10.29.2015

The Treachery of Rainbows

I drove home yesterday. It was a long day. Up at 4:30AM. In the office by 6AM.  Left at nearly 5PM.
The busy season is fast approaching for my team. We support 25 retail locations. And 3000+ employees. So, I know what to expect. The long days are just part of the job. Nothing more. Nothing less.

As I was leaving yesterday, it was raining.  My favorite kind of rain is a spring thunderstorm when I'm sitting on the front porch at The Farm.

This was not that rain. This was the cold, wet, screw you for still living in Ohio instead of moving out  West years ago kind of rain. As I was leaving, I saw it.

A rainbow.



Looked a little like that.

Awwww...how beautiful. You might be saying.

You'd be wrong. I'm not going to go so far as to say rainbows are evil. Or even that that are malicious. But they DO have a mischievous side about them.

I saw no less than 4 rainbows on the way home yesterday. And on the way home I saw a least 5 fender benders.

Coincidence?  Maybe. But I don't think so.

I think it was the rainbows. You see, the rainbows know  that people want to see them. I personally shot something ridiculous like 12 pictures of them with my phone...as I was driving...on the way home.

Yes. Yes I know that's stupid. And Yes, I know that the only time that's really allowed is if it's some really jacked up bumper sticker or decal...or KITT from KnightRider...or the Trans Am from Smokey and the Bandit. (Previously, the General Lee would have been on that list, because it was a nostalgic piece of my childhood before I found out that the KKK was actually behind the whole show).

But dude. It's a rainbow. So I just had to take pictures.

As did, I'm guessing, the people who got in those accidents I saw on my way home.

Oh, I suppose it's possible that they are just bad drivers. After all, it IS Central Ohio, and there WAS some moisture in the air. And that is when people tend to lose their shit whilst driving.

But dude. Rainbows.



I mean, even if the 'double rainbows what does it mean' guy wasn't tripping balls (and I'm totally guessing he was), there is still that sense of mystery and wonder evoked when a rainbow appears.

Oh yeah. I know the science behind why they appear. And so do they. That's why they do it. It's like the rainbow just knows that there is sunlight AND rain...and suddenly there they are like "boom! Science, bitches!"

So...we do stupid shit. We take pictures while driving. Or stare wistfully at this color pattern in the sky that is ALWAYS THERE, but only appears at the moment when it becomes the most treacherous for us to stop and look.

Like rush hour.

By the time I get on the freeway, I was totally enamored with those prismatic pariahs and then...as though to keep me from completely dismissing their colorful prankery, they turn it up a notch.

"Oh hey there AT. You need more proof that we're awesome? Here you go. Have a look--we'll ride along with you. But we'll lead you IN to the rain. And if you want that perfect pic you're going to have to manipulate your phone, the wipers, steering, and pay attention to all the other vehicles around you. Except for the ones we've already driven in to each other. Those are ours."


That's right. BAM. Right on the road in front of me. For about 15 miles that rainbow stayed in front of me. I'm pretty sure it was just messing with me.

And, apparently a Honda MiniVan is roughly worth a pot of gold. I mean, it has to be, right? Because it was at the end of this rainbow.

That or leprechauns drive mini-vans. I'm not entirely sure what the takeaway here is.

Other than the fact that I'm pretty sure rainbows just like messing with us.

As soon as I got home, I hid me lucky charms.

-AT




10.26.2015

Spoiler Alert

Spoiler Alert...your favorite character on The Walking Dead is dead.

No. Really. It's true.

They all are. The show is called The Walking Dead for fuckssakes.

Did you miss the part early on where they were at the CDC and found out that everyone was infected?  At that point I pretty much figured it would be a matter of time before someone I dug beefed it on the show (so far Maggie is still kicking it, so I'm holding out hope).

And I long ago stopped caring that it didn't follow the comics.

Spoiler Alert...I'm something of an asshole.   And I say that only because I have friends..and you probably have them too, that are very vehement about everyone NOT posting the spoilers.  The posts usually go something like this:

Stuck at work tonight...NO SPOILERS!! I can't watch TWD until tomorrow!

Srsly you guys---no spoilers.

Aww man...I heard TWD is getting intense!! It's DVR'ing right now. NO SPOILERS!!!!


Invariably someone will say something because...well..it's Facebook and did you really expect the tsunami that is social media to give a rat's ass that you're pulling a double at Stuckey's on a Sunday night?  Ummm. No. So then it gets all...

THANKS A LOT A$$H*(ES! THANKS FOR SPOILING IT THAT STARBUCK WAS A CYLON!!!

Which makes me giggle even more because they have just done the one thing they pleaded with their 'friends' not to do.  Which is spoil it for someone else.

If you want to avoid spoilers, you will have to avoid the internet and any kind of entertainment news source for the duration of a series. Or..I dunno...just get over it? Accept the fact that someone is going to talk about it. That's EXACTLY what the producers want. Chatter. Buzz. Conversation. Crazy theories about how Lori isn't really dead at all or Rick's actually in a coma brought on by being shot in the very first episode.

I myself have a fairly good system...I wait so long to watch a series that it doesn't matter.  For example...Season 6 (the current season) of Walking Dead wont' be on Netflix for at least a year.

If I remember 1/2 of what I read on Facebook today before my head hits the pillow, I've got bigger problems than Michonne getting pummeled with a 5 Gallon Steel gas can. Oops. Did I spoil that? Didn't happen on this week's episode you say? Hmmm.  You know that the TV series is based on comic books, right? And that the comic books are ahead of the series in the timeline, right?  OK. Just checking.

Point is...it's not going to matter when I sit down to watch the show.  Because I won't remember that stuff 12 months from now.  I don't know if it's because I'm crazy and there's just so much shit floating around in my head that by the time I sit down to watch a show, I don't care what you said about it before. Or is it because I can just watch something and be totally caught in the moment without having to overanalyze it?

Dunno.  Could be both. Could be neither.  Funny thing is...I can't do that with my real-world interactions. I can't turn off the part of the brain that overthinks things to death.

When I write...I can lock on to that story flow like nobody's business. But if I'm having a conversation with you in real life, there's a good chance I've thought through 4 different ways the conversation could go and have already been pissed at you for at least 2 of them.

It's a gift. Maybe.

I don't know.  I'm still not really sure how to parlay that in to something that will translate in to extra pizza and beer money.

Maybe it won't.  Maybe you're sitting there thinking that this blog you're reading is a waste and you wonder why I even write it to begin with.

A). I write it because I have to. There is a need buried deep in my DNA that compels me to tell stories.

B). Glenn isn't really dead. Calm down.

C). I lied. They're all dead, remember?


And speaking of them all being dead. I was driving home tonight staring at the huge moon hanging low in the sky and was thinking to myself  What a crazy metaphor. There is the moon. I know that logically the moon didn't grow gigrundous overnight. It's still the same size moon. but it LOOKS MASSIVE.

And that led me to wonder...how many super moons are in my life right now? Things that I know, logically, are no bigger or more important than they ever were but that seem massive right now because of some trick of the light?

And from there, I somehow got to thinking about the things that scare us.  Is a thing more terrifying if it knows right from wrong and still chooses evil anyway? Or is a thing more terrifying simply because its sole purpose is to kill?

Zombies are generally regarded as mindless killers. The Werewolf, it its animal form, also wild.  Are these things with their blood lust more terrifying than the vampire, who kills to feed--knowing it's wrong. Or the alien to whom we ascribe superior intellect conducting its seemingly barbaric experiments on the unwitting cow poke.

To me the scariest is the one that forges ahead, so far out of touch with who it has become and where it came from. Singleminded in its quest to be the top of the food chain. Shark, Lawyer, or Politician come to mind at first blush. That may seem to be put in for comedic relief, but I'm not kidding. Some of that shit keeps me up at night.

I'm not sure how we got here. Again, par for the course for my regular readers.

Spoiler Alert, Random is in the name.

And with that, I'm off.

Have a great rest of your evening my friends.

-AT

10.20.2015

Meh

I am sure that somewhere in the 7 or 8 years I've done this blog (holy shit, it HAS been that long), that I have had at least one other post entitled 'Meh." Hell, it was probably THIS year.

I feel like I'm coming down with a cold. And I don't like that feeling.  I feel like I'm not making the kind of difference I should be making at work. And I don't like that feeling either.

On at least 7 separate occasions on the way home from work, I looked at another driver doing something stupid and said aloud, "Go f**k yourself."  Honestly....THAT feeling I kind of like. It's kind of an instantaneous relief.  But still, I feel...well...meh.

I have been off-kilter for a couple of weeks now. We're ramping up for the holiday season and things are getting busy. And I need to get back to the farm. I really need a few days with my road-tripping buddy (my Pops, for those new to the blog). To just go down there. And chill. And shoot some shit up.

And what's really kind of annoying me at the moment is the fact that my WesternDigital Live Play is freezing up when I watch stuff on Hulu Plus. I'm not sure if this is a conspiracy with Hulu Plus to get me to switch to their no-commercial service.

Either way, I guess we'll file this one under 'posts that I'm not really going to tell anyone about.'

If you found your way here, sorry about that. This post was just kinda 'meh.'

-AT

10.18.2015

Running Away

I think it's pretty much established that saying 'you're taking a break from Facebook (and/or social media in general)' is the adult equivalent of when we were kids and we would threaten to run away.

None the less, I am doing something of the sort. I'm not running away. But I am dialing shit way the heck down.  No, I'm not quitting Facebook. Unfortunately, I think it's so intertwined in our society that to walk away from it completely would label me some kind of cyber-pariah.  Which..to be fair, probably wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing at this point.

However, I'm taking smaller steps. I've removed the the Facebook and Facebook Messenger apps from my mobile devices. I find that it's much too easy through the course of the day to just reach down for my phone and 'just see if anything new has been posted on Facebook,' and then 30 distracted minutes later, I find that I'm hitting refresh to see if NOW there's anything new.

I've got too much that I really need to focus on. Ok..not necessarily quantity wise, but quality. As in quality of life.  If I'm going to earn my er  (go from someone who writes to actually being a writer) I have to limit my distractions...or at the very least focus them. Same with the writing. It needs to be focused. I find that I'm getting sucked in to the imaginary lives of "friends" who actually may or may not be friends.  I look through Facebook sometimes and think If I had to write these people a letter by hand, address and stamp the envelope, and mail it--how many of the people on my Friends List would I actually consider taking the time to do that with?  It's a short list. I'm just being honest. And you should be honest, too....if you got offended by that last thought, ask yourself, do you really want to get a letter in the mail every day-multiple times a day- telling you the glossiest points of someone's life? Random pix of their children or fur babies? Oh sure, maybe at first. But then it would just get to be old hat.  The letters would stack up until you found a couple of hours to read through all of the letters. And by then, the information is out of date or you notice that there's a very clear pattern of the kinds of letters you read from certain people.

The same holds true for the actual book of face. The difference, I think, is that technology masks the bullshit.  Yeah-it's fun to catch up...and to keep in touch with people. I just laugh when people say "It's the only way I have to keep in touch with so and so." No it's not. Postal service is still a thing. What you mean is it's the easiest way to keep in touch. And it's equally as easy when someone asks you, "Did you see my post about such and such on Facebook?" to say, "Why no, Bob. I didn't. But you know, that Facebook feed is so messed up these days...I probably just missed it."

Meh. I didn't mean for this to turn in to a rant. And I suppose it's just some empty venting. Or perhaps the groundwork for a character study of someone who was completely alienated by emerging tech and started to go the other way. We'll see.

For now, I'm out. Off to a photo shoot.  I'll answer in advance...no. I didn't get your facebook message. And no, I probably didn't see that post on facebook. And now in the ultimate hypocritical irony of a move, I'm going to go post the link to this on Facebook. Heh. Yeah. I get it.

Have a great rest of your day my friends.

-AT


10.11.2015

Jack's Journal (Part 2)

The biggest  problem some guys have when they get out is they get gunshy....they see a narc around every corner and wind up doing something stupid. 
Not me, though. I had 5 long years to figure shit out. Of course if I had put this much thought in to things beforehand, I probably wouldn't be in this jam.

Too easy to flashback these days...too easy to get lost in the past.


“Hey...you. Clown!”

I looked up. The yuppie dad with the over-priced cam-corder was trying to get my attention.

“Aww man, it's my break.”

“I don't give a shit, Bozo. I'm not paying you $100 an hour to sit out here fappin' on your cell phone thinking about where you're gonna score your next bag of weed. I'm paying you to keep my kid and all the other snot-nosed brats in there entertained...So get your balloon animals or whatever it is you do and get your ass back around to that gazebo.”

“Yes sir. Won't happen  again.”

“You're goddamned right it won't”

The hardest part about this job wasn't the over-priced shitty birthday cake these Staten Island families always insisted on serving. 

No. The hardest part was eating the shit.  I knew this guy's type. Country Club membership. Personal Executive Locker at the Athletic Club. NSX in the detached garage.

I know his type because I used to be his type. That was a lifetime ago, it seemed. Funny what 6 months away from that lifestyle does for perspective.

Growing up I always took the train everywhere. That's what a kid from the Burroughs did. It took me a few trips before I could once again recognize the smell of urine in the passenger cars.

Perspective. This guy could sure fucking use some. Briefly entertained the thought of puncturing his jugular with his Mont Blanc. 

But I wasn't here to educate the entitled prig. I was here to entertain the next generation of entitlement.

I worked that party like a rockstar. BIPPO the Clown was in the house.

The kids ate it up. And the desperate money-wives who were outside did, too. I got bookings on several more parties, and I'm sure a few of them didn't even have kids.

$400 was a lot to carry on the subway back to my one-room palace at my parents old place. But I wasn't nervous. It didn't take me too long before I looked like I belonged. 

Besides...who's gonna fuck with a clown? Yeah. I didn't see the point in owning a car, so I always left for a gig in full-on clown make-up. Just like my pops used to. And these days, by the time I hit the bed, I smelled like grease-paint and whiskey.

Just like he used to.

Dad and I didn't agree on much. We both laughed at Uma Thurman's Fox Force Five joke..because Dad used to work with assholes who told stupid jokes like that back when he was doing the clown thing full time. And I just laughed when Dad laughed.

It was easier that way.

Neither one of us was laughing 6 months ago when I called him.

“What'd you do Jack?”

“I got caught Dad.”

“Dipping your ink in the company well, huh?”

“Something like that. Pretty sure the bitch had it in for me, though.”

“They always do, Jackie boy. They always do. Where ya at?”

“The Chelsea.”

“Jesus. I thought I had it rough.”

“It's fine. Some kind of joke by her old man. But, whatever. The rate's fine and the bedbugs haven't hit here yet.”

“Hmmph. Well, all your shit's still here. Your mom was gonna get rid of it. I guess there's one good thing about the cancer. Once less person telling me what the fuck to do.”

“Nice.”

“Eh. It is what it is Jackie. You know where home is. Rooms clean. The neighborhood's gone to shit, but at least it's not the fucking Chelsea. Never knew why the hell Cohen ever wrote a song about that flea trap.”

“Pretty sure it's because Janis Joplin blew him in the elevator there.”

“Oh. That might do it, then.” He laughed through the cough that came with partial emphysema. 

“I'll see you soon, Dad.”

“I'll be here.”


And that was how it went.  Nothing formal. Nothing ceremonial. Most days we didn't even talk.

10.10.2015

Looney

This is my second meeting with the Creative Minds Columbus group. Apparently after my third punch in the 'Frequent Writer's Card' I have to come up with an author's bio for the site, but I'll worry about that bridge when I come to it.

Today the meeting was at a Starbucks near my house. Starbucks is integrated in our society much like Facebook is at this point. Conversations start with 'did you see on Facebook where I did...?"  The internal dialog in my head (which is always running, by the way) kindly, but firmly replies, "no. There is more to my life than trolling your Facebook feed." Even when there isn't.

The meeting started with a writing prompt. A different member was running it, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect. Turns out we each got different prompts. A ha! A twist!!

I read mine. And within minutes we were off.

Two observations off the bat.  The first is that now I know why a couple of the other members bring headphones to these meetings. It's for the time of the prompt to drown out the background chatter.  The ambient crowd noise at Panera was much less intrusive than that at Starbucks. Headphones will be a staple in my writing bag moving forward.

The second observation is more of a 'WTF' moment. As I was starting to write I hear a female voice coming from the table behind me.

"Hey Siri.  Hey Siri. Hey Siri."

I wanted to tell her that "Hey Siri" only works when your phone is plugged in to a constant power source, but I was busy writing...

"Hey Siri--what should I order at Starbucks?"

Wait. What? Are you kidding me? You do realize that asking Siri a question like that is basically like Googling something and hitting the "I'm feeling Lucky" link. I mean, seriously--c'mon!  You're at Starbucks. They have everything written on the board.  And what if Siri suggested something you hated? Where does that go? Eventually Siri is going to just be like "You know what? I don't know. Why don't you order what you want to order since obviously my suggestions aren't good enough for you VANESSA!"

But as much as I wanted to have this conversation with the 20-something that I have now named Vanessa in my head, I had a prompt to work on.

And here was the prompt:
“Shhh, I’m wabbit hunting….” 
You wake up one morning and find yourself inside a Looney Tunes cartoon with a burning desire to hunt down a certain Bugs Bunny, no matter what the cost. What happens next?



And here's what 15 minutes in a crowded noisy Starbucks yielded: 


The alarm clock looked at me angrily.

“Serioulsy?? 4 AM? C’mon on man—it’s much too early for this.”

I reached over to hit it.

“HEY!!? What the hell man?!?”

“I….wait…what?” Clearly there was a little too much tequila last night.

“It’s four. Wake up. And don’t even think about hitting me, bub.”

I rubbed the sleep from my eyes and looked around. It felt like my room, but it didn’t look like my room. Things were somehow…brighter. Colors more…vivid.

“Where am I?”

The alarm clock had gone back to sleep.I thought about waking him to get some more answers, but clearly he was not a morning person.

Pictures of me and my hound adorned the wood panel walls.

“Dog?”  I looked around for a dog. I found him in an urn on the mantle. The inscription read “Rabbit Season 1978”

Rabbit season.

Oh shit. Was it Rabbit Season?  I looked around for a calendar…on the wall in the modest kitchen was a calendar.  The date said “TODAY” and circled on the way were the words “RABBIT SEASON”

I started to get dressed and stopped myself.

“What the hell? I don’t know shit about hunting. Let alone rabbits.”

I heard the newspaper hit the door with a bored >thunk<. 

Newspaper? Who the shit still reads newspapers?  Just then the phone rang.

“YOU HAVE A PHONE CALL FUDD!!!!”

“It’s Todd,” I mumbled as I picked up.

The voice on the other end was auctioneer fast, “Lissen Fudd, this is the ACME AMMO AND HUNTING SUPPLY CO of Walla Walla Washington. We screwed up on your order and the teeny tiny bullwits you ordered are out of stock. Sorry bub.”

“No more bullwits?” I heard myself asking.

“No more bullwits. Good luck today and happy hunting.” >click<

The line went dead. The phone looked at me angrily. I set it’s cradle back down and it went back to sleep.

I looked in the gun case and found a modest supply of about 150 rounds of ACME ammo for my “ACME Super Wabbit Mutilator 2000.”

I saw a target on the wall with Bugs Bunny.

Before I knew what was happening, I was in the woods with a loaded gun looking for a rabbit.


I heard the hammer lock…
-*-


And that was when time was called. From there we went to talk about NaNoWriMo. Several members in the group were participating. I had said I wasn't. I explained that the task just seemed (and I might be paraphrasing here) daunting as shit to me.

But then it turned in to a really good discussion about the fact that it was a tool. Not a means to an end. NaNoWriMo doesn't necessarily expect you to have a finished novel. But they explained to me that it's really about getting you in the mindset and practice of actually doing it. Actually carving out the time and devoting it to your writing.

And it made it a lot less scary to me. Again...growth. I feel like, as a writer, I've grown just in these few short weeks.

I think I'm gonna dig this.

Have a fantastic rest of your Saturday my friends!!

-A.T.


10.07.2015

Jack's Journal (part 1)

I couldn't even tell you how it happened myself, to be honest. 

One minute I'm on top of the world. Corporate bank account, access to the company limo, the company condo on the 9th hole. A smoking hot wife. And a little boy that I would take a bullet for.

The brain-docs on the inside always tell you to go back to what you know. If you're not at a happy place now, go back to what you know.

And I knew of the day before it all went to shit.

That was the day I was the happiest. And then the very next day, it went to shit.

I don't really even remember her, to be honest. I remember tits and a nice smile. You could catch my eye with one or the other, but if you had both going on, then I was yours...at least until it was time for me to go home to my wife.

So...yeah. Some chick in Marketing..or IT or some shit like that. It was some Golf Scramble to raise money for some Breast Cancer Research-heh ironic, huh? Tommy told me to keep my pecker in my pants, but those tits. And that smile. I had a 7 Wood that needed to sink a hole in one.

I thought it was cool. I thought she was cool. I didn't  get to make Junior Partner by doing stupid shit.

Apparently I was mistaken. Or she had planned this all along and wasn't as ditzy as she let on. Or both.

Either way, that mistake will soon be cleaned up. Taken care of.

Off the grid like it never fucking happened.

Tommy doesn't take my calls anymore.

Suzy has a restraining order on me. She told our son that his daddy died in Afghanistan. He'd be 9 today.

Five years locked away.

Five years that that bitch stole from me.

What is the price of Five Years?

At what cost can I get that back? What cost will let me sleep at night?

At this point, the cost is about $25.That was the price of the ammo. I had the weapon. From my tour in Upper East Trashcanistan. Susan wasn't lying to Terry. His dad DID serve in the Marines in Afghanistan. Only he didn't die there. He died little by little over the last 5 years. 6 years if you go back to the actual day that she kicked me out.

Fucking bitch.

That mistake will be taken care of too. But not now.

Now I have a date. 

A date with Marcy. Who knew this prim and proper IT chick had a wild side? And who knew that she was apparently in to ex-cons?  It was all too easy how it came  together.

I still had a few friends at the firm who were there for me even if Tommy couldn't be bothered with me. Cynthia was always nice to me. I think it's because I never fucked her. Or tried to. I got the post card from her and her partner's honeymoon in Cozumel. Her care packages while I was on the inside told me she was a friend I could count on. Cyn gave me the dirty dirty on Marcy. 


The restaurant was quiet. I figured it would be. Tuesday evening wasn't a typical date night, but I let Marcy pick the day and time for our first meeting. And I picked the place. That was the deal. I made up some bullshit about still having enemies that weren't to happy that I got out early on good behavior.

The key to a good lie is to have some truth in there. Just enough to make it believable.

Truth is, I DO have some folks that would be none too happy that I got out early. If they knew. They don't. Don't ask me how I know. I can't tell you that. You're just a goddamn journal anyway.

Jackass shrinks were always telling me to document my thoughts and feelings. And now I can't go a day without writing at least 10 pages. Terry's gonna get some good insight in to his old man one day.

Focus dammit.

Right

There she was.

Time was kind to her. I'm sure Ostermann & Fein's generous settlement for my transgressions helped too.

Fine. 
Whatever.

Now the question. Do I kill her before or after I see if she remembers the day I buried my putter in her sandtrap? Or during.

Hahaha..that's messed up, Jack. 

Yeah. I get that a lot.


Dear Diary...dinner was good. 
The sex was fine.

But the payback was exquisite.

After dinner I drove us, in my car, back to my apartment. It wasn't much. Certainly not what her upper East side nip and tuck was used to. But it was a typical ex-Con's flat. Which, apparently, made her horny as all get out.

Which was fine by me.

When I was younger, my old man used to tell me 'never turn down an open bar or open legs.' Tonight there was both.

She wanted more as I drove her back to her car in the restaurant parking lot. I pulled in to the first spot in the lot behind the building. About 20 yards from her car. She wanted it. And I gave it to her.

Instead of driving her to her car, I made up some bullshit about needing to stretch my legs so they wouldn't cramp up (“I've been out of practice...”) and I smiled. Whether it was Jack the ex-Corporate Junior partner or Jack the ex-con. The smile was the same. And I knew within 30 seconds whether or not I had you. If I had you, I could seal whatever deal was on the table in front of you.

I had Marcy. She was mine. And she was great in bed. A bit slutty (I mean, seriously, what mystery is there if you give it up on the first date?), but I can deal with that. 

And it wasn't going to matter in a few minutes anyway.

We staggered back to her car, I pretended to be drunker than I was. I needed an excuse to lean on her. When we got to her car, I took the keys and unlocked her doors...started the car for her.

“Such the gentleman...” she said. 
I smiled and stood.

I pulled her close in to an embrace. When the kiss broke, I smiled. I knew I had her. She looked up with those big brown eyes and smiled back.

Her smile was short lived.

I could feel the blade slide past the bone of her ribs on it's way to puncture her lungs. They would fill soon with her misdirected blood. And she would drown. From the inside.

In her last seconds I leaned over and whispered in her ear
“You took away my life. I lost my wife and my kid because of you. I will die alone someday. You will die alone now.”

I saw the recognition in her eyes, just as I saw the life leaving it. I never broke eye-contact. To the second the life left her eyes, I held her gaze.

I put her body in the car and shut the door, leaving it running.

The drive back to the apartment was short, but had that time-stretching thing that happens when you're in that super-happy zone.

Back at the apartment, I pulled out the list. The list I'd made in lock up.

The list entitled “Christmas Card List” (I caught less heat from the guards that way).

It was the list of people that wanted me locked up and did their best to keep me there.

The list of people that thought I was still locked up.

The list of people that would soon find out that they couldn't touch me when I was locked up.

But I'm not locked up now.

I've been freed.

Never mess with a freed man.


10.06.2015

The Long Ride Home

INTERIOR CAB

We see the cab pull away from the corporate building. JACK KERR slumps in the back seat absentmindedly playing with the contents in the box. He reminisces.

(Flasback scene of Golf Outing, flirtatious, but nothing over the top).

(Flashback to confrontation in ANTHONY OSTERMANN'S office. We see an older man, of Mediterranean descent. He is looking through some papers as JACK KERR is led in. He looks up.)

ANTHONY
Jack...come in. Sit down.

JACK
Sir. I can expl-

ANTHONY
No Jack. You can't. If this had just come through HR again, we could have taken care of it. Put a nice little spin on it and made the whole thing go away. Hell we tried to do that the first time. This bitch saw through it. You're one of my best Junior VP's. Which makes this even harder.

JACK
But sir-

ANTHONY
Look...Jack. We've all been there. A little duck and weave after the alcohol's flowing. It happens.

(He stands and heads over to look out the window.)

ANTHONY (cont'd)
But this lady....she had it in for you Jack. She knew which cards to play. We were served papers and at the same time a notice was sent to our largest client. We call him Kinnecon Steel...but you know him on a more familiar level.

JACK sinks heavily in to his seat. The full weight of ANTHONY's words hitting him in the chest.

JACK
(under his breath)
Shit.

ANTHONY
Exactly. I've been on the phone all morning with your father-in-law. He's a man of high morals...very unusual in his industry.

ANTHONY turns again to face JACK.

ANTHONY
The good news is, as a firm, we managed to retain our largest customer.

JACK looks up.

ANTHONY
Which leaves us the bad news. You have to fall on your sword. Jefferson Kinnec was explicit in that condition. I have to let you go Jack. You'll have a full severance package, but I can't give you any letters of recommendation. That was also non-negotiable.

JACK nods, still in stunned silence. He stands to take ANTHONY's hand as it's offered.

CUT TO
CAB DRIVER
Yo...Mr.Roboto!...is this the place?

JACK snaps back from his daydream, somewhat disoriented and looks out the window.

JACK
Yeah.

He reaches in his coat to get his wallet

CAB DRIVER
It's all good man. This one's on ONF.

JACK nods, collects his box and exits the cab.

CUT TO

We are looking at an ornate front door from the inside. A long entry way leads to the door. Sunlight filters in through the sidelights as the door opens and JACK starts to enter his home.

JACK KERR
Susy Are you ho-

A vase comes flying through the air and smashes against the wall next to JACK's head.

SUSAN KERR (off camera)
YOU BASTARD!!! 5 years of my life....a newborn son...and you do this?!?

Walking in to frame now we see SUSAN KERR. A striking woman with a light auburn hair that started out perfectly coiffed today. In one hand a crumpled piece of paper that JACK recognizes as the same cover stock on the original complaint. In the other, another vase. Her eyes are red and puffy from crying, but there are no more tears. In her eyes, only anger. She hurls a second vase at JACK.

JACK KERR narrowly dodges the 2nd vase.

JACK
JE-SUS Susan! Calm down!! Can I explain what happened at least?

SUSAN
CALM DOWN?!?! Are you kidding me with that shit?! Calm down? Who the hell do you think you are to tell ME to calm down?!

JACK
Look it was all a--

SUSAN
So help me Jack, if you say misunderstanding I will kill you where you stand. She sent pictures Jack. PICTURES!!! Of you...and of her....TO MY FATHER!!

JACK
I...I didn't

SUSAN
No. You most certainly did. And I hope it was worth it. We're through Jack. Daddy's got a room for you at the Chelsea....I told him it was better than you deserved...you can sleep on a bench in Central Park at this point for all I care. But HE'S still got a shred of decency to not throw you in the street at least.

JACK
Where's Terry?

SUSAN
He's with my sister.

JACK
I want to see him. If you're taking me out of your life, at least let me say goodbye, Susan. You can do that much at least.

SUSAN
No. Oh HELL no. You are not a father, Jack. You're not a husband. Shacking up with that nerd whore. What the hell were you thinking?!? You're done. As far as our son is concerned, his father died when he was just a boy. You come with in 50 feet of him and you'll be arrested.

JACK
But Susan...

SUSAN
No Jack. We're through. You're through. You need to leave now. If you're not out of here in 5 minutes, I'm calling the police.

She turns to leave a stunned JACK in the hallway.His box of things from the office on the floor by his feet. Shards of broken glass all over the floor. He picks up the box and heads outside.
Stepping down the walkway, he finds the same cab waiting. He enters the cab and addresses the driver

JACK
How did you--

CAB DRIVER
We got 2 calls dispatched back to back. One was a drop off this address. The other was a pick up. Figured I'd make it easy on my dispatcher and handle both. Where to?

JACK
The Chelsea Hotel, it would seem.

CAB DRIVER
Damn...buckle up. We're in for a drive.

JACK
Don't s'pose Ostermman's picking this one up, too, are they?

CAB DRIVER
No Bub....this one's all you.

JACK
That's what I figured.

JACK settles back in to the seat and stares blankly out the window as the cab pulls away. The box of personal effects again by his side. He seems to remember something and digs in the box until he finds the piece of paper that Cynthia placed in the box and pulls it out. Unfolding it, he sees

"IF YOU NEED A FRIEND: CYNDIE (646)555-1124"

He refolds the paper and puts it in his wallet. And then resumes staring out the window

JACK
(to himself)
Never know when I'll need a friend.

The cab continues through the city. As Jack starts to drift off to sleep, the screen fades to black. It snaps back in full focus with the face of the Cab Driver

CAB DRIVER
Hey. Sleeping Beauty. We're here.

JACK
(stretching)What's the damage?

CAB DRIVER
Nothing a wrecking ball couldn't fix. But your fare is seventy-four fifty.

JACK
Nice.

Jack reaches in his suit coat for his wallet. Opens it and pulls out five twenty dollar bills. He hands them to the cab driver, scoops up his box with one hand and reaches for the door handle with the other.

CAB DRIVER
Yo, Rockefeller, I gotta far drive back you know.

JACK
Yeah. That's why you have a twenty-five dollar tip on a drive that should have been over twenty minutes ago.

CAB DRIVER 
(under his breath) Asshole.

Jack exits the cab and walks in to the Chelsea Hotel.
INT HOTEL
Jack walks up to the front desk and rings the bell. A HIPPIE comes up.

HIPPIE
Yeah?

JACK
Jack Kerr. I'm guessing you have a reservation for me.

HIPPIE
(checking laptop) Lucky guess man. Karma must be good to you.

JACK
Yeah. Or my soon to be ex-father in law is a sadist.

HIPPIE
Hey man. Whatever works. Not my place to judge. You're in the Kristoffersen Suite.

He hands Jack a key.

JACK
Of course I am.
JACK turns and heads to the elevator.

HIPPIE
Aww. Sorry dude. 'Vater's cashed. Stairs still work.
JACK checks the key, "469."

JACK
Thanks.

HIPPIE
No problem bro.

JACK
By the way, I think your bong tipped over.

HIPPIE
Huh? Oh SHIT....shit shit shit....

JACK smiles as he headed toward the stairs.

JACK
(under his breath)I friggin' hate hippies.

CUT TO INT HOTEL ROOM DAY

Looking from the inside of the hotel room, we hear a key in the lock, see the knob turn and the door opens as JACK walks in. He looks around,slowly. Taking stock of the room. He set the key down on the counter next to the TV. He sits on the bed and plops the box on the bed next to him. He stares at the phone, as if expecting it to ring. He seems oddly disappointed when it doesn't.

JACK
Ain't this about a bitch?

JACK falls back on the bed. We're not sure how much time passes (day turns to night outside as the room gets dark).

JACK reaches from the bed and turns on the lamp beside the bed. There is a sickly yellow glow now in the room.

We see JACK sit up. He stretches and looks around. Sometime in the slumber, his suit coat has been crumpled at the edge of the bed. He reaches for it and pulls out his wallet.

He takes out the paper with Cyndie's number on it, looks then reaches for his cell phone and starts dialing. When he is done dialing, he puts the phone up to his ear.

JACK
Dad. Yeah. It's me, Jack. (pause)...Yeah. I know. I told you, I was out of the country for business (pause)...no it doesn't make it goddamn right, but it makes it what it is...(pause) yeah (long pause)...Look, Dad. I'm in a bind and I need a favor. (pause) OK.Yeah.(pause) OK. (pause) Alright, I'l see you tomorrow.

He hangs up and picks up the paper with Cyndies number and puts it back in his wallet.


FADE OUT

FADE IN 
INTERIOR DAY KITCHEN TABLE

At the kitchen table, back to us is JOHN KERR. From the back we can tell he is a shorter, hardened version of his son.

He looks up as JACK stands and heads to fill his coffee mug.

JOHN
What'd you do Jack?

JACK
I got caught Dad.

JOHN
Dipping your ink in the company well, huh?

JACK
Something like that.
(he fills his coffee and offers the pot to his dad)
JACK (cont'd)
Pretty sure the bitch had it in for me, though

JOHN
They always do, Jackie boy.
(he nods off the offer of a fresh cup and takes another sip)

JOHN (cont'd)
They always do. Where the hell were you calling from last night?

JACK
The Chelsea.

JOHN
Jesus, I thought I had it rough.

JACK
It's fine. It was some kind of joke by Susy's old man. But...whatever. The old goat paid the room through the end of the month and the bedbugs haven't hit there yet.

JOHN
Hmmph. Well, all your shit's still here. Your mom was gonna get rid of it. I guess there's one good thing about the cancer. Once less person telling me what the fuck to do.

JACK
Nice.

JOHN
Eh. It is what it is Jackie. You know where home is. Rooms clean. The neighborhood's gone to shit, but at least it's not the fucking Chelsea. Never knew why the hell Cohen ever wrote a song about that flea trap.

JACK
Pretty sure it's because Janis Joplin blew him in the elevator there.

John Kerr was in mid-sip as his son imparted this knowledge and nearly did a spit take, instead partially choking on his coffee through the laughter.

JOHN
Oh, that might do it then.

He laughed through the cough that came with the early stages of emphysema.

JACK
Alright. I'll get my shit together and look at coming home. I still have a few angles to work first.

JOHN
Of course you do. I'll be here.

JACK
Talk to you soon Dad.

He set the empty coffee cup in the sink and headed out of the kitchen. JOHN barely acknowledges his departure.

JOHN KERR
A'yup.


He said, taking another sip of coffee and reaching for the morning paper.

On Being Intentional About More Words On The Page

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