I don't know when I started wanting to make films. I never really gave much thought to what career I was to pursue since I always assumed my parents would be supporting me. When I was young, I was completely indifferent. I couldn't have given any less of a shit if I wanted to and trust me I didn't. I was probably the only kid in the history of the world who didn't know what they wanted to be when they grew up. Kids today confuse the hell out of me. My sister's son already knows what he wants to be. A fireman. You should see this fat fuck sometime. Derek is only 7 and weighs, jeeze, I don't know... a good 3 or 4 hundred pounds. Not that I ever get to see him anymore. I had a little talk with Derek on my last visit.
"Hey Derek," I said. "You say you want to be a fireman?"
"That's right." He responded as his triple chin jiggled slightly. "I'm going to join the L.A. county fire department and put out fires and rescue people and save stuff from burning and making sure nobody gets hurt and if they do I help them and then I put out the fires and I climb up a big white ladder so that the fires don't hurt anybody because that's not good because if they didn't get put out they would hurt somebody and that..."
"Shut up, Derek." I interrupted. "Lemme explain something to you: You're fat. Your monstrous ass isn't ever going to be getting up one of those big white ladders so you might as well forget about it. Now I know this hurts to hear but it's a sad fucking fact of life. It's something that you're going to just have to live with, wide load, so you should start facing reality."
Since then my sister and I haven't been on very good terms. Excuse me for believing in telling the truth to children. Playing video games and watching T.V. isn't ever going to teach you what the real world is about. Movies, however, now those are even worse. Don't get me wrong, I love to be in the business but it's all full of shit. Just look at my movie "Lean and Deliver your Mind". Do you really think some dorky little white man is going to go to an inner city high school and win the students over because he knows how to rap? It's not going to happen.
Speaking of rap, I would say the music industry has to be the phoniest field of them all. All these flash in the pan crooners act like they want to change the world with their lyrics and heal racial tensions. Bullshit. What they really want is a little platinum record hanging over their bed and a big wet glistening whatever attached to the person next to them. And what's with all these people who were teen idols like 800 years ago but still manage to get their annoying old faces on television? I mean, Hotel California is a great tune and all but SHUT THE FUCK UP! I suppose we've got our share of that type in Hollywood but at least we don't have any of the freaks the music industry does. Big spiky haired androgynous weirdos... Come to think of it, we've got those too. I still say, it's a pretty messed up society in which a black man can become a child molesting white woman and people continue to buy his(her?) records regardless. I had a friend who'd have a lot to say about this particular subject. Jim was his name.
I met Jim when I was 24. I had just written my first script "Major Innings" about an infamously poor baseball team that gets a new manager and wins the World Series. I reasoned that since four other screenwriters had written similar scripts and made some money, I might as well too. Honestly, I know it sounds shitty, but within a month after writing I had begun negotiating with Miramax. Everyone at the studio loved it, including the would-be producers/brothers Robert and Harry Firestein. Unfortunately for me, their love extended elsewhere. Just the day before I came into the studio an unheard of writer by the name of Jim Majors brought in an outline for a script "in progress". I can't quite remember, but I think it's safe to assume it was about drug addiction. I don't think Jim could be able to write 20 pages about anything else. So for the next week he and I waited patiently as the producers reviewed our work and came to their decision. During that time we began hanging out together. We went out to eat, caught a Lakers game and ironically enough watched a movie or two. It was as if I was dating again. I found Jim to be a pretty witty and intelligent guy despite the toxins he had introduced to his body.
We both expected the end of the week to be the last we would see each of each other as one of us would have a job and the other would be once again "whoring" their script. However, that was not the case. As the two of us were frolicking around town, someone submitted a script for a three hour long Holocaust documentary. Bob and Harry probably spunked all over themselves with joy. Needless to say the funds that would have gone to either Jim's or my film were rerouted. The end of the week marked both the reception of our first rejection letters.
About a month after I got my rejection letter my agent out in Anaheim came back from his vacation and I decided to make a visit. Jim, who had basically moved in with me, strung along. He was actually sort of anxious to meet the guy. Now Jules Angelos isn't a man most people want to do business with. I'm guessing it's because he's a blood sucking, buttfucking leech. So why did I decide to hire him? Simply put, I was stupid.
It was a long miserable drive from Whittier to Anaheim that day. The sky had that lovely shade of brown that us here in L.A. have grown accustomed to. I remember the 605 was bumper to bumper for a good 10 miles that afternoon, allowing Jim and I some time to talk. Unfortunately for him he brought up his memories of high school. I say "unfortunately" because I'm not a good person to have a conversation about school with. Let's just say I have some big feelings on the subject.
In my opinion, school, High school especially, is a big fat waste of time. Now I did fairly well in school, graduated and all but I can honestly say I didn't learn a single fucking thing of value the whole time I was there. Everything I've learned that has come to use later on has been picked up out in the real world. Allow me to elaborate. Have I ever used Geometry? No. Have I ever talked the guy at 7-11 into giving me a free big gulp? Yes. Chemistry? No. How to drive a car? Yes. European history? No. Sex? Yes. When it comes down to it there are only three things you need to learn in life: social skills, how to drive, and how to have sex. None of these you'll learn in school. Well maybe the second one. OK, possibly the first one too. And I guess for some of us the last one.
After two hours of pure misery in my cramped little Pacer, we finally reached Jules's office. Jim and I both relaxed in the car a few minutes, passing a joint and savoring the feeling of coming to a journey's end. Once the car began to fill with smoke we decided it would be wise to make our exit. Although we were both two healthy young men, I think we both felt a little vulnerable in that dark underground lot.
"Hey, there's my boy! How you been buddy?" Jules said, his face lighting up as we walked through his door. "And who is this?"
"This is Jim." I answered.
"Oh, Jim Majors! Right, right, right. You told me about him. You're a screenwriter too aren't you Jim?" Jules asked.
"What? Oh...um, yeah. I am." Jim said, trying to shake off the cloud in his brain.
"Are you looking for an agent? I mean, as your friend here could tell you I'm one heavy hitter. Aren't I?"
"Look, Jules," I began slowly. "I didn't get the deal. The studio is picking up some stupid tear jerking three hour documentary on the.."
"Holocaust." He interrupted.
"How'd you know that?" Jim asked.
"It's a script from one of my other clients. He's a great guy, we've done some work together before. I felt this was a good oppor-"
"Wait. What did you say? That guy is your client?" I asked in disbelief.
"Well, yeah." Jules said nonchalantly.
"Are you fucking with me? What's wrong with you? You're putting your own clients up against each other, are you the dumbedest shit that ever lived?" By now I was practically screaming.
"Look, you still got a chance with Paramount. I never dreamed they'd pick up one script and not the other."
That did it for me. For the first time since 7th grade I punched somebody. I mean, really punched somebody. Jules entire body leaned backwards causing his swivel chair to collapse beneath him. It looked like his whole goddamn face was inverted.
"You retard!" I yelled. "Since day one you have been nothing but a problem for me. You throw out scripts you decide I wouldn't want to rewrite, reject producers you decide I wouldn't want to work with, and send my scripts to shitty actors you decide I'd like to fill my roles. The worst part is, this whole time you've been costing me money! Fucking hell! If this was Monopoly you'd be goddamn fucking luxury tax!"
"Staying on this Monopoly theme," Jules said as blood streamed from his nose, "Exactly what square would you be?"
"I'd be fucking Boardwalk and Jim would be Park Place. And we'd all have fucking hotels!" My anger was causing me to carry this analogy out too far. Jim and I both sensed it was the right time to leave and we simultaneously walked out the door.
The walk to the elevator was spent in silence. My head still rang from the loudness of my own voice and the anger that had been behind it. Where was I to go from here? I had no job, no agent, nothing. For the first time in three years I was a starving artist.
"Are you the thimble?" Jim asked suddenly, as the elevator doors pushed shut.
"What?" I asked.
"Are you the thimble? Because if you aren't, I want it." Jim said, keeping his eyes on the floor numbers. There was a tiny hint of a smile forming on his face.
"Shut up. Obviously I'm not in the mood."
"It's cool, no problem." Jim said.
The elevator reached the bottom floor and the both of us walked out. I felt totally disoriented and took about twenty seconds to figure out where I had left the car. The bright Anaheim sun barely poked through the cracks of the ceiling, allowing us just enough light to avoid tripping. Through the darkness Jim spoke up again.
"You know I think I'd rather be Free Parking." He said, laughing slightly.
"Shut up Jim." I shot back, giggling a little.
"Do you play with the money under free parking or no? I know some people don't do that..." he asked, laughing loudly.
"Shut the fuck up, this isn't funny!" It was though. Jim had a way of taking serious moments and pissing all over them.
"Both of you shut the fuck up." A foreign voice said from behind us.
Needless to say, we both turned around as quickly as possible. Instead of coming face to face with the expected security guard or doorman we ended up looking straight into the eyes of a criminal.
"Give me your fucking keys." He said, visibly jittering. We knew he wasn't shaking from fear; it had to be the coke. Even without his shakiness it was clear the guy was an addict. He was a very tall and slender black man with sunken bloodshot eyes and the biggest fucking handgun either Jim and I had ever seen.
My hands instinctively went down toward my pocket. I didn't even think of putting up a fight. I may have been able to beat the shit out of this guy under normal circumstances, however, at that moment there was the unpleasant matter of the gun pointed at me.
"No." Jim said
My mind raced. What had he just said? What the hell did he think he was doing? This wasn't his car, this wasn't his life being threatened, why was he doing this?
"What did you say?" the man asked.
"I said no. Don't you understand? This man here that you're trying to rob is my best friend. He worked for years to get enough money to buy this car and he isn't about to blow it all away by just handing over the keys to your dumb ass." Jim finished with a confident smile.
"Shut up, Jim. It's OK." I said taking the keys out of my pocket.
"No. I wont let you do it. If you want those keys you're just going to have shoot him because I know that my friend here is too strong of a person to give in to your threats."
That was it for me. I grabbed the gun out of our assailant's hands and shot Jim three times in the face. He fell into a little heap on the pavement.
"What an asshole." The robber said.
"Tell me about it... Wanna go get some coffee?" I asked.
"Sure!" He responded, smiling widely.
With that the two of us went off in my little pacer toward the nearest Denny's. Both of us knew that the sun never set on those who rode into it so with that in mind we got married the following year.
Smooth as a shadow|
Nothing to be|
White Walled Cell
© Copyright 1997 by Swagazine, All rights reserved.