My short film
I’d always wanted to make films. I had this idea once to shoot a short movie about the different ways that people die. Well, choose to die. Because someone dying in their sleep would be too Andy Warhol-ish.
No, what I’d be more interested in is suicidal tendencies. Maybe find people who have been through a close brush with their imminent death, but for some reason they’re still here.
I don’t really want any dialogue as soundtrack. Perhaps a different piece of music for each segment. Art of Noise, Penguin Café Orchestra. Any vacuous, mindless, wordless music would suffice.
I see these acts against a solid color backdrop. Maybe primary colors, or black, white, grays. Then, to string each segment together, I think the transitional segments could be the opposite of ‘endings.’ So maybe film births. Or the birthing of different species, but shot really closely. They call it a tight shot or angle. I’d want to be right up in there, showing the brutality of birth, the surprised new arrival, the ecstasy.
The film would premiere at Sundance in January. Then be picked up by the Disney Channel on cable TV.
Possible narration, only if completely insisted upon by network executives, provided by James Earl Jones. Maybe loops of William Carlos Williams’ poems.
* Garners a Golden Globe nomination for Angelina Jolie’s scene: birthing an Indonesian child. For real.
* No animals were harmed while envisioning or filming this movie.]]>
Perhaps I should have prepared the girls more. Certainly they had experienced our disagreements, and through the years, our increasing family digressions, though we’d attempted to spare them of our devolving spiral toward divorce. I’m fairly certain they’d picked up certain cues. Bean commented about the chilly silences during dinner, attempted to embellish her school stories to fill the space. Ellie commented about the nights I’d slept on the sofa’s pullout bed, not buying that my insomnia was keeping Mommy awake.
Then New Year’s Day came, the day I was actually moving out. Martha had arranged for them to be with her, at her mothers. But, as if they’d anticipated the worst, Bean woke up that morning with a 103 degree fever. High enough for major concern. Martha’s pattern was to under-react to our children’s dilemma’s (Oh, she’ll be fine!) and medicate herself instead. But now this complication added a layer- could I actually leave with one of my own flesh and blood so ill? What was I doing anyway? All that went into defining who I am, what I’m about, the legacy, if you will, of my life seemed to be draining from my grasp. Each trip to the car became more difficult, harder to breathe.
“Don’t go, Daddy,” Ellie said. She’d followed me into the garage. I picked her up, her small frame collapsing against my beating heart.
“I’m not going anywhere sweetheart,” I said. I smelled her innocence, her pajamas designed with Winnie the Pooh and his buddies created lots of color against my drab gray jacket.
She picked at my buttons. “Then why are you loading all of those boxes in your car?”
I didn’t know where to start. So, I lied. I suppose to protect her, but the truth was that I didn’t have the balls to tell her what really happened. I’d fallen out of love with her mother. Long ago, possibly even before she was conceived.]]>
I’m worried I’m using his death to get attention. Just like my mother did when Dad dropped dead. A massive coronary at work. Dead before he’d hit the floor. You’d have thought, with time, her grieving might subside. It was nearly twenty years ago. Mine certainly has.
At that time, I was twelve, so there were many more years we shared a roof. But Mom persisted, dropping Dad’s name into almost every conversation. Mostly with strangers.
We’d be at the Wal-Mart checkout, Shirley rang our items. She’d give the total, “That’ll be 34.87.” Then Mom would turn to me, a look of shock on her face. And I knew what was coming. “Ever since my husband died, I swear, I’m just so darn loopy! Can you believe it? I left my purse in the car again.” Then Shirley would shake her head as mother ran out, giving me those cow eyes and say, “I’m so, so sorry.”
Well, now it’s George who up and died. The difference is he’s a child. And in a way he’s a child who never became a child. I carried him full term, took nearly twenty- four hours to deliver him. He lived less than an hour.
See, it’d be easy for me to be like Mom. Hell, she’s already used this latest tragedy to fuel her overblown need for empathy. I have to remind her, “Mom, this is not about you.”
During his funeral service, someone said that George was a blessing. I guess so. I mean, he came and went so fast it all feels like a blur now. The percocet doesn’t really help matters much. My husband, Dirk, wants to try again. Is he crazy? No way, I tell him. No. I just don’t know if I can go through that again.]]>
Series of Unfortunate Events
The shopping was going dreadfully slow. Stores were too crowded, with rude salespersons, and a false cheery sense of holiday bullshit in the air.
Eddie stepped onto the escalator. “Excuse me?” he heard, and turned around.
“You’re on my coat.” The woman pointed down. She was nearly as tall as Eddie, and wore a floor length coat that reminded Eddie of his grandmother’s velvet curtains. Were they velvet? Something like that.
“Sorry.” He moved his boot leaving a visible imprint: salt and grime and a pattern he hadn’t even noticed was on the bottom of his Frye’s. He turned back around. The businessman next to him scowled. He felt like saying “Screw you, buddy,” but the Alvin & The Chipmunks soundtrack chiming ‘Silver Bells’ caused him to stifle a chuckle.
Macy’s- what a joke, he thought. What’d I come here for anyhow? And then he remembered: he was going to propose. Or, he was supposed to. But now, just the thought of marriage, and all of its loaded expectations, the lack of freedom, and the compromises. It all felt so goddamn heavy.
They reached the 2nd floor: Women’s Lingerie. The woman from the escalator stepped in front of him as he read the floor sign.
“Do you make it a habit?” she said.
He waited for her to finish but she just stood there, hands on her hips. The lingerie mannequin behind her mimicked her stance.
“Huh?” He smiled, repressing another laugh.
“So, you think this is funny?”
Eddie looked around. Run. Run like hell. Get lost in the shopping madness. But it was the ladies lingerie floor.]]>