Someone is asking me. . .

. . .to do something I have little to no (leaning way more towards no) interest in doing.

“Oh, sorry.” I say once again. “Wednesday’s aren’t good for me.”

Frustrated, he asks, “Then what day is good for you?”

“Last Thursday. Yeah, last Thursday was a very good day for me.”

Sensitivity

I was asked to meet with a writing team who was having problems. Mainly, they’ve come to loathe one another. That happens. What starts out as a meeting of the minds ends up with bruised egos and one person believing they’re A) doing all the work B) not getting the proper credit and C) writing all the good bits.

Its funny how often its both parties who feel that way.

I read the script and its a mess. You can tell whatever collaboration they had has degraded into fighting for what they’ve written regardless of what was on the pervious page. I see little sabotages laid in to weaken the other persons character. Halfway done I was wondering why they’re continuing. This won’t be read by anyone much less purchased.

But, because someone is giving me money, I meet with them.

One of them is half an hour early. Let the games begin!

The first thing he does is hand me the newest revision. I know it pretty well so I flip through it. Pretty much looks like a total rewrite. With most of the other writers scenes, if not gone, edited. I wonder how surprised the other writer will be with this bold new rewrite?

I didn’t have to wait long because he showed up long before I was done pretending to be giving the script a very through go over. Almost immediately they both start talking. I hate that a tiny bit more than one person talking to me. I stop them quickly. I already know what I’m going to suggest. I already know they’re not going to like it. I already know I don’t give a fuck that they don’t. Its good being me sometimes.

I take all the scripts, including the rewrite, and hold them up.

“My suggestion is simple.” I drop all the scripts in the trash. Their astonishment at this is probably the first time they’ve agreed on anything for months. “One of you buy out the other as screenwriter. If the story uses any scene or character or anything from any other drafts, the person bought out will get a story by credit.” I pause to watch them battle within. First, neither will want to be bought out, no matter what the credit. Too much of their ego is tied up in it. Second, neither is willing to allow the other one to win.

“That’s it?” One of them says.

“Yes.”

“Aren’t you going to help fix the problems?” The other asks.

“I did. Its obvious you two can’t work together anymore. So why bother? Drop this project if neither is willing to give it up. Its not worth anything as it is. Its a mess and no amount of editing will fix it because neither of you are willing to accept that your vision for the script is wrong.”

“Are you taking his side?” Someone said. They’ve melded into one giant whine blob so its impossible for me to distinguish.

“No. I’m taking the scripts side.” A pretty straightforward assessment.

The blob begins to separate as I notice something. They’re both starting to cry. Not bawling but some tears are building up to lift off. I watch them cry and, honestly, its a little creepy. One of them, sure. But tag team tears? Dudes? Go write a rom-com right now while the feeling is hot!

I watch them for a few seconds and they’re still crying.

“What is wrong with you two? Are you so sensitive you cringe when someone steps on your shadow?”

Its at that question when, once again, they blob up into one giant, sniffling, crying mass.

“I guess you don’t care about art.” The blob says.

“Bring me some art next time and we’ll see.”

And with that the blob’s tears roll down their cheeks until the mass is liquefied and flows under my door and away from me.

“If only I had that power with all mankind.”

Someone comes up. . .

. . .to me asking the mood of another person. I smile, knowingly, and say,

“Partly cloudy with a chance of hate.”

A woman is. . .

. . .talking to me then she says,

“You know what the kids say?”

I wait for her to tell me as a confused look crosses her face.

“I don’t remember.”

I look at her and say,

“Yeah, I’ve heard kids say that a lot.”

A guy. . .

sitting next to me extolling the virtues of the beer he is drinking.

“But,” he says. “I only drink it because it’s Italian.”

I look at the beer and tell him that it is indeed from Belgium.

He looks it me, the beer, around the room a little before answering with,

“That’s where the shootings were, right?”

Sadly, wrong on so many levels.

People Watching

I may not like people talking to me but I like to be around people. I like to watch them. Not in your average,

“Look at that weirdo! I’m glad he’s not sitting next to me. What’s he wearing? A couch cover as a muumuu?”

Anyone can do that. That’s making general observations and tearing someone down for the sake of it. Did they notice the caked on plaster over his cuticles and the fine puff of plaster dust that floated off the arm of his shirt when he cuts into his meal? What about his equally off beat looking companion? Did they notice the clay under his fingernails with tiny fresh and many long healed burns on his hands? Did they hear them talking to the bartender about the latest sculptures they sold? No, they were too busy talking about the obvious to pay attention something like that.

Its why I’d rather be off on the edges watching. Its easier to observe than when someone is monopolizing your attention with talk. My attention was drawn to a woman who looked like a Shar-Pei drag queen. Her hands like crepe paper streamers. Her voice the consistency of nails rolling in a coffee can. She was grinding on about some slight or another when I noticed she was wearing a gold and diamond necklace that had to reside in the neighborhood well over ten grand. The loose, spinning, ill fitting rings on her tree branch fingers lived in the same monetary vicinity. I was surprised her crinkled hands could lift their weight.

When she left, getting into her brand spanking new BMW, the bartender told me her husband died over the winter leaving her more money to add to the millions her five other dead husbands left her. She lives in beachside apartment buildings (two, one north and one in Florida as far as it was known) where her hobby was buying apartments as they became available. But only on the top floor.

“She got back from Florida a couple of weeks ago. She said she recently met a fellow down there.”

A paper mache black widow.

Then there was a mid-thirties couple next to me. I couldn’t hear what they were talking about but their body language said they were trying to get into each other. I could tell the guy was dressed in what he thought looked good when he was 25. The woman didn’t work as hard to appoint herself but she had her cards on the table. Her jewelry was also real but not in the area code of the black widow.

At first their voices commingled. Connecting. For the first hour they were next to me he was polite, attentive, listened. Then whatever he was drinking hit him and it all changed. The effects of drunk personality is different for everyone. Some become quiet, some testy, some fight, some talk to themselves, some to others. This guy became loquacious, braggadocios, obnoxious. A non-stop dropper of syntax and syllables, parables and paragraphs.

The louder he got the more people he tried to draw into their private thing. He was going to show her he knew how to get a party started. But it was obvious what he was turning into a sextet she would have much preferred to keep a duo. But it was a losing battle. He was on his way to building a drum and bugle corp.

While he was working the horn section she turned her head and looked at me. She shook her head was all she said. Then she slowly smiled figuring out more in the last ten minutes than she had in the previous hour. I looked at her and she correctly read my expression.

“He sure talked his way out of a blow job, didn’t he?”

“Forever.” She said laughing and tossing her phone into her purse.

He didn’t even notice when she left the bar.

And the band played on.

A man who. . .

. . .pontificates much longer than should be allowed was doing his thing. After allowing him to palaver way past its expiration date I leaned close to him and sniffed his head.

He back off, alarmed, as one would be and said,

“What are you doing?”

Calmly I lean back and say, “Seeing if your head smelled like shit because its so far up your ass it should.”