Wednesday, July 28, 2004

I am seeing this on a screen.  A gent is moving through a formal country club arena.  I see it's a wedding shower.  He sits at one of a long row of chairs set up before a huge running bulletin board which holds thousands of gold-lettered cards.  He picks one.  We read it.  It tells us the suggested gift for Bunnie and Craig is valued at $1,200.  He begins to write upon it.  A smiling lady in sparkling gown reaches over his shoulder and date-stamps the card.  This means he should arrange that the item be sent to the happy couple within two days.
CUT TO:  Jaime is a midget, say four foot five.  He is standing in a spacious library in smoking jacket.  It's his own estate, we guess.  He is smiling, reading the card we've just seen at the shower.  We can read it.
"The object you have borrowed and which now sits in your library would be a perfect gift for one very deserving young lady on first  embarking on those stormy seas aboard the Queen Mary.  Brother Jack."
Jaime laughs.  He reaches behind him and retrieves a golden statuette of a goddess from the shelf.  Jaime is not spanish.  He drops the object into the trash.
CUT TO: the trash truck, grinding up a stately circular drive in the hour before dawn.  The cab...Brother Jack we remember from the first scene jumps into the passenger seat with a garbage bag.  The driver looks at him.  They are both dressed in dustman coveralls.
"Now, Eddie, I paid a lot for this ride, I'm entitled to a souvenir or two."
CUT TO: Jack's apartment.  He is wiping the statuette we saw in the second scene.  He is chuckling.  He places it on a shelf.  Mutters to himself.
"Jaime, old pard, you must remember no one can be trusted in these harsh times."
Jack walks over to the decanter at a sideboard, pours himself a drink, returns to sit in his chair behind his desk.  He continues to chuckle.
We notice the statuette is no longer on the shelf behind him where he left it.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

A movie star had lost his standing.  He was telling all about it on some talk show.  Yes, yes, it was sudden, and terrible, and what must I do now?

He was unprepossessing; short, dumpy, balding, inarticulate.  He had been paid two million a year, now he is unemployed.

He was a hand actor.  Every closeup trick on the books you've seen on the screen, from shuffling cards to juggling to rolling a coin through his fingers to twirling a drumstick, his hands.  He kept them perfectly manicured always and bathed them in mud flown in from Borneo and had a special plastic surgeon to prevent aging in his hands only.  The rest of him had gone the way time is, but not his hands.

Until the arthritis.  Now he cannot even hold a deck of cards.  He seems perfectly distraught about it, and the host seems empathetic, and there is that moany mass commentary from the studio audience to indicate commisseration.

[I wake up from this one with an ache in my own right hand, the one I've been having some trouble with since Scoob pulled the ligament out with a portion of the bone when I tried to restrain his one hundred twenty pounds of irrepressible muscle some two months back.]


Monday, July 12, 2004

A commercial features two gladiator cartoon characters dancing around with short blades and mini-tunics. The weapons are highlighted - they're actually letter openers.

Letter openers. There is a huge advertising campaign to sell letter openers.

An envelope about waist high to Woody Allen is created. It is longer than average. In fact, it stretches from Manhattan to Washington DC!

Woody Allen is hired as the spokesman for the letter opener company. As a gimmick, he will be seen opening the walking every step of the way from New York to DC with one of the company letter openers inserted at the upper fold of the world's longest envelope. Just ripping the paper with the opener as he ambles along.

TV spots show Woody crossing the Washington Bridge. Reporters ask him questions.

Reporter: Why are you doing this?

Woody: This country just is not - open enough.

Reporter: What's in the envelope?

Woody: Well, you never know that until you have it open, now, do you?


It seems the projects are failures. There were two rival films, and I wrote the screenplays for both. Somehow I was acceptable to both parties. The principals of one show hand me bills, mostly dollars, to compensate me for my time. One of them gives me a twenty. Oh, no, really, I cannot accept this! But he insists, will not accept it back.

There are auditors now. They stand around, smiling. Hovering. They ask to see the screenplays. I give them over. They seem so very puny now. I say, "This one took me a whole hour and a half!" I'm apologizing for the sparse scripts in advance, as I do not believe the review will reflect much credit on me.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

I am a well-established member of the underground- an anthropologist, in fact, with an interest in Native American cultures. I have discovered and identified an authentic tribe, related to certain southwest desert Indian families but distinct from each of them as well, and I'm very excited about that.

I do not divulge their location, but I freely observe their habits and customs. They have only recently come to occupy certain unmapped Anasazi cliffdwellings I have known of for some time. To visit them, I do much hiking along great vistas so I can tell if anyone follows me; I can turn and look back clear to the horizon.

Yes, yes, I see elements of the Modoc in their quaint courtship, and the Navajo in their use of beads, and that's Cheyenne pottery, sure enough. I publish in Native Review and present papers to learned societies, even testify in state legislative hearings, once spontaneously leaping up to mime one of their wardances before an astonished room full of indignataries.

Eventually, the Bureau of Indian Affairs grants status to the newly discovered subset, although no outsider but me has ever observed them. I am very pleased. I present the charter to the elders and explain to them what it means. I must use a contrived sign language because I have yet to translate their own speech.

They show no interest at all, shrug, smile, gaze into the campfire.

I go away on other business and am gone for over a year. I make another visit out of curiosity.

There is a huge casino going up! They have telephones now, and they are engaged with BIA over subsidies. They speak Spanglish. Roads are coming in. Their customs now are not so quaint, but comprise drinking and fighting.

I have been had. These "Indians" are all illegal immigrants from Oaxaca. They have discovered a way to sort of sidestep the usual slave labor in LA sweatshops. With recognition as a Sacred Nation, they not only see checks from the federals but they may operate a fantastically profitable gaming license tax-free!

The question is, do I acknowledge my error and sink my professional reputation forever?

Or do I remain quiet and allow all concerned to prosper?

It's a question that occupies me for a full two minutes...