Wednesday, March 30, 2005

A Murder of One

Before I dispense with this evening's post -and I'm quite aware that it's been two weeks since the last one- I'm going to relate a story about my niece, Frodo, who happens to be the funniest person I know, including myself, which is kind of sad, given that I'm in a comedy-writing class. The other day, she was writing on a piece of paper with a crayon words that were not even comprised of letters, except for perhaps the occasional accidental stumbling upon a sanskrit letter or a Japanese kanji symbol. In any case, after an extensive period of writing all of this down, she hands the piece of paper to my mother and says, "It's Spanish. Read it to me." Precocious four year-old, she is.

In any case, tonight's class delved into character and motivation. I wasn't feeling particularly funny, given my day at work, but I can't say that I wasn't able to produce at the drop of a hat. Half of the people in class are virtually incapable of spontaneous writing, which makes sense, because it's not an improv program. Good writing takes time, and editing takes a lot longer. However, in class, we have to produce immediately, given a random prompt, no matter how absurd or bland it might be. The following pieces of writing came from tonight's class, with the prompt in boldface. Basically, given the prompt, you have to write for ten minutes.

Jumping off a tall building
Bob's mother was never a firm believer in the notion of peer pressure. She never went for the "but all the other kids are doing it" excuse, stopping just shy of bein gthe mother from Carrie and saying that all the other kids were going to laugh at Bob. Bob, on the other hand, was one of those societal followers who French-rolled his blue jeans in seventh grade and touted the Pixies as the leaders of the alternative-rock revolution, despite having never heard any of their albums. Today, he watches television every night and abandons his cubicle whenever possible to talk to others by the water cooler about whatever series won the Nielsen ratings contest the night before. He has an iPod despite not owning a computer, and thinks that Microsoft is evil, though he can't elaborate on why.

Two days ago, the company Bob works for was raided by SEC agents, with regard to some sort of stock fraud in the billions of dollars range. Mister Staley, the guy over in accounting who Bob believes himself to be the good friend of, having discussed the niceties of fine dining -such as foie gras, which Bob thinks is actually finely chopped lettuce, having never seen it except written on menus- and how great herbal supplements are, though Bob doesn't even take a daily vitamin, though he does take an aspirin every day because the television says it could save his life.

Anyway, Mister Staley, Bob's good friend who forgot the last two years to invite Bob to the summer barbeque, has taken stock of his life and came to the conclusion that prison isn't for him, even for a Martha Stewart sentence, and went up tot he roof to end his life in the dramatic fashion that no one ever really does anymore, since open-casket funerals are the in-thing. But Staley doesn't care, because he's a leader, not a follower.

After lunch, Bob gets word of Staley's high-flying demise, and -despite having nothing to do with any fraud- goes up to the roof to do the same, remembering his mother's rhetorical question of if all of his friends jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, would he?

A Man Needs a McDonald's Hamburger - An exercise in motivation
Bob, seated currently in his living room, wants a McDonald's hamburger. Craves it, needs it, will die without it, because his bad cholesterol is entirely too low. He thinks, god, if not for this ankle-bracelet and detection system, I could just go out and get one. Bob decides, damn the law, which is not an outlandish thought, given his temporary incarceration and current house arrest, and he goes on the lam for that tasty bun, all-beef patty, pickles, onions, et cetera.

Once he gets out of the detection system's range, he's on the run, literally, hauling ass down the street like something out of a Will Smith film. He gets two blocks before running past a police car at a full sprint, wearing nothing but his Adidas, a t-shirt, his boxers, and the ankle bracelet. Now, all things considered, this piques the cop's interest and the spotlight is on Bob before his mind even registered that was a police car, though his attire is something he's still totally oblivious to.

He turns down an alleyway, knocks over a few garbage cans, and keeps moving, trying to slow the police car down enough to escape to the Garden of the Golden Arches. He tears his shirt on something along the way, exacerbating an earlier rip in the shirt, causing it to rip completely, so Bob pulls the shirt off.

Adidas, bracelet, boxers. Three blocks now. He can make it because the streets are virtually empty. Two blocks, what the hell time is it? One block, Bob looks at his wrist which has no watch on it, or I would have spelled that out earlier. He arrives at the door to find all of the chairs up on the tables and not even a cleaning crew to be seen. He screams in anguish, then sees a drainpipe which he believes he can shimmy up, given that he needs that hamburger and the police car's spotlight is on him again.

Up the drainpipe, but the only roof access he can find is a vent over the grill. He kicks it open and drops onto the grill, which was inadverdently left on the night before, melting his Adidas, causing him to slip to the floor and sprain his back. No shirt. No shoes. ... No service.

Back to Non-Class Writing

So during the mid-class break, I'm having a cigarette with the girl whose number I got two weeks ago, and she blurts out that she doesn't want to go out on a "date-date" with me. At this point, Marv Albert drives by in his convertible and yells, "REJECTED!" before turning down the exit-ramp of the Piper's Alley parking garage. To summarize what followed, any social outing between her and myself would now be termed as "a scam" in the Say Anything dictionary of social terms, essentially placing me only slightly higher than Timmy the Annoying Red-Haired Boy. Furthermore, the date which had been scheduled for this Thursday, which has since been reduced to being a scam, has been placed on indefinite hold, pending her finishing up some papers she has to write for her other classes.

I'm not holding my breath.

I had something else worth writing about earlier, but now it's gone. One of these days I'm going to have to sit down and write about the persistence of memory, both with and without regard to Dali. This is to say that it'll never get done, but it was a good idea at the time.

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