#7

Time to get spooky.

I was watching Dracula last night so, you can see where this is going…


INT. STUDIO APARTMENT EVENING

Two twenty-something young woman lounge in an apartment. One, NANCY, lies on the bed, sketching. The other, JOSIE, lies on her stomach on the floor, scrolling through her phone.


JOSIE
(determined)
That’s it. I’m gonna do it!

NANCY
You’re gonna do what?

JOSIE
This thing I keep seeing people post about
that the local amusement park is doing. You
stay in a coffin for 30 hours and if you can
tough it, you get 300 dollars.

NANCY
You’re kidding, right?

JOSIE looks up from her phone at NANCY.

JOSIE
Why would I be kidding?


NANCY
Because it’s idiotic.
I would give you 300 dollars not to do it.

JOSIE looks at NANCY expectantly.

NANCY
Well, not really.
I don’t have that kind of money.
But I would in theory.


JOSIE sighs.

JOSIE
Well, there’s no other option then.


JOSIE sets down her phone and sits up, crosses her hands over her chest and mocks lowering herself into a coffin. We match cut to JOSIE lying in a coffin filled with dirt.

INT. AMUSEMENT PARK, NIGHT

We watch the lid drop down from her point of view. It’s pitch black.

JOSIE (off-camera)
This isn’t so bad.

Six hours pass. JOSIE is getting anxious. Bits of light bleed through the creases of the coffin and dimly light her face.

JOSIE lifts up her fist to knock on the coffin door.

JOSIE
Hello?

No response.


JOSIE
Hi, are there bathroom breaks?
I didn’t think to ask before I got in.
I seriously have to pee right now and
if I need to sit in this thing for another 24 hours
you’re not gonna want to open this coffin door when this is all over.

Still no response.


JOSIE begins to panic until she hears a ruffle from the other side of the coffin. Slowly, the door starts to creak open.


Looking down at her is a gaunt man, dressed in an all-black uniform, a black button up and slacks. He isn’t wearing a name tag, but he clearly looks like an employee of the park. There’s something oddly alluring about him.

He looks down at JOSIE and cocks his head slightly, smiling, but doesn’t say a word.

JOSIE
Thanks, I was worried I was actually trapped in there for a sec.

The man reaches his hand down to help JOSIE out of the coffin. It’s cold to the touch. You can tell she notices, but is too polite to say anything.

He gestures down a long, dark corridor.


MAN
After you.

The two walk down a dark hallway lit by synthetic torches. Soft sounds of an organ play in the distance. It’s generic Haunted House music, but the way it echoes through the halls almost makes it seem like it’s live.

They turn the corner into a hallway lined with mirrors. Josie automatically checks her appearance. She attempts to run her fingers through the knots in her hair that have formed from lying stagnant for several hours and notices she can’t see the reflection of her companion.


JOSIE
Whoa, hey. How’d you do that?

The Man looks in the mirror knowingly. He smirks.

MAN
A magician never reveals his secrets.

As the two continue down the hall the organ music gets louder. They start to descend a set of stairs and Josie sees the culprit of the droning music. The keys are moving, but no one’s playing it.

JOSIE
A player piano? I’ve heard about these,
but I’ve never seen one before.
Does it take requests?

MAN
(chuckles)
Unfortunately, she does not.

Josie reaches the bottom of the stairs, The Man close behind her. But as her foot leaves the last step the organ stops abruptly and a bat comes flying out from underneath, scurrying off into the distance.

Josie lets out a shocked yelp.

JOSIE
(catching her breath)
God, was that real?


She turns to the man behind her, but he’s gone.


She looks around for him and spots a dim neon sign that says “WOMEN“ across the room.

JOSIE
(under her breath)
Weird.


She enters the bathroom and walks all the way down to the end handicap stall. She tentatively pushes the door open and screams.

The Man is waiting behind the door. We have that classic slow-mo CU on The Man as he opens his mouth and goes to bite her.

Josie punches him square in the mouth.

Cut to black.


#6

Oh man, I’m already pretty behind on this. Which, I feel bad about, but I can’t tell if people are actually even reading this or care so… sending this apology out into the void.

Hoping to catch up by the end of this week, just in time for me to go out of town and get behind again, hah.

Anyway, here’s a short thing.

Woo


A guy and a girl in their late twenties walk up to an unmarked brick building. They show identification to a bouncer who sits on a stool by the door and they stroll inside. A clock hangs on the wall underneath a neon Corona parrot that seems to read 8 o’clock, which would make sense, because although there are patrons in the bar you get the idea that it isn’t nearly as crowded as it will be in a couple of hours. They stand off to the side of the room, scoping out the other equally out of place twenty to thirty somethings.

“So, wait. Walk me through this. What am I supposed to do?,” she says.

“It’s a mixer, but less of a networking thing and more of a dating thing. You know, like what people used to do before dating apps,” he says.

She gives him a look. “I’m aware. I don’t even use dating apps.”

“Well, I’m trying not to either so that’s why I’m here.” he responds.

“But, what do I like… say. ‘Hi, my name is Aiden. I find you remotely attractive, though to be honest I’m not really feeling it, but maybe if we talk for awhile I’ll find something about you interesting enough for me to want to get into bed with you’,” she snarks.

He sighs. “Why are you even here?”

“I don’t know, I guess I just like spending time with you,” she quips.

“Just, go up to someone and flirt with them,” he says, trying to be of help.

“I don’t flirt. I just bother people until they get sick of me and stop responding to my texts. Haven’t had much luck with it so far, but don’t knock it ‘til you try it,” she quips, punctuating her remark with a forced laugh.


“Why don’t you flirt with people? Isn’t not like you’re unattractive,” he says.

“Oh?,” she teases.

He hesitates. “...People seem to find you attractive.”

“Ah.”

There’s a lull in the conversation and the silence is palpable as bordering conversations continue around them.

“Well, there seem to be a lot of girls here that people would find attractive. Maybe you’re in luck!,” she says, turning to leave.

“Wait, where are you going?,” he calls out to her retreating frame.

“I’m calling a car. Eating ice cream in my bed sounds much more appealing then… whatever this is,” she scoffs.

He hesitates, again. He goes to say something, but the thought never leaves his lips.

“Have fun!,” she says, looking back one more time before exiting the bar.



#5

So I’ve been sitting in bed all day with a wine hangover, which is not nearly as bad as a normal hangover, it more so just feels like a betrayal.

On the plus side, I made a banging pasta salad yesterday based on a recipe I stole from the internet, but altered slightly so that’s my 300 words for today.



Holland’s Bangin’ Pasta Salad

aka Redemption from that last pasta salad she made, which was bad.



The Salad

1 bag of pasta, I used a tri-color veggie pasta from Trader Joe’s. It was like a fancy looking Rotini.

1 red bell pepper, diced

Almost all of an english cucumber, diced. I used most of it, at first I was worried I had used too much, but the crunch of the cucumber is a nice foil to the softness of the pasta.

1 container of feta cheese, crumbled.

1 can of olives, like a small 4.25oz one. I used regular, black olives because they’re the only kind I like, but I imagine Kalamata olives could go very well with the feta.

½ a jar of sun-dried tomatoes. The ones I used were soaked in olive oil, which is a fact that will become relevant again later on in this recipe.

20ish grape tomatoes. To be honest, I bought an entire pint and intended to use it, but with the sun-dried tomatoes, cucumbers, and bell peppers it seemed like overkill. There was a lot of red happening in the salad already.

A handful of baby spinach. This is totally optional, but I had bought baby spinach earlier in the week and it was about to go bad so I just diced up what I had left and threw it into the salad.


The Dressing

¼ cup red wine vinegar

½ teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon oregano

The original recipe for the dressing also included ⅓ cup of olive oil, but because I was already getting some olive oil drizzle from the sun-dried tomatoes, I thought adding additional olive oil would make it too heavy.

Overall, I was very happy with the results. Others seemed to enjoy it as well. The only thing I could think it may be missing is some salt and pepper. I tend to like pretty bland foods and don’t love over seasoning things. There’s a nice, natural saltiness that comes from the feta and olives, but if you get a bite without either of those things it is a bit bland. Which again, I’m into, but if you’re not, maybe add some salt & pepper!

Cheers

#4

This started off as a review of Lords of Chaos and then turned into something completely different, so just enjoy my rant about film bro culture for a sec.


As I sat alone in a sold out theatre filled with metal aficionados, I had a slight moment of insecurity. It’s actually a common feeling I have walking into a screening at the Egyptian. I had it about a month ago when I arrived for a Blues Brothers screening and was approached by a man in black asking me, “Jake or Elwood?”  (Which one was Dan Aykroyd’s character again? But he’s not the one I’m supposed to pick, is he. John Belushi’s a total dick in this movie though… I don’t know, it’s been years since I’ve seen it which is why I’m here.)

I had it a year prior at an Arnold Schwarzenegger double feature as I sat through Predator for a second time confirming, no I don’t really like this movie, I just like the opening scene. (But The Running Man’s next which you do like and there’s a Q&A so just smile and enjoy spending the time with your friends, they’ll just be mad at you if you admit that you don’t care for this testosterone fest anyway.)

In general, I think it’s hard to go to a screening in LA without being a die-hard superfan of the movie you’re about to see. Instead of getting a pat on the back for going to see a classic movie for the first time in a theatre, there’s just this weird underlying notion of we’re all here because we have all seen this movie 50 times and can quote every line. Why are you?

Wouldn’t it be weird if you were attending a brand-new movie like say I don’t know, Lords of Chaos, and people were already expecting you to know everything about the film going into it? That was kind of what it felt like, to be honest, just because it was based off of true events and everyone in the audience seemed to be an expert on the subject. Even listening to the people sitting next to me discussing what films they had seen recently made me want to blow my brains out just because the terminology they used was so… showy. Everyone in this city acts like they’re consistently on a non-stop podcast and everything they say is gold.

Film screenings in Los Angeles are not made for general audiences. They are made for everyone you hated in film school that made you feel bad about not knowing that Die Hard is actually a failed Commando 2 script. (This is just random film trivia that I looked up on the internet. There’s probably a better anecdote that can go here. This whole post is pretty rushed. ((…also never seen all of Die Hard, I always end up falling asleep halfway through. There, I said it.))

And this is the part where I start to sound like a hypocrite because I love attending these screenings and I am one of those people with an insane amount of useless film knowledge, but I’d like to think there’s a difference between knowing about something and using that knowledge to make other people feel lesser than you. I imagine it spawns from insecurity, but seriously. In general, I just wish the fans of the thing didn’t make me want to hate the thing out of spite.



#3

I was wondering how long it would take for me to regret this decision.

The answer is 3. Three days.

Three days and I have no idea what to write ...But here’s something anyway.

I’m sure this could be interpreted in a multitude of different ways

…or not

so decode it as you will.

=)


She wrote it in a letter.

It was an easy thing to say in jest. As a self-deprecating joke after a couple of drinks. Shouting something loudly at a party where no one’s really listening. Taking all of the meaning out of something so truly heartbreaking.

She used to take herself seriously, but that also came with panic attacks and literal gut-wrenching anxiety, so she searched for other coping mechanisms. Like laughter.

It’s easy to understand why so many people write memoirs. Once you write it all down on paper it does seem truly asinine. All of it.

It’s easy to say the right things to the wrong people, or to say the wrong things to the right people for that matter, but telling the truth to those who need to hear it, well, that’s a whole other story.

Maybe it’s cowardice, maybe it’s self-preservation.

Somethings are hard to talk about and talking about them doesn’t always make them better.

Mostly it just makes them much, much worse.

 

She left it at the steps so as not to face the consequences of her actions.

Like sending a text message and flipping the screen of your phone over, or better yet throwing it far across the room. Turning it off for 24 hours. Dropping it into the mouth of a volcano. Who needs phones anyway?

The first step to sending a message in a bottle is bottling it up. It can float in the ocean for endless days and ceaseless nights, but eventually it will wash up on shore. And whoever discovers it, whether it was meant for them or not, could be the exact person who you needed to have find it.

“Hey, have I ever told you about the last time I got a nosebleed?”





#2

I wrote this back in July, but reading it now it just seems like a worse version of Maniac.

Actually, that is exactly what I was thinking when I watched the trailer for Maniac. Which is why this was never going to see the light of day.

It was a prompt from a friend. Needed to have a character named Karen, cheeseballs, and a horse — which it does not so, whoops. (I never sent it to him, I probably should or else what’s the point of this exercise.)

Anyway, here’s my attempt at some Philip K Dick scifi shit that I hope to keep working on and maybe expand into something someday. (shrug)


INT. MEDICAL FACILITY

A woman walks into a room with stark white walls. It’s relatively small with abnormally high ceilings. A door closes automatically behind her.

She sits on a chair in the center of the room. Staring at the opaque side of a double-sided interrogation mirror, she presses a button on the arm of her chair and speaks into an intercom.


KAREN
Hello. (presses again) Is anyone there?

No response.

KAREN
(presses button)
Hellooooooooo. (pause)
I still don’t understand why we have to do this in person. Especially when I’m not even interacting with anyone. Isn’t there some sort of, I don’t know, app I could use instead?

Still no response. She presses the intercom button for a third time.

KAREN
(pauses)
So, how does this work? Do I just tell you about him?


There’s a slight whirring noise. A small blue light appears on the other side of the interrogation mirror, so bright that we can see the dim blue glow through the opaque glass. Someone’s there.


A disembodied voice bellows through the intercom speakers.



VOICE
In five minutes or less please describe to us the person you are trying to recreate.
You may begin when ready.


KAREN
Wha-Okay.
(pauses)
I’m not necessarily trying to recreate a person I just, don’t like how I remember him.
(takes a breath) We just used to have this connection…


MARC (VO)
(off-camera)
Cheeseballs?

FLASHBACK

INT. LIVING ROOM - DUSK

Two children, a boy (MARC, 11) and a girl (KAREN, 8), sit on a couch eating junk food and watching a movie.

KAREN
What?

MARC shoves a container of Cheeseballs in KAREN’s face.


MARC
Want one?

KAREN takes a handful, smiling. The two continue watching the movie.

KAREN (VO)
When my mom would go out of town on business trips,
my dad would buy us all of the snacks she refused to let us eat.
It would be four days of eating ourselves sick, watching R rated
movies, and joking about how great it would be if she never came home.

By day 4 I was always waiting anxiously for her to return,
because my stomach couldn’t take anymore TV dinners.
But those first three days always felt like mini vacations.

SOME SORT OF FLASH FORWARD TRANSITION, BUT IT’S STILL TECHNICALLY A FLASHBACK

INT. KITCHEN - MORNING

Two children, roughly 12 and 15 sit at the kitchen table eating bowls of cereal.

KAREN (VO)
Another time, I had wanted to stay home sick from school, so I asked him for advice.
He said a friend of his had recently shown him how to make his nose bleed.
If I could make my nose bleed bad enough he said that there’d be no way
that our mom would make me go in.

KAREN(cont.)
I immediately said no way. I was desperate to get out of my test that day,
but not desperate enough to fuck up my face.

INT. HALLWAY - MORNING

KAREN(cont.)

So anyway, he goes into the bathroom.
I hear this loud banging noise that I’m assuming is him
smashing his face into something and then he walks out,
makes direct eye contact with me,
and shoves both of his index fingers up his nostrils as hard as he can.
When he took his fingers out, waterfalls of blood were pouring out of his nose.

It was the worst thing I had ever seen.

And he’s smiling like a maniac. As if on cue, my mom walks downstairs,
checking to see if we’re ready for the bus.

KAREN(cont.)
The look of horror on my mother’s face is something I will never forget.
She grabbed my brother by the arm and rushed him out to the car.
They went straight to the ER, no words exchanged.
The plus is that since my mom was so distracted with my brother,
she wasn’t home to see if i made it onto the bus or not.
I didn’t.
And when she asked me about it later
I said I was so traumatized by what had happened to Marc
that I couldn’t go into school that day.


END FLASHBACK

INT. FACILITY

KAREN
(introspectively)
God, I used to hate that story.
I thought it was one of my worst memories,
but looking back on it as an adult I realized it was probably
the nicest thing my brother ever did for me.
Smashing his face in so I had an extra day to prepare
for a test that I still probably did poorly on.
I can’t even remember to be honest.

KAREN sits there in silence for a beat.


KAREN (cont.)
Is that enough? Are we done now?

The blue light turns off and the whirring noise stops. The voice comes back over the intercom speakers

VOICE
Please exit on your right and the receptionist will assist you.


A door opens on the right-hand side of the room, opposite from the side in which KAREN entered. She stands and walks out.

KAREN
(muttering under her breath)
Weird.


KAREN walks down a long hallway with a desk at the end of it. She approaches the desk. On it is a tablet. She places her thumbprint on the tablet, it scans, and then a small vial drops like a gum ball from a dispenser below.


KAREN reaches down a picks it up. The label on the vial reads nothing more than -- KAREN LAITHWAITE, TAKE IMMEDIATELY TO EXPECT RESULTS WITH THE FIRST 24 HOURS. Inside the tube is a needle.


Another VOICE rings out overhead


VOICE
Please insert needle directly into the vein to make sure the serum has the desired result.
Should you require further assistance, please schedule another appointment.

KAREN
Wait, there’s no receptionist. It’s just you again.
What did they do just, change the pitch?

No response.


KAREN
(sighs)
So, this is it then? I’ll just forget everything that happened after?
Forget how much he changed?

VOICE
Yes, but it is pertinent that you have no direct contact with your actual brother.

KAREN
(under her breath)
Well, that shouldn’t be hard.

VOICE (cont.)
The version we’ve created for you should be just fine.
You will remember him fondly.

KAREN shoves the vial inside her purse a turns to exit the building, a skeptical look on her face.


KAREN
(yelling over her shoulder)
Thanks!

#1

I was going to start journaling. That was the original idea.

It was something I actually had started doing at the beginning of last year. I honestly don’t remember doing it, but I was cleaning my room, going through some old notebooks looking for something to journal in and then I stumbled upon something I wrote early last year.

It was hilarious to read because nothing has actually changed in the over a year and a half since I wrote it and the thesis of the entry was that I don’t change. Hah, me.

I don’t think that’s true anymore though. I think I’ve changed a bit in the near 26 years I’ve been doing this whole living my life thing.

For starters, I don’t hate myself anymore. That’s a big one. I may say I hate myself, but it’s all in jest at this point. Sure, I still have a few flaws I’m hyper fixated on. The dermatillomania is a big one. I’m a bit of a coward, something I’ve never wanted to admit because I’d like to think I’m daring and spunky and all of these other pseudo punk rock things, but actually I think I’m just really aggro in an attempt to hide how afraid I am of literally everything.

It’s cool. I’m not dead yet. I still have areas of personal development to work on. It gives me something to do.

It’s weird that I’m blogging again, I will say that. I used to post sporadic blog posts in high school, all of which instigated “are you okay, here’s the name of my therapist” messages. So… let’s try not to do that again, Brain.

In college I was vlogging. I literally only started vlogging because of the Geek & Sundry contest and once I was actually selected and had to start doing it I immediately regretted my decision. I mean, everything worked out completely fine (well, mostly) and I am still entirely grateful for the experience, but I was hyper self-conscious the entire time. Like about all of it.

Post-college adult Holland started writing articles. First for Geek & Sundry, then for a few other sites after that. My pieces on birth.movies.death still stand as some of my greatest achievements, in my opinion.  Not to sound pompous. It’s sounds pompous. But, not only was I able to write about movies I liked, but I also was inserting anecdotes about myself into every one so really it was just like blogging/vlogging. I tricked you all.

Most of my notes from editors were about not being so personal. Which I’ve realized I can’t do. I take everything super personally because I put some of myself in everything I do and I’m not sure what the solve is for that.

Anyway, this is why instead of writing in a notebook, drafting things in emails and google docs that will never see the light of day, finishing something only to say “no, this is bad. i’m destroying this,“ I’m posting it all here.

I want it to stick. Everything is embarrassing (thanks, Sky). I mean, who’s gonna read these anyway, am I right?

I can’t decide whether I’m the biggest open book or I only do this to try and make up for how guarded I am.

an experiment.

I need to be writing and I haven’t been so I’m using you to hold me accountable, Dear Internet.

I’ve had various awesome, cool, dope, amazing, stellar, all of the above people in my life be kind enough to give me prompts, offer to read my writing, actually read my writing, give me notes, workshop my shit with me, and continuously remind me that I want to be doing this in hopes of keeping me accountable and it hasn’t really worked so far.

Why? Because I suck. (kidding, I’m trying to work on the negative self-talk)

But actually. I keep finding reasons to not actually do it.

Well, no more excuses. (god, this is so cliché and cheesy I am already regretting this)

I have this fun blog attached to my website that I never use, so let’s start.

Each day I need to write at least 300 words. What will I be writing?


Who fucking knows.


Stories, scripts, poems, songs, blog posts where I vomit my feelings into the ether… could be anything.

A lot of it will probably be really bad. And I’m posting it to the internet anyway because I’m an insane person …but you already knew that.

Here goes nothing.

Let’s begin!