mostly blood and bones and pain

diary of a professional antagonist

Tag Archives: Film

You’ll Never Work in This Town Again

I started life as an actor, a jobbing, useless motherfucker desperate for attention and cursed to serve my more supple skin days in the car parks outside parties I wished to be invited to. I did it all, park cars, take tickets, find keys, keep wives at bay while their director husbands had their cocks sucked on by my coat-check girl colleagues – all of whom found careers in the spotlight, even if they still bow down before they get the green light. Me, I took the hard road into the light and had to pave that same road in blood before I got my shot… and then blew it.

It was a cold, crisp December night. The Ritz looked prettier than a supernova and I felt like shit. 2:30am and only one set of keys was left. I told the others to go, hoping on a big tip but really waiting on the owner for something else, an introduction. Then he staggered out, the director of what would turn out to be one of the greatest movies of all time. The 70’s were already flying but this was going to change things. I helped him to his car, he fell in before vomiting all over my shoes, then apologized. I played it cool, said I was waiting for an excuse to get a new pair of brogans anyway. I told him I was an actor and would love to work for him.

“Oh yeah?”

“Yeah.”

“Drive me home, kid, I’m late.”

The wait was worth it, I had a foot in the door and one of the icons of the 70’s now owed me. Then we got to the house he was staying at in the hills and things changed. A black sedan was parked outside. I helped him to the door, it was already open. Something was off, the air was dead and I didn’t like the way the floorboards creaked inside. Deliberate. Expectant. He pushed the door open to reveal an abyss of darkness beyond.

“Come back tomorra’, kid. We’ll work something out.”

“Thanks, Mister –”

Suddenly, an electrical cable whipped through the air behind him, wrapped around his throat and dragged him inside. I ran – into an elbow. When I woke I had a view of the stars I hadn’t asked for and a gun pointed at my head. The director was on his knees, begging for his life, saying I was his nephew and that we would do anything to live. These weren’t the kind of guys you fucked with. These weren’t actors, these weren’t Hollywood. This was a different ball game that jumped the fence and invited itself to the party. Nobody was going to tell these guys ‘no’, not the cops, not their wives and, as piss leaked into my shitty brogans, I realized I wasn’t going to say it either.

They told the director to fuck off back to New York and never look back unless he wanted me, his ‘nephew’, to experience the digestive system of a fish. Naturally he agreed and after he crashed his car twice trying to get out the front gate they took me as collateral into the dregs of the city’s slum in the back of a car, despite my pleas of mistaken identity. A couple of seconds later I knew life was about to change in a very real way when a .38 revolver was placed in my hands. The fingers that pressed it into my grip were colder than the devil’s and harder than the bit of a jackhammer.

“Get a feel for it, kid.”

They raised it, forced me to point it at the back of the driver’s head.

“Go ahead. Pull the trigger.”

The driver flashed a look at me in the rear-view, his black eyes filled with dead fury and burning intensity. He winked at me then said –

“What’cha waitin’ for?”

I looked at the man in the shadows next to me. The brim of his hat bobbed ever so slightly and I caught a brief reflection of silver light in the black coals where his eyes once used to be. I couldn’t tell which of them said it, but someone whispered –

“Snap back the hammer, then squeeze. It’s that easy.”

I admit, I thought twice about putting it in my own mouth and doing just that, then a hard *snap* jolted me to my senses as a blade jabbed me in the ribs and cut the skin. I pulled back the hammer and held my breath. Time stood still. Snow flakes seemed like they were floating for an eternity toward the front windshield.

*CLICK*

The gun was empty. A booming laugh filled the car, my arm was still locked forward. Something like post-traumatic stress was setting in but then I noticed what they noticed –

“Look at that.”

“Rock steady.”

My arm, unflinching, holding that weapon like it had been born with it. The man in the shadows started to clap, he stopped when I pulled the trigger a second time, then a third and my eyes locked on those black coals of his.

“I’m hoping for your sake four, five and six are just as hollow.”

He didn’t move, but the driver did. I had his attention, he was worried. He knew how to count and knew the score.

Four.

Five.

*BAM*

The tires screeched, we hit an embankment then slammed through a wall. The accelerator was still down when I came to, blood dripped from my face, none of it my own. The man in the shadows stood outside looking in and I could feel cold steel against the skin on my neck.

“That was a first, kid. You’ve some nerve, but you’ve got balls, too.”

“I don’t know what I was –”

“You’re workin’ for me now.”

He pointed at the driver.

“I’m a man short and the work’s backed up.”

“What kind of work.”

“Cleanin’.”

It wasn’t long before another car pulled in beside us. He got in but before he left threw the .38 to one of his goons and pointed at me. I was left with an edgy, semi-psychotic looking waif.

“When you’re ready, kid. Let’s do this.”

He took me to a warehouse where this fat bastard was tied to a chair with a bag over his head. This was to be my training. Over the course of the next eight hours he showed me the how’s and where’s of the trade then made me finish the job. Details aren’t important, suffice it to say my stomach was long since gone and the shred of sanity that remained was going to leave me on the breadline or in bottom dollar jobs for the rest of my life. Somehow I made it through and they set me up in an office on the strip with nothing more than a phone and a poster of the ocean – one a reminder of where they wanted me at all times, the other a reminder of where I’d end up if I tried to run.

So, for four years I sat there, took the odd call and rid the world of one more scumbag. I started to decorate the place, decided if I was going to have an office on the strip I might as well act the part, so I had a guy engrave my name on the door and put ‘productions’ after it. I never made it as an actor, fuck that game, I was going to be top dog, hot as shit producer, no credits to his name but a shit load of firepower backing me up. They dropped in once or twice, thought the idea was funny then realized there was an angle and put some money behind me. I was legit, I was making porn, but I was legit. They ran drugs, guns, everything through that little office, made connections they couldn’t have before and introduced me to all the wrong people. It wasn’t to last and the fun was about to come to a dead stop.

Word had spread about an indie producer who kept a low profile, they were billing me as a Howard Hughes type and some buzz started to build. The guys didn’t like it and I got the feeling they were about to send me to the ocean for a long swim. A knock on the door saved my life. A hero of mine, a real life, big shot producer walked in the room, introduced himself and said –

“What’s your story, kid? You’re starting to steal my thunder.”

I had the cover story down but my mistake was underestimating this guy, a guy who had heard every bullshit pitch from A to Z and knew a phoney when he saw one. Somehow, all that blood and firepower made me forget that I was stupid. He had heard things, names of people seen up here and knew I was knee deep in shit so rancid I’d leave a stink on the strip that would outlast the next four generations of my seed. Then he dropped a bomb on me, he was talking to the feds and guaranteed that if I gave up what I knew there would be a way out. The weight of the last four years buckled my knees and I finally gave up.

They moved hard and fast. It was a blitz, and before I could breathe the first breath of the next morning all my employers were behind bars or full of lead. With nowhere else to go I went back to the office and found my hero waiting with a big, fat cigar in his mouth, directing the removal men as they cleared out all of my shit.

“You did a good job, kid, but I promise you this – you’ll never work in this town again.”

He patted me on the back on his way out. A fed took me out of town then dumped me in Salt Lake City to lie low. I stayed there for a few years, living out a shitty, boring existence and to fill in the time started to write. Lucky for me my hero’s promise didn’t have the legs to outrun cancer. He sank into the dirt a few years back and the door to the strip opened once more. Sure, I’m a hack, a bum, a screenwriter, the lowest of the low, surviving on that one shred of sanity, but that’s all they ask in Hollywood, and if you last long enough someone will make a movie about you, too.

Desert Death Rattle

It was gone when I woke. She’d taken it. There was no doubt in my mind. I stumbled out of the cot, legs still working their way back into sensation. My head was pounding and I was numb from the waist down, that is until I pulled on my slacks, wrenched the zipper and tore a landing strip off the shaft of my still erect prick. My legacy, my name, my next two weeks were fucked, and catching the bitch wasn’t going to be easy.

The engine rattled a strained growl as it barreled down the highway. The desert sun was hot as hell, crossing lizards popped beneath the rubber and bugs kamikazied into my windshield. All this ending life and impending death didn’t cost me a thought, all that was on my mind was the box. All I hoped was that she hadn’t undone the leather belt that held it together. All I knew was my crotch was warm with blood and I hadn’t yet taken the time to piss out the last bottle of dollar wine. I prayed I was still limber enough to bend around the stream and save myself the sting, but with God in absentia and my middle aged legs shriveling under the weight of time, win or lose pain was on the horizon.

Then I saw saw a flicker just ahead. Was it a mirage? And if it wasn’t, was it even her? I jammed my foot down hard on the gas and soon realized it was. The taillights were broken, one on each side, just like I’d left them. The rusted silver side panel jarring against the sun bleached red of the rest of the machine. That blonde hair trailing in the breeze off a head so fuck-me-now beautiful even the man in hell would be tempted to ignore the conniving glint in her gold digging eyes and take a dip. I decided to play it cool. This time she wouldn’t get the drop on me. I eased off and followed until she stopped at gas station then pulled in the other side of the cashier building, grabbed the tire iron and carefully negotiated the side wall.

The cashier was a dope in his late teens, drooling over the counter at her tits like a sloped fucking yak as he handed her a pack of cigarettes. She’d probably already done enough to convince him to say “on the house ma’am”. I convinced myself this was the case as she kissed him on the cheek then collected a pack of chips from a low shelf. He was good as dead the way that short red skirt was bobbing and weaving off her hips and didn’t even notice when she collected a bottle of suds from the fridge on the way out. I don’t know what made me madder, the fact that she was getting away with it again, or that I’d fallen for the same routine twice already and was still watching her in action instead of taking it.

I bucked up and slid into the passenger seat just as the car pulled away. She wasn’t even shocked, just looked at me like another bump in the road she had to run over. But at least with the tire iron I had her attention. I asked where the box was. She didn’t have it any more, she’d stashed it somewhere safe and if I wanted it I was going to have to do something for her. I asked what, considering I had a tool worthy of trying my hand at dentistry in my grip. Naturally she used the tools at her disposal but the second her hand contacted my crotch I yelped like a scolded pup. Most people would retract, but she knew the score and spun the wheel into off-road terrain and dug in. The car filled with dust and in the blinding pain of confusion and with gravel adding to the problem I suddenly realized I was alone.

The trunk creaked open, a shotgun was racked and a deafening boom of buck pelted my door and shattered the window. I crawled over, knocked it into drive and revved hard. Dust sprayed everywhere. I couldn’t see her. BOOM! This time the back window exploded into pieces. I sliced my hand open on the seat debris then out of nowhere there was clarity and a drop into a drainage ditch. Two teeth hung from my mouth from a long, thick glob of blood then parted company with me once and for all. I shoved the door open and toppled out. The sun vanished as she stood above me then cracked the butt of the gun into my forehead. All I hoped was that when I woke I wasn’t tied to a cactus getting gang-banged by a bunch of vultures.

Consciousness came before sight. I figured I was in the trunk of a car, which had to mean that she had an accomplice. Just then the car slowed to a stop. Two people got out and I waited until their footsteps had cleared earshot. After some more kicking sunlight washed over me and when my retinas had adjusted I clambered out. We were at a junk yard, a lost and forgotten wasteland filled with every trash and crap-mobile since the forties. I saw her disappear into the hut set in the center of it all a couple of hundred yards away. They were going to sell the box – had to be why they were in such an isolated dump. I was fucked, then, realized the car was the heap I’d driven to the gas station, I grabbed the spare key from the glove box, started it up and turned to face the road. “Get far away” ricocheted inside my skull but then something came over me. Maybe it was pride, or self loathing at my cowardice, or just that plain old nasty instinct that usually put me in that position, but as I looked in the rearview I knew that I couldn’t just let her get away with it.

My brain started working around two seconds before I plowed the car into the shack, but by then it was too late and when the dust settled I’d slammed some fat guy I didn’t know into a spike on the wall and was face to face with the shotgun, in her hands. She told me to get out. She was teary eyed, it looked like genuine sorrow but it might have been rage, I wasn’t sure. As I got out I stumbled on something rubbery and only after I found equilibrium again did I notice the gas station cashier’s head sticking out from under the chassis. It was rage. I took another shotgun butt in the nose, it broke, and given the number of previous breaks I knew that after this I was going to resemble some sort of a retarded puffin for whatever number of days I had left. She didn’t like that notion, though and as she racked the gun one last time I knew I was seconds from oblivion.

SNAP. All out. SLAP. Knocked out. I caught her before she fell. Bad a bitch as she was it would have been a crime to let that body bruise. I tied her hands to the wheel then looked for the box. She came to after five or so minutes and laughed in my face. This wasn’t a sale, this was a negotiation. The box was not here. The money was not here. There was nothing here except two dead men one hot broad and a retarded puffin. I’d killed the only party interested this side of the Grand Canyon and her partner in crime, the only one who could safely retrieve the box without drawing unnecessary attention. She was out of friends and I was out of luck so against my better judgement, which I’d last seen the night I turned twenty one, I teamed up with her one last time.

The gas station was quiet at night. The passing trade was slow. Then the night cashier came into view, resembling an aggression repressed MMA fighter, which was just perfect. She was about to take him down all by her lonesome, one bat of the eyelids and a long deep breath and he would be in the back toilet working her for all she was worth, but then the law rolled in. They questioned Mister MMA, showed him a photo or two, then pointed at the CCTV. Someone was looking for the goober I’d crushed back at the junk yard, and the only person of interest on those tapes was my red hot passenger. It was only a matter of time before they searched the place and found his locker. It was all or nothing time, so I headed for the back toilet window.

Once inside I could hear them bantering away out front. The muscle bound freak manning the desk was doing a wonderful job of not making the cops’ job easy, simply because he had the mental capacity of a grape and was getting pissed at the questioning.

“Go in back and get the God-damn feed from today”.

“Fuck you, pig – make me”

“I’ll get it myself.”

“Not on my watch, mother fucker.”

“Get outta my way, dummy.”

SLAP. SLAP. SLAP. I couldn’t help but look. MMA and the two cops were fighting full tilt. I found the locker, nabbed the box and got out the window without any of them noticing a thing. Everything was golden, all I had to do was get around the corner, back in the car and drop over the horizon before the next squad car arrived and I was made. The only problem was that the car was gone. Bitch.

I ran off into the desert, knowing that if I was caught with it that’d put me down for everything and clear her slate. I made it as far as the Canyon just before dawn. I stank and vultures were circling overhead by noon. A tour bus had pulled in a few hundred yards ahead. I couldn’t risk exposing them to it, fuck that, letting anyone near enough to swipe it so I decided to climb down into the red rock and hide it. I didn’t get far before my sense were crippled with fear but luck was on my side and I stashed it in a crevice. The markers were decent, a flagpole, a wood cabin and a memorial plaque for some dead guys who went down the canyon river in row boats back in the day. I was choosing a forth when I saw her.

Taser in hand, approaching at pace, she jabbed it into my side, knocking me to the ground.  I scrambled to stay clear of the edge. This time she wasn’t letting me get any sort of a second chance and kicked me in the face. I gripped pathetically at the earth as I slipped over the side. Then I felt the pain. She dropped her stiletto hard, stabbing it through the bones in my hand and pinning me to the wall. Some of the tourists noticed the activity and unsurprisingly started to take photos and video as gravity conspired with her stiletto against me and began to tear a slow line through the tendons, inching me closer to death by the second. She looked at me, didn’t have to say anything by way of stating the obvious. I nodded. She dropped the taser, reached down and took my free hand. Dumb broad. I fucked her into the canyon and climbed to safety.

The stiletto came in handy. I managed to latch onto the leather belt around the box and drag it up as distant sirens rang out. I had no choice left but open it. Fuck the fortune it was worth, fuck the loss, fuck the death it had brought by my hands – if I was going to walk, this was the only way. I crawled under some shrubs, unclasped the belt and wrapped it around my hands. The latch broke apart on contact. I sat there for a moment, listening to the rush of footsteps on approach. The words I picked up indicated that the cops knew what I had. They were cordoning off the area. The flesh on my fingers slipped between the lid and the bulk then prized it open. The last thing I remember is the blinding light.

I woke in the desert, close to the highway, the box lying empty by my hand. A tour bus was pulling away. The windows were blacked out. I sat up, scanned the horizon until I saw the flashing blue lights way out in the distance. It’s value was gone, she was gone and I was back at square one again. I sat by the highway until sunset when I began to slump. Maybe it was the dehydration setting in, but the last time I looked the belt was clasped tight around the box and a car was on approach. The driver’s blonde hair was trailing in the breeze.

James Bond Cat Turns Bachelor Pad into Piss Pot

Cats get my goat. First off they’re conceited, wicked, sly-eyed bastards whose purpose on this planet seems only to kill the odd mouse and cadge food off every sad son-of-a-bitch who thinks an act of generosity will earn them some feline affection.  In the wake of feeding, cats are more likely to slice open your scrotum with their razor sharp claws and then playfully knock your bloody dangling balls against each other just to cause any additional amount of pain in order to punish your neediness and total dependence on a life form that hasn’t learned to walk on two legs, or grow opposable thumbs, as your primary source of love. Second, their aloof nature reminds me of the French.

It’s no wonder that ancient Egyptians worshipped them as gods. I guarantee you that some pharaoh was doling out whippings, or overseeing the administration of a good torturing in front of his subjects until he reached over to pet his cat and was subsequently hissed and scratched at. The subsequent sight of a pharaoh dripping blood made the retarded, superstitious types within the populous see the cat as some all powerful being. The truth being that the little fucker was probably in the middle of one of it’s countless butt-licking routines and didn’t appreciate the disturbance.

It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that cats brought down that civilization, or were the true reason that the black death spread in Europe. I wouldn’t blink twice if I was told that cats were behind the Kennedy assassination or were responsible for global warming. In a nutshell, I’m not a fan, and if you haven’t got that at this point then you’re probably a cat, purring away proudly to yourself right now.

A friend begged me to look after his cat the other day because he was heading to LA to talk at a screenwriting convention. His cat is a bigger celebrity than I am; it has been in countless movies including a James Bond, it understands multiple commands in three different languages, has it’s own stylist and does it’s own stunts; it can also lick it’s own balls which comes in handy in the industry when the sycophants aren’t around. So, naturally I was predisposed to not liking the little prick. Any animal whose success ridicules my lack thereof, who eats better than I do on any given day, and who earns more in a year than I do in a decade is not considered a welcome house guest, but my buddy was desperate, promised me a half decent wedge of cash and that he would pass one of my scripts on to his agent who is a relatively influential industry gatekeeper. I figured the long term payoff would be worth the short term hassle. I was wrong.

On arrival, the fat, bewhiskered fuck ran free into my home as if it were his own and disappeared up the stairs while my buddy, who might as well be the cat’s bitch, handed over it’s luggage and recited instructions.

“Give him one of these salmon steaks every day, three of these pills, make sure he has plenty of Evian water, comb his fur with this brush, give him plenty of affection and positive reinforcement about his image and, oh yeah, here’s the cat nip”.

“What the fuck is that?”

“That’s where he shits and pisses, Chukk. He’s been a bit loose in the bowel lately. We’re trying to shed a few pounds for a commercial so you might need to clean it fairly regularly.”

“You’re joking?”

“I wish. Listen, I gotta run. ‘Preciate it, buddy. See ya in a few days.”

The instant the door closed I heard a sound that reminded me of an exorcism I attended a few years back. It was coming from the bedroom. Pure horror set in as my eyes took in a sight worse than anything I’d ever seen before. There he was, James Bond Cat, squatting while simultaneously dragging himself across the middle of my king size bed, pinching off a gynormous shit which was easily the length of an adult boa constrictor. My immediate reaction was to introduce my size eleven loafer to that fucker’s butt by force. This was of course a mistake and ruined a perfectly good pair of shoes, although the brown imprint left behind looked like some sort of abstract painting of a dirty bomb explosion.

In my despair I neglected to take care of business and string him up while I had the chance but by the time logical thought returned it was too late and he had already escaped. I ran downstairs to find my sofa shredded, my best gentleman’s magazines flittered and my banzai overturned. Revenge was on the cards so I took the salmon steaks, his pills, cat nip, the lot and booted it out the back door. Movie cat was going to leave my house on my terms, that is with a tail heavily matted in shit and starved down to the requisite weight for his commercial.

My next move was surprisingly logical. I decided it was best to hunt by eliminating rooms one by one, shutting them off and narrowing the arena of conflict down to as small a space as possible. The plan was undone almost immediately; James Bond Cat was one step ahead. I’m not entirely sure if it’s just Evian my buddy was giving this fur-ball or if he was dosing it with battery acid to burn off it’s excess weight, because when I stepped into the kitchen a squirt of piss blasted me in the eyes that was so hot I thought I had been permanently blinded. He had taken up a strategically brilliant position, primed himself on a shelf, waited on me to walk in and then fired off a shot of nuclear urine on sight of his target.

It took two hours for ocular function to return to normal. In this time my feline adversary had rifled through my cabinets eating anything it took a fancy to and then took to pissing and vomiting up hair-balls all over the house. My haven, my bachelor pad, had been transformed into a steaming, post plague infection zone that smelled like the grey hairs on Satan’s nut-sack after a month without showering.

Sadly, it became evident that I was no match for this cunning bastard and so in my darkest hour I left my home in search of hope and a savior. After a solid day of thinking about it I finally figured out a way to overcome my home invader and headed off down to the dog pound with a crusty ten dollar bill and a bloody steak. I went from pen to pen looking for the most abused, vicious, bedraggled canine and finally settled on Penny, a German Shepherd with an eye that said “fuck me over and I’ll tear out your throat”.

In the car on the way over there I explained the situation to Penny, that my house, which would thereafter also be her house was under attack by a spoiled cat and that I needed the cat neutralized and alive. I gave full permission to run riot if necessary; the house was in need of a complete overhaul already. I looked in Penny’s eyes and knew that she understood. I fed her the steak, and promised her another one every week on completion of the mission. I opened the front door, cracked open a beer and waited.

Ten minutes of furious battle later and all became silent. The war zone was almost impassable, remnants of my life pre-cat glimpsed through the rubble. I found Penny in the bathroom, standing alert, scratched, soaked in sweat. James Bond Cat, nowhere to be seen. “Where is he, girl?” Penny glanced up at me with one of those oh so clever looks and only then did I notice the toilet lid down and one paw holding it in place. I secured the room and then lifted the lid. James Bond Cat was alive and well, no major wounds to speak of, shaken and stirred, cowering in the toilet bowl. I felt like flushing the fucker but thought about opposable thumbs and that I was the better species here and instead took the moral high ground.

Penny, who I’ve since renamed Moneypenny for obvious reasons, acted as prison guard to James Bond Cat for the rest of his stay and made sure that he got plenty of exercise by being chased around the back yard at least three times a day, depending on how good a mood I was in. Cat nip and cleaning never became an issue, simply because the fucker was usually shitting himself while on the run, and, he behaved when indoors from that point on because he was too fucking exhausted to do anything else.

I slapped my buddy with a hefty bill for damages and repairs when he returned. He told me to meet him at the end of the rainbow to collect, so I countered with a right and left hook, blackening his eyes. Then I took a slash on the front seat of his car and managed to get Moneypenny to shit all over his back seat. We’re about square as I figure it but he’s not been in touch since to confirm this.

Shite Night in a Ghost House

Research is something I don’t take too seriously, especially when writing a horror script which involves a bunch of sadist ghosts out for revenge from the cruel spirits that crushed and stole their young lives. I’ll admit now that this was a low point in my writing career, a necessary evil in order to get in good with a director on the rise who in all honesty was a hack that somehow managed to get financed without problem on every daft idea his colon conjured up. So, I took the offer of knocking out a quick draft which came with the clause of spending a ‘night in a seriously creepy old house in the country’… this was supposed to help me get in the right frame of mind and draw on the energies betwixt the four walls, instead of making me feel like I was in an episode of Scooby-fucking-Doo as I drove the rental out there.

On arrival my gut tightened. Someone was having a laugh at the expense of my pride. There were no windows or doors in the bastard, and it was huge, and sitting up on top of a hill, and it just so happened to be windy and wet as fuck. The surrounding area wasn’t much better, crappy old storage shed the other side of the hill next to a big old marsh, some looming forestry on the nearby mountains, old stone walls and the one neighborly light that was visible at least a mile away extinguished almost immediately. I took the sleeping bag, a pen and notepad (pointless), two bottles of whisky from the trunk, the jumbo bag of chips and the now damp ‘steak and cheese’ footlong I bought a few hours earlier and made my way inside. The whole place was gutted, nobody had lived in it for decades and the stench of rat piss, decaying wooden beams and mould only made me thank God even more that I had the good sense to bring two bottles and not one.

Part confession at this point, I’ve this really bad habit every time I enter someone else’s home, it’s more a compulsion that comes from who knows where, probably some primal ancestor – the long and short of it is, I piss somewhere in the house, I suppose marking terrain or just planting a familiar scent of myself that enables me to relax. In a normal house it’s usually just a squirt in a potted plant or on the towels in the bathroom. In this glorified cave I decided to go all out and with a full bladder let loose everywhere, making sure I hit every room. Once I’d shaken out the last drop I found the least breezy corner, climbed into the sleeping bag and hit the bottle hard.

It was around midnight and I had to piss again so I staggered about until I made it outside. As relief was washing over me I checked my cell. Text message from the director. I’d been getting hourly updates since noon, random facts about the house, who lived in it, what they did, why nobody lived in it and how they died. Turns out I was staying in the ultimate cliché movie house (this guy had no imagination) – the Dad was a loner type butcher, heard voices, chopped up his doting wife and kid, buried their body parts in the floor boards, then turned a shotgun on himself and blew his head up into the chimney as he set fire to his clothes. Laughable. Returning inside, I stubbed my toe on a board as I crossed the threshold and sight of the blood dripping from my toe onto those filthy, tetanus infested floorboards was the final straw that riled me so bad my bowels loosened. Revenge was in order.

I found the fireplace, unloaded an unmerciful spray then fashioned a makeshift fire from twigs, leaves and set the whole lot off after siphoning some gas from the rental – I wasn’t going to waste whisky. I was nicely into the second bottle by three AM and decided more gas and a voodoo dance was in order. The spirits must have taken hold of me because I ended up spiraling around the old shit-hole letting the remaining fixtures, grout and window frames have it with my trusty baseball bat. I fucked that place up good but ended up knocking over the vat of gas and fire spread from room to room. Five minutes later and the whole place was ablaze but it didn’t matter, there was nothing inside aching to catch the flames, run rampant and help it go epic and so, disappointingly, within an hour it was dead, just like my second bottle. At least I’d got some warmth out of it while it lasted but was in need of more so I threw caution to the wind and wandered back inside.

Nothing was going on outside other than that one light on the hillside blinking on for a few minutes then vanishing again, just like my self esteem. My buzz was begin to die and bring a death all its own to my head so I tried to distract myself and started to break the floorboards just to rid myself of the cretinous text plot that was supposed to bring entertainment to the night. After wrecking a few rooms and finding nothing resembling bone I checked the charred chimney stack. Fine, there were some scars in the cement that may have been caused by buckshot but I was aware of a concept called ‘wear and tear’ so ruled it out. I’d hit the wall, boredom, hangover, cold, miserable, resenting my desperation for bringing me to this point and the darkest hour of the night was reaching pitch black. Then a text blinked in from the director which unsettled me.

The land had once been an Indian burial ground, I sighed. The family who took over the land had left no will so ownership went back to the natives. The area was declared sacred and no removals were allowed unless authorized by some descendant chief in their council. The absent bodies had been moved, to the storage shed at the back of the house. The chief had written an account of the tragedy, self published it, sold the rights to my director for pittance and approved my stay for one night. I didn’t sigh… I said ‘fuck’ instead. The director told me to be sure and check out the storage shed before I left. I was already drawn to it, hypnotized in my hammered state, having pissed and shit and desecrated and shed blood on sacred ground – I had to see what was in there.

It took me a full twenty minutes to baby-step my way to the door, despite it being a thirty second walk, tops. The door was already cracked open. I reached out and gave it a gentle push. My eyes squinted against the darkness inside, searching for shapes and then, something presented itself. It looked like a mound of soil. A drop of urine ran down my leg as I stepped closer. Then I heard a noise behind me and spun around. On top of the hill were three silhouettes. A man. A woman. A child. The man was holding a shotgun. In the dark I’m sure I was glowing white. And then he started to make his way down toward me. I ran like a fucking rabbit. That’s right, hopping on all fours, waiting on the blast and hoping my death rattle would at least be somewhat acrobatic and impressive.

It never came. I toppled into a patch of briars and landed face first in the marsh and the man pulled me out before I sank and drowned. He didn’t look anything like I expected. First off he was alive. He was also a native Indian, so was his wife and kid. They looked pissed. After I’d cleared the muck from my ears I realized he was the aforementioned chief who had been alerted by the neighbors on the other side of the hill after they saw the house take to flames. I protested innocence but all that got me was the butt of his shotgun in the mouth. He dragged me to my rental and unloaded on the windshield and the rearview, telling me I’d be hearing from his lawyer and that I’d be personally liable for the restoration. I told him he “was out of his fucking mind” and got another jab of the shotgun in the forehead before haphazardly toppling into the rental and swerving like a lunatic as I made my escape.

An hour down the road I decided ignoring the persistent calls from the director was a good idea. I realized that this low point would sink me so deep I would never getting a writing assignment in the western world ever again, so I did the only thing I felt was sensible. First I threw the cell into a lake, then once the rental prematurely ran out of gas I shoved it off the side of a cliff, moved city and had my name changed by deed poll. There was a momentary grumble of the incident in local news but nobody really gave a shit. The director took the blame, had to fork out for the rental (cheapskate hadn’t opted for insurance) then got his dumb ass blacklisted by trying to make that daft horror story without official permission from the shotgun wielding chief – he had changed the idea but seemingly not enough to convince the judge. Last I heard he was working toilets in a casino as part of his community service.

Unscathed, the road was clear for me to re-enter the business. I decided to do it right, return home, play by the rules and lick the right arseholes until that first big sale dropped. Two years later here I am – still desperate, still drunk, still pissing in rooms.

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