Monday, December 31, 2012

Django Unchained: Once Upon A Time In The South…

When I was one of the lucky souls to read the lengthy, powerful script of Quentin Tarantino's eighth film, "Django Unchained", I came away from it with the query: "Why the **** this script wasn't produced earlier?" Maybe the notion of an African slave-cum-bounty hunter, pre-Civil War, was controversial. Alas, I waited, and I'm glad I did. Damn glad.

The year's 1858, and slavery's thriving in America like a virus. However, eccentric German dentist/manhunter King Schultz (delightful Oscar winner Christoph Waltz from Tarantino's previous work "Inglorious Basterds") decides to break the status quo by liberating African slave (grim but smooth Jamie Foxx of "Ray") during a transport. Django helps Schultz on pointing out a trio of wanted siblings and, in return, Schultz train Django in the manhunting trade while assisting in the liberation of his wife, the German-literate Broomhilda Von Shaft (cherub-like Kerry Washington, also of "Ray" and lead in the political TV drama, "Scandal") from the clutches of lecherous and decadent plantation owner Calvin Candie (ambitiously vile Leonardo DiCaprio of "The Departed" and "Titanic"). However, Candie's vet "house negro" Stephen (Tarantino chum and Oscar nominee Samuel L. Jackson in ogrish-like makeup) gets wise to the heroic duo's mandigo-purchasing scam and, like in any Tarantino opus, hell and a half breaks loose.

But unlike his previous seven, Mr. Tarantino, who appears here as an Australian miner, who meets a literally explosive demise, approaches the hot-potato topic of African enslavement in the antebellum Southern United States with remarkable honesty. Flogging, iron restrains, face clamps and the maiming of runaway slaves by dogs are present; lynching is only hinted. Sure, with his exploitative fanboy rep, Tarantino ("Pulp Fiction, "Kill Bill") would be the last filmmaker to approach the subject in a perfect world. However, it's not a perfect world, and those who have green eyes (cough Spike Lee cough) towards the madcap auteur should have struck the iron while it was hot. Tarantino got quick on the draw, orchestrating a porno film where Mel Brooks's "Blazing Saddles" is the slut; the Westerns of Sam Peckinpah are the studs; the aura is by Sergio Leone and the script is by "Roots" author Alex Haley. At the end, Tarantino has out-done and out-foxed his cinematic ass with pride and a bag of dynamite (HINT! HINT!).

He's assisted by a brave cast. Oscar winner Foxx makes you forget his salad days on the sketch show "In Living Color" as the valiant, serious title hero as Oscar nominee DiCaprio finally buries his "cute-boy" rep as the debonair but volatile and misogynistic owner of "Candieland". Some have said Ms. Washington should have been given more to do, but she's sweetness incarnate; her appearance haunts Django before their reunion like a ghost. Waltz's Schultz is clever and sadly ironic; he's unaware that his descendants will take part in committing genocide in the following century as he's being noble. As for Mr. Jackson, his grotesque role, the polar opposite to his hit-man Jules in "Fiction", embodies the Orwellian idiom: "Freedom Is Slavery", to disgusting levels. It's hard to pick a favorite among the main quintet.

There's also stunt-casting, a Tarantino trademark: Bruce Dern ("Silent Running") and Don Johnson ("Miami Vice", "Nash Bridges") are nasty plantation owners; Tom Wopat ("The Dukes Of Hazzard") and Lee Horsley ("Matt Houston") are dutiful lawmen; Dennis Christopher ("Breaking Away") is Candie's lawyer; James Remar ("The Warriors", "Dexter") has a dual role as a slave transporter and Candie's shotgun-toting bodyguard; Michael Parks ("Grindhouse", "Red State") is one of Tarantino's fellow miners and Walton Goggins ("Justified"), makeup wizard Tom Savini (the original "Friday The 13th") and Tarantino stunt gal Zoe Bell are among Candie's grungy henchmen. Jonah Hill ("Moneyball", "Superbad") has a fun bit as a dim-wit Klansman (is there any other kind?).

There's also Tarantino's respect to film's past: Spaghetti Western icon Franco Nero, star of the original Django film from 1966, shows up as Candie's fellow fan of mandigo fighting. The film's co-distributor, Columbia Pictures, resurrects one of their vintage "Torch Lady" stamps before the film plays the "Django's Song" composed by Luis Bacalov. Tarantino has more funky tunes from his catalog, including Richie Havens's "Freedom", which is used ironically in a devastating scene.

D.P. Robert Richardson captures the beauty and ugliness as pre-Civil War America with John Ford-like landscape shots and quick close-ups that come from a 70s kung-fu film. The late production designer J. Michael Riva make the antebellum South authentic (Was that statue of two mandigo fighters in combat made or found?!). There's been criticism of the film's running time (2 hours and 45 minutes) since Tarantino's longtime editor, Sally Menke, passed away, but her substitute, Fred Raskin (the last three "Fast & Furious" films) understands that the tale's messy and compliments it.

Next to Zack Snyder's "Watchmen" (specifically the 215 minute cut), "Django Unchained" is a violent film that's socially and historically conscious (not historically accurate, mind you. It's not a somber epic!!!). Despite having two more films on his plate before voluntary retirement, Mr. Tarantino probably feels like Robert Redford at the end of "The Candidate". "Since this film's a masterstroke, what the hell am I going to do now?" he ponders. I could also imagine him secretly showing the film to the forty-fourth President of the United States...

Friday, December 28, 2012

Remembering Jimmy

I stopped during my late-afternoon walk in front of the old Bairstow house. The fallen autumn leaves cluttered the yard. The windows and doors—even the garage—had been boarded up for twenty years. Glen Bairstow, Jimmy’s father and blind from retinitis pigmentosa when Jimmy was still young, had long ago moved away, to live with his brother. Anne, the mother, had died from cancer when Jimmy was two. And Jimmy? Well, only one place Jimmy could end up—if he was still alive.

“John! What happened?” Ms. Fairwell, my kindergarten teacher, put her hand under my chin and looked into my tearing eyes. She
took my wrist and examined my bleeding arm. “Did you fall?”

I sobbed and shook my head. “Jimmy … bit me!”

Being smaller, at the time, and smarter than most of the other kids meant I got picked on plenty, and it wasn’t like I was fat, little Jimmy’s only target, but I was his favorite. If he wasn’t beating up his classmates, he was beating shrubs with a baseball bat or pulling up the neighbors’ flowers or throwing rocks at dogs. All the dogs barked at him, like they sensed his badness. He got pretty lucky with a Saint Bernard one time; the rock got it in its nose. When the dog yelped, its owner came out. Jimmy ran home.

Jimmy lived five blocks from where I used to live (I live now in Bordenville) and I did my best to avoid him when school was out. I was glad he wasn’t my next door neighbor; the people who were said he was a constant troublemaker.

One day, a woman walked to the medical clinic with her three-year-old son. Jimmy, sitting on his house’s front steps, ran up to them and fired a rock at the three-year-old. He missed, but the woman was angry, confronting Jimmy. Jimmy called her a bitch. She then went to Jimmy’s house, after her trip to the clinic, wanting to talk to Jimmy’s parents. However, she was shocked that Glen, who opened the door, was blind. Glen used to run the newsstand in the post office, and his wife helped him out before she died. Glen promised the woman Jimmy would be punished, but, in the big picture, it was bad already.

Giving up the newsstand, Glen became a certified physical therapist, treating clients in his home. He refused to be helpless; Glen also took up jogging, boating, swimming, hiking, camping and mountain climbing. Jimmy was his eyes, specifically for outdoor activities and shopping. When I was seven, I went to the supermarket to buy a bag of sugar for my mother. Glen and Jimmy were there. The father had a cane in his left hand and his right hand was on Jimmy’s left shoulder. Jimmy was pushing a cart. Glen yelled “beans”, and Jimmy picked up a can of beans. The same deal with chicken soup, apples and other foods. I wanted to laugh at Jimmy, the troublemaker turned guide dog, but my sympathy for his dad and my desire to avoid Jimmy’s wrath kept me from doing that.

Then again, I wasn’t sure Glen was nice enough to deserve sympathy. When Jimmy was in school, it was hard for his father to move around. He got hit by a car one day; several of his ribs were broken. He told neighbors and friends, using the words, “shit”, “assholes” and “cocksucker”, he was almost run over. He protested to the town council to have the police enforce the “white cane” law. It assures any visually impaired person with a white cane or a guide dog the right of way when crossing the street. Glen also called for things like bank checks and phone bills in Braille. The system was his enemy, Glen thought. Stores got lawsuits from him if he bumped bicycles or pushcarts. In one case, he noted that he walked into an illegally parked trunk on the sidewalk, in front of a hardware store and injured his right knee. He also told people he hated being treated like a second-or third-class citizen. Glen was on a crusade to change the world, yet his son was out of the picture.

Jimmy was ten when it happened, when he did it twenty years ago. I was in the library at the time, doing a report of the First Amendment and the many cases associated with and that supported it. Jimmy was there too, shoving some kids around. One of the library’s clerks told him to get out. Then, before he left, he took interest in this five-year-old girl.      

She was in the library with her aunt. I was busy taking notes down, not knowing what happened next, but my memory from reading the account of it in the Nelson Herald is sharp as a knife. The aunt was frantic; that I saw. Why? Her niece was gone. She called the police and her relatives. Two days passed. Rebecca Hinton was the girl’s name.

Jimmy didn’t care. He lured the girl to his house with a candy bar he bought before going to the library. In his backyard playhouse, he molested the girl. After she cried, Jimmy beat her head with his baseball bat. He didn’t want her to wake Glen up from his nap. When night came, Jimmy dragged Rebecca’s body and left it in a storm drain at the edge of his yard.

I didn’t see Jimmy do these things he confessed to doing but, in a way, I saw him as a bad kid from the start. Everyone who lived near him or went to school with in Nelson saw him the same way. The pity for Rebecca Hilton and her family was almost endless from the town. Jimmy was given none. “Hell is his paradise”, said Celia Farmer, a student I knew from sixth grade.

After Jimmy was sentenced to the Portsmouth Juvenile Correction Facility and Glen left Nelson, their house became a hive for drunks, druggies, bums, hookers and johns. The law, due to neighborhood complaints, came in and shut the place down. I looked at it now with sadness. The autumn wind grew cold. Jimmy, I sighed. He had tags of molestation and murder attached to his arms. Maybe he’s on the run, in an adult prison or dead. I don’t know, but Jimmy did have one positive influence on my life. I’m a social worker, fighting to keep other kids from becoming like him.

A Story For Two Bucks

The ride on the E train, from Queens to Manhattan, is fun for me. Sixteen miles becomes two miles in my head. As the train I rode on pulled into the first Manhattan stop on its’ line, the Lexington Ave/East 53rd St. station, I held my breath a little and sighed. I left the train’s first riding car, along with the other commuters. It was Monday morning, 8:23 a.m. There were a lot of commuters going to work. So was I, yet my job’s different.
The crowd went upward on the escalators. Other commuters that came from surface level, via the station, went down the sole stairwell. Some fools went up the stairwell.

“Use the escalators, you assholes!” one downward commuter barked.

I grinned, going upward. Fight incivility with civility with a pinch of incivility. My ascendance ended, I went down the hallway that led to the 6 train line. Some commuters did as well. The other left the station. A flight of stairs, another hallway and another upward escalator were good reasons to hate this station. The architect should have been disemboweled. However, I went abroad the 6 train going to Grand Central Terminal on Park Avenue and 42nd St. It was a short ride. I got off the train after it arrived. Another flight of stairs, I went up. I did my best to avoid snails and rabbits wearing suits, jeans and vacation T-shirts. I went to another hallway that led to the S train line, turned left to the wall, turned around and sat down on the floor. I had a backpack. Three pens, two water bottles, two ham and cheese sandwiches, a notebook and an apple were in it. I also had a medium-sized cardboard box in my hands, filled with many paper sheets. I settled the box in front of me and opened it. On three of the box’s sides were hand-written signs, each having the same message: STRUGGLING, COLLEGE-EDUCATED WRITER W/ GOOD STORIES TO SELL: $2 EACH.

Was I certifiable? No. I just got sick of sending my work to magazines that sent me rejection letters, the typical, “Dear Contributor: The editors of Blankity Blank Magazine have read your submission and found it unacceptable for our publication and so on and so on.” Since three weeks ago, I decided to sell my work to the public. I’ve earned forty bucks. Not bad. What have I written? Science fiction, drama, comedy, satire, action-adventure, crime, sexual and mixed, warped stuff. I had five copies of fourteen stories with me, and getting them printed was cheap. I don’t rely on this as income. I get temporary office jobs around the city. My Aunt Irene, whom I live with, takes any call from the agency. By noon, I always call her on a public phone. I don’t have a cell phone because I don’t like being bothered while walking and dreaming, and I don’t have friends to call me up. I don’t have any friends. Period. I’m kind of touched in the head. I never took drugs because I was already weird. Maybe that’s why I had this idea, along with the fact that there weren’t any jobs for me so far. It’s been three weeks.

The hallway had thick, warm air flowing about. I didn’t get any customers since it was the morning rush hour. I got weird stares and eyeball rolls, mostly from suits. I guess they saw me as some social insubordinate. I didn’t care. I grew being a social insubordinate. If my head wasn’t in literature, it was in the sky, hopping from cloud to cloud and sleeping on one.  My teachers from elementary, junior and senior high school didn’t like that, but I did well in class anyway. If they saw me today…

“Short stories for sale?” A young man came up to me. He looked like he was my age, yet quite taller. He was a tourist. A duffel bag hung from his left hand. His blue T-shirt had “Georgetown University”. He also wore jeans and sneakers.

“Yes. What kind are you interested in?”

The man looks embarrassed, “Well, I just need to get to Eighth Avenue and 42nd St. Sorry.”

I pointed my left arm westward, “Take the S train.”

“Thanks,” He went on his way.

I scratched my chin and waited for another customer. Time went by. Amid the commuters, four police officers walked by. I had yet to be kicked out of here. I sneezed a little, was careful not to damage my goods and sniffled. More holier-than-thou stares and eye rolling came to me. Part of me wanted to leave, stay home and listen to sports talk radio (I don’t like sports, really, but it’s interesting than bullshit-filled talk radio). I ignored that feeling. I reminded myself of the time when I was in Queens College. During the summer after my junior year, I took a petition taker position for the Betsy McCaughey Ross for NY State Governor Campaign. Obviously, she didn’t win, but it was good for my work experience. I had to ask people if they’re registered Democrats, explain the candidate’s stance on certain subjects and get them to sign the petition. The average signature count for me was eight a day. I was good at it, but I hated working outside, looking at pretty girls walking by and feeling lonely (I had to sweet talk some to get signatures from some of them). I had the same feeling at this “job”. I preferred office work. The agency once gave some shithole messenger job for a financial securities firm at their downtown Brooklyn offices. Just look at my Economics grade in high school to know how I feel about finance. I‘m just a creative-minded daydreamer with a nice, whole-wheat bread, savings account and who wants a creative job in Manhattan. Lucky me.
I looked at my watch: 10:34 a.m. A sigh left my mouth. Another young man then approached me. He was holding a package under his left arm. Must be a messenger, I thought.

“What kind of stories?” he asked.

“Any kind.”

“Funny stuff?”

“Excuse me?”

“Do you have any funny stuff?”

“I have one about a guy who works as an ice cream vendor and gets annoyed by his older work partner. ‘Frank Cooper: The Ice Cream Madman’.”

The messenger dug into one of his jeans’ pockets. I dug into the box for the story. I got two bucks; the customer got my story, my “thank you” and he left.

Tine passed. I did my best not to falling asleep. I was naked to pickpockets and headbreakers, but I was careful. Very careful. Some hunger pains crawled into my stomach. I told them to shut the fuck up and wait five minutes before noon. I sniffed a little again. No one came to me. I know people read, yet the amount was not big. Sure, I like watching television, but only if the shows have some intelligence like “The Simpsons” or a documentary on PBS or the History Channel. “Survivor” and the rest of the reality shows should go to hell and stay there. I’m shy like a sheep, but I don’t want to be one.

I looked down at my box. “Nothing But The Room” was one of my current works, a tale about the stupidities of reality television and cruel and unusual punishment. I hoped someone would buy it. I then looked at watch: 11:42 a.m.

“Get a real job.”

I looked up. The person who said that a beefy, heavyset suit, a gray-haired guy with a handlebar mustache. He gave me an ugly glare as he walked away. I didn’t like being insulted without good reason. Back in school, kids threw curses and fists to me. I hated them.

“Fuck you, philistine!” I said.

The man stopped and turned. He went towards with anger in his eyes. I popped up from the floor and looked into those same eyes. He looked like a hard-working sheep. Probably a lawyer or an executive, I thought. I didn’t care.

The suit was in my face, “Listen, you—”

“Keep walking,” I said.

We were almost the same height; I was a little taller than him and had a better steel-eyed stare. The man then went away and I sat down. A grin popped between my lips. This wasn’t the first time I had won a tough guy, staring contest. It happened in my senior in high school, during gym class. I was on a five-person volleyball team, and I was my time to serve. I wasn’t good at playing sports, yet I needed the credit to graduate.

I toss the ball upward with my right hand. My left hand was supposed to hit it. It didn’t; I threw the ball too high and missed. On the opposing team, some asshole laughed at me. He kept riding me since junior year. I didn’t know his name yet I hated the guy for making fun of me because I was quiet. Big deal. I got the ball back after it landed on the gym’s floor. I then ran to the other end of the court, chasing after the asshole. He thought I was kidding; I wasn’t. I then threw the ball at him. I missed. The ball struck one of the gym’s audience bleachers. It made a loud boom. The ball ricocheted back to me.

“What the hell?” I reminded Mr. Macintosh, one of the two gym teachers in charge, yelled that. He came away from another volleyball match he was supervising. I explained what happened while the fool pleaded innocence. Macintosh dismissed the whole thing, since no one got hurt badly. However, I was still angry. I threw the ball again at the back of the jerk’s head when Macintosh left us.

The jerk turned to me, looking tough, “Man, I’ll fuckin’ bust you—”

“Get over there!” I yelled, pointing at his teammates. He looked into my eyes, saw a bloody, fiery hell and a half, and did what I said. My teammates congratulated me, and we resume playing. I could have beaten him up. I wanted to. I just had enough trouble at that time with other kids. I didn’t want any trouble from the suit. Using words to fight was enough. If fists had to be thrown, I would have made a bloody mess out of the suit. I know right from wrong, but I don’t like society’s rules. Maybe I should be certifiable.

I looked at my watch again: 11:52 a.m.

Bryant Park, one of the green oases in steel, brick, concrete and glass-composed Manhattan, was behind The New York Public Library. The usual Matt Yuppie, Joe Average, Frank Tourist and Sal Homeless was there. So was I, eating my lunch. I already called Aunt Irene. No calls, she said. I cursed in my head and the luck I had. I looked at the giant lawn that was in the park’s center, surrounded by pebble-filled walkways and a small flight of stairs near Sixth Avenue and West 41st St. Some people were lying on the grass, resting sunbathing or making out.

Some bright yellow daises were scattered across the grass. I wanted to pick up some and give them to a pretty woman. She would probably get scared. That’s what a lot of women do when I try to friendly. They get scared, and I’m still lonely as usual. Rape fantasies have danced around my head, yet right and wrong is still right and wrong. I just don’t like all of society’s rules. They come off as stupid and hypocritical.

I was finishing off my apple, enjoying the taste while sitting on one of the park’s benches.

“Hey, Mickey.”

I looked up. The taste turned sour. A guy stood in front of me. He wore causal clothes, a pair of thin-rimmed glasses and was carrying a shopping bag. The guy was my age.

“Mickey,” he smiled at me, “Don’t you remember me?”

I did, but I didn’t want to. I finished my lunch, picked up my box and left the bench, “Not really.”

Heading eastward on 42nd St, I left the park and Kamel Exantus behind. That’s the shithole’s name. Why is he a shithole? He used to be my best friend back in both elementary and junior high school. Used to. We talked about the cool shows that were on at the time, like “G.I. Joe”, “The A-Team”, “Transformers”, “Robotech” and the rest. We also helped each other on schoolwork. Although we didn’t hang out after school due to living in different neighborhoods in Queens (I lived in Laurelton; Kamel, in Cambria Heights), we talked on the phone about school, TV shows and how we thought our parents were unhip. We even kept in touch with each other when we graduated from junior high and went to different senior high schools.

I should have known better.

I was a sophomore when I got punched in the face four times by some fucking freshman. He made fun of me in biology class. Actually, to be fair, I sucker-punched him after he mimicked the “walk” of a retarded person. He thought I was retarded because I was soft-spoken and quiet. I was glad I sucker-punched him. He got me hard; I cried in the dean’s office with a bag of ice on my face and I was still glad that I sucker-punched him. The thug got suspended, then transferred. I told Kamel the story on the following Saturday. Instead of being a friend, Kamel gave me on how I was a big, crybaby wimp since the first grade (I was one since kindergarten).

“Why can’t you be like everyone else?” he said, talking like a parent.

Julius Caesar, in Shakespeare’s play, was a lucky bastard when I heard that. I didn’t (and still don’t) see or feel things like everyone else since I was five; that wasn’t a good reason for Kamel to say that. So I gave him hell for being a shit and giving me shit. I called him a traitor, and he gave me mercy pleas. I ended the conversation and the relationship. I even disconnected the phone to strengthen my anger.

I loved it. I felt lonely, but I loved that beginning of going on my own road. Twelve years. I haven’t seen to him in twelve years and haven’t spoken to him in eleven years. During them, I wished Kamel was dead. I even wished he died on Sept 11, 2001 (Don’t like that? Tough piss and shit, sweetheart). You just don’t tell a good friend to change if the friend’s a generally nice person. Maybe I was rude to him in the park but that rock he put between us was too big and thick to get around. I left him with that feeling I had eleven years ago.

It was almost 1:00 p.m. There were a lot of people either going back to work or out to eat. I was part of the former, and I hoped for better business before I left at 4:30 p.m. The evening rush hour is a beast.

Bloody Merry Christmas

It’s nice. It’s so nice to drink a six-pack of beer, especially during the Christmas season. Getting bombed isn’t a big deal for me. I’ve done it … more than once. I say a lot of shit when I’m putting the juice away at a party; I vomit after, either on the floor or a toilet; I sleep it off and wake up with an earthquake hangover, a bad taste in my mouth and no memory of what shit I said. Routine. 
I decided to change it tonight.

When I grew up, my parents always told me as long as I work hard, study in school and stay out of trouble, things were going to be all right. I listened, majored in electrical engineering, got my bachelor’s and master’s degrees, did some short contractual work at some software manufacturer offices and medical centers. I also got a long term job at a jet propulsion lab. Great pay, nice apartment and a cool car. The great American dream.

Things got interesting, eight years ago. My younger brother, Jake, was an assistant at Creative Artists Agency. One of the big five, he said when he started working there, that represents the talent in Hollywood. I never gave a fuck about entertainment, really. All flash and nothing else. I prefer sports, particularly football.  Anyway, I got invited to the agency’s annual party by Jake. There were a lot of high-class women, some B-grade actresses. I was out of my league, looking like a big boulder and having no chance of fucking a high-class piece of ass.

Jake, though, introduced me to Meredith Owens. She wasn’t a knockout, but a down-to-earth, girl-next-door knockout, looking like Jenna Fischer from “The Office” She worked at CAA, after trying and failing to be an actress. I hate Hollywood; it eats and spits people out if they don’t “play ball”. How the hell Jake could be part of this, I’ll never know.

Back to Meredith. Plain, sweet-as-a-button Meredith. I felt like a schoolboy, more than ready to piss and shit myself because girls didn’t like me as much as they liked Jake, a pretty boy. I was smart enough not to get shit-faced. She saw like a Greek or Roman or whatever god. We got along for two years-dinner, movies, concerts, fucking-before getting married.

If I had a clue that marriage was hell, I would’ve objected at my wedding.

Meredith gave a whole lot of shit for not being helpful enough around the house. I know my mother gave me shit, if I didn’t straighten my bed sheet or wash my hands before dinner. It’s expected. Meredith? Don’t smoke!” “Put the toilet seat down!” ”When are you coming home from the bar?” She needed me as her whipping post, the lousy twat, because she didn’t make it big and I shut her out of “Hollywood dreams”. Hey, some people’s dreams don’t come true. What the fuck am I supposed to do? Be encouraging? She was pushing thirty, and, unless God’s drinking on the job, there’s no way she was going to win an Oscar. Like sucks. Deal with it.
I should have followed my own advice. When I got home from work last year, I found my stuff outside the house that was soon-to-be the house of my soon- to-be ex-wife. The divorce proceedings weren’t fun; I think I was half-blitzed at the time. Patrick Grady, the lawyer Jake recommended to me, gave me hell and a half for it. Like I needed more than the hell I was getting already/ $5200 a month was the alimony. The car I had, the house and the joint bank account went to Meredith. I had to live with Jake at his Beverly Hills condo and sleep in the basement. It was okay for a while, but I felt like a loser high school dropout, still living with his parents, and I felt fucked by my wife with a dildo. We barely had sex when we married, and I felt fucked.

I was smart, though. Damn smart. I was going to fuck her back, but worse. From A to Z.

Three years earlier, I learned about using firearms. I had no record; getting a gun permit was like strolling and whistling in a graveyard. Automatics, semi-automatics, pump action rifles, machine rifles. I knew how to load and lock them, polish and dry them.
The gun shop I went to was Bullet Billy Gun and Ammo. Like all gun nuts, the owner, Billy Wexler, was quite the character. Skinny, wild-eyed and a gap-toothed smile, he could have been a character actor in those movies Jake works on. Billy liked me because I knew what I wanted, due to reading a lot of Soldier of Fortune and other firearm oriented magazines. One time, we had some target practice in his shooting gallery, beneath his store. The targets were made up like Osama Bin Laden. Though a life-long Republican, Billy hated Bush Jr. for being a chicken shit for not getting Bin Laden. I couldn’t disagree, but I had a bigger target.

I wasn’t stupid to have any guns at Jake’s. They, sealed in boxes, marked “books” and “magazines”, were in a storage locker park, between Los Angeles and Covina, the latter where I used to live, where I was married.

Two weeks before Christmas Eve, I rented a Santa Claus suit from a costume shop on Hollywood Boulevard. The clerk told me I was the last guy to get one because the economy was bad and every Average Joe were trying to get jobs as mall Santas. I lied, pretending to Jolly Old St. Nick for my kids. He called me a saint; I chuckled under my breath when I left the shop.
When I went home I cooked up an accelerant, which was made up of two pressurized tanks that were easy to carry. Pressurized gas was in one of them. I listened to what my parents, didn’t I?

It was almost dark in Christmas Eve. Jake was on vacation in France with his girlfriend, Sheryl. I hope he knows not to make same mistake I did. I looked at myself in the mirror as I was in my room, dressed in the Santa suit. The cap. The jacket. The fake belly. The fake beard. The white gloves. The black boots. I did a jolly “Ho Ho Ho” and smiled under the beard. The accelerant I put into a book bag, and I left the house, drove my heap of a “new” car and went to my storage locker. Four guns, I took. All were semiautomatics.
There was a bit of traffic on Route 10. People on the holiday were a bunch of fucking tools. I used to be one of them.
After leaving the highway, I parked my car a few blocks away and walked over to the house I once lived in and owned. Christmas decorations shrouded the place. Holiday lights that glowed red, green and white slithered through the front yard’s bushes. Big, plastic figurines of Rudolph, Frosty and Santa were on the lawn. The whole works. Inside the house, there a lot of people drinking, dancing to “Jingle Bell Rock” (I hate that song) and having a good time.

With the accelerant, attached to my back, I went the front door and rang the doorbell. After some seconds, the door opened. A fat little boy, who I didn’t know, was in the doorway. Seven or eight, he was in one of those ugly Christmas sweaters I wouldn’t wear. And we were in California, for Christ’s sake. Having a distorted face, the boy definitely had Down’s syndrome. He sounded like marbled were in his mouth, “Hey, it’s Santa Cl—”

I whipped out a pistol from one of my coat’s pockets and fired. The bullet struck the boy’s head, making it explode. The shot’s sound made some woman screamed.  The kid fell. I took out another pistol and went in. People scrambled as they saw me, I started firing. Some went through windows. I didn’t give a shit as I kept firing wildly. A bloodstain here, a bloodstain there. Eight or mine. Maybe ten.

One of them happened to be Meredith, who I got in her left shoulder. Lucky me. She was on the floor, faced down, moaning. I kicked over, and we looked at each other. I smiled. She saw me behind the beard and tried to scream. I shot her, many times, and her face became a mess of flesh, bone, dislocated eyes and brain matter.  It was beautiful. After that, I took out the accelerant and aimed it at the Christmas tree. It went up in flames, burning the gifts. More people started to left, including Meredith’s dad, Albert, a retired city planner. He never liked me. Thought I was too dumb. When I burned him too, I bet I changed his opinion. I loved it when he screamed as his back was aflame. I drank a cup of Egg Nog, before the kitchen got my special Christmas present too. The house was engulfed in black smoke and crackling fire, when I left it. It was my kind of Christmas.

Drinking, I watched news coverage of my visit on my brother’s HDTV set. Twelve was the number of the body count; fourteen was the number of the injuries. I laughed through it all. I did one hell of a job. If you think different, I’m surprised you weren’t there too.
Then I got bored with all; the Barbie doll news twats I wanted to fuck and the Ken doll newsmen I wanted to make them into real Ken dolls.

The porno I got was better: “Anal Invasion #23”, “Golden Throat” and “Harry’s Whores”. I like the first and third ones, having innocent virgins getting butt-fucked by studs. The second one had too much plots. Good oral sex scenes, though. I cranked it nice and good, and the mess ended up on the carpet. Sorry, Jake.

Am I a monster? Yeah, but I’m a guy who got fucked when there was no reason to be, mentally and financially, by a selfish, unconfident bitch. Few people will understand what I’m saying, and they’re probably in the slam or on the run from the law. I’m not in any of those camps. I’m writing this down because and before…well, you get the idea, if you got a brain if your head. Few people do. The cops will probably get me soon, but I’m too quick and smart to be caught. I even rigged my car to blow up with another gas tank inside. I’m not that royal fuck-up O.J, just damn sneaky. If a uni cop gets killed, I can’t be charged because I’ll be long gone. No one will touch me.

Maybe Jake or some big player in Hollywood will get some geek screenwriter to jot this whole event down for a movie. Should be a MOW. You know, a Movie Of the Week. Hollywood slang. I shook my head; it’s a weird thing to deal with. All of my earthly possessions will go to Billy. Good old Billy. Maybe he’ll be charged, but he knew squat about what was I going to do. When he gets the 411, he’ll probably drink to my success and wish he had the balls to do it. Maybe put my name of a bullet and fire it in the air, like he did with his buddies in the Army. Good times, Billy. Good times.

I finished my six-pack, and I’m still straight in my movement. Maybe the feelings I have are so strong, nobody and nothing on Earth can fuck me over a barrel. The 9mm didn’t feel so heavy like I first held it, three years ago. I loaded the magazine, pointed the pistol at where the bullet should go and smiled. You were right, Mom and Dad. Work and study hard, and things will all right. 
See you real soon. Love and hugs. Merry Christmas.