He sits across from you, one earplug in, as he espouses on the failings of the world – and you – and begrudgingly takes your five dollars. “You are wrong. Nobody has said anything dumber.” He’s out of tobacco and would like to squat your living room for the winter.
He rambles on, first about the barter system, then on the meaning of work until he starts a full tirade on the failure of representational government, everything you need to know and how you can change, all that just by being like him. He ambles off, briefly holding back the subway doors just for the fuck of it, and vanishes up the stairs.
Doing another edit of my Treeplanting screenplay, Baller, and have to kill a few scenes, such as this one of Davis calling his ex-girlfriend.
EXT. OUTSIDE WIDOW MAKER TAVERN – EARLY EVENING. Davis, sitting on the sidewalk, stares at a mound of tarps and collapsing pile of lumber beside a Legion Hall. He calls Lola on his phone.
LOLA (Message machine): Gone Sailing. Whoo-hoo! DAVIS (Leaving a message, sounding drunk): Yeah, you’re out sailing. I get it. (Pause) I don’t know. I miss you. I wish I didn’t. (Pause) I’m balling it out here. (Pause) Yeah, I’m the baller king.
I don’t have a clue who I am, where I am going or what I’ve done. It’s a meandering thing that goes out the door and comes back in. I know something about nothing and that is about all. I am fascinated for a time. People too. There is a moment. And then not. I know it is about nothing, nothing and nothing again and almost take solace in that. Not quite.
The fact is that I hate the look-at-me dissolution of our world, the babies that never grew and think people cares about their childish discoveries. That is where we have lost everything. While the barbarians culled these ones, we’ve decided to let them run the show.
The crazy-not-crazy voice of Chief Bowden in Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest shunts straight into a place we forget about because we’re scared: That ain’t me, that ain’t my face. It wasn’t even really my face then; it was just being the way I looked, the way people wanted. It don’t seem like I ever been me. I was seeing me do things that didn’t fit my face or hands, thinks like painting a picture or writing letters to somebody in a beautiful flowing hand. (140)
And defines happiness as best as any: We’d just shared the last beer and slung the empty can out the window at the stop sign and were leaning back to get the feel of the day, swimming in that kind of tasty drowsiness that comes over you after a day of going hard at something you enjoy doing – half sunburned and half drunk and keeping awake only because you wanted to savor the taste as long as you could. I noticed vaguely that I was getting so’s I could see some good in the life around me. I was feeling better than I’d remembered feeling since I was a kid, when everything was good and the land was singing kids’ poetry in me. (202)
It’s his foot. It’s not just his foot. It’s his intention. He sees me running to catch the subway. I’m going to miss it. But he swings his foot out, a big construction boot, and blocks the doors. The conductor repeatedly tries to close them, but the boot is there. And I am on.
He’s a small Latino guy, a brown construction helmet hanging from his backpack along with a level almost his height. I thank him but he says nothing. He seems indifferent. But he isn’t. I know that. He goes back to quietly talking to his friend as the train leaves the station.
I do my research and read the tweets and bios of the agents who specifically request speculative fiction. And I make my pitch. “No” is all I hear.
The biggest clunker came from an agent asking exactly for what I am writing – a generational ship off to a distant planet – and I got this form-letter response.
My Cx Trilogy pitch must be more of a scream. They need to know that the book is the future of the speculative genre. It is real. It is direct and clear. It has the voice of terror as we go straight off the cliff. In other words, it’s now or never. Now. Or never.
Your pants don’t match your jacket. And there’s something wrong with your shoes. Don’t look at me that way, you damn honky shit. I don’t have to put up with your shit. I ain’t your nigger. I ain’t my grandmother slaving for you in Brazil, you ugly motherfucker.
You chose the wrong bitch to fuck with, you know that? You got a death wish or something, fucking with me? You got satan in your head. No way I would ever fuck your disgusting white ass. Your little baby dick ain’t nothing. Just try swinging that thing beside a nigger or spick dick. And you know I wouldn’t let any of those dicks cum on my face.
You think I’m going to let you give me your slavery bullshit? You fucking with the wrong nigger, you bitch ass bitch. You going to fuck with me, I’m going fuck you up dead. You hear what I’m saying, you satan fuck ass-white bitch? I’m going to fuck you up bad.*
*The reply to me asking someone to put their mask on in the subway at 6:15 am.