into the store

Minute 18:  The phone rang.  I picked it up.  “It’s National Hot Dog Day.”   That’s when I started to go mad.

Minute 19 – 25:

I don’t remember much.  The phone kept ringing.  I think I stacked cups into castles on the counter.  I made sugar packet guards and used the drink sleeves as gates.  I laughed a lot.  The children kept laughing with me, too.

Minute 26:

I thought there was someone in line.  It turned out to be no one, though.

Minute 30:

I woke up on the floor.  An old lady looked over the counter at me.  She had a Nathan’s Famous bag on the counter.

“Are you okay?”  she asked.

I wasn’t.  I just asked her what I could get her to drink.

“What goes well with hot dogs?”  She asked.  There was a strange smile on her face.  “It’s national hotdog day.”

And that’s when I heard the phone ring.

And that’s when I started to go slightly mad.

But…

Ah!  Another person!  And another.  A line, a blessed line, and I was swept up in the moment.  The fear vanished and I told her, I told her…

I told her a Java Chip with an add shot would go great with hot dogs.  It was a lie.

creepy kids

Dear god, another one!


Well, dear and gentle readers, I must, first and foremost, apologize for not having posted anything in the past 3 or so months.  I was going to apologize for not having written anything, but as the most devout of you are surely aware, I am in a graduate screenwriting program, and have therefore written quite a few things, just not blog things.

I was doing pretty well with blog posts until we hit the production cycle last semester, which is when in a few short weeks every student directs his or her own movie, and also does every other film set position on other people’s movies.  It’s sort of like undercover bosses, except that all the people you may have pissed off while you were the boss know exactly who you are, and their turn is coming up soon.

The most exciting thing that happened to me during this whole period happened on the first day, when, in a dusty and dank warehouse, I dropped a $60,000 lens onto the cold, hard floor.  The concrete welcomed it greedily, and everyone else, the whole film crew and actors, watched it in slow motion as it tumbled from my clumsy paws.  There was really nothing I could do; my arms wouldn’t react fast enough.  It’s ironic, I thought, that the thing you are most often warned about not dropping is more often than not the thing that you drop.

And warned we had been.  Every class, every day, to hold the lens securely, and cradle it, much like one would baby Jesus, unless you were a Satanist or something, and make sure the party you are passing it too has secure hold of it before you release your grip.  This point was stressed again and again.

I honestly have no clue how I dropped it, I just sort of fumbled it.  One moment it was in my hands, and the next moment I was curly from the three stooges, clawing desperately at a 35mm lens that had seemed to have turned into a Mexican jumping bean, and refused to stay locked in my grasp.

As fate would have it, the trajectory at which I had launched my expensive missile led it to strike my friend Joel’s hip, and somehow, magically somehow, roll down his leg, like a wheel going down a hill, have a soft landing on his shoe, and then roll across the floor, where my friend John snatched it up before it could crash into a wall and shatter completely.

The room was dead silent.

“Gosh” was all I could manage to say.  The director nodded in agreement.  Gosh indeed.  As it turns out, the lens was somehow completely fine, a godsend, and I was merely charged a fee for having someone look at it, which I’m not entirely sure I ever actually got charged.

I was so warn out come winter break that writing was the farthest thing from my mind, and then, in Januare, I loaded up on an airplane and flew across the northern Atlantic to make my new home, at least for the next three months, in old London town.

It’s part of the writing program.  We get sent over here to work with British playwrights and other British people.  It’s supposed to help our writing, but it’s really been is an absolutely lovely way to write one’s first complete screen play, in a fabulous city, steeped in history and time, and rich in culture.

London, I’ve come to find, is nearly the antithesis of Tallahassee.  It feels safe where Tallahassee feel like there is death lurking around every corner.  It is clean, where Tallahassee is covered in litter.   It is classy, where as Tallahassee is full of bros.  Not that I don’t like Tallahassee.  Quite the contrary, it’s a fun place.  I just wouldn’t want to live there after I finished the program, but I wouldn’t mind living in London, even during the bitterly cold winter.

What’s gotten me back into blogging, you ask?  Well, the answer is twofold.  To put it simply, the first reason is that I’m supposed to be doing something else right now, yet another outline for my screenplay, but I’m meeting with my professor later to work out some kinks.  The kinks are only at the end, but it’s still an excellent excuse to not work on it.

The second reason is that the estimable Reverend Mother has nominated me for the Versatile blogger award, my third award if were counting, and we are, and I couldn’t bring myself to not write a lovely thank you.

So, thanks for the award.

Ok, so I’m reading this list of things I need to do in order to receive this award.  15 people.  I need to nominate 15 other people for the award…

1. http://seedofbilly.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/weekly-poem-2/#comment-51

2. http://stvaltheeccentric.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/still-writing/comment-page-1/#comment-12

3. http://vincentmars.com/

4. http://ahouseandagarden.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/oh-my-word-many-words/#comment-1472

5. http://narrellemharris.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/it-means-what-it-is/#comment-1727

6. http://ramblingsfromamum.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/five-sentence-fiction-challenge-empty/comment-page-1/#comment-6574

7. http://writenaked.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/5-ways-to-make-money-writing-as-you-travel/#comment-547

8. http://screenwrites.wordpress.com/

9. http://bonesmurphy.wordpress.com/

10. http://gameoverbooks.wordpress.com/

11. http://alyssalyssa.wordpress.com/

12. http://observingvessel.wordpress.com/

13. http://clareodea.wordpress.com/

14.http://markbirch33.wordpress.com/

15. http://kamikazehermit.wordpress.com/

Dear me that took a long time.  Now I have to write 7 facts about myself.

1. One time, upon leaving my house, I witnessed a possum eating another possum; on my very doorstep no less!  It’s one of those images you can’t ever unsee, and it haunts my dreams to this day.

2. I’m living in london right now.  The weathers been quite bad the past week, but it seems to be getting better.  I might even go to the farmer’s market!

3.I quite enjoy tea and coffee, but here in englan i’ve somehow been drinking more tea than coffee, I guess because it’s cheaper and easier.  It’ll be nice to get back to florida where coffee is a plentiful as fire ants and the rain.

4. I had never seen Tarentino’s from dusk till dawn until this weekend.  It’s quite good.  You should wach it.

5. I’m an aspiring screenwriter and I care more about sports than the academy awards.  Is that bad?

6. I fought a grizzly bear to the death one time.  With a knife.  I won’t say it was easy, but I’m still here.

7.I know how to sail a sailboat.

Cool, there we go! Thanks gain, http://lifeaswedontyetknowit.wordpress.com/ for the award!

My Amazing Hat


My Amazing Hat

A Poem of Great Interest and Excitement!

On a weekend cold and lonely

We three decided that we only

Needed a warm cup of coffee

To make it through the night

Imagine then my exultation

Upon friend Birdsong’s exclamation

That he would drive to starbucks

And save us from our plight

Put the pedal to the Metal!

Narry tarry we, nor settle!

For I can barely stay awake,

Awake upon this finals night!

Through the leaves the wheels did thunder

Pedestrians were rent asunder

Their last thoughts were of their blunder

Of challenging the dragons might!

6/4 miles from square one

our journey was at long last done

We entered the front door

And ordered drinks forthright

Before transactions were completed

I was accosted, even greeted

By an officer of the law

Who stared upon my cranial height

I thought for sure I would be dead

When he broke his gaze and laughing, said

“Is that a muppet on your head?”

To which I replied

“Quite”

Ernie Hat from Sesame Street

I seemed to him an apparition

A-feared of my hat’s disposition

And with a dawning suppositon

Stepped off to my right

“Make way, you fool, for I am thirsty

Move quickly now and I shan’t hurt thee

I need my coffee for I must study

Well into this blasted night.”

He backed away, for he was certain

That he’d been cruising for a hurtin’

For muppet hats are left best alone

Lest one is looking for a fight

Pumpkin spice latte in hand

Away!  Away!  To study land!

To work!  Studieren Sie viel mehr!

Learn stuff to get those answers right!

I wonder what would have transpired

If I was not thusly attired

In my amazing muppit hat

One that windy winter’s night…

Ponderous with a Muppet Hat

%d bloggers like this: