I’ve been doing this thing lately where I try to write something and I can’t. I’m sure there’s a name for that.
I, of course, blame it on depression. There’s been all this stuff happening lately. It’s quite sad. Do you want to sleep with me now, girls? I spent a good portion of last night at my friend’s weird druggie crash pad on North Capitol Street drinking his rum and talking to a five foot lemon tree that seemed to thrive on second hand marijuana smoke. My friend sat with his three roomies in front of a giant TV watching Crank and smoking up while a steady stream of weird people circulated through his living room. He gave me a joint and it made my world sort of shrink in, spin out, fade away and then return to that lemon tree. And do you know what happened? I had an idea: Post the entire, unedited screenplay I wrote in a drunken haze 10 years ago with a deadbeat friend of mine.
Thank you! I told the lemon tree, then I got myself some violent drunk to drive me through the mean streets of Northeast DC to the closest Metro station. Back alleys flashed by as I told the drunk all about my old screenplay. I didn’t know who he was, and he was bent over the steering wheel repeating a strange mantra to himself (“Headlights – don’t hit; moon – can’t hit.”) but he seemed the okay sort. We managed to get to the New York Avenue station in one piece and he took the car up onto the sidewalk and slammed on the brakes before we plowed through onto the ground floor.
“Mezzanine,” I said, because I liked the word.
My driver twisted his head towards me, hands clutching the wheel and eyes bloodshot. A layer of sweat covered his dark face. “What?”
“We’re on the mezzanine!” I said cheerily.
“Mezzanine’s above the ground floor.” He whispered harshly.
“No, mezzanine means ground floor…” I replied, not sure.
He started to hit the wheel with his palms, enraged, and began screaming: “It is not! It is not!” He repeated this several times, thrashing around in his seat. Then, collecting himself, he leaned over towards me and put a shuddering, bony finger in my face. “It is not.”
“You might be right.”
“I am right.”
“You are right.”
“You are on the red line, right?”
“So…we’re at the station.”
I stared at him blankly, then jerked. “Good heavens!”
We stared at each other for a moment until, slowly, he turned his head to the side, his neck cracking.
“Well,” I said, “thanks for the ride…to the mezzanine.”
“You need to stop that.”
“I just like the word. Mezzanine.” I sounded it out, but pronounced it phonetically and confused myself. Then, awkwardly, I pulled myself out of his car and walked up to the turnstiles.
“Wild night?” the guard on the other side asked.
“Is this a mezzanine?”
“You be careful going home, sir.”
Back in 97, my friend and I had this great idea for a screenplay – three college guys stay the winter, as caretakers, at a hotel like the one from The Shining. Easy. Enter the nasty ghosts, but our boys don’t have much patience. They fight back. One of them gets seduced, much as Jack did in the movie. One of them decides to put on the hurt, as the cooler people say. The third yahoo doesn’t believe in ghosts and, therefore, is oblivious to the raging battle throughout the entire screenplay. If you’re asking me right now, I’ll tell you that it’s simply brilliant. And, you know what? This is between you, me and the lemon tree. It is brilliant. I popped it up onto my screen when I got home and started to read it again and I loved it. I chatted a bit with some of the tech heads on our forums about the best way to make it available to you, the reader, and everyone had a different answer because they’re a bunch of useless women, but it doesn’t matter. I ran into a problem. I started to set up the first 15 pages with an introduction and, putting in all the mumbo jumbo code that brings these words to your computer room, I started to really get into this piece of retarded shit I wrote 10 years ago. I started to clean it up. I wrote the screenplay with camera directions and all that. A shooting script, I think they call it. It’s annoying, I suppose, but it’s kind of fun because it creates an interesting sort of prose quality. I hate the screenplay form, and I did then. In fact, in 2002, I turned the screenplay into a novel.
The novel’s worse, so we’ll not talk about it. Not yet. That’ll be after I work this screenplay through my blood. So now I’m sitting here debating whether or not I should keep the camera directions in there. I’m also debating whether or not I should clean this puppy up and modernize it. On top of that, there’s the big question: Do I try that novel shit again? Really throw myself into it? I was cutting edge horror parody ten years ago, but now the idea of three 20-something guys who take the supernatural by the horns seems a little yawn-worthy. Shouldn’t I look for new things? Am I living in the past? Should I not get really drunk and call all of my ex-girlfriends and tell them that I never loved them?
I enjoyed the characters, really. I always like my characters. There’s Martin. He’s the one who gets seduced by the ghosts. He’s also the one who truly has the “shining,” so that makes him susceptible. Daryl Gillette is our hero. He can also see the ghosts, but he’s the shit-kicker who decides to mix up with them and save his boy Martin. Azizi is an Iranian soccer player who destroys everything he touches, cannot see the ghosts and is increasingly worried about his crazy friends…but not really worried enough to get involved in whatever meltdown is going on between Martin and Daryl. Fuck those wet blankets if they can’t enjoy a little snowstorm.
Trapped at the Ridgetop Hotel, the two primary ghosts are a 20 year old girl and a 12 year old boy. The girl seduces Martin and the boy bedevils Daryl. Thrills and chills, baby! And, yes, Daryl is a gun nut.
I’ve spent the last day zipping through the screenplay and editing some stuff but, mostly, just reading it and tripping out on what I was thinking ten years ago. That beautiful glimmer of hope I once had. I never sat and talked to lemon trees back then. No, I sat in my apartment in Bethesda, MD and watched Highlander reruns. My computer was set up in my comfortable and oversized bedroom with hardwood floors, and I typed away with my 56K modem connecting me to the internetwebthing. My roommate was a depressive drunk who paced the floor whenever he talked to his girlfriend in Mexico. He was really cool. Across the hall was the building slut, and I really had a thing for her. She liked anal. Actually, she loved anal. But only if you changed out all the lights in her apartment with red-tinted party bulbs. Once her bedroom was cast in that eerie, Satanic light, she’d get on the bed and raise her legs up, hugging them close to her chest. Then she’d say: “Just pound it in – balls deep – as quickly as you can!”
From that position, I’d have to ride her ass while also jamming my hand in her pussy, all four fingers in and thumb pressing hard against her clit.
Best lay I’ve ever had. I should have married that girl.
Now I’m about five miles away from that apartment, in a world that feels very different, and I still have a red light bulb in my desk and this screenplay. Something must be done with it, but I’m suddenly sidetracked and thinking about sex. That, I think, is why I’m having trouble writing articles for what my boss calls the “Great Society Blog.” A little bit of balls deep anal lunacy and I’ll be right as rain. Pip-pip!