While watching nonstop coverage on the destruction of Florida by a cataclysmic hurricane overnight, I found solace in one thing:
“At least Coolio is still alive,” I kept telling everyone.
Coolio was essentially the soundtrack to my childhood growing up in SoCal during the 90s. Gangsta’s Paradise still fucking kicks, in fact, all his shit is dope.
This is a terrible day in American history. Kids will read about “December 7th, 1941” and “September 11th, 2001”, but they will never read about “September 28th, 2022”: the day Florida got fucked up and Coolio died.
My October is booked the FUCK UP! That doesn’t mean that I’ll stop writing though, that ain’t happening. But that does mean I’m gonna need a little help from artificial intelligence.
Now I don’t have a clue what my short story will be about. Therefore I turned to a random story generator from writingexcerises.co.uk. I had to refresh it a few times to get a story I liked, and here’s what it generated:
“A woman in her sixties, who can be quite compassionate.
A man in his early thirties, who can be quite aggressive.
The story begins in a nightclub.
Someone is driven out of their home.
It’s a story about greed.
Your character reluctantly becomes involved”
So there you have it. October’s short story will be about an older woman and an incel “falling in love”. Hell yeah dude 👍
Soooo, did I ever talk about Blade Runner on this blog?
I’ve always had a lot of opinions about the film, but it seems like every film buff has wrote a dissertation on it. So what’s the point of clogging up the internet with one more, ya know?
But after ripping off it’s ending in my latest short story, I can’t stop thinking about it.
For the record, and I’ve been very open about this, Blade Runner 2049 is the superior film. By a fucking mile too. Ridley Scott is an interesting visual filmmaker, but all of his movies lack heart. This is true for not only Blade Runner, but Alien, Gladiator, The Martian, etc, as well.
Additionally, I find the script to be underwhelming. Even the film’s most memorable moment (the Tears in Rain monologue) was largely the result of actor Rutger Hauer’s ingenuity and not so much the writer’s. I don’t blame Hampton Fancher and David Peoples for this (the latter would later write Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven). The final script was probably the result of compromise during a troubled production.
Nevertheless, Blade Runner works because everyone else behind the scenes CRUSHED their role, from F/X artist Douglas Trumbull, DP Jordan Cronenweth, composer Vangelis, concept artist Syd Mead, production designer Lawrence G. Paull, and everyone in between.
In Scott’s defense, I believe he sees himself as more of a “CEO”-type filmmaker, or one that brings together highly talented people to do their thing, as opposed to being an auteur himself. So in that respect, he did his job really well. Nevertheless, likely because of this approach, there is an “it” factor that’s lacking in Blade Runner which prevents it from becoming one of the great classics in cinema.
Strangely, I think MOST cinephiles agree with this: Blade Runner is visually and conceptually one of the most influential films of all time. But is it a great movie?
Personally, I think that question is more interesting than the film itself.
But where I disagree with most other fans of the Blade Runner universe are on the Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer) scenes. Hauer feels like he’s acting on an island in this film. While that’s a deliberate choice, his scenes drag the movie down. And to be completely honest, the movie is not nearly as interesting without Harrison Ford on the screen.
Now Ford’s performance is somewhat controversial. It’s noted for being his first “mature” role, and a lot of people don’t like it. He often comes across as detached, grouchy, and needlessly aggressive in some parts. Ford’s performance is a bit dialed back, as opposed to Hauer, who isn’t afraid to be hammy and childish. Unfortunately, Ford acting choices were better suited to the Blade Runner universe and, despite being the leading man, he doesn’t feel like he’s in the film enough.
After I shot Archibald for his supposed “dereliction of duty”, he managed to survive.
“Maybe we’ll just call it even,” the old butler said as he held his hand over the gushing shotgun wound. He placed his arm around my shoulder and I carried him back to the estate.
Darla regained consciousness after being choked out by her dying, naked father. “Is he finally dead?” she asked.
“About fucking time,” she replied, “let’s leave that crazy old bastard’s body out in the woods.”
We all returned to the estate and shared a bottle of brandy. Archibald was looking a little pale due to the massive blood loss. Darla was happy to be home. “What the fuck was up with that arctic fox?” she asked.
I swirled around my glass while I pondered. “I guess it symbolized Mr. Shitz’s soul,” I said. “At his moment of death, the fox took up his spirit. Now Mr. Shitz is truly free; free from man-made constraints, free to live the life he always wanted. And more importantly, he took up my spiritual burdens by becoming the Angel of Death, and bestowing up me full humanity; the greatest gift he ever gave anyone. Or some shit like that. I dunno.”
“Okay good. Glad I wasn’t the only one that saw it,” Darla replied. “Because I was REALLY tripping balls out there.”
We all had a good laugh, including Archibald who continued bleeding all over the couch. Then it occurred to me:
“Did we get Allen Funt out of that hole?”
Like what your read?
Well the other day, while I was harassing strangers at the airport, I saw a gentleman carrying around these books:
After pestering him for a few minutes, he asked me “are you some kind of fucking moron?” Then he told me where I can find them: Dead Star Press. Moreover, to get me to leave him alone, he said I can use the promo code ‘BM5’ to get 5% off when I checkout at the website. (Then the police escorted me out of the terminal)
And after reading Joseph D Newcomer’s ‘Darkest Day’ and the Press Anthology, it occurred to me: “I’m terrible at this writing business.” So now I leave all that nonsense to Newcomer and his stable of talented writers at Dead Star Press and I will never write another sentence again.
Plus they make really dope shirts:
So stop writing. And stop reading other writers for fuck’s sake! It’s over. And Dead Star Press won. So use the code ‘BM5’ to get 5% off your next purchase!
“Pull the trigger, Jim Grey,” William said as rain poured down his face. “That’s why you’re here, after all.”
I stood frozen in an awe-inspired fear. The nude figure that stood before me transfigured into a dark angel. He was still man, but appeared to possess the powers of hell.
I was unable to pull the trigger.
But before I could react, William grabbed the barrel and slammed the butt of the shotgun to my face. Still conscious, I fell backwards into the muddied forest floor. I could taste something from the corner of my mouth; it was blood, assisted by the rain, streaming down from the wound on my forehead.
I had never bled before.
William now held the shotgun but threw it aside as he stood over me. His cock was inches from my face. Finally, the rush of panic kicked in and I sprinted aimlessly through the woods.
But the newly minted demonic angel was never far behind.
Then I reached an obstacle: a gully nearly 100 feet deep but a little over 10 feet wide. I had no time to think. I leapt across the crevice but my feet missed the landing on the other side.
My life was hanging perilously over the side of a cliff, fingers barely maintaining a grip on a wet, slippery rock jutting over the edge.
William looked down upon me struggling like a helpless creature. For the first time in his 70 years, he felt something he previously thought impossible: sympathy…compassion. Mr. Shitz then entirely hurdled the 10 foot gap and kneeled down before me.
“It’s quite a thing to live in fear, isn’t it?” he asked. “But that’s what it means to feel alive.”
Right as my fingers slipped, William grabbed my wrist and single-handedly pulled me to safety. As he dropped me on land, I impulsively wiggled backwards up to a tree, not knowing what to expect.
The arctic fox wandered up and sat obediently next to Mr. Shitz. The old, dying man gazed upon the animal and sat down before me.
“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe,” William told me, “I’ve had shits like fire from a baconator in Hoboken. I watched Harry Reems and Arthur C. Clarke cheer as they masturbate. Now all of those moments will be lost, in time, like the career of David Blaine.”
A look of sorrow fell over William Shitz’s rain-covered face. “Time to die,” he uttered. And with those words, the clouds departed, and the fox trotted off into the sunset.
I laid there for what seemed like hours, pondering Mr. Shitz’s last moments. And in his waning hours, he bestowed upon me the gift of humanity; his last, and perhaps only, act of benevolence.
Then I heard a voice from across the gully. “I guess he’s through, eh?” it asked. It was Archibald, holding the shotgun.
“Finished,” I said.
Archibald tossed the shotgun to my side and started to walk away.
Then he paused.
“It’s too bad I won’t live,” he pondered aloud, “but then again, who does?”
“I found him!” Allen Funt screamed through the torrential rain. It was our second day of hunting for the surprisingly evasive Mr. Shitz. The terrain in the sprawling forest proved to be formidable.
Archibald, shotgun in hand, ran towards Allen’s screams. Darla and myself weren’t far behind. “Where is he?” Archibald asked as he approached.
“Right there,” Allen said.
The butler looked down and was puzzled. “That’s just a hole in the ground,” Archibald replied.
Allen cocked his head. “But I thought that’s what this was,” Funt said, pointing to his ass.
Darla had enough. “This excursion is pointless!” she yelled. “Just let my father die naked and shitting himself in the woods, just as he wanted!”
Allen Funt seconded the notion.
Archibald tuned out the noise as he gazed into the woods ahead. “There,” he pointed.
Less than a 100 yards away was the majestic arctic fox. The creature contrasted like an apparition against the wet and drab forest. “Follow that fox,” Archibald ordered.
The butler proceeded forward while Darla and I followed in his footsteps. Allen Funt fell into the very hole he pointed out moments before.
“Help!” he screamed.
No one came to his aid.
We watched closely as the fox trotted forward a few feet. As the animal neared a meadow, a totally nude Mr. Shitz fell out of a tree and onto Darla’s shoulders. “Father!” she cried, but Mr. Shitz was delivering a rear naked chokehold, quite literally, as he was hanging on to her rear, he was naked, and had her a chokehold.
“Release her!” Archibald ordered.
Darla lost consciousness and fell to the ground. With an open shot, Archibald raised the shotgun and fired. But the spry Mr. Shitz dodged the shrapnel and disappeared into the shadows.
“Goddamn, he’s like the Vietcong,” Archibald said as he reloaded the shotgun.
“What are we going to do?” I asked.
“He’s too dangerous like this,” Archibald replied. “If you see him, kill him.”
Right then, Mr. Shitz swung around a tree and knocked Archibald out cold. The shotgun flew forward to my feet.
I kneeled down to pick up the weapon. But Mr. Shitz was close enough that I could see the rainwater dripping off his ballsack. I slowly picked up the shotgun and returned to my feet.
It was nearing dusk and the rain was falling harder. But the red in Mr. Shitz’s eyes pierced the dark through the booms of thunder and brilliant flashes of light.
“He’s close,” Archibald said as he dug his fingers into the soil.
“How can you tell?” I asked.
“There’s a steaming pile of bloody shit right there,” he replied. I looked to the right and lo and behold, right there a reeking pile of human poop.
“It seems like you’ve done this many times before,” I said to him.
“Far too often.”
The four of us-Archibald, Darla, Allen Funt, and myself- trekked through the woods in search of a mentally deteriorating William Shitz. The sun was starting to set. A gentle gust was blowing in from the north; a storm was brewing. While we found hopeful signs that Mr. Shitz was still alive, we only covered a small portion of the 148,971 acres that he owned.
We decided to hunker down for the night. I put together a small fire in the middle of camp. As usual, Allen Funt couldn’t stop crying. “What are we gonna do when we find him?” he bawled.
“We’re gonna kill him,” Archibald replied as he gnawed on a piece of beef jerky.
“But why 😭😭😭😭?” Funt asked.
Archibald threw down his jerky and pulled out a small machete. He grabbed Allen and held him up to a tree with the blade up to his neck. “Because Mr. Shitz wishes it!” Archibald screamed.
“Gentlemen!” I interrupted. “We must maintain our composure! Let’s not make any decisions on Mr. Shitz until we find him!”
Archibald nodded and lowered the machete from Allen’s neck. “I know what I must do,” he said as he slid the blade back into its holster. Then he looked me in the eye. “Just don’t forget what YOU must do.”
Archie climbed back into his tent for the night. So did Allen Funt, as he soiled his pants for the second time that day. Darla and I sat by the fire.
“Why did your father love your mother?” I asked her.
“You really are some kind of fucking moron,” she said as she lowered the flask from her lips. “Why don’t you understand the simplest of human concepts? Are you some kind of alien?”
“In a way,” I replied as I took a swig from the same flask.
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?”
“You wouldn’t understand.”
“Probably not! But try me! Nobody, not even Archie, understands your sudden appearance in my father’s life.”
I took another big hit from the flask. “It is my duty,” I explained, “to guide your father into the next life. Or at least it was. You see, I was his guardian…but I fell out of heaven’s grace.”
“That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard,” she replied. “So if you’re his disgraced guardian angel, then why are you bothering to fulfill your heavenly duties?”
“It’s a long story,” I said. “Redemption I suppose.”
“I…I guess I thought I could be human,” I stuttered. “But I never grasped human love. I was damned…damned to walk the earth; being neither human nor angel. I thought I could do one last thing…revealing to your father love and compassion in his final days; the kind he has never felt before. But then something strange happened.”
“What happened?” Darla asked longingly.
“I met you.”
Darla chuckled and shook her head. “You’re just another drunk weirdo that’s wandered into my life,” she said. Then she stood up and brushed the dirt and leaves from her jeans as the rain started sprinkling down. “But,” she continued, “you ain’t a bad fuck. So you’re welcome to join me in my tent. Just TRY to last longer than two minutes this time, mmk?”
“Mr. Shitz is no stranger to wandering bare ass naked in the woods,” Archibald informed us, “this is no cause for alarm.”
“He wanted Allen to kill him with a shotgun, Archie!” I said, “I think concern is warranted here.”
Archibald put his hands up to his face and rubbed his bald head. “What difference does it make?” he asked. “He’ll be dead soon anyway.”
Darla put down the booze and spoke up. “Archie’s right,” she said, “we should let him die the way he wants: balls dangling in the wind.”
“But that’s not the way he wants to go!” I replied. “He wants me to hunt him; he wants us to hunt him.”
“But why, Jim?! Why?!” Allen Funt cried out.
I went to the bar and poured a stiff drink. “Because…,” I said, “because his whole life he’s felt misunderstood. He’s been alone in this world. He wants us to to prove our love to him, by hunting him in the wilderness so we might see his true self.”
Allen Funt continued to bawl his eyes out. “I just want to go home and see my family!” he cried.
“Calm yourself, Allen,” I said, “you’re just as much a part of this as we are.”
Darla, already three sheets to the wind, tried to slur out her words. “And how do you know so much about father, Mr. Grey?” she asked.
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you,” I replied. “None of you would.”
Archibald picked up the shotgun and began loading shells. “Probably not, Mr. Grey,” he said, “but I know what I must do. I’ve been William Shitz’s butler for 47 years. If anyone must put him down, it should be me.”
“That’s your responsibility?” I asked.
Archibald took a long pause. “Yes,” he said. “It’s common knowledge that butlers must take an oath to do what must be done, even if that means mercifully killing his master with a shotgun. It is my sworn duty.”
I walked up to the aged butler and put my hands on his shoulders. “When the time comes,” I asked, “can you do what must be done?”
“Yes, Mr. Grey,” he said as he looked me square in the eye, “and if I can’t pull the trigger, then it becomes your responsibility…and I too must be executed for my dereliction of duty.”