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16 Dec

 

rareblackpanther

 

 “Go ahead and call the cops

You don’t meet nice girls in coffee shops”

 Tom Waits

 

Here I am, alone, smoking a cigar, a glass of JD next to the mouse – let’s get real. I’m in LA finally – where am I really?

A lot of these words may never see the light of day, then again maybe they will. My marriage is in disarray. I can walk down the street and fall in love, walk into a bar and pine for a barmaid – what does that mean? Where is the marriage like a medieval troupe crossing the hill, carrying sacks of goods, looking at the steeple poking up from the village below, wondering what they can promote from the innocents in the next town? That’s the marriage I want. Not the crying and weeping about the bills.

Michael is under heavy, heavy financial pressure. Is he a writer? Yeah. But he’s looking at his cards and it looks to me like he’s thinking about folding.

Don’t worry – I’ll get to my failings soon enough.

My brother Scott is looking at the world through a cracked kaleidoscope. He’s assembling crowds ringing him in, with their hands out for the money he owes them. Scott is two steps away from going down to Times Square to buy a new identity.  Scott’s a character in a Hamsun book from the Hoboken library. He’s in 19th century Oslo – a box of wine and a handful of hardtack will get him through the night.

My wife – who the fuck knows? She turned away from me more than a year ago. Maybe she summons up her abusive father when I touch her. Even in the beginning, when things were good, there were “no go” areas on her body. When you’re abused by your father, then maybe your husband’s hand can feel like an abomination.  We’re way beyond even that legitimate mystery. She’s rejected me sexually. Is it personal? I don’t think so. But where did her sexuality go?

Am I supposed to retire also, and thumb through my memories?

What does this have to do with screenwriting? The obvious truth is, if you’re a screenwriter, everything has to do with screenwriting. There’s no separation.  If you end up on Death Row you’ll still be typing:  INT – CELL – DAY.

Let’s shine the light on me. I drink too much. I’m out of shape. I avoid telling the truth. I open wide and take it up the ass – maybe not a real dick – but what’s the difference? My ass is still open for all kinds of fucking.

There’s a bar I go to. It has a name but God knows I don’t know it – a bunch of Korean letters on a cheap plastic sign and the words “Beer & Wine.” Inside there’s a Korean woman named Gina behind the bar. She has three daughters and a husband back in Korea. She works seven days a week at two jobs. Her youngest daughter clings to her legs as she leaves for work each night.

Why am I so vulnerable?  Why do I imagine hooking up with her? I have a son and a wife.

They hand me a microphone and I sing “Yesterday” and “My Way” and “Help Me Make it Through the Night.” They ask me if I’m a movie star.

I wake up in a dark apartment. Wash up, find my car and drive to the office, sipping a bottle of Arrowhead water, listening to reggaeton as I drive the 101. I sit down at my computer and reel it out by the yard, writing all kinds of shit, juggle screenwriting, do my best, come home to a dark sublet, eat, drink, watch Six Feet Under and The Sopranos on DVD. Lie down and work up a sweat jerking off. Sleep under blankets a few inches too small. Look at my wristwatch in the pre-dawn, to see if it’s time to get up. Wake up. Do pushups. Find my car where I parked it.

There are other desperate people in LA – I’m finding them and they’re finding me. Who are they finding? I’m not really sure.

(2005)

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