Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sooner or later in life, the things you love you lose...

We've all suffered loss (or will). I dare say I've been lucky enough to either have dodged the worst or been mostly unaffected by it. When I was fifteen, my grandpa George died. It didn't hit me until later, as I was bored and tooling around on the moped he'd given me, that he was really gone. I turned down a side street headed for his house at the end of the lane. I stopped when I saw his empty house. And the feeling hit me - he was gone, really gone. It was a vaguely empty ache in my chest. Only his memory remained with me.

Less than a year ago, our black lab Sherman died, tragically. If you've befriended a dog or cat, you understand the depth of grief that sweeps in at their loss. Sherman was a gentle animal, and was a solid and loving companion to Jen, me, and our boys.

An old friend found me on a social network site a while back, and we corresponded occasionally. She'd been battling advanced ovarian cancer for quite a few years. I remembered her as young, vibrant, full of life. She'd broadened my musical horizons in those days we used to hang out. We had so much time on our hands... Certain songs bring back those memories of her smiles in such vivid details. She also kept a blog where she detailed her ongoing struggle for life. She wanted children fiercely, but was unable to and what went unspoken between us was that she and her husband chose not to adopt knowing where her battle would take her. Immersed in my own life, I realized one day I'd not heard from her for too long. Hesitant, I checked her Facebook page in April to find an online memorial from several of her friends. That same ache struck deeply again, despite my separation from her by time and distance.

And now this... I feel as though I should have been prepared for this. One of my longest and dearest friends finally revealed that his life-long battle with his genetic disease is drawing to a close. He'd always been very private, and with rare exception flatly refused to discuss his health with anyone. All I knew was that whatever was going on, he wasn't letting it stop him from anything he wanted to do. And he's done just that. Beyond doubt, his life is something to be celebrated. It became so easy to believe that he'd beaten the odds, he'd cheated Death. I joked that we'd be toothless old men holding wheelchair races in some old-age home somewhere. He laughed along, and sometimes I wondered at the way he chuckled.

I see now, with painful clarity, that all along he lived with a deep understanding of his own mortality. I thought I understood mine too. I couldn't have been more wrong. At this moment, I feel overwhelmed with a dread of that returning ache. Only this time it won't be vague. He's shared too many of the important points of my life for me to be able to believe I could be whole without him.

He asked me for space, for continued privacy. At first, I rejected the notion entirely. It still cuts across the very fiber of my being. But I am trying to honor what he wants. I find that time alone hurts, as my thoughts return to what he's going through. This is the first time I've written here about something that's impacted me so deeply. This pain has to go somewhere else, rather than circulate through my system repeatedly.

Though I'd consider myself among the ranks of the heathen unbelievers, I desperately want to believe in God simply so that I can bellow my rage at him for his poor judgment. Sound and fury... there's no-one to hear. The stars do not move for man.

Strangely, sometimes when my son Nick smiles at me I see my grandpa in his features. The crook in his smile, the beam in his eyes. It hurts and is heartening at the same time. As if the universe is reminding me that all things are cyclic. I want to believe, I really do.

If this ordeal is teaching me anything, it is the value of time well-spent. Something else I thought I knew only to begin re-learning it again. I can't imagine how I'd cope without my family and friends. You've got the love I need to see me through.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The script I promised...

Here's the script I promised earlier. The footage has been shot as well. This was a collaborative effort between me and The_GM. Let us know what you think, and/or if you're able to tell who wrote what... :-)



Asaraludu & The_GM



Vincenzo stands inside the entrance to the funeral home. He’s dressed in a dark suit. At his right is Gino, also dressed in dark suit. Both are greeting guests who come into the home. Behind Gino and Vincenzo are several of Vincenzo’s men, milling about. Mourner 1 approaches after viewing Bella’s body and placing a single white rose onto the casket, a thirty-something woman in a black dress.


She’s with God now.


Thank you for coming. Buttana! Tagliati di facchi!

Vincenzo speaks the last part QUIETLY yet VENEMOUSLY as Mourner 1 turns away. The line thins, and Gino and Vincenzo’s men move away. The camera focuses in on Gino and Vincenzo. Vincenzo turns to Gino, his face filled with ANGUISH.


Gino? Filio

Gino raises his hand and says:



Gino turns and starts walking for the restroom.


I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.

Gino turns back briefly, his face SERENE but his voice dripping with SARCASM.


Why would you be? It’s the life you chose for me.


Me?! This is the life you chose for her!

Gino’s bodyguard Mick follows him to the restroom, standing outside.


Excusing himself from his bodyguard Mick, Gino enters the restroom, locking the door once inside. He takes a deep breath and sighs deeply. After splashing some water on his face and toweling off, he draws his pistol and places it next to the sink. Then he stares at his reflection in the mirror for long moments, his face IMPASSIVE. Slowly his gaze travels upward and his shoulders begin to shake as he starts SOBBING silently. His hands grip the sink rim to steady himself, but he loses control as he attempts to sit down on the toilet seat and instead falls to the floor.

Outside the restroom door:



Gino sits there for several more moments, silently wracked with sobs. He controls his breathing, and with a TREMBLING hand reaches for the pistol. Once he grips it, the trembling stops. Gino closes his eyes as he brings the barrel to his temple?/chin?/mouth? and lets out a DEEP BREATH.


Gino begins to slowly squeeze the trigger. Just before the weapon is about to go off, Mick raps sharply on the door.


Boss! You need to get out here.

Gino inhales sharply and opens his eyes quickly. Through the door:


Gimme a goddamned second!

Gino tucks the pistol back in his pants and tries to compose himself. He quickly flushes the toilet, unlocks the door, and walks back toward Vincenzo.


Joey and Pattie stand before the casket paying respects as other mourners come and go. On top of the casket is a framed photograph of the deceased. Joey picks it up, FROWNING at it as he scrutinizes the picture.


She reminds me of somebody.

Pattie looks disinterested, staring out into the pews.




Remember, that girl from Saint Innocent?


That was before my time…

Joey interrupts, growing more excited.


Her name was Nadya or some shit. Maybe Nikki. I dunno. Anyways, that girl looked kinda like Bella.


Don’t let the old man hear you say that shit.

Joey lowers his voice a bit.


Ever tell you about that?

Pattie shakes his head no.


So that bastard Latimir had been causing trouble. Same old shit, ya know? The old man, he’d had enough. So we were gonna shake things up a bit. Make a statement, ya know?




So we head over to their territory when the old man says,

Joey imitates Vincenzo’s RASPY voice


“Stop the car!”

Pattie chuckles a bit as Joey continues.


So Gino, he pulls right in front of Saint Innocent. The Russians were having some kinda ceremony, like a confirmation or some shit, I dunno. But they’re all comin’ outta the church and Vincenzo bails from the car. I was right behind him. It was my first job with the old man.

Pattie’s eyebrows raise.


At a fuckin’ church, Joey? Are you serious?

Pattie is incredulous, but still laughing. Joey shrugs and smiles.


So the shit’s goin’ down, lead flying everywhere and all the sudden I see a sniper out the corner of my eye, hiding behind a pillar, all commando and shit. I take my shot and split that bastard right between the eyes. ‘Cept it ain’t no sniper.

Pattie’s eyes widen in CONCERN.


It was the girl?!

Joey laughs and shakes his head.


Even worse. It was the Virgin Mary. Can you believe that shit? I ventilated the fucking Virgin Mary.

Both laugh. Pattie continues to laugh as he says


You’re going to Hell for that.

Joey falls silent and places the photo back on the casket. He looks Pattie dead in the eye. His voice is SERIOUS.


We’re all going to Hell, Pattie. And it ain’t because we shot up some fuckin’ statue.

Pattie falls silent and looks UNCOMFORTABLE. Joey gives the casket a friendly pat.


Her name was Nina. She got caught in the crossfire. Just like Bella.

CUT SCENE 2 – THE RUSSIAN ENTRY. As Gino walks toward the restroom, Vincenzo works his mouth is if say something, then composes himself. He turns his attention to the main entry, where Latimir enters, small BOX in hand, Vasili right behind, Vladislav and Ghost stepping to flank the doors. Sensing the threat, Vincenzo’s men step up around him. Latimir approaches Vincenzo, who reflexively proffers his hand. Latimir shakes it, holding his grip and smiling while he speaks.


Condolences, Don Liota. Eez terrible to lose one so… eennocent. I KNOW EXACTLY how you feel.

Latimir SLOWLY lifts his hands and displays the BOX. THE TENSION MOUNTS. He offers it to Vincenzo, who looks at it quizzically. He takes it from Latimir’s hand, who says:


Thees eez for YOU and YOURS… from ME and MINE.

Latimir nods his head and turns back toward the door. Joey and Pattie step up behind Vincenzo, and Pattie gives Vasili a HARD LOOK. Vasili returns the look with a MANIACAL GRIN, eyes WILD, before falling into step behind Latimir. As the two leave, Vladislav and Ghost close in behind the both of them.

After watching them exit, Vincenzo notices the BOX in his hand again and passes it to Joey. Joey drops the BOX, and it spills open revealing a spent SHELL casing. Everyone stares at it. A SMALL SOUND (grunt/wheeze?) escapes Vincenzo. Gino and Mick approach, pressing into the circle around the SHELL. The SHELL becomes like a singularity, from which its gravity no one can escape.


The Russians did this.

Gino reaches down and takes the SHELL. All eyes follow it. His hand closes around it tightly, his face a mask of singular PURPOSE.



Monday, June 29, 2009

The Accountant

My friend Nick is an aspiring young filmmaker who has been pouring quite a bit of his talent into a project he calls "The Accountant". It's about a young accountant that gets wrapped up with the Italian and Russian crime syndicates, and an ensuing vendetta.

Recently he not only asked me to play a role in the film, but also to write a dramatic funeral scene for part 3 of the film. I may even post the script out here, once completed (if Nick approves).

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Generic Goodbye Letter

Dear [Insert Name Here]:
I fear this may be our last communiqué.

What started out as a harmless little cold last week has manifested into a full out frontal assault of Germ Warfare vs My Immune System. The ImSys team is currently getting its ass kicked, solidly. Give a fucking microbe an inch and they take a mile.

I knew I was in for it yesterday at about noon. I'd had the sniffles since Thursday. In my usual 'live and let live' paradigm, I figured there was enough room in my sinus cavity for me and The Germs (tm) to coexist peacefully enough. But by Friday morning, the order to Climb Mount Fujimori was issued, and the little bastards made a Cannonball Run for my lungs. I knew the laissez faire policy I’d previously held dear had gone horribly awry when my back started to ache, but the clincher was when my lungs started to itch. The Germ Army was setting an occupying force that even Donnie Rumsfeld would have been hard pressed to do much about. I immediately set medicinal sanctions in place and enlisted the help of some mercenary Antibiotics.

Let me tell you something about the Pill Politic. While there's no doubt they can oust the occupying forces, they're slow to get going and they're really god damn expensive. That, and they don't care much what others think of them, as they're pretty bitter going down. Regardless, they are likely the only thing standing between me and utter annihilation at the cruel hands of Bacterium Overlords. It's a small price to pay, I suppose, for the parting damage they cause as they take leave in my guts.

I hope this missive finds you well as I lie critically wounded in the field of battle. Should I not make it, please be sure to tell my wife that I love her.

Best Regards, and a wheezing cough.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The fingers united can never be defeated by the stark white document template

Some folks spend lifetimes striving for that bit of Taoist perfection known as wu wei, or “without effort” – which is interesting in that the act itself of striving is counter-intuitive to the seeker’s path. Writing, for me, is usually accompanied by much wailing and gnashing of teeth. It’s not so much a struggle with vocabulary as it is with impetus. I do not believe that others care to listen to me.

And so I’d look for material that grabs people’s interest. But the truth seems to be that, much like situational comedy, the material matters less than the delivery itself. Pacing, voice, and wit. How does one work on those? Write. Write. Continue writing. How does the master comedian continue to be funny when playing off the crowd, or when his shtick runs out? I contend that he’s not trying to be funny – he just is.

I read so much Lovecraft that I could talk my way around a subject for three pages without once getting the reader to look AT IT. Not that I’ll say I had Howard’s particular je ne sais quoi. But working to develop your own voice – that’s another matter. Or is it? Because you’ve always had your own voice, and if you’ve ever been able to attract others to listen to your stories, if you’ve ever evoked an emotional response from another human being, then it’s not really hard work, is it? What about this subject matter? It’s dry, boring shit, isn’t it? Or maybe it’s not – I don’t give a fuck. But I’m OK writing it because I decided to just WRITE.

Popular thought indicates that writer’s block can be a chronic problem, brought on by depression and anxiety. No shit? It’s chronic in the same way that my body hurts when I wake up because I don’t exercise enough and have let my muscles atrophy. If I galvanize myself to action, by whatever motivation works for me, I effectively set foot on a path, beginning a journey. Where to? I’m not one to fret over the destination anymore. The beauty is in the motion.

The ancient Greeks treated the human form as godlike and believed a human perfected was beautiful, intelligent, and in touch with the gods (I’ll replace with “in touch with their inner being or spirituality”). Do I think that if I become Jim Jupiter that my writing will improve. Actually, I do.

So where’s this going? How will your investment of time pay off if you continue to read through to the end of this little stream of semi-consciousness? It won’t. There’s no moment of lucidity here – no revelations about breaking down any barriers. Could it be there ARE no revelations? And maybe the barriers that block us from true creativity are only constructs we place before ourselves because we fear our own excellence. And maybe I’m a Chinese jet pilot.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Asaraludu has been assigned a 500 word short. It is to appear in this space by Friday, March 6th - no later than midnight.

Can he find the strength to produce? Will the pressure to perform reduce his muse to nothing more than a curled up mess of hot tears and trembling limbs? Has he the tenacity to bear the ever so sweet fruit of creative prose for all to enjoy?

We shall see.

Let the games begin...

Almost True

So, I was minding my own perfectly good business on the way to an afternoon appointment for a major job. It’s the sort of gig that guarantees The GM can continue to pay bills through the following spring . In other words, the meeting was Important. I wasn’t worried though. I was dressed to the nines, feeling confident, and in all regards I was good to go.

What a gorgeous fall day! The fragrant breeze carried bird song and a few lazy clouds across the sky. I was traversing a country highway in my trusty Sante Fe, cranking a little Dre with the top dropped down and the sunshine shining. As the wind raced through my silky golden tresses, I couldn’t help but muse that it was one of those kinds of days when everything is so perfect you feel invincible. Nothing, and I do mean NOTHING could rob me of my confidence, my rock solid self assurance, dare I say of that certain ‘joo no say kwa’ of mine that many attempt to imitate, but few can carry off.

Well, when you throw down a challenge like that, sometimes the Universe feels obliged to respond.

Out of nowhere, something struck me in the face at 65 MPH. Ow! My brain didn’t even have time to fully process the question, “What the fuck!?!?” before my hands jerked the wheel. I crossed into the wrong lane, weaving like Lindsey Lohan on a coke fueled bender. Suddenly the ‘what’ became painfully apparent. You see, a kamikaze bee flew in the window, smacked me in the face, and fell down the front of my shirt into my bra. Outraged by the indignity of going from pollinating flowers (or whatever the fuck it is bees do in the fall) to a sudden imprisonment of cleavage, it began to sting the ever living shit out of my femininity. OWWWW!!!!

Ah, that the story would end there.

As I am some times known to do, I happened to have a road smoke lit. Well, in the confusion of the bee tragedy, I dropped the damn ciggie into my lap. Unfortunately for me, I was wearing a pair of summer slacks that must have been made out of one part candle wicking threads and five parts propane fuel accelerant. The cherry sparked off what seemed at the time to be a conflagration in my crotch.


Like a smart ass, some calm part of my brain delivered a line from that old PSA commercial, “Smoking Kills.” Thanks, Mr. Subconscious. Could we maybe save the lecture for later, please?

But the story doesn't end there.

I weave back across the road, narrowly missing the car traveling behind me as I desperately sought the shoulder. Some bitch honks at me. Hey, I’m getting stabbed, being burnt, and frankly, I got no time for a turn signal, lady.

I bail out of the truck, one hand up my shirt, and the other down my pants, wriggling around like I was in some sort of epileptic Dance, Dance Revolution tourney. I relieve myself of the bee, and of the cigarette. Yeah, there’s a hole in my slacks, and my tit hurts, but I emerged victoriously alive. Take that, Gods of Fate! In Yo Face!

It’s then that I realize the chick I almost ran off the road has pulled over to see if I’m okay. Nothing like a good Samaritan, right? I go to wave them off, and it’s then that I realize the concerned citizen is none other than my 2’o clock appointment.

“Um, is everything okay?” she asks.


Moral of the story? Smoking kills and bees are assholes.