Preface:  I wrote this piece a while back, and really had no direction or purpose to lead the overall narrative.  I merely wrote what was comfortable for the moment.  Sadly though, this piece is a little rough around the edges, but consider the grammatical errors as author’s will and judge the content, rather than the mechanics.  However, I really did enjoy this one, and the ending seemed tacked on so I omitted it–I think it reads better for it.  I also was unable to come up with a suitable title, so for the moment it’ll simply be labeled as “Untitled.”  But, if you have any suggestions, or something jumps out at you while reading it, please feel free to suggest something.  I might eventually rework this and write an adequate ending, but till then just enjoy the ride!  Hopefully you like the atmosphere and imagery, and as always feel free to critique.

He walked briskly in the night, gandering as he gaggled across the sturdily built bridge.  The moon hung high, and the stars shimmered in unison like a child whimsically toying with a flashlight beneath a sheet.  Elliot was not fearful, or in a hurry, but his feet and his heart wanted him at his destination.  He had several blocks to go, but he observed and absorbed his surroundings with taught fervor.

There was an old man partially lit in the lamp that lay sunken in the shadows.  His mast was a long wooden pipe that could only be distinguished by the slow inhales and synchronic puffs, as smoke wafted above the stoop.  The man grinned a crooked grin as Elliot weaved onwards in an equally crooked fashion.

Beyond the old man’s resting place nestled a cat on the nearby roof.  He lay between the gutter and the top rail, and his eyes were aglow and his tail twitched irritatedly as if to say, “Leave before I scrap and howl.”  Elliot smirked at the sudden revelation that the roof was tin.  His own humor goaded him further, and before long he was at his destination—he was at the place where everyone knew his name.

The loudness of people cheering and clinking glass could be heard out front, and just as the wind began to carry the hundred year old sign into a sway Elliot stepped through the massive door frame.

As his eyes adjusted to the new lights and the clinks stopped as all the stools of the house pivoted toward him he bellowed in response, “It is I!” and the whole establishment went up in a cheer!  Before he could even find a stool at the bar a vodka on the rocks was served.

“You can smell the freedom with every wisp,” he whispered to the nearest patron.

“Ah, what you smell is your next novel my friend,” replied the man, “after all you do your best when your drunk!”

And, at that remark the bar went up in a roar even larger than the first!

“Bah, you don’t know me too well ye old snark.”

“I know you better than most and pray tell would you call your best friend a snark?  That’s just unkind!”

Another round of laughs erupted from the fiendish bartends.

“Thomas is that you?”

“It looks like you put on the goggles early tonight Elliot!  Hopefully you didn’t mount a stray without recollection?  Remember the last one—I thought you had stumbled into a zoo!  I had to pry her off of you.”

There was no laughter this time.  Elliot’s face suddenly became very taciturn.  He looked at Thomas–eye to eye, like a man killing his first beast.  At that moment, he let his now empty glass adrift and just about the time a full one reached his hand he burst out laughing along with everyone else.

“God, I can’t even remember the tits on her!” and that elicited a much hardier laugh than all the others combined.

The hours waned, and even though the bar was closed many men and women still laughed and cried as their old war stories unfolded into the sunrise.  In the wee hours of the morrow Thomas and Elliot stumbled arm and arm into the cobblestone incoherently mumbling to one another about the tits on that one!  There was always a laugh to be found in a drunken tale of lust and crime.

They staggered and yammered past the cat on the roof and a stoop that now stood empty.  As the blocks faded into memory, like the first drink had many hours ago, they found their bearings and plodded back to Elliot’s home.  Thomas hiccupped like an old cartoon character as he bid his friend farewell.  He staggered back down the street towards the tavern that he owned.

Elliot ambled across the gangplank into his floating home and promptly plopped face-down into the double that was coated in pages of his manuscript.  His snores matched the soft laps of the water against the old boat and just as quickly as the sun had risen above the hills in the distance it sunk into the waters on the other side.



Hesher” with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Devin Brochu, Rainn Wilson, Piper Laurie, and Natalie Portman

Directed by Spencer Susser

“Hesher” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in early 2010, but it did not hit theaters Stateside till mid-2011.  Unfortunately, because of the slip in release dates, I nearly missed a superb film!  Had I not caught a trailer for it on another indie, it would have most likely ended up in the void.  Luckily for me, Amazon.com carries the title for a scant $1.99 to rent.

“Hesher” is an oddball film to say the least, and it will not be for everyone.  But, if you are naturally geared towards low-key, unique movies that everyone else seems to miss, then this is the flick for you.

“Hesher” follows T.J. (Devin Brochu) as the world proverbially crumbles around him.  After losing his mother in a terrible car accident, T.J. and his father naturally fall into a deep depression, whilst they try to grapple with a world without their mother/wife.  The talented Rainn Wilson plays T.J.’s father, and I have to say it is absolutely fantastic to see a more comedic actor flex his acting chops in a more serious role.  Paul tries to be there for T.J. when he can, but because of his state of mind he does not possesses the will to properly take care of his grieving son.  To pick up the slack T.J.’s slightly scatterbrained grandmother, Madeleine (Piper Laurie) tries to step and take care of both her mournful boys.

And, even though Madeleine is a tad absent-minded, she is trying her hardest to be the grounding rod for T.J. and Paul.  She understands the heartbreak that they are experiencing, and she desperately tries make them realize all that they have around them—which includes her.  Unfortunately, the two are in such a deep state of despair that neither one realizes the importance of their extended family until it is too late.

Hesher enters here.

The name of the film, “Hesher,” is in reference to Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s eponymously named character, Hesher.  In lame man’s terms, Hesher acts as a sort of insane, rocker fairy tale character whose sole purpose is show T.J. and his father the importance of living.  Seemingly out of nowhere, Hesher comes crashing into their lives, sending T.J. and his family on a whirlwind course for better, and sometimes for worse.  He is rash and seemingly crazy, but through a series of misfortunes Hesher teaches both T.J. and Paul an important life lesson.

Here is a brief recount of the craziness that ensues in Hesher’s presence:

He torches a sports car, hits T.J. with his van, tells several inappropriate stories as anecdotes about life, throws a barbecue and numerous other garden objects into a stranger’s swimming pool, and lights a springboard on fire while diving into pool loudly asking, “R2 to shut down all the trash compactors.”

All in all, this is just a small part of the madness that Hesher brings to the table, but in the end Gordon-Levitt’s brash character has a point about life. And, at times Hesher doesn’t even realize that he does—he’s just living day-to-day.

In a sort of side tale that stems out of the relationship between T.J. and a reoccurring bully of his Natalie Portman is introduced as the ingénue, Nicole.  Nicole is the wayward, do-gooder who just feels like life is constantly kicking her down, but as her life becomes increasingly intermingled with T.J. and Hesher’s an odd friendship develops between the three that inevitably helps all of them.

Overall, the tone is fairly dark throughout the film, and can be easily described as a ‘black comedy.’  The movie deals heavily with loss, depression, and addiction, but as the film ebbs and flows with Hesher at the forefront of progress it begins to unfold more as modern fairy tale and not the typical Greek or Shakespearean tragedy.

This film will not be for everyone.  It can be brash and inappropriate, but in good conscience I can’t not recommend this film.  It is truly creative and fresh.  Personally, I would have loved to write a character like Hesher—it must have been a blast to write.  Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays him excellently and is the star of the show.  He really steals the spotlight in this one.

Click here for more movie reviews found in the ‘Flick It’ section of this blog!

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Comic Books, Scripts, Short Stories, and School

The last couple of weeks haven’t been hectic per se, but they’ve definitely been busy.  My girlfriend and I are huge comic book nerds and we started off our ‘busyness’ by attending the Spokane Comicon.  Besides having the opportunity to meet all of the artists and writers we were able to get a small group together and go with several of our friends, which made it all that much more enjoyable.  My favorite part of the con was meeting one of the current Green Lantern artists, Tyler Kirkham.  I am a huge Green Lantern fan, and with DC Comics relaunching their entire continuity last September, Green Lantern and the New Guardians has been one of my favorite runs.  Kirkham was laid back, and more than willing to chat about his work.  I ended buying a print from him (featured left) as well as having several comics signed by him.  I had a great time!  I found some gems, got to hangout with my girlfriend and our friends, and I had the privilege of meeting many talented artists.

In general, May is always a big month for comics.  DC and Marvel usually start their big summer events whilst also laying out a plethora of announcements concerning future arcs.  My work for the Examiner as well as my comic book blog, The Martian Manhunter, can best be described as:  swamped.  DC has a stellar Batman crossover currently running titled, “Night of the Owls,” and Marvel’s “Avengers vs. X-Men” has been a great romp into the mano y mano, brawl territory.  DC also decided to release six new number ones this month to fill-in their six cancellations, which coincidentally corresponds with Valiant Entertainment reformation and release of “X-O Manowar,” their first comic in years.  Needless to say, it has been a busy month for Examiner articles and reviews; and even with June around the corner it looks like the flow won’t be slowing for a while.  “Before Watchmen” is closely looming and if the hype holds true it’s going to be big, and it’s going to be spectacular.  I already put a down-payment on the six-month long series.

As well as participating in the loads of comic book goodness, one of my friends and I have been working on writing a television sitcom.  We’ve been getting together at least once or twice a week to brainstorm and pen the first season of a retailed centered comedy.  We’ve finally wrapped up the pilot, and have been working on the overarching plotline that’ll cover the entirety of the season.  So far it has been a blast.  I’ve never co-written anything before, so it’s been a new experience through-and-through.

Riverside State Park and we discussed possible plotlines, and I think I finally have a ‘solid’ story nailed down.  Hopefully, I’ll crack into it tonight or tomorrow, and I get some words a streamin’.  The goal is to have a 20,000 or so word count that I can publish through Amazon to take advantage of their exclusivity perks.  I want to combine a James Bond-esque character (more anti-hero than not) with classic 1950’s science fiction and the cheesiness of 1970’s science fiction films.  It’ll be silly and over the top, but with any sort of luck…well-written and intriguing.

Also, as apart of my larger life goals, I’ve finally decided that this coming fall would be an appropriate time to return to school, so that I can wrap up my bachelor’s degree (and subsequent master’s) in creative writing.  I’ve had a couple hang-ups due to my hiatus, but in the plus column I did receive a $1,000 scholarship for an essay I did on the importance of unions upon the middle class.  Every little bit helps, and it definitely serves as a nice little ego boost for something that has truthfully been quite difficult for me to return to.

Well, that is a couple moments in the life of a twenty-something.  What’s been keeping you busy?  Work, play…life in general?

Liquid Laughter

A San Francisco socialite caught in the rain dubiously grinned and threw her crimson coat to the left leaning winds. She laughed and held her palms to the sky, and the little dust centered droplets struck her golden locks as innumerable acts of eternal defiance.  She kicked up her spirits and dug her heels into a nearby bar to partake in even more spirits.  With friends around, she laughed and cried so hard that her muscles ached for days.  A whiskey and pepper is also she asked for and the handsome bartender was always more than happy to oblige.  It was a night to remember.

The bay glistened in with the reflection of the moon and the rain hardened and ebbed like the lunar tides—always contracting and blissfully reacting to its carnal urges.  The red-heeled woman followed suit and fell backwards into a waiting pool only conceived by a deity awaiting her fall.  She collapsed into the still sea.  Flashes of red emanated from her.  She glowed.  The onlookers watched a moment nestled within another moment—all in slow motion.  The VCR hit play as she bobbed back and everyone cheered at her laughter, held a beer in salute, and dived into the infinity with her.  It was evening destined to be heavenly and on a level only imagined by prophetic poets.  They scribble away trying to capture a scene that could only be captured by the human experience.  No amount of skill or technology could replicate the night that began in rain and ended in liquid laughter.