Wednesday, September 17, 2008

"Nightpeople" internet address


47 authors.

Cast...........In order of appearance.

(1) Richard....All Episodes.
(2) Ken..........Episode One.
(3) George......."....."
(4) Mark........."....."(not the same person as the persons in episodes two. thirteen and 19)
(5) Robyn........"....."
(6) Cindy........"....."
(7) Erica........" ...."(also in episodes eleven)
(8) Mark.........Episode two....(not the same person as the persons in episode one. thirteen and 19)
(9) Wylie........"....."....(also in episode eight)
(10) Matt..........Episode three.
(11) Lakshmi....Episode four.
(12) Laree.........Episode five
(13) Bijou.........Episode six
(14) Lundy........"....."
(15) Sean........."....."
(16) Kristy........Episode seven
(17) Brenda......Episode eight
(18) Wylie........".....".....(also in episode two)
(19) John........."....."
(20) Jim............Episode nine
(21) Eric........."....."
(22) Robert......."....."
(23) Happiness.Episode ten
(24) Tamara......Episode eleven
(25) Erica........".....".....(also in episode one)
(26) Cande.......Episode twelve
(27) Kamarie....Episode thirteen
(28) Mark........."....." (not the same person as the persons in episodes one,.two and 19)
(29) Darren......."....."
(30) Betsy........".....".........
(31) Jose...........Eoisode 14
(32) Kyle........."....."
(33) David........Episode 15
(34) Tom..........Episode 16
(35) Sunny........"....."
(36) SS..........."....."
(37) Grace........"....."
(38) Gillian......"....."
(39) Lon.........."....."
(40) Sassy.........Episode 17
(41) Veronica.."....."
(42) Eriq...........Episode 18
(43) Evan,,,,,,"....."
(44) Carole...."....." (also in episode 20)
(45) Danny....."....."
(46) Charles......Episode 19
(47) Yosselly.."....."
(48) Mark.......".....".... (not the same person as the persons in episodes 1, 2 and 13)
(49) Carole ..... Episode 20 (also in episode 18)


Episode one

(1) Richard
(2) Ken
(3) George......."....."
(4) Mark........."....."(not the same person as the persons in episodes two. thirteen and 19)
(5) Robyn........"....."
(6) Cindy........"....."
(7) Erica........" ...."(also in episodes eleven)


It's nighttime. I'm in a cyber café, sitting at the counter. A server comes over. I order a steak diner. She leaves. Ken enters, walks over and stands next to me.

ME; "I just got here a minute ago."

(2) KEN; "Yeah, and you're in my f_cking seat, j_rk off."

I get up and move to a booth.

Later. Same night. I'm in the same booth. George sits down opposite me.

ME; "It's hot outside. I'm glad to get this nice AC."

(3) GEORGE; "Sounds corny and boring... sorry."

He gets up and leaves. The server brings my steak.

Later. Same night. I'm in the same booth. Mark sit's down opposite me.

(4) MARK; "Do you have a minute? Or maybe a few more after that?"

ME; "I'll be here the rest of the night."

MARK: "Meeting anyone?"

ME; "I see people I know all night long but I don't have any appointments."

MARK: "Well, okay then.. Mmm, were you one of those people who never wanted to become an adult? Who just wanted to stay free-spirited and happy and free from the vaguest notion of rent or taxes or work? And in a weird sort of way, that you could exist in blissful ignorance about the world around, and that you only had your little bubble universe to care about?"

ME; "Different things happened. I don't recall all the details. Really, I just do whatever cames next. I don't really remember what I was thinking about."

(4) MARK: "And that's really the saddest part isn't it, that we've lost so many years to circumstance and we've never had the chance to make a choice. We just went with the flow. And here we are now. All washed up."

ME; "I suppose, but right now I'm just trying to get through the night. I'm not trying to relive my life-of-hell."

MARK; "Okay."

He leaves. The server clears away the empty plates.

"Nightpeople" internet address

Same night. Later. I'm at the counter now. Robyn's sitting, by herself, in a booth. I walk over and sit opposite her.

ME: "Have you had a busy evening?"

(5) ROBYN: "Yes, but my evenings are usually busy, you know that. What about you, Ricky? Been busy?"

ME; "I was at at the Boat Bar, before I came here, watching strippers. People don't get bored when strippers are around. There's always something funny-crazy going on. What else - with a roomful of naked women."

ROBYN: "Well, to some, a roomful of beautiful, naked women might be a horrible reminder of how someone's failed physically at life. But, don't let me get insecure on you, Ricky, I'm sure you had a good time."

ME; "Some people never pass-up an opportunity to proselytize. What've you been doing?"

(5) ROBYN: "Oh, hanging out, having fun, you know. It's so easy to let myself just live in a blur, you know? Sometimes I forget to stop myself."

Me; "I'm more relaxed. I spend hours here, eating and talking. I always meet plenty of people, mainly writers, but other people too."

ROBYN;"I write."

ME; "What do you write about."

ROBYN: "Well, fantasy mostly. I try to fill the need for people who lack entertainment in their lives. Who wants to read about reality! We're already living, you know?"

ME; "That's an idea that I've had on my mind for a long time. I repeat it to myself over and over again and I never find an answer. Still, fantasy usually bores me. I write about real things. The idea of context intrigues me. I find context in the things that people say to me. Then I put something I'm thinking abou next to it. I can't pull a story out of my own head."

(5) ROBYN: "Well, most writers pull things out of their asses, so I guess you're off to a good start. I'm prtty sure I use writing to play out scenarios I've only dreamed of actually happening.... I suppose that's what makes it fun for me. But I do see what you're saying. Context is important, when it comes to reality." She laughs.

ME; "Can you elaborate on the laughter part of that?"

ROBYN: "Well... fantasy, you know? It's not really based on context. And really, when you think about it, so much of life falls out of context with everything else going on. Imagine a, let's see.. a big real estate women, very professional, on top of her game... bam! She's pregnant. Where's the context in that?"

ME; "You said a moment ago that context is important when it comes to reality and then you laughed and then I asked you why you laughed and then you said something about a pregnant real estate women. I still don't get the joke. Do you mean it's a joke to write about reality?"

(5) ROBYN:" No, nothing like that. All I'm saying is that reality isn't really based on context, because life isn't all that contextual. Everything that happens to us, planned or not, doesn't always follow a pattern, or a 'set of rules' that maps out each person ' area of context.' Make sense?"

ME; "Not to me. I don't know what you're talking about. A person writes to context, that's all. You can tell when someone says something out of context, it doesn't fit in. You say, 'That's out of context' and the person, more than likely, will say; 'Yeah, I know.'"

ROBYN; "I'm going back to the blur."

She leaves.

"Nightpeople" internet address

Same night. Later. I've moved back to the counter. Cindy enters the diner and sits down next to me.

ME; "Hi, Cindy. I caught a furniture van today and made $100 It was a long job, 14 hours, and a great workout. What have you been up-to?"

(6) CINDY: "Nothing really. But I like it that way. Gives me space to think. What brings you here at 3am?"

ME; "I'm always here at 3am. What do you think about?"

CINDY: "I think about stories, where that person has been and where he is going."

A server ccomes over and Cindy orders a cappuccino.

ME; "I think about logic sequences and what I'ill say when someone says a certain thing to me. Do you ever do that?"

The server comes back with Cindy's cappuccino and leaves.

(6) CINDY: "It's a curious thing cos there is no logical way to deduce an emotional response. There's so much backstory and surrounding circumstances. I like the idea of randomness!"

ME; "Do you use logic in discussions and arguements?"

CINDY: "That's true. You're so logical... " She sips the cappuccino. "So what do you do when you're not working out logic sequences?"

ME; "I'm trying to write a story about strippers but I can't get interviews and I can't pull the story out of my head. I'm kind of stuck."

CINDY: "Why can't you get any interviews? 'Cos you're shy?'

ME; "I'm not shy. They just don't give interviews. The last one I tried to interveiw said she had a wonderful story and she wanted, up-front and sight-unseen, $50,000 for it."

She finishes her cappuccino

(6) CINDY; "Bye."

She leaves.

Later same night. I'm still at the counter. Erica enters the diner and comes over.

(7) ERICA; "Let's get a booth."

ME; "Okay."

I carry a cup of coffee to the new location and wave a server over. Erica looks at the menu.

ERICA; "Ok . . . "G'day maam, yes I will have the Albacore Tuna plate with an english muffin on the side and a lemon-water."

"Wow, Richard, did you look at this menu they have a variety of delicious things to sample and at the right prices. Have you tried the albacore tuna plate?"

ME; "I've been looking at the menu for years. I've had the tuna plate.

(7) ERICA; "How many years have you been coming here?"

ME; "10. Do you like Fellini films?"

ERICA; "You know Richard, in all of my 42 years on this planet, I have never seen a film by Fellini. What did he offer as entertainment?"

ME; "He was an Italian director. He's dead now. He was very funny. His characterizations were always perfect. All the persons in his films, with one exception, are completely stupid and worthless. The exception was always exactly the opposite. Sometimes Fellini played that part himself. Sometimes someone else did."

(7) ERICA; "Was he mystical?"

ME; "Some people thought so. I didn't. Have you ever seen an art film?"

ERICA; "No, I don't believe I have. But what constitutes an 'art film anyway?'

ME; "Any film shown in an 'art' film theatre. People, who go to them, know them when they see them. These people are 'high' brow rather than 'low' brow or 'no' brow. Art films are of a genre."

ERICA: "I saw the movie MindWalk. It was playing at the Museum of Art  in Cleveland Ohio one year and when I watched it again for a 'Psychology of Film' class for my baccalaureate degree, I was intrigued at how the philosopher, the lawyer and the scientist all came together, in unison, from an artistic perspective. They saw the world in which we live as a myriad of flaws and great design, despite the encouragement of intellectual design. Have you ever seen that one?"

ME; "No, I missed it. It sounds good though. Do you write?"

"Nightpeople" internet address

(7) ERICA: "I write about the mind, body and spirit both from a non-fiction (biological/medical) standpoint AND a fiction standpoint. I like to incorporate my imagination into my reality offering a broad spectrum of idealogy. The topics cover health, wealth, earth conservation, brain entrainment, contacting ones spirit-guides and a plethora of other interesting food for thought. I'am putting together an anthology of poetry, both acrostic and other forms, to convey messages of self-improvement tapping the resources given within the spirit of the physical body host are essence is 'trapped in'. This type of assignment I gave myself allows me to expand on my experiences as well as incorporate the experiences of others. I am very excited about the possibilities . . ."

The sever returns with the Tuna Plate and leaves.

ME; "I don't have any idea what you're talking about, Is any of this reducible to logic?"

ERICA: "Reducible to logic? Huh, what does that mean? I figure if you asked what I am up to, writing-wise, I gave you that which I find passion in writing about. Connections between the mind, body and spirit . . ."

ME; "Well, there is such a thing as logic, What was it that you said about 'essence.'"

(7) ERICA; "Essence is something within us. It can be understood as gut instincts, energy, our psyche (personality) but most of all it is 'that which makes each person unique'. Just because a person can lift 100+ pounds does not limit them to labor jobs, they could find within themselves a painter, a lyricist, a sculptor or anything they want to be besides what they feel they are limited to. It helps clarify what a person's potential is. Does that help you understand a little . . .?"

ME; "Yeah, I just didn't know what you were talking about. So you're writing a discover-your-potential-book. How do you get people to do that?"

ERICA; "Richard, the first book that was published in 2003 by a POD (print on demand) entitled, Transpersonal Enlightenment: Awareness 101 is available as an e-book currently. It is a compilation of essays based on personal experiences of mine and some family members i interviewed, using dreams, visions, trauma, and death of a very close relative when I was very young, as 'fodder for the cannon'. Each essay carries a certain element of discovering 'a something more' approach to life. The genre that book falls under is non-fiction; while a second book, only a galley or manuscript at this (6 point because it has not been commercially published yet, is in the hands of a reputable publishing company and it is fiction. This one is a story of re-discovering oneself through a very interesting sojourn involving meeting fantasy creatures of folklore and contemplating other realms of existence. The protagonist is determined to change after submitting herself to an emotional and psychological and sexually-abusive marriage she got entangled in and stayed in for nearly 30 years."
"So you want to know how I might get people to re-evaluate their current boring lives?Well, typically I advise them to remove all negatively-connotated words from their personal 'life autobiography' and of course their mind-set so as to facillitate positive change. This can be done by simply saying, 'I can,' instead of 'I cannot.' Next, I advise them on recording their dreams. Anything they can remember from the REM field that induces restful 'rapid eye movement' sleep AND dreams. In your dreams a whole different world exists that is not directed by the living, breathing ego; it is far more intelligent despite not being well-understood by many. Third, I tell them suggestions to cope with if not fend off stress altogether, try meditating, composing, bursting into song, even crying if the act itself opens up a channel of change. What do you think about that ? Any questions or input?"

ME; "I don't do any of those things."

(7) ERICA; "Do you choose to not do the things I mentioned, consciously? Or is there something I didn't mention that you participate in to make your life less stressful and more optimistic?"

ME; "I don't put mind, body and spirit together. I do whatever comes next. But I think a lot about logic sequences. Do you do that too?"

ERICA' "I have to accomodate logic because it clarifies, for the ego, a sense of knowing. But at the same time because it is in my thoughts to go with the flow, I tend to compartmentalize more, ya know break up the pieces and not take things so literally. Do you get what I mean?"

ME; "Not at all. Your brain is a mystery to me."

ERICA: "My brain, a mystery to you? No, you mean my mind is the mysterious thing you cannot grasp, but it is okay. We all are hard-wired the same but its the software we use that makes us different. Ever try alternating logic with the unbelieveable . . .? Surely you know things that are unbelievable even if you don't believe, you still have heard of some things, right? Meditation, for example--logical or illogcal?"

"Nightpeople" internet address

ME; "The entire subject leaves me with a blank feeling. I see it on TV and just tune it out. And wonder how people came to be like that. Why would they discuss such nonsense? What could bring them to believe these things could help them. I certainly don't want to discuss alternative medicine."

(7) ERICA; "Then, what do you want to discuss?'

ME: "We can discuss Pink Floyd. Would you like that?"

ERICA: "Sure, they are one of my favorite groups. Their much older stuff, like before 1968 was very unusual for the times, don't you agree? I mean the lyrics were one thing but the harmonizing, riffs and melody were 'out of this world' and usually evoked a certain sense of 'euphoria' from the individuals who had introduced me to Floyd. What do you like most or least about their music Richard?"

ME; "Yeah, euphoric or psychedelic. In one of his songs he says; 'There's a lunatic in my head.' What do you think he means by that?"

(7) ERICA; "It depends on who was voicing those lyrics--if  Gary then a more rational thought comes to mind. The 'lunatic' is the mental contender in the boxing ring of logic versus fantasy, and Gary's version is a strict courageous fighter able to withstand adversity; but if it is Walter singing the lament, his 'lunatic' is a suffering spirit, an essence that is left behind from abandonment showing little regard for positive human interaction. He becomes the crazy isolated 'sick-man' led by the ring through his nose society sneered down at . ."

ME; "I don't know that society is the arbitrator of all things. I've always felt I was living in a Giant Lunitic Asylum, inhabited by Strange Life Forms."

ERICA: "Society does not make the final decision about how we act, how we live, what we wear, what we say--but you certainly cannot argue that the influence of others is there. Right? Richard, you have an interesting imagination. As expanded as your ideas and thoughts are on the 'employment of people', now their music of choice, I wonder if you are not also . . . 'a galaxy wanderer?"

ME; "I wish. You know, we've been talking for awhile and I've noticed you never ask me what I'm talking about. You just present arguements. I would think you'd be curious as to why I believe the world is a Giant Lunitic Asylum inhabited by a Strange Life Form. Would you like to know?"

(7) ERICA; "Okay, I am slightly curious what makes you think this is one huge lunatic asylum ?'

ME; "Good. This is a subject that I can really warm up to and it's a long story too. I'll start off with this. You watch TV and it's like the same story over and over again. The same basic plot with lots of small variations thrown in. It looks like the story tellers are trying to maintain 'moron' happiness. What do you think about that?"

ERICA: "I don't really watch 'enough' television to state anything really positive or negative. I can honestly tell you though between soaps and late-night drama, television producers need to find way better material. The stories are not necessarily the same, but boring, violent, un-stimulating and certainly nothing I would let my kids watch, if I had any. I read books and write my own stories."
"Richard, how much television do you absorb ?"

ME; "I watch PBS, the Discovery Channel, The Office, Scrubs. Seinfeld and Reno 911. People who watch boring programs are proably suffering from severe mental deteriation or are just really stupid."
"I have an insight into their personalities. My mother was a reader. She once told me she was reading a boring book. And she would continue to read it because she knew the author had gone to a lot of trouble to write it. I told her to put it aside and get another book but she wouldn't. She also believed St. Peter would open the Pearly Gates for her when she explained she had been a good role-model. Raving lunitics are running the whole show."

(7) ERICA; "Are you also calling your mother a 'raving lunatic' who just believed in something that made her feel better? I wouldn't go so far as to say the entire planet of people are raving lunatics but there are many examples of. It is a combination of dna, social influence, religious motivation and personal feeling of self-worth. If being stupid pays, then someone might opt for stupidity, if not they do something else. But I don't believe everyone is raving mad . . ."

"Nightpeople" internet address

ME; "They are though. Mom was a real psycho-nut but she never got caught - which just shows the intelligence of the society we're living in. People thought she had good ideas even when she was obviously insane. I told her all the time she was a nut and she always said the same thing; "I'm beginning to believe you." But then she'd change her 'mind.' She didn't believe in God, Heaven and St. Peter because it made her feel good. She believed those things really happen."

ERICA; "But in order to really believe and not doubt yourself she examined and applied how it made her feel, the emotional response confirming the thought confirming the belief God, Heaven and St. Peter were real rather than concepts of our illustrious imagination. Richard, the mind is fascinating. Those that only use the part that is concerned with survival--i.e. enough food, water, shelter, and the basic necessity to get laid every now and then (both genders not just males)--are far away from what the 'raving lunatic' mind of perhaps your mom, boss, chaplain, teacher etc, is expanded. It is not closed nor left to be held in contempt of intelligence versus ignorance. To choose the belief that none of those things really exist but are only concepts because our mind produced it that way shows advancement of the race in itself. Don't you agree ?"

ME; "Are you saying delusional stupid morons are an advanced form of life? I certainly agree they're stange. Apparently we have diametrically opposed veiwpoints about the value of The Stange Life Form. Wouldn't you agree? You think they're silver and gold and I think they're sh-t."

(7) ERICA; "Basically what I am saying Richard, is that obviously some that have not 'evolved to understand' the level the moron (or so you call) is on, will always be a step behind those that are using more of their intellect than less. To call someone that thinks differently and possibly more 'out there' than you normally would is then equally considered "both a moron and full of shit. Hmmmm, doesn't say much about your intellect if you can negate those that are just different and not sucked up by the 'robotic modes of thought' where they are told to believe something that both separates and ignores instead of embraces and integrates. With the way you think, no wonder harmony can never be achieved. Your a separatist!"

ME; "Well, that's just fascinating and also interlectual mumbo-jumbo. I repeat, the 'morons' are just 'morons' and very, very 'out there.' They're a Stange Life Form."

ERICA; "Richard, I don't think we are making much progress. Do you? I mean, we are going around and around and frankly I really don't get why you bother if the world, according to Richard, is of free-thinkers and do-gooders that are doing no good at all cept being a 'bunch of moronic idiots full of shit'. Perhaps we need to address a different issue. Any suggestions?"
"How about this insistence of 'conservationsists and those so concerned with global warming'? Wouldn't it be better to address ways to acclamate oneself to the changing climate rather than going headstrong on ways to 'cease global warming'? I mean you can't stop natural inevitable changes this planet has been going through for billions of years, so I thought maybe we could 'enlighten' others on how to reach a nirvana-state with the weather changes as they are happening . . . Yes or no?"

ME; "We can talk about global warming if you want to. Personally, I'm unconcerned about it and have no idea why television types find it necessary to discuss it ad nauseum."

(7) ERICA: "Oh good, you are 'unconcerned about it'; therefore I may be able to get some straight answers out of you than those that you are so darn preoccupied with."
"First of all, what about 'global warming' gets you the most, outside of any media influence? Has your life changed dramatically since either snow rain sleet or sun has come and gone as it has natually?"

ME: "You know, you're kind of funny/comical. The weather seems to be about the same as usual."

"Nightpeople" internet address

ERICA; "Oh, I am so glad you noticed that I try to stay 'humorous' in the face of adversity and chaos, it is one of the things that life has to offer that is good: laughter and comic-sense of self. But honestly, if the weather is pretty much 'constant' in the face of this 'global warming crisis', my question is why is everyone so pre-occupied with it? Ya know ?"

ME; "It's one of life's great mysteries. A single grain of sand on a very large beach."

ERICA; "Oh I haven't heard that statement in quite some time. It looms in the back of someones mind as 'untouchable', that one single piece of sand on the beach has no 'say' so to speak about what it is supposed to do. Although we know sand-crystals don't have a physical purpose, but it does serve some purpose. What do you suppose it really serves in the grander scheme of things"

ME; "I didn't mean that. I meant, there are an infinite number of mysteries and the multitude of 'global warming' addicts was just one of them."

(7) ERICA: "Oh, yeah your correct on that. I like the way you call them 'global warming addicts', that's funny but serious at the same time. I geuss individuals who feel powerless in changing their own immediate lives should venture out and help a greater cause, or at least complain about it; therefore doing something better than nothing'. The infinite number of mysteries out there warrants a great conversation also . . .What mystery is at the top of your list to further evaluate, discuss or trash--depending on your outlook today ?"

ME; "You pick a subject and I'll follow along."

ERICA: "Lets just leave the The 'global warming' addicts to their incurable addiction, and lets find another common ground we can walk together, in different shoes of course. How about the use of psychic mediums in the criminal, forensic, mental health and prison systems? If this is too broad, lets narrow to one of those fields as I have been watching some stuff on using 'intuitives, sensitives, clairvoyants and mediums (like Allison DuBois) in major cases for disappearance or evidence that CANNOT be found using any traditional methods of recovery. What do you think ?"

ME; "I don't beleive in the effectivness of psychic mediums or of the other stuff that you mentioned. Sorry."

(7) ERICA: "Why don't you believe? What keeps you as a non-believer of such amazing powers of the mind? You do believe in 'heal thyself' don't you?"

ME; "I haven't had a lot of success with 'heal yourself.' I doubt if you or anyone else has either."

ERICA: "As a matter of fact, Richard, I have had the opportunity to not only believe in the 'power to heal thyself' but test it. It was three years ago, almost, June 6th 2006 when an ovarian cyst (not malignant) had burst in me sending me into convulsions, dry heaves, loss of consciousness and bleeding internally. I was rushed to the ER by ambulance transport thinking the whole way there, this is great. Now see what synthetic birth control pills over 15 years led to. I was pissed, angry, scared and most of all very weak. I medidated most of the way there, using my higher consciousness as a way to escape the inevitable surgery the doctors on staff, said I was going to need. HELL NO !! It took minutes to convince them they were not going to remove anything I came into this life with. No matter how messed up from the poison in the cyst my body was reacting normally, I was not giving into an invasive procedure using a scalpel."

ME: "What happened then? Did you get better without surgery? Do you still have the organ 'that you came into the world with? I don't get it. You're sick - how do you get better using your mind? What do you have your mind do? What do you say to your mind? How do you get your mind to fix things? I can't possibly beleive someone can fix their body wirh their mind."

(7) ERICA: "While laying in the hospital recovering from the burst, not having any surgery, in meditation and talking with my 'angels' (I know it is difficult for you to imagine 'angels' but they were there, or something was), that I was too fix this with every force I had. This included the mind. More specifically how I trained my mind to erase pain, as i recalled doing the last ten years when having flare-ups when regular menses cycles prevailed. I have dealt with pain before and don't like it. I have ALL, both ovaries, both fallopian tubes, all of the uterus and yes every single organ I came in with, including my tonsils, still intact. Okay what don't you get really? I was sick. It was mostly due in me believing a respectable gynecologist female doctor who only had her own experiences with faulty periods, what I learned from, she prescribed in 1991 a birth control pill. It was not for the prevention of pregnancy, it was too regulate by synthetic NOT NATURAL: stimulation of hormones, specifically estrogen. Women need this to eventually procreate. I was not making enough. However the problem with chemically inducing the production of estrogen early on takes a dangerous turn over a course of time. The process never ceases even after the birth control pills have been stopped. The body now produces more estrogen than necessary and causes cysts, or tumors, or masses that create pain, infertility and in the most extreme cases, a required total removal of all the reproductive organs known as a 'hysterectomy'. I avoided the knife and turned to the books, my inner body sensations, and using my imagination plus educated resources I had allocated from internet, other women experiencing same or similar conditions, I came to realize I could alter what chemically ruined my chances for motherhood. I used a combination of Wild Yam (discorrhea root), Lemon Balm, Dong Quai, Calcium, plenty of B12 and literally 'shrank' the cyst ever since. I found out it 'loves' processed sugar and frozen foods cause of the BHT additives (some brands of birth control pills also contain BHT), anyway--I stopped all processed and refined sugars, starches, prepared foods and switched to raw cane sugar. I did have help with my step-mom, a Reiki practitioner, who helped me train my mind to make my body become well through thought, diet and exercise, radical changes in lifestyle--less alcohol and caffeine and meat-- I am sorry, I am rambling on about my progress and have not let you say anything to what I have said thus far . . .Do you get it kind of now ?"

"Nightpeople" internet address

ME;: "I'm interested in your story. Don't worry about rambling. I don't get the part where you use your mind to heal your body. Also, I've been sick and in pain and I can't imagine using my mind to erase the pain. I never did that. I would if I could. I still don't understand what happened to you at the hospital. You came in with a cyst on your ovary which was posioning all your organs. You were dying. The dioctors recomended surgery. For reasons known only to you, you said; 'No.' Within hours the cyst disappeared and you recovered. Is that what happened? I believe the cyst disappeared on it's own. That can happen. Your recovery had nothing to do with 'mind control. It could have gone the other way and you'd be dead. The doctors decision was the correct one. I don't believe organs can be 'thought better.' You wan't me to accept mysticism. I'm never going to do that."

(7) ERICA: "You say you 'cannot imagine', that is your biggest problem right there. The choice of the word 'cannot', does not let energy, required healing energy come in and actually repair, reduce, or in some cases completely eliminate a 'foreign obstacle' that causes discomfort. I was not dying. But I was restricted from doing some of the things I used to do without being in pain. One does not die from an ovarian cyst UNLESS it becomes cancerous, which in my case, it did not."
"The cyst just burst on the 6th day of June 2006, it had not completely dissolved and left my body. I had alot of work ahead of me to avoid surgery. Since I have been raised in a medical family (dad an orthopeadist surgeon; mom a histologist; me a transpersonal psychology major) I understand alot about what the power of the mind can do. If your pain is real which it is, it is because you totally believe it hurts, right ?But if you stop saying or thinking or believing you CANNOT heal, then you won't; but if you adopt an I CAN construct, your chances of helping pain dissipate is sooooo much easier. To this day I still have a 1.8cm cyst (originally was 6.789cm--a real threat) that with time will be completely gone. As it sits now, my diet, exercise and meditation keeps it from growing. I know it is nearly impossible to believe but its true. I am true, I am talking to you now because I fixed myself and have done so by researching, believing and accepting that my body is just energy and if I manipulate it, it works in my favor . . ."

ME; "I'll simply repeat myself. I don't believe in mind-over-matter. Can we talk about something else please?"

(7) ERICA: "Sure, we can talk about anything you want. How about dreams? Do you dream Richard? And if you do how much, if any, of the subject matter in the dream do you remember upon waking up?"

ME: "Very little. They seem to be an extention of what I think about when I'm awake. I don't place any special significance to them."

ERICA: "You think they are extentions of what you are thinking about before falling asleep? So lets discuss that . . .yes/ no ? If that doesn't float your boat then answer 'why' you don't give any special significance to your dreams ? I find my dreams to be very helpful, sort of a clean palatte to create that which I cannot during awakened part of living because my darn ego (fear, emotions, boundaries, rules, etc) gets in the way of really living. Do you agree or not ?"

ME "Not really. I've thought about it, in the past, and never found they were relevant to anything at all. Are you aware that the psychiatrist Freud beleived they were an entrance into the subliminal?"

(7) ERICA: "Oh yes of course. I had to study him and his theories for both my bachelors and masters degree. However it is the subconcious, rather than 'subliminal' (different term for specific message being played from something rewound or reversed), that the dream uncovers." "Freud was unusual because he only stuck to the precept he understood best: follow the lead of the parent you idol most hence the elecktra complex and the Oedipus complex, both abnormal longings based on sex for either the mother or father, disrespectively. I don't take much creedence to his basic idealogy but dreams do open doors, no doubt about it, in my mind. The relevance from a dream to the awakened state is not clearly visible to some. But, if in a dream you are more assertive than aggressive, one day when rovoked, the latter would flow and you could not wonder from where, because you dreamed about being assertive rather than aggressive. That is pretty relevant to me, as I have solved a few confrontations with assertive behavior rather than just being hostile* . . ."
"Hey what about 'coincidences? Ever had those ?"

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ME: "I can't recall anything right now."

ERICA: "Okay, this is another dead-end subject. Let's talk about hobbies. Do you have any ?"

ME: "Just writing. The 'morons' are the only subject I'm really familiar with. Thinking about the 'moron' is my #1 hobby."

(7) ERICA: "Funny you have a hobby about writing and discussing 'morons' and yet you are not one. I see where people any people in any field holding a particular position whether professional or industrial (white collar or blue collar) can be 'morons'. Your fascination with them is intriguing, I suppose. Okay, lets discuss 'them morons' further . . ."
"I remember you mentioning the mainstream people being much like the moron running a company, correct? Is there a difference in attitude, demanor, behavior or all they just too stupid ?"

ME; "We can start by defining 'morons.' Can we agree that people who watch wrestling are 'morons?'

ERICA: "Nope we are going to have to disagree because I define 'moron' differently than you do. Remember? I said the mind takes in what it wants for a multitude of reasons. If someone watches wrestling because they cannot be an 'adrenaline junkie like a wrestler is' it offers them a rush just watching. Not as strong, but satisfying. How is that an act of a 'moron' ?"

ME: "You know, the mind doesn't take in what it needs or wants. It doesn't do anything independant of the individual. It just looks at things. And TV wrestling fans are looking at stupidity."

(7) ERICA: "Sure the mind does take in what it needs or wants because the person thinking it, deems it so. However, as far as entertainment value or any value besides an 'adrenaline rush', wrestling should be considered a stupid sport to watch. I geuss morons are rather a humorous bunch. Agree ?"

ME; " It's not really a sport. It's a pretended sport. Also, I find it peculiar that there are people around who say to themselves; 'I need an 'adrenaline rush' and this is it.' Have you checked your theory? I'd like to create a 'moron meter' so that we can more throughly discuss the subject of 'morons.' On a scale of 1 to 10 I'd like to put TV wresrtling fans at #10, the stupidest. Is that okay with you?"

ERICA: "It's your idea so it's truly up to you where the 'wrestling watching population' should go, bottom or top. I agree, bottom-feeders . . ."

ME: "Okay good. A moment ago you said business leaders are 'morons.' What do you mean by that? I'd like to put them on my 'moron meter' if it's possible."

ERICA: "I don't recall saying business leaders were morons as well, but in some situations i.e. running a corporation smoothly, some find it difficult to achieve successful outcomes so that both company and employees gain something . . ."

ME: "Well, okay. I'm looking for material for my 'moron meter.' Do you think people who watch TV phych shows are 'morons? I do."

(7) ERICA: "No, I do not feel that the majority of people who watch TV psych shows are morons; however they are seeking something. Whether that 'something' be advice, entertainment, ideas or someone that they can contact who is an 'expert' on some subject, the psych shows provide what some of the public craves."

ME: "I notice that you use the word 'craves' - indicating that you think their interest in psych shows is abnormal and unhealthy. Is that correct? Do you believe that?"

ERICA; "Am I indicating that really, sorry I wasn't picking up that vibe. But I am glad you brought it up which leads me to think this: that this particular word (craves) what you associate with--an abnormal and unhealthy word in your vocabulary, concerns me."

ME; "I'm not concerned."

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(7) ERICA; "See I don't associate the word 'craves' with extreme categories such as 'abnormal or unhealthy' because we normnally crave water, undoubtedly a necessary constituent for survival. So stimulation of the brain and the psycho-socio-economic flux must be tweaked. I mean, we need and crave information to keep 'alive psychologically'. I recall both learning Gestalt psychological data and then applying it to the 'real world' and found you have both a big picture and a small one and if either has a distorted character, all is misconstrued. Be careful how you define a word so as not to confuse that which is used to explain." "The psych teachers offer a 'craving' that is societally fueled because of boredom, economic indifference and wanting something else out of life. This craving can sometimes fall short of completely healthy or completely abnormal when disruption occurs outside of the program and filters into a household . . . there is your moron-meter recipients of ! How the information is used . . . my friend that is the key."

ME; "Like with so many other things, we disagree again. 'Public cravings' cannot be a good thing. But I agree with you that a craving for water is harmless."

ERICA; "Why can't 'public cravings' be a good thing ? I don't personally remember the sit-ins during the 60's but based on my studying the flow of those times, it seems 'public craving' went so far as to changing the course of histroy regarding segregation, human rights, and standing up (well sitting down) for what is right and just. Did you or anyone you know ever participate in such a mass deliberation to address concerns that affect our cultures?"

ME: "We're talking about the public's taste in TV watching. Can we move on? I think all sports are boring, To me, watching a sporting event is like watching grass grow. What's the point? Why would someone want to watch other people move a ball from one end of a field to the other? I just don't get it. What do you think about that?"

(7) ERICA: "For you it is like watching grass grow but for the masses that flip on the television for a sporting event, engage in a different venue of 'enetertainment'. It is presented to them without personally experiencing the injuries or the victories, nevertheless, they enjoy it. If nothing else on television stimulates their 'brain' at least it sparks something inside of them so they don't go through life truly 'bored' all the time . . .Do you still believe watching any form of 'entertainment', sports or other, is of 'moronic behavior'? I mean what else have they got to do . . ., besides work, church, their family?"

ME; "I watch some TV. And I also read a lot but it's hard to find a good book. I suppose you're right. The 'moronic' masses don't really have anything else to do except watch 'moronic' TV. I'll put the 'moronic' masses at #9 on my 'moron'-meter. I really appreciate your help. This is the most work I've ever done on the 'moron'-meter."

ERICA; "I'm sooooooo glad I could help with the 'moron meter. ' "

ME; "I still have 8 spaces to go. Have you ever noticed public speakers and media people use 'special' voice tones when they talk to the public? Their voices rise and fall in a familiar way. It's a languge in itself. They seem to say; 'You're really a very 'special' moron and I know you're going to like what I'm tellimg you.' These people are the 'puppet-masters.' "

(7) ERICA: "8 spaces?, you mean on the 'moron meter'? Oh, okay well lets see if we can fill them according to presentation (diction the tone of voice used to cajole), purpose and finally resolution, of some sort. You mention the voices of these public speakers, coaches if you will, that use a bit of lilting (utilizing various degrees of the vocal scale) diction, a dialogue element that attracts something. Used to manipulate the public feeding off the material. Yes I have heard it, been pulled in by it AND even used it myself for the purpose of teaching. This type of vocal instruction keeps the public attention glued by way of visual and auditory maybe even taste if they are given food and beverage--but nevertheless sustained to keep a 'captivated audience'. I know that language, I can speak it but most importantly when I communicate it, I evoke an almost equal response using a similar tone. It is excitement."
"Ah yes the 'puppet-master' (good movie btw), the one that holds the strings and watches the audience laugh or grovel for more and for the most part--controls the mind of the attentive. Yes, quite familiar with those sorts also. But their role is both served best hot or cold and in terms of truth, well hopefully what they demonstrate should be real if they want to teach, educate, enlighten, even entertain . . ."

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ME: "They also use catch words - like 'fiercely independant.' Thanks for the word 'lilt,' I forgot about that one. Have you ever noticed that the puppet masters usually sound like they're talking to an audience of 'morons?' Another thing; the puppet masters sound like they're trying to be nice to the 'stupids;' i.e. not say anything that would disturb them. Maybe they're trying to keep them calm?"

(7) ERICA: "Keep them calm about what ? I am not sure if all of the 'public speakers' and 'mass media influentials' talk to the public as if they were stupid; however some of the language, tone and choice of accompanying gesticulation (hand movements, body language and of course 'tools' a speaker uses to assuage his or her listeners) are intended for reaching an understanding of what the presenter is presenting."
"I think I have explained this a little more with the hopes of uncovering the mystery of speaking to the public about something that is 'craved', whether that be better health, healthcare for ones family, better pay at the job, etc etc."

ME: "Keep them calm about everything. If the puppet-masters didn't keep talking the whole society would instantly disinagrate. The 'morons' are happy to believe that someone like them is running things. Something like that. It gets complicated. The 'morons' hear soothing, familiar sounds and remain calm. They're listening to the lilt and the catch words. They don't really understand anything else."
"My point is that lilt, with catch words, is a language of its own. I don't think the audience would understand anything at all without it. Do you think that's true?"

(7) ERICA: "Yes for the most part I really believe the focal gesturing along with diction is better to stir the caluldron with. I mean if the visuals stood alone and stated a hundred convincing words, imagine how much easier it would be if the words of that 'special language' plus the lilt, a speaker could articulate her/his objective. Placing them in a gentle uproar is also a goal besides stoking a calmed spirit; but yes the 'morons' do have a challenge set before them when a puppet-master has them 'jump hoops outside of the box'. It makes these average people feel coerced but not threatened because a mass of 'morons' just like them are participating by hearing the same 'tone'. Sometimes however Richard,  if someone with a brain is running things and  the 'morons' best interest is NOT served then we need to replace the puppet-masters. Right? But with whom else ? Is anyone really qualified to change the power of thought when resistance is so much a part of the human psyche ?"
"The lilt and catch phrases are soothing if a positive energy flows through the event, presentation, show or performance as a whole. If not, then fear can actually swallow up those hungry, 'morons'. . . then it does become complicated as you say. Heck the 'human condition' was meant to be complicated, nothing easy about living."
"Placing them in a gentle uproar is also a goal besides stoking a calmed spirit; but yes the 'morons' do have a challenge set before them when a puppet-master has them 'jump hoops outside of the box'. It makes these average people feel coerced but not threatened because a mass of 'morons' just like them are participating by hearing the same 'tone'. Sometimes however, Richard, people can't always agree that even if someone with a brain is running things that the 'morons' best interest is served. If it's not then we need to replace the puppet-masters. Right? But with whom?"
"Is anyone really qualified to change the power of thought when resistance is so much a part of the human psyche ?"

ME; "I had a unique experience I'd like to relate. As you know, I'm very interested in concepts. I was having a conversation with a girl and I was telling her why something would work or wouldn't work. I forget the details. And she said to me; 'I don't think- with-words. It's just a waste of time, I know what to do without that.'And she told me what she would do in those circumstances. It turned out that she'd gotten all her ideas from other people. She'd never thought out anything by herself. Except things like; 'Should I go to the store at 5pm or 6pm. I pointed this out to her and she said; But they're good ideas and I don't need anything else.' I told her; 'But you do, these are not good ideas, they're lousy ideas and you're going to ruin everything for yourself and the people around you. You'll accomplish the opposite of what you're trying to accomplish.' She wouldn't relent and continued to insist that this was the way to go. I couldn't get her to change her mind. Have you ever had a conversation like that - where someone said; 'I don't think-with-words.' "

(7) ERICA: "Yes, as a matter of fact I have but when she said that I asked her exactly what she meant. She claimed that words just misconstrue the purpose; therefore creating visuals was easier for her to assign value or not to any given topic. If she saw it would work using her methods, she would implement, if not, she disregarded the whole thing." "It was so aggravating to hear her sound 'stupid' when honestly all she had to do was think for herself, leaving her less vulnerable to being ignored. I figure it has a lot to do with low self-esteem and the confidence one has in their own thought processes."

ME; "Has it occured to you that that person might be completely stupid and that the source of her problem has nothing to do with low self esteem and lack of confidence? There are billions and billions of 'morons' out there who are bursting at the seems with those qualities."

ERICA: "Absolutely, but I don't let on that I think they are really acting stupid because they don't know any better because once you point out that they are not thinking for themselves, all of a sudden they do . . . It is simply easier as I see it, to adopt someone else's opinions for sake of not looking stupid, although you and I know it is better to think for ourself so that if we 'sound stupid' at least its not because we are a parrot but just a 'moron' . . A sign of stubborness running deep and fear to use our own mental faculties. The latter actually being work to some so they just adopt everyone elses mambo-jambo ! It is so destructive and totally 'moronic' . . .When you were talking to this girl and she says, "I know what to do without that", it brings to my mind that many things we do are out of conditioned response. It is autommatic, requiring very little if any additional 'thinking'.

ME; "Can you tell me more about that incident you were speaking of just a few minutes ago? It was something about a women, words and visuals. She said words just confused things."

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(7) ERICA: "Some women think in pictures and words while others just thonk with associations to those words; in thie woman that I was referring to was the one you had talked of. The one so stubborn in her mindset, obviously not regarding her own intellect possibilities but rather adopting the less correct ones from other people--keeping herself free from thinking at all. The visuals are offered to those that need clarification of the idea being presented to them. Words can misconstrue but feelings and pictures help to clarify. She couldn't because even her imagination was stifled because she adopts the thoughts of others instead of using her own."
"As a woman, I find talking to anyone takes a certain finesse as I read my recipient before I engage in conversation. Facial expressions, body language and overall interest in where they are all weigh heavily on how I would approach them. If they seem 'stupid' I don't let on that I believe so, but rather approach things gently and with the least amount of confusion or cause of irritability. I see stupidity as an escape to use ones intellect, you choose to be ignorant--not born that way !"

ME: "What I'm really interested in is the specific rather than the general. What was it she was trying to explain? Was she making a film? Please tell me the whole story, with all the details."

(7) ERICA: "There is no story to tell. That is just the way she approaches any and all situations. She uses imagery instead of words, or so she says. I believe it was more an answer on how she thinks rather than how she articulates information."

ME; "It's just incredible that someone would say; 'there're no words to descibe what I'm doing.' Someone actually gave this women the responsibility and the money to make idiot films. Was it films? I remember when I was in high school there were students there who couldn't write compositions and they always said the same thing your friend said; 'There are no words to describe what happened to me.' They coudn't learn how to put 2 words together. They couln't write a sentance. And just recently I was walking with someone and he seemed to be trying to invent his own language. I told him I didn't know what he was talking about. What was your friends subject?"

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(7) ERICA: "My friends subject was about disciplining children between the decades of 1930-1960. She claims 'there are just no words for what us children had to be subjected to by our parents'--I interjected and said, "sure there are words. But perhaps your emotional constructs run so deep and shackle you so much, that you have been stifled by fear for how to interpret those actions accordingly. She looked at me in horror and disbelief because I was born later 60's and did not have to deal with labor-intensive parents so I could not relate."
"Richard, I agree with you that some people are not able to put what behavior states better than some scripted scenario. They can't find the right words because they have not expanded their simple vocabulary. This is not saying they are stupid or of 'moron mentality', just at an incredible disadvanatge. Do you agree?"

ME; "No, not at all. They're really just stupid. They were born like that. People don't need a large vocabulary to explain things. They can start talking and continue untill they're finished."
"I have another story for you. This is really exceptional. I told someone he'd changed the context of a story. He came back with; God made everything, including conversations, and He made it all to serve His greater glory and that's what he, the speaker, had done when he rearanged the parts and pieces of the aftermentioned story. What do you think of that? Is that stupid or what?"

(7) ERICA: "I don't believe that someone who has faith in a higher power is 'stupid'; however misinformed. Some people need a venue that is not their own, provided by history such as the bible and talk of god is, to make sense of non-sensical information. If a person uses that window of opportunity to free themselves from the shackles society and organized religion, then they get sucked into a vacuum. Not becoming 'stupid' but controlled by the masses. Seems like the world today is doing a great job of proving one cannot think for themself nor wants to because if they have something like a 'god concept' at their dosposal, nothing is their fault or gain . . . Do you get that ?

ME; "No. I have no idea what you're talking about. As far as I know, you said they're not stupid. But, that just isn't true.. You're always talking about weird stuff like this. You always change just simple 'moron' into special 'morons' who are looking and finding something - no one knows what. Apparently you have a direct line into the 'moron' brain and you've figured out what they're looking for and finding. But you have yet to explain it to me. I don't get it. You can tell me again if you want to. The 2 of us could possibly write 'Uncovering the Mysteries of the 'Moron' Brain.' Except, no one really knows the mysteries of the 'moron' brain. That will always be true."

(7) ERICA: "Let me explain what I describe 'stupid' as being--It is choosing not to know better or different or for yourself (i.e. adopting someone else's opinions and views on everything), because its easier just agreeing or disagreeing with the masses. Why do you think this is 'weird stuff' by the way? If we are to unlock the 'secret of human consciousness', don't you feel we should agree there are classes of stupid people as well as smart people?"

ME; "Well it's weird because you have the brain talking to itself about itself. According to you; it needs explanations and adrenline rushes. We've been over this before and I pointed out that the brain just sits there thinking about things. It doesn't really need things."
"I think it's pretty stupid for someone to change the context of a story because God likes it better that way. Can we agree that that's stupid?"

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ERICA: "I thought I had mentioned that the brain doesn't even think for itself, it just collects signals that as education, parents, elders and peers we have picked up on as "how to think." The brain just is a relay center, the mind (different from physical brain) is the key to some of the levels of the 'moron-meter' we are trying to comprehend in the simplest terms to reiterate to those less fortunate. Do you agree?"
"The person changed the concext because he had a sense of betrayal forming when the story might have not been to the way he was raised to appreciate 'god' in some way. I geuss you are perfectly allowed to consider someone doing that as a 'stupid' move but go in their shoes, sense what they sense, feel what they do. Can you ? Not likely, because it is their personal glory or despair . . .Get that part don't you?"
"I will agree with you that this person sounded stupid to you; although I understand it is not his fault entirely and hope you see past that type of compartmentalization. A very limited, even primitive kind of thinking based on human need, little energy and frequencies and signals going to a brain that walks around, half dead . . . do you agree ? It is sad . . ."

ME; "It's sad people have to put-up with 'morons.' You feel sorry for them but I don't. I feel sorry for their victims."
"I'm interested in something you said several minutes ago. You said; 'The 'morons' have to be coerced but not threatened.' How does that work? I think, in the Bible, it says; 'You must compell them to go to church.' I guess what you're talking about is about the same?"

(7) ERICA: "I feel sorry for both and glad that you and I agree on this facet. Now let us move on to the next query, shall we? The coercion is through indoctrination, which begins at birth to two parents of the same religious background or different". "Either way, the child adopts from being taken to church, maybe experiencing holy communion, or going even to Sunday school, the religious bible construct from those parents and having little or no choice in the matter till they get older, makes compelling to keep attending church for the remainder of ones life. This is what happened to me as a child thinking by way of attending church that I was 'pleasing' someone other than myself. A 'higher power' I could not see, touch, hear or understand even through a priest, preacher, deacon, or even rabbi (cause for a year or so dating a jewish guy, I had the opportunity of 'temple'. It is all the same in every organized religious faction that 'fear' of the lord is placed gently but firmly in the minds of gullible youths who grow up believing what the masses believed and never sensing their personal relationship with faith."
"I don't go to church anymore, in fact haven't been in any 'house of god' or 'allah' or 'buddha' or whatever you wish to name him or her--because I see no point, in over eight years. How about you, do you attend any church ? As a youngster I can't say you are considered a 'moron' when following your parents authority, what choice do you have then? But as you grow older and into your own personhood, I would think the 'moron' characteristics would start to fade and you could begin reaching your own nirvana using all you have experienced up to that point. So I know what we are both talking about is the same; although described a little differently. I am very glad we are on the same page here and the idea of writing how 'evolution' is evolving, sounds fascinating !"

ME; "I stoped going to church as soon as I could.. My father made me go. I hated it. It was just so boring and stupid. When I was 15 I told him that was the end of it. He left the house when I was 16 and I hardly saw him after that."
"Religious types think they're good people and everyone else believes thatbut really the only thing they do good is pass out baloney sandwiches to dirtbags. Why do you feel sorry for them?"

(7) ERICA: "I'm sorry, what are you babbling about through the anger and resentment, 'baloney sandwiches to dirtbags?' I don't understand that statement but as far as why I personally feel sorry for them is simple. The people that place so much faith in an organized religious category don't want to think for themselves. I already told you that what a priest or deacon or rabbi or preacher tells them is honored because according to those 'believers' the word of those priests, deacons, rabbis or preachers are 'special' in some way. To me they are just scholared and not necessarily in the right way. But to each his or her own, right ?"

ME; "Okay, I understand that. But I still don't see why you feel sorry for them. Sorrow is a real emotion and a very strong emotion. I just don't see it happening here. Do you see what I mean? Why would anyone feel sorry for them? They're not suffering in their delusions. On the contrary, they make others suffer."
"Regarding my use of the word 'dirtbag;' I'll change that to 'poor homeless people.' I'm sorry I offended you."

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(7) ERICA: "Yes I do understand how you perceive the emotion 'sorrow'. However, what else can you feel for someone who just moves with the crowd because it is either hip, easier or because one is indoctrinated to do so by way of family or spouse? instead of following their own self-directed course without being lied to, coerced or bribed? You have to agree the bible is just a book, right ? Not some set of standards set in stone that have no room for modification or true delineation of the contents therein ? I suppose empathy is more appropriate than sympathy which leads me to understand you a whole lot better. They can make others sufer should those that are following want to do this, but really they are truly at a disadvantage by adopting the whole 'organized religion gammette.Don't you agree there? And you did not offend me by calling them 'dirtbags', they are just part of the human race and don't you think its our job, the ones that do think for ourselves, to teach these 'automatons' a new perspective to help them begin using their own given intellect?"

ME; "You don't know what the word 'dirtbag' means.' It means 'poor homeless people.' It doesn't mean 'believers.' I thought everyone was familiar with the word and that's why I used it. I was wrong."
"So you've changed sympathy to empathy. I don't have any empathy for them either. The crux of our disagreement is that you think, by some unknown means, that you're going to explain something to the 'automata.' And I know that's never going to happen."

(7) ERICA: "It is apparent that you perceive a 'dirtbag' differently than I do. I do not believe the word describes homeless people exclusively. Some choose to be less attractive, less socially adept, less intelligent and more annoying, more needy, and certainly more 'out of touch' with typical society norms, i.e. owning or renting a place to live, being able to maintain on ones own merit and NOT depending on handouts. Once a person becomes truly homeless without hope, the term 'dirtbag' seems so unfair. It is not all their fault that something they worked for was taken away from them". "The poor sloppy people are at an extreme disadvantage because they have not been given the resources in their community to get the adequate help they need. Now is this their fault, ours, or the beautiful government and god they choose to look to when things go terribly wrong ?"
"The crux of our disagreement is that we cannot agree on an ability to perhaps change someones thinking. "I realize the 'automaton' has a genuine problem and I believe that is called stubbornness. You are familiar with being stubborn, right? So if it is just a mental construct that can be changed no matter how deeply ingrained the 'stupid gene' is, there is hope. You have got to understand that each human being is capable of change. I don't care how many times one ignores doing so, the fact that they can is there. Do you agree or disagree, again ? I geuss the reason I am so adamant about this now nearing 43 years young, I see how easy it was to become an 'automated' being rather than a full complete being that uses her own mind based on what her higher self explains is necessary to move forward. Get it . . . ?"

ME; " I don't agree. The 'stupids' are just stupid and never the twain shall meet - meaning, their brains will never meet anything that makes sense."
"At this point I'd like to point out the inequity done by the 'puppet-masters.' Why is it they never talk about how stupid the "stupids' are? They know the 'stupids' are stupid. But they never say anything. They just keep making stupid programs for them. Don't you think it's best just to tell the 'stupids' they're stupid. What's the point of keeping it a secret? Bring it out in the open where it can be discussed. Say to the 'stupids;' 'You're stupid and we're going to ignore you. What's wrong with that?"
"There's an interesting problem here though. The 'stupids' don't know they're stupd. They think they're geniuses. Of course, everyone else knows they're stupid."

(7) ERICA; " I disagree that 'stupid' people can't be guided into becoming more informed and hopefully smarter, people. he 'puppet- masters' have been known to point out to less informed individuals, what programs are out there. If there is some confusion, questions are allowed and answered according to need, not intellect. It really is not the 'puppet- masters' job to re-educate the public and they don't fail if they have; but we both know if an interested listener does not get it the first time, they might after the second or third run of the same schematic because repetition results in finally learning."
"I don't believe that the 'stupids' don't know they are stupid; I feel they do and are embarassed to admit it; while the 'puppet-masters' have no problem leaving that info out because they do not want to insult a less advantaged, non-intellectually-gifted individual. That is being smarter than the masses to some, but to me, a grave mistake. Ignoring the 'stupids' is just fueling the downfall of human kind. Those that can and do think for themselves, using whatever program, are willing to teach the uninformed--should the uninformed seek that knowledge."
"Perhaps stupid and genius are closely related since either category is extreme from the other. You either 'know it all', or think you know it all, or you know nothing". "There has to be a middle-ground in which the puppet-masters make sense of their genius stuff and the 'stupids' make less sense of the nonsense they take in as 'food for thought' Richard, we can go around and around with this and only clearly state the obvious: stubbornness lacks curiosity and you certainly cannot disagree that if one is stubborn they are stuck. Right ?"

"Nightpeople" internet address

ME; "They're stubborn because they're stupid not the other way around. We agree that wrestling fans are stupid. So, can you show me in what way wrestling fans are geniuses? You said something about genius and stupidity being the same thing. This is a really strange concept. The very opposite of logic and honesty."
"I really don't believe the 'stupids' will ever be able to handle a certain kind of problem. You know, they simply can't get pass the point that God made everything. They'll never, never change. We seem to be stuck here. You think they can change and I know they can't."
"You said something interesting a minute ago. You said; 'The 'stupids' know they're stupid and want to change. Have they actually said to you; 'I know I'm a stupid person but show me where I'm wrong.?' Such a question would prove they're hopelessly insane. Which is true, they are."

(7) ERICA: "Ah, so you admit it takes some intellect to decide to avoid stuff rather than absorb it, right? Yes. I did not argue with you that watching wrestling is not the most intellectually stimulating, nor the least IMHO, sport to watch. I say a fan is genius because if only a fan, not an actual participant, if clever enough to get the type of adrenaline rush his or her body needs to feel 'alive', that is far from stupid behavior. Agree? Genius and Stupid are on the same continuum of mental faculty and personality development, usually at opposite extremes. Not the same at all except in degree of intensity. UNLESS one can fuse the extremes into rational creative outlets, a cognitive dissonance manifests. I am not sure how logic and honesty are 'opposite' when these idealogies run parallel to thought. So please explain that one to me. Oh yes they can get past the point that God made everything when they begin reading or paying attention to to her sources of information. Lacking knowledge and resources to give it makes stupid stay; bringing in the proper sawreness makes stupid become a whole lot smarter ! Innovation, my dear . . . it is innovation ! Asking means they are curious in how to change people like yourselves concept of them, which is starting to be repetitively ridiculous. You keep sounding off such negative energy about these people you refer to as 'stupid' while I refer to them as 'disadvantaged' because I see change, you see stagnancy."

ME; "I want to return to your arguement that the 'stupids' know their stupid. That just can't happen. If the 'stupids knew they were stupid then they wouldn't be stupid - they'd be smart. It's a given that the 'stupids' can never know they're stupid. Do you have a specific example of a 'stupid' coming to you and saying; 'I'm a really stupid person. Show me where I'm wrong.' I don't think that ever really happened. You just imagined the 'stupids' know they're stupid."
"Another point, you speak of the 'stupids' as being 'disadvantaged.' We're not talking about a bunch of drooling idiots but almost everyone except the 'puppet-masters.' People don't usually discribe them as 'disadvantaged,' "

(7) ERICA: "Of course people don't describe themselves as being disadvantaged because they refuse to believe they are. I am both a student of puppet-masters and a puppet-master (maybe so because of the teaching and speaking) and never have I told someone they are stupid, don't like the term itself. I have pointed out though that anyone who is uninformed about better choices, is ignorant and not only by choice but by force. If a community lacks resources for best health, water, food, safety and environmental concerns being addressed--than a population of very disadvantaged people is being encouraged to maintain a less than knowledgeable outlook for self-sustainment ! Oh how easily the govt can control them now . . . !"

ME; "Well. the 'stupids' always find some excuse for not thuinking. The girl who wouln't think-with-words said it was just a waste of time - she had better things to do. My point is that the 'stupids will never think-with-words. You and the other 'puppet-masters' are wasting your time and mine and millions of other's trying to get the 'stupids' to think. The 'stupids' are never going to think. I'd like to see all the 'puppet-masters', including yourself, resign from your positions of power and confess you don't know what your doing. Your reign is a reign of horror. The sooner you and the others resign, the better. You shouldn't waste a minute."

(7) ERICA: "Honestly Richard, after having discussed this whole concept of stupidity versus intellect, I have decided to no longer be the 'puppet-master' in your little scenario that places an extreme urgency in 'quitting' what I do. My reign is not one of horror, but rather to open peoples eyes to the horrors before them. Since you wish to remain sitting here in this cyber cafe with your eyes closed, so be it. I am not giving anymore 'food for thought', because you are not hungry for real change just rehashing past and present mistake-making. Good day . . ."

She gets up and leaves.

End of Episode One.

"Nightpeople" internet address

Episode Two:

Cast....In order of appearance.
(8) Mark....(not the same person as the persons in episodes one. thirteen and 19)
(9) Wylie


It's nighttime, a few weeks later, I'm back at the cyber café, sitting at the counter. Mark walks in and sits down beside me.

ME; "I have a blog about a spaceplane."

(8) MARK; "That sounds very interesting Richard. What powers it?"

ME; "Ordinary jet engines. But in the upper atmosphere and the vacumn of space the engines use liquid oxygen. The novelty of thIs spaceplane isn't in the design but in the method. It takes off from the equator and flys easward. Once it reaches a hight of seven miles it's no longer held aloft by the dynamics of the air but it's own momentum - much like an artillery shell. It skips in long arcs and gains speed in the vacuum.The arcs get longer and higher as the plane gains speed. Ultimately it goes into orbit"
"If you missed some of that I can explain it again."

MARK; "That's ok, I think I've got it. It sounds like it would have many advantages over the older rocket systems with all of the volatile fuel on board. I would think it would be safer."

ME; "It's a one stage spaceplane. It could go to the moon, put down a lander, pick up the lander and return.- all in one stage. Yet no one wants to build it. People in the space buisness don't pay any attention to me at all. It's really frustrating. I'd lke to find someone who would build it. Do you know of anyone?"

(8) MARK; "As a matter of fact Richard, I do. I met him back when I was doing research for NASA. His name is Martin Shepard. He is an Aeronautical Engineer working for them in the R&D department. He was working on alternive ways to land and lift off again from a planet. I am sure he could help you out. Should I let him know that you will be contacting him?"

ME' "Okay. How will I contact him?"

MARK; How about I do this, I will give him your information and and your ideas and he will contact you if he is interested. I think he will get in touch with you. Because he told me he is looking for a new project."

ME; "Good. Do you know a private party who might build it?

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MARK; " Mr. Shepard will be able to help you with that too. He also runs an independent shop that does experimental ship building."

ME; "Okay. I just need 2 million dollars. But people hold on to their money."

(8) MARK; "I know of an investor by the name of Washburn. I have never done business with him, so I can't completely vouch for him. But I know that he likes to put money into high tech projects. Here's his card. It can't hurt to see what he says."

ME; "Okay." I take the card. "Are you working on another book?"

MARK; "Yes Richard, I am. It is a Science Fiction Mystery that has Murder, Clones, Robots, Stonehenge and a Madman."

ME' "Can you tell me something about it?"

MARK; "Well I can tell you it involves a time jumping Madman that goes to the past to try to destroy the Future."

ME;; "How does time travel work?"

(8) MARK; "This guy by the name of Washburn yeah, I know same name .Anyway, he discovers the time travel secrets from the Druids. There is a draw back to this kind of trip. It will eventually tear down the body due to chronometric pressures. I would not advise this as a mode of transportation. It could be very dangerous in the long term"

ME "I don't do demensional transportations so I'm not worried about it. Robots are usually interesting. What do yours' do?"

MARK; "In one chapter of the book this guy goes to a Robot rental shop to get a maintainence droid to do some work at his home. At the same time he was investigating a fire and explosion in a shop where a rogue robot might be involved."

ME; "So what happens then?" "Does he get the same droid?"

MARK; "Don't know. Still writing it, I haven't gotten that far yet."

ME; "What are the clones doing?"

(8) MARK; "Come on Richard. If I tell you the whole story you won't want to read the book when I get it done."

ME; "Okay. It was just something to talk about. Do you really understand how my spaceplane works. And why am I having such a hard time getting it built? It's cheap. effective, one stage and it can take off from an ordinary runway."

MARK; "It might be something they could use in space. Have you contacted NASA with your ideas? Going back to my writing again, I would like to tell you about the first and the second book that I had published."

ME; " No. I haven't contacted NASA . I felt no one would pay attention to me. I have the plans for it in a well advertised blog. People in the space industry have accees to it. I assume, some of them have read it. But there's just no interest in it. Amd when I say 'no interest' I mean absolute zero. It's a one stage spaceplane that can go to the moon and back. What do they want? Maybe they don't understand it. Do you?"

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(8) MARK; "Yes Richard, I think I do understand it. I think it would have great posibilites in the space program. Especially since they are looking for alternitive ways to take off and land. You just have to get your ideas to the right person."

ME; "The 'right person' is very much overdue. You said you wanted to talk about your books."

MARK; " Yeah, my first book that was published in 2003 was called "Transference." It' a story about the Earth becoming unstable and unable to support life, and an underground Academy of Space and Science which was in the process of training people to survive in space if the worst happened. Which it did."

ME; "The world-coming-to-an-end is a very popular subject these days. I could never write POP. I consider the puplic to be a mass of morons. So what happens to your Academy of Space and Science?"

MARK; "Keep in mind this is my first book. The Academy was busy training the Students and Adults for what could happen. And then unexpectedly, it did. They already had the colonization ship finished for months. They moved everyone, students, Scientists and volunteers on board .And before the Earth shattered like the shell of an egg they took off in search of a new home."

ME; "Do they stay in the same solar system."

(8) MARK; "That is a good question Richard. After months of traveling through space looking for an Earth-like planet they encountered a kaleidoscopic storm in space. It drew them along with other matter from space into the maelstrom. When the storm subsided they were orbiting a planet much like Earth. After investagating the Commander and Lt. Commander found that it would support life"

ME; "Do they have a shuttle craft? Can they beam down? Do they have an android like Data? How many people are there? Do they make a campfire. Do they have a barbeque? Do they have tents? Do they skinny dip. Did someone think to bring grape roots for a vinyard? Do they love Jesus? Do they talk about how hard they work while others are lazy and stupid? Is there a psychiatrist on board?"

MARK; "Wow, you ask a lot of questions Richard. Let me start off by saying this. They do belive that a higher power has guided them there and made them a safe new home out of the kaos of the storm that they encountered. Secondly, it is nothing like Star Trek! They do have recon and exploration crafts that they check out the new planet with. They do have a Maintainance Droid more like R2D2 named FRED. He has a definate personality of his own, but still a machine. They landed the whole ship, so they have what they brought with them, the Eco-Pods that survived the trip and the storm. They are alive and well in a new world that they will make."

ME; "Are there grape roots in the eco-pod?. Do they plant them? Do they talk about the vinyards and vintage wines they're someday going to have?"

"Nightpeople" internet address

(8) MARK; "If they have wine it is probibly synthetic and part of the ships supplys. If that ran out I'm sure they planted some fruit. It was never really discussed. The pods automaticly opened up once they were in the pre-designated location. Aqua-pod near the water, Desert pod in the most arid part of the planet ect. There were three pods that made it, plus they used the supplys they had on the ship."

ME; "How long were they on the spaceship? How many people are there?"

MARK; "The 1000 crew and the volunteers were on board for what seemed like many months until they found Alpha Tara."

ME;. "What do they do there?"

MARK; "They live. That is where the story ends."

ME; "What do they do on the spaceship - beside being buffeted by storms?"

MARK;; " Richard I guess you will have to read the book if you want to know more. Although, it may be hard to get now because my contract with PublishAmerica was up in April. Transference has been in rewrites since then. If you would like, I can tell you something about Crimson Enigma now."

ME; "You know, I thought you were going to tell me the whole story. Why don't you want to do that? I'm just talking to you for something to do. I'm not going to buy it."

(8) MARK; "It sounds like what you are doing is picking my brain for story ideas that you can write later. I hope this is not the case, because my books are protected! This is getting very old now. I'm out!"

He leaves.

"Nightpeople" internet address

Later. Same night. I'm still at the counter. Wylie sits down next to me.

ME;"It's cold outside. huh?"

(9) WYLIE; " It sure is. That is why I came in here - to get some hot tea. I have always been a night owl. Ever since I was a boy. I always wondered about that, but I think it's because of my star-sign. I am a Cancer - we are called "Moon Children". "

ME; "I'm Sagittarius but I'm not interest in archery. You told me you make films. What are they about?"

WYLIE: "So far, I have three produced, and online. All are "SNL"-style comedy shorts. One is "Caveman Comedian", which depicts the first-ever stand-up comic. His signature line: "Once you go Neanderthal, you never go back to Cro-Magnon!" Another is "To Catch a Comedian,"

which - as the title suggests, is a parody of "To Catch a Predator", the NBC Dateline show. The producer is "Two Loose Screws Video Prods. I actually know a man who was caught in one of those online stings, not done by the "Dateline" crew. This person was an administrator at a school I attended a long time ago. One day I picked up the paper to find his mug shot on the front page! And no, he didn't put any kind of 'moves' on any of the students while I was attending the school. Apparently, none of us were his type. Life can be funny, that way."

A server comes over and Wylie orders a cup of tea.

ME; "How do you catch a comedian?"

"Nightpeople" internet address

(9) WYLIE: "You have to be clever, Richard. One must lay a trap filled with honey, fresh jokes, and guaranteed slots at the top-shelf comedy clubs in town, and then cover the trap with twigs. lol But really - the premise of "To Catch a Comedian" is that a would-be comic is lured to the house to meet the teen girl (actually a decoy). So the host goes over his chat log, which include lame attempts at humor as he clumsily tries to seduce the 'teen'. 'Steve' (the comedian) then leaves, only to get arrested by a pair of donut-munching cops outside. Our next project is a parody of 'Twilight'."

ME; "It sounds funny. Humor doesn't interest me very much. I want to tell people about how the world is a Giant Lunitic Asylum."

The server returns with Wylie's cup of tea.

WYLIE: "That is an extreme way of looking at life, Richard. I am not sure it's very healthy. True, there is lunacy in this world, but there are plenty of other things too. There is love, and charity, and dignity, and the many pleasures - both big and small - that we can experience as human beings. The best way to look at this planet is as a big learning center. What is the meaning of life? We will always ponder that, and never come up with the answer. My take is that we die, we return to a kind of giant cosmic womb, where it's pure bliss. It's like an existential promotion."

ME; "You're a comedian. I can understand how you would think that. I'm not funny so I have to do other things than make jokes all the time."
"'Return to a cosmic womb, find pure blis,' ha , ha, ha. That's a good one."

(9) WYLIE: " It's true that I do have a strong 'comic' sensibility, but I didn't intend to be funny. I will turn this around - what do you think happens when we die? You can say "Oh, our bodies simply decompose", but is that the whole story? What about our souls?"

ME; "Our bodies decompose - -that's really the whole story. The rest is a tragic mental disorder."

WYLIE: "That seems kind of nihilistic to me. Would you call yourself a nihilist?"

ME; "No. I'm not political. It's just that I see humanity as stupid and insane. And very tragic. I think I would call myself a realist. You know, things like God just can't happen."

WYLIE: "Nihilism has nothing to do with politics, or political beliefs. The terms means "belief in nothing". And if you don't believe in God, then you are an athiest, not a 'realist'. And it seems to me that yes, life can be disappointing, it can be difficult, and other people's behavior can seem odd, and even repellent in some cases. But what is the alternative? To have no existence at all? What if life, as we knew it, not only didn't exist but never had? What if we had only a giant cosmic void where this planet and all it's inhabitants stood? You could say "hey, that might be an improvement!", but there would be no joy or relief in that. There wouldn't be anything at all. Something to consider."

Me; "I don't know what you're talking about."

"Nightpeople" internet address

(9) WYLIE: "OK, I will try and explain further. How do you explain our existence? Why, in this gigantic galaxy, is there a planet called Earth, that sustains thousands of different living species? This is the great cosmic "how did we get here/ What does it all mean?' question / dilemma that virtually all human beings ponder. Does that make sense? Oh, this hot tea is really good, I will ask for a second cup."

He gestures to a server for another cup of tea.

ME; "I don't ponder. I'm ponder free and proud of it. I suppose you could call me a 'nonponder' or a 'unponder' or a 'anti-ponder' or a 'deponder.' Do you ponder continuously? It sounds like it. What's the ratio of your ponder to your joke? Perhaps they're one and the same? I think so."

The server brings the tea.

WYLIE: "I think we are reaching an impasse with this topic. I suggest we try a new one, altogether. What is your favorite kind / kinds of music, and who are your fave artists?"

ME; "Really, lots of them. I've lived with their music for a long time. The one that's the most vivid to me is Pink Floyd and The Dark Side of the Moon."

(9) WYLIE: "I also own that CD. It's pretty solid, but my favorite Floyd release is their debut album - "Piper at the Gates of Dawn". It's too bad that Syd went off the deep end mentally; his talent shines through on that album. My favorite track on "Dark Side" is "Time".

ME; "What did Syd do that was crazy? Did he leave the band?"

"Nightpeople" internet address

WYLIE: "He was a late-sixties drug-abuse casualty. He actually was asked to leave the band, c. '68. David Gilmour was his replacement. There is little doubt he had mental illness, made worse by his drug habits. His solo album (which I haven't heard) was called "The Madcap laughs". He was mostly reclusive, but gave his Pink Floyd bandmates a nice bit of irony when he paid a surprise visit to the studio where they were recording their "Wish You Were Here" LP in '75. The reason it's ironic - the album itself was a tribute to Barrett. He died a few years ago, at sixty."

ME; "I'm glad I'm not a drug casualty. What do you think about the drug war? It's just so perfectly stupid. Don't you think?"

(9) WYLIE: "The 'drug war' is not stupid, it is well-intentioned. The problem is, it also requires a lot of time, money, and manpower to wage. And the illegal stuff out there can be continually replinished. I think the US ought to do adopt two new policies. One is to legalize and tax marijuana. (And for the record, I don't use pot myself.) The second is that if we want to go after the 'harder' drugs, we have to attack closer to the sources of the drugs themselves. We can partner with the countries known for illicit drug trades, to find and raze the fields where the drugs (and their ingredients) are grown. Let me give an analogy - cutting off an animal's head is going to kill it a lot quicker then cutting off it's tail

ME; "I don't think it's well intentioned."

WYLIE: "That is an interesting comment. Are you saying that we should be OK with drug abuse?"

ME; "Yes. That's what I'm saying - OK with drug abuse."

WYLIE: "On what grounds should we be 'OK with drug abuse'? on 'freedom' ones? Or are we supposed to think that drugs aren't bad for us at all?:

ME; "The Drug War is 1000 times worse than the drug problem. Acceapt the problem and let the cure go. The prohibited drugs are not as bad as they're made out to be. 99% of what the drug critics say is just overblown hype. The critics play to an audience of hysterical morons - and so we get a Drug War..

(9) WYLIE: "What evidence do we have that all drugs are safe? I once got food poisoning from a bad order of fried chicken. (I have since become a vegetarian.) If a popular fast-food product can cause sickness, then why give the 'pass' to hard drugs?"

ME; "I've stated my position. I'm finished with it."

WYLIE: "That is fine. I am going to pay my bill, and then call it a night. Thanks for the late-night company, and we will probably meet up again another time."

ME; "Okay, Goodnight."

He leaves. I leave a little later.

End of Episode Two

"Nightpeople" internet address

Episode Three: 

Cast...In order of appearance.
(10) Matt


It's nighttime, a week later. I'm back at the cyber café, sitting in a booth. Matt comes in and sits down opposite me.

ME; "Did you tell me you do voice practicing?"

(10) MATT: "I do some voice acting as a hobby. I've been around microphones all my life and I love to perform."

A server comes over and Matt orders a cup of coffee.

ME "What did you do to be around microphones all your life?"

MATT: Everything. School musicals and school and church choirs when I was a kid. I gave the morning announcements over the PA system when I was in high school. I was the morning guy on a little local radio station my senior year in high school. College radio was my main activity for my university years. And I had a dick and fart joke podcast with some friends for four years that got pretty popular. When that ended I was looking for the next thing I could do on the mike and discovered the world of audio drama that is amazingly popular online. I built a sound booth in my basement and I have a ball taking all the roles that come my way. Let me know if I talk about myself too much. I know this stuff isn't huge for everybody, but I don't go bowling, I don't hunt, i don't really even watch much T.V. I play on the internet and record roles for audio projects. I'm not sure what I would have done if I'd been born 10 years earlier."

The server returns with a cup of coffee.

ME; "Do you remember the dick and fart jokes?"

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(10) MATT: No one joke stands out in particular. We haven't done a show in two years. The whole thing was like sitting on the porch with your friends and having drinks and swapping stories, and we didn't worry about keeping it particularly high-brow. But it was done well, we put a lot of work into production and promotion to make a quality show, and people responded. We still show up in the top 100 for audio comedy on iTunes and we haven't done a show in two years, which I think converts to 150 years in Internet time, right? To kind of answer your question, though, one stunt we did that particularly stands out for me was when I lost a bet and they waxed the hair from my back and a patch from my chest. I still rub my chest when I think of that one. You should check that out sometime, it's still on YouTube."

ME; "So, after college you did audio plays. Do any of them stand out as exceptional?"

MATT: "There have been a number of fun projects. I have narrated for the Escape Pod podcast several times and look forward to doing that more. I've had the pleasure of being in several Bill Hollweg productions for Broken Sea, and he's such a genius that any work with him is a pleasure. I'm really excited for a SciFi audio drama he has coming out with me as a captain of a space ship -- that one's called 2109. I'm also in an upcoming audio adaptation of the story the movie The Thing is based on. That's called Who Goes There and I'm very excited to hear how that one comes out. Can I ask you a question?"

ME; "Okay, ask away."

"Nightpeople" internet address

(10) MATT; "As a voice actor, I'm a bit fascinated with accents. Forgive me If I'm being rude, but may I ask where yours is from?"

ME; "Right here, in New York City. I was born on Staten Island."

MATT: "Cool, I'll have to put that in my mental catalog. Your accent is subtle, but noticeable. I have friends in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Long Island, but none of them speak quite the same. I don't get to NYC nearly often enough, so I have to soak it all in with deep breaths. True accents are getting rarer these days with mass media pushing "Midwest Generic" as the dominant accent, so finding a true native speaker is a blessing. I still treasure when I can go to Pittsburgh and come across a true speaker of Pittsburghese. There's nothing better than sitting down at a table at an Eat 'N Park and having the waitress ask, "What kinda pop yins guys want?" Oh +sigh+ so delicious.."

ME; "I've never been there. Did anyone ever write a song about Pittsburg?"

MATT: "Not a lot of mainstream songs, anyway. And not any in recent history that I can think of. Pittsburgh is one of the cities that always got called out in those 80s rock tunes that listed the names of a lot of towns, presumably so they could get the people in those places really fired up when they played concerts there."

ME; "That's too bad. It must be hard on the Pittsburgians not to have their own song."

(10) MATT: "No, we thrive on being the underdog. It's one of the many things that makes Pittsburgh the best city ever built, hands down."

ME; "Okay. When did you come to NYC?"

MATT: "I've been here several times. The first was when I was 14 and passing through to JFK airport for a flight to Russia for three weeks. Then, in college I was here with a group of friends for a college radio conference. I came here several times on business. A couple years ago, I came here to be on the game show Chain Reaction.."

ME; "I never saw the show. What's it about?"

MATT: "It's a show on the Game Show Network with word association questions. The potential prize wasn't huge, but it doesn't really matter since we didn't win anyway. It was a fun time, though. A very unique experience."

ME; "Have you ever seen a Fellini film?"

MATT: Not that I recall. Are you a big fan?

ME; "Yes, but I haven't seen a Fellini film in years. I don't go to movies any moe. I watch the PBS channels on TV."

(10) MATT:"I make it to the movies about twice per year. Don't really watch much TV, I spend most of my time online or with my kids. Speaking of PBS -- I did my internship at the PBS station in Pittsburgh. Met Mr. Rogers in the elevator a couple times. He was one of the most genuinely nice people I've ever met."

ME; "I'm not a Mr. Rogers kind of person. I'm not Mainstream."

MATT: "I doubt much of anything on PBS could be called 'mainstream.' :

ME "Everything on PBS is Mainstream."

MATT: "Interesting. 'Mainstream' carries connotations of popularity to me, and PBS has had the worst ratings of all of the networks since before TV broadcast in color."

Matt motions to a server for a refill..

ME; "It's still 'Mainstream.' They propagandize a cultual idenity to the ignorant/superstitious masses."

The server refills his cup. And places a bill in front of him.

(10) MATT: "Wow, that's bleak. You must be a riot at parties."

Matt's eyes roll and he winks and smiles to assure it's all in good-natured sarcasm. Then he sighs.

"Ahh, well. Everybody has an agenda, my friend. The best we can hope for is to find more people to group with who have agendas similar to our own. I'm sure Fred Rogers had his own agendas, but what I saw gelled with my own values. I watch old videos of him testifying before Congress for various children's issues and the pure altruism I see is breathtaking. If I can leave this world knowing I left that mark on one person, life will have had meaning."

"Nightpeople" internet address

ME; "Some of us live on this Planet of the Damned where the horrors of life are very real and instantaneous. Others of us get to live in a time rift in the cosmos where happy/smiley things happen."

MATT: "Perhaps. Or perhaps one's life is framed in the fashion one determines. What's your story? Tell me about your horrors. Did you eat breakfast from a dumpster this morning? Do you need to prostitute yourself for drug money? I'm not a rich man, but you're welcome to what's in my wallet. I hope that helps ease your burden."

ME; "I'm solvent. I don't need money or drugs. And I don't have to reveal my life to anyone. But speaking of drugs and horrors. That's what the Drug War is. And it's entirely unneccessary. Recreational drugs could be made legal without any major ill effects. But that's not going to happen because of the ignorance of the masses. You won't find any happy smiling faces in the Drug War."

(10) MATT: "I concur. I wouldn't say I'm a drug advocate by any means, but I do think decriminalization would be a positive move. The number of people in jail for long periods of time for getting caught with their personal stash at a moment when they weren't even using is out of control. But it's a symptom of a larger problem. You can't get dumb laws off the books as long as there are corporate-owned prisons. It's a shame too, because multiple countries have proven that you can legalize marijuana and heroin, save a TON of tax money, and see little to no ill effect among the population."

ME; "A Drug War is something that happens to people who are ineffectual in the brain department. A people who are vegetables."

MATT: "On the contrary, the people that have been waging this war have been very calculating. 'Ineffectual' isn't the right word. 'Psychotic' may be more apt."

ME; "Right, psychotic is more apt. They're really sick people."

MATT: "Speaking of sick, I wish I could take a couple days and camp with everybody on Wall Street to demonstrate against those psychopaths up there. I can't believe that's getting so little media coverage, it's such an amazing protest."

ME; "What are they protesting against?"

(10) MATT: "It's a group of ultra progressives protesting all of the issues surrounding the US economic collapse: how investment firms caused a global crisis but suffered no punishment or regulation; the housing crisis; the unemployment crisis; et cetera."

ME; "I thought the investment companies and banks were responsible for that.They held morgages that couldn't be paid. The homeowners were bad risks. Wall street is Stock Brokers. They sell investments in manufacturing and services. They don't loan money to homeowners. They had nothing to do with the housing crisis or the downturn in the economy. So why would someone think the cure is to increase their regulations? Why would someone go to Wall Street to protest?"

MATT: "Well, I think the actual location is largely symbolic, and it's a location where a protest can garner national attention, which would be somewhat more difficult at some local branch office in Nebraska. However, the investment companies in question all hold offices there as well, and the actual collapse was sped along and amplified by stock trading based on speculation of those investments and those investment companies. Also, as Alan Greenspan said when he was testifying before Congress about the collapse, the laws we had in place before the crisis made some assumptions that investment firms and traders would not stoop to certain depths because the overall negative effect would hurt them more then help them in the end. However, they managed to prove that there are actually no depths to which they will not stoop. It's true that the root of the whole crisis isn't buried in Wall Street, but the branches touch an awful lot of the buildings there."

"Nightpeople" internet address

ME; "Wall Streeters would stoop to anything. It's naive to think they wouldn't."

(10) MATT: "Well, that's always going to be a shortcoming of law. You have to start with base-level assumptions to work from. Personally, I think it would be cool if people who dipped below the base level assumptions of what a human would do could be re-classified as non-human, neutered and forced to live the remainder of their lives in a special moron zoo where people can take their kids to teach them about civility. But that's just me. I'm a giver."

Me; "I'll have to think about that one for awhile. How long will you be in the City?"

MATT: "Just a couple days. I can't stand to be away from my family for too long."

ME; "What do you like best about New York?"

MATT: The 24-hour atmosphere. I'm a night person."

ME; "I like the dark vacant streets. Just to look at though - not be there. I know they're dangerous."

MATT: "II can dig that. I find the dark very welcoming. And one might think it strange, but I feel like people are more welcoming at night. More honest. More openly happy. It's like we know that those of us that are left standing after 3AM are in a club with our own meeting place -- which is the whole world, but made ours by the fact that we're the only ones out in it."

ME; "The night group and the day group are in a different mindset. The day group is parents with their kids. At 3AM the kids are home in bed."

(10) MATT; "They're at home. With kids, though, there's only about a 50/50 shot that they're sleeping. My own did irreparable damage to my sleeping pattern."

ME; "What happened?"

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MATT: "Since I'm the night-owl, my wife and I decided that I would cover the late-night shift with the kids when they were babies, which was fine. But I sleep better if it's in one go and I'm hard to wake once I'm down, so I got in the habit of just staying up until 1 AM. That's a bit rough when you get up at 5:30 to get ready for work. That was tedious but live-able with my son, but my daughter spent a good 18 months before reliably sleeping through the night and she had a tendency to wake up at 1 AM, which meant I had to extend my shift until she was out. After doing it so long, I got accustomed to feeling my second wind late and not going to bed until late. Now I pretty much just live on 4 hours of sleep per day which has made me borderline narcoleptic. I can't do anything for more than 5 minutes or I'm almost guaranteed to nod off."

ME; "Unless i'm working, I usually sleep during the day. I wake-up at Noon or 1 or 2PM."

MATT:" In a perfectly sleep-scheduled world, I would work from 11 AM to 8 PM. That would give me more night time to enjoy and still sleep."

ME; "Have you made any films?"

(10) MATT: "Nothing more important than a YouTube video. I've interviewed a number of directors for various B-movies, but I've never been in anything significant. You?"

ME; "I've never made a film. Have you ever written a script?"

MATT: "Not yet. At some point I will. My writing in general is woefully behind. I keep a list of ideas for stories that grows constantly but never seems to see fulfillment."

ME; "What do you want to accompltsh with your writing?"

MATT; "Different things. Some of those ideas I picture as scripts for audio dramas, some will make good short stories, and there's at least one on the list that's big enough for a series of novels."

ME; "Are they secret ideas?"

"Nightpeople" internet address

MATT: "I keep them in a list online so I can add to them no matter where I am, and so I can share them with collaborators easily."

ME; "Well, can you share them with me now?"

MATT: "You mean, you want an example?"

ME; "That's what I mean."

(10) MATT: "It''s just a list of incomplete ideas. Like one of them is for a serial audio drama based around a single character. I call it 'The Dispatcher' and it's just the calls coming in an out from a guy who acts as a dispatcher for an agency of assassins. Calls from customers, calls giving assassins their missions -- like a show centered around the Jane Cusak character in the movie Gross Pointe Blank."

ME; "I don't really understand writers fascination with violence. I'm interested in how people think. I always have been. When I was college age I wanted to study psychology but I couldn't afford to go to college. And my grades weren't good enough to get a scholarship."

MATT: "Well, I'm sure some violence would appear in that series too, but it hasn't really been a part of my thinking at all. I'm more intrigued with the idea of how people are really all the same no matter how absurd or extreme their situations may be. I imagine the dispatcher as a problem solver, and the clients and assassins as having the whole gamut of personalities. The fact that it's an illegal activity gives the problem solving an added depth, and it vents my id a bit. Since I gave up the podcast, I've had fewer outlets for that."

ME; "I don't believe we're all the same. We're all unique. And people who kill strangers are sociopaths."

MATT: "Perhaps."

ME; "Perhaps and perhaps not? Why 'perhaps not?'"

(10) MATT: "I agree that people are unique, but I would also argue that aspects of personalities can be similar like the parts of people's faces and bodies. The further away you stand, the more folks look alike. I don't mean that in a bad way, it's shared experience and disposition that decides how much you identify with and enjoy a story"

ME; "The shared experience and disposition, of which you're so fascinated with, is sickness. The entire society is sick. Culture is sickness."

MATT: "Are you going to kill me? I feel like I've mistakenly allowed the villain in a psycho-thriller movie to share my table."

ME; "Very funny. But mixed up. I was sitting here first."

MATT: "Too true. I feel I've overstayed my welcome as I often do. My social grace is somewhat lacking. Regardless, just one clarification before I go -- were you suggesting the things about people that make them similar are inherently bad? Do you imagine a world where each person is completely unique and autonomous is even possible or would work if it was? That seems terribly unimaginative and shortsighted to me."

ME; "That's what i'm talking about. Conformity is a sickness. Each individual is unique. In what way is what I said unimaginative and shortsighted? Also, I never said you'd overstayed your welcome. That was your idea. You're quite welcome to stay."

(10) MATT: "Conformity is natural. Some degree of conformity is even necessary for a species to thrive. Our ability to sit here and talk to each other is based on commonly held understandings for how people should behave with each other."
"Uniqueness is beautiful and worth celebrating, but there's a balance to be had. And, frankly, most people that consider themselves 'non conformist' are only conforming to a smaller group."

"Nightpeople" internet address

ME; "We use ideas when we talk to each other. I don't need someone to tell me what's going on. I can figure it out for myself. And it doesn't have anything to do with 'commonly-held-beliefs. I don't have any commonly held beliefs. No one agrees with me about anything. And the feeling is mutual".
"This whole arguement started when I told you your Dispatcher was a sociopath. You disagreeded. I still think he's a sociopath. Can your Dispatcher be changed into a nice person because we have commonly held beliefs? Well, yes. But just in your very vivid imagination. Not really."
"In any case writers have a terrible fascination with homicide which they share with the public. It's sick. Arguements about commonly held beliefs isn't going to change that either."

"Nightpeople" internet address

(10) MATT: "Then I apologize, for you may truly be the world's one actual conformist."
"As for the Dispatcher, I didn't argue that he wasn't a sociopath, he may be, I don't know. In the half scene I've written, he's very helpful. We didn't even talk about him. You said people that kill people are sociopath. I agree. So are most politicians and salesmen. But the Dispatcher didn't kill anyone. At least not yet...Perhaps I'll work that into the story too, though to fit the model, it would have to happen on the phone and that could be hard to pull off."
"I don't have a particular fascination with violence. The original drive was to come up with a situation where a drama could be acted out in one location with only one weekly actor. There aren't a lot of jobs that offer that kind of scene. A janitor maybe or maybe a film or art producer that spends most of the time in his car -- that could be interesting, actually. Though, he may get into an accident in an episode, which would reveal me to be a neanderthal again. I should probably just admit that I'm a violent simpleton and leave it rest there."

ME; "Yes, I think so. I concur. I don't understand how I'm the worlds only conformist. Don't you need a pair of conformists to create conformity. One like the other. There can never be just one conformist because then he isn't like anyone else. That's why I said 'I did it by myself.'"
"Lets work on your predicament. Why not put your Hero in an airplane where he talks to the plane, a controller, his friends, his cat, all of them? The cat will be in a cat carrier, straped in the co-poilot seat and facing the pilot/Hero. The cats name is Tabatha. The title of the series is 'Tabatha is my Co-pilot.' What do you thunk?"

10) MATT: "Forgive me, I meant to say "...the world's one actual non-conformist." It's just like me to blow the punchline."
"As for the story, I didn't have a predicament. You asked for an example from my list, and I gave it. You have some very interesting ideas there, though."

ME; "Which idea do you like best? I like the cat in the co-pilots seat. And the title; 'Tabatha is my Co-pilot.' Can you add something? We could write the story right now."

MATT: "Sure. I assume in your version, Tabitha is the assassin. So I guess the plane should be going to Mexico to smuggle drugs, and Tabs is hitching a ride to get to a political target in Mexico City."

ME; "Tabatha is a cat in a cat carrier. The carrier is belted onto the co-pilot seat. She faces the pilot. Except for the cat, the pilot is alone in the aircraft, He's not smuggling drugs. He's just flying the plane. The audience doesn't know where he's flying to or from. The audio contains the sound of aero engines. The cat says; 'Meow, Meow.' Your turn. Say something to Tabs?"

(10) MATT: " pilot looks at Tabitha and shouts, "Shut up you nagging flea farm! I'm sure the stitches hurt from where I sewed that bomb into your gut, but I gave you plenty of novocaine, and it won't matter in an hour anyway -- HAHAHAHHAHAAHAHAHA!" Then, Tabitha starts chewing on the stitches, fighting through the pain until she's got them all tugged out and her stomach lays open like an unzipped fanny pack. At the cost of an amazing amount of pain to herself, she bends over and pulls the bomb from the wound and studies it. She doesn't have the fingers and tools to properly disarm it, but she realizes that if she bites it in the right place it will detonate. She closes her eyes, clears her mind, makes herself peaceful, and chomps down on that mutha, blowing that Cessna right the hell out of the sky."
"You're right, this might work. More a one-off than a series, though."

ME; "You're sick."

MATT: "Perhaps."

ME; "Perhaps and perhaps not? Why perhaps not?"

"Nightpeople" internet address

(10) MATT: "I'm not licensed to make that assessment."

ME; "You don't have to be. Anyone can discuss these things. That's freedom of speech. And it's constitutionally protected. Now tell me why you think it's funny to blow up cats. You can talk. It's just in your imagination the police and the head doctors will be mad at you because you told me about your funny feelings."

MATT: "I don't think it's funny at all. Cats are my preferred pet, actually. Love 'em."

ME; "But in the story you blew up poor Tabs. And laughed about it. Do you think you should believe one thing and write about another? That's sick."

MATT: "That's an odd standard. By that definition just about every writer is sick. Most of humanity for that matter."

ME; "And it's all true. You have to write what you feel or you're a sicky. You have to tell the truth, as you know it to be."

(10) MATT: "'Sick' implies a deviation from the norm. If you put the majority of humanity in a group, then what is left is 'sick.' In a world where all fiction is deviant, I'll gladly lead the freak parade."

"Nightpeople" internet address

ME; "The norm has nothing to do with it. Sick is just sick. In any case, you're welcome to march in the freak parade. It's not where I'm going."

MATT: "That's very insightful. I didn't catch your last name, was it 'Funk' or 'Wagnall?"

ME; "It is very insightfull. It's all anyone can say about it."

MATT: "Okay."

I motion to a server, she comes over and I order a cheesburger, fries and a coke.

ME; "Do you take Amtrack to get here?"

(10) MATT: "When I can afford it. The express from Philly is nice, but it's $150 round trip."

ME; "How do you usually get here?"

MATT: "Daydream."

"Nightpeople" internet address

ME; "I meant what sort of vehicle did you travel in to get from Pittsburg to NYC?"

MATT: "If I was blessed enough to be in the promised land of Pittsburgh, wild horses couldn't drag me to NYC. Since I live near Philly now, a car ride to New York is fairly quick and there's less chance of being shot than at home."

ME; "Isn't it hard to find a place to park?"

MATT: "Parking's not hard to find. It's hard to pay for. But a half dozen visits over three decades of my life isn't going to break me."

ME; "I haven't driven in years."

(10) MATT: "Yeah, that's what it's like to live in one of the 80-100 cities in the country with significant mass transit. Of course, you also have a smoker's increase of cancer risk just from being there. Plusses and minuses all around."

ME; "Smog is harmless."

MATT: "Well, yeah. Anybody who breathes directly from the tailpipe of their car knows that"

ME' "Have you tried it?"

MATT: "No, I admit there are some things I take on faith. People die running their cars in garages, people smarter than I attribute it to the fumes, I'm willing to believe the smart folk rather than assume the dead might have just had a severe allergic reaction to being near bicycles and cardboard boxes."

ME; "I don't care about smog - in the overview or the details."

(10) MATT: "I feel the same way about Kim Kardashian."

ME; "I'm not familar with her work. Does she make movies? I don't go to movies."

MATT: "Nothing so valiant. She's the new Paris Hilton -- famous for being famous and icky."

Me; "What does she do that's  sicky?'"

MATT: "Everything. She's the full repulsive package."

ME; "What's she doing that you find repulsive?"

MATT: "It's not worth discussion. What leads to fame can be interesting. Fame itself is not, and often nor are the people who have it."

ME; "Okay. What does she do that makes her 'press-worthy?'"

Matt makes a snoring sound.

"Do you even know why some people are press-worthy and others aren't?"

(10) MATT: "Do you really hope to learn communications theory from me? I thought New York had colleges."

The server returns with my order.

ME; "I'll drop the subject. I thought you knew something about fame. You said the path to fame might be interesting but fame itself wasn't. So I asked you how she got to be press-worthy. You spoke like you knew what was going on in press land. So, of course, I asked you what happened. That's all. But if you don't want to share your expertise it's okay."

MATT: "Great."

I turn my attention to the cheeseburger and fries. Matt turns his to his bill, picks it up, studies it, takes it to a cashier and exits the diner. A little later I do the same.

End of Episode Three

"Nightpeople" internet address

Episode Four: .

Cast....In order of appearance
(11) Lakshmi


It's nighttime, a few weeks later. I'm back at the cyber café, sitting at the counter. Lakshmi comes in and takes a seat next to me.

ME; "Hi. You know. I've never been outside of New York City."

(11) LAKSHMI; "Never been outside of NYC? However must THAT feel???

ME; "Your English is very good - almost perfect. And it's kind of American rather than English."

LAKSHMI; "Thanks Richard. I've studies only in English, in fact we speak in English at home most of the time. I guess globalization, reading and tv did the rest!"

ME; "Are you employed in a computer related industry? I know India has a leading role in programing."

LAKSHMI; "No. I don't belong to the IT industry. What do you do? Also you didn't tell me how come you have never been outside of NYC!"

ME; "I'm a furniture mover. I never left NYC because I didn't have to. I was never curious about the rest of the world because everything's here."

LAKSHMI; "By furniture mover, you mean like a logistics company/ packers and movers?. Many places now are self sufficient, but haven't you been curious to see the rest of the US even if not the world?"

Me; "I mean I carry furnitue around. I take it out of a building and put it in a furniture van. I don't want to see the rest of the country. Like I said, everything's here."

(11) LAKSHMI; "Interesting to meet someone as content as you. I not only want to keep traveling to other countries, but want to explore the nook and cranny of my own. I wonder what it is that makes a person want to travel or not, what are your thoughts on this?"

ME; "I'm not exactly content. I just can't think of anything else to do. Regarding your question. I don't know. Life's full of mysteries. We're surrounded by them."

LAKSHMI; "Yes, we are surrounded by mysteries. It is like a dynamic puzzle. We need to read the clues, and find direction. Its all up to us. Where we look, what we find, how we read the hints and then the most important of 'em all - how we choose to act!"

ME' "Well, that's just mind-boggling. We better get on it ASAP."

LAKSHMI; "Yes. Tell me something, in your job as a furniture mover you must get a chance to see various apartment buildings. What correlation do you see between the furniture and the apartments?"

ME; "Just what you would expect. Is this a trick question? The better the apartment, the better the furniture."

LAKSHMI; "Of course, but what I meant was, did you notice anything unique?"

ME; "No."

"Nightpeople" internet address

(11) LAKSHMI; "What is the most interesting and boring part of your job?"

ME; "It's never really boring. There's always something to do. It's interesting to put it all together and have it come out right. The best part of the job is when it's finished. Then I can sit in the truck cab, get a ride back to the warehouse, get paid and go home."

LAKSHMI; "Has the reccession affected you and your line of business in any way?"

ME; "No. Are you part of the Indian film industry?"

LAKSHMI; "No. Why would you think that?"

ME; "I just wondered. Do you write stories?"

LAKSHMI; "I do write stories, how about you? And how much do you know about the indian film industry?, it would be interesting to know a non indian's perspective on this"

ME; "I know very little. I know it's really big. Do they have a city called Bollywood."

LAKSHMI; "Do you write stories? for bollywood, no its not a city...its what the hindi film industry is colloquially called"

ME; "Sometimes I write - not so often. At times I've filled up several notebooks.

(11) LAKSHMI; "What have you written about...what inspires you to write?"

ME; "At one time I wanted to write a story about strippers. But I've lost interest in it now. I had to get interveiws and I was never able to. They're just impossible to talk to. They enjoy funny talk. One of them told me she wanted $50,000 for her story, up-front and sight-unseen. I think they have an interesting story but no one will ever hear it."

LAKSHMI; "Hey that sounds interesting. what does sight unseen mean? how do you mean they talk funny?"

ME; "Sight unseen means I'm to pay them for the story before I see it. And that's what I meant when I said they talk funny. I told the woman she could tell me her story for free and have the pleasure of talking about herself. It seemed to me to be a resonable offer. She didn't think so and now no one will know her. It's probably fun to be known by lots of people. Then again, maybe it isn't."

LAKSHMI; "I kind of understand where she is coming from. In their line of business they could have been used and abused by lots of people. It must be difficcult for them to trust people, even well meaning ones, and to do anything without getting paid first. It would really be interesting to hear their story. Hope someone offers them enough money, in terms of book sale profits, to get them to tell it some day"

ME; "Then you have to get into contracts and end up in court. It's just an impossible situation. They don't have to get paid anything. No one pays me for a story about moving furniture. I just move it. If someone asked I would just tell them. Or invite them to spend the day with me. I'm just talking. It's nothing. Who's going to pay someone for nothing? Of course, no one is interested in furniture moving. But the strippers, you wonder how they got there? What they talk about? Who their friends are? What do they do? How do they cope with their social envirement? Especially, what do they say to people to explain their prediliction to get up in front of a roomful of strangers and get naked. I've talked to them about that and they say that they like it. That it's fun. They don't like their jobs though because eveyone is rotten to them. And they can't get a different job because potential employers all believe that they're not qualified to do anything else. They're stuck where they are. They can't get out"

(11) LAKSHMI; "Like you said everyone is rotten to them, so why should they go out of their way and giveaway their life stories for nothing in return?"

ME; "I'm not rotten to them. As I said, all they're doing is talking. People don't get paid for that. It's just fun, They get to talk about themselves to someone who wants to listen. Their not really 'going out of thier way,' They spend all day long talking to 'morons' about absolutely nothing."

LAKSHMI; "I didn't mean you were rotten to them. All i'm saying is look at her experiences. People are rotten to them, which probably makes it tough for them to trust anyone with their true story that is personal to them. What may be fun for you/me maybe too personal even traumatic for them to re tell or relive! And maybe talking about absolutely nothing to morons all day is their way of escaping the lows of their profession. It is not her need here to tell her story. So it is only fair that she puts whatever price tag she wishes to it."

ME; "It's not painfull to them to relate their experiences. They talk about everything that happens to them. But not when I have a pencil and paper handy. It's not at all personal or tramatic to them. It's just stuff that happened. When they talk to 'morons' it's not because they're escaping from reality - they just can't get away. They don't have any great need to tell their story. I didn't say they did. I said they'd have fun talking about themselves and that's true. People can't put a price tag on talking unless the subject is secret or technical or historic. Their subject isn't any of those. It's just what they do and what happens to them. Again, people can't get paid for just talking. The world isn't like that."

"Nightpeople" internet address

(11) LAKSHMI; "oh people get paid for talking, ALL the time. most tabloids make money on such paid talks. even tv channels, events, print media pay people to talk. the talker has the right to decide if he/she should get paid to talk or not. especially if it is his/her story to tell. not sure if these can be judged, put into boxes and given names. the reason a paper and pen makes them change their mind could be because they feel the listerner is probably going to quote them somewhere for money, fame, thesis etc. i think it is absolutely fine if they decide they dont want to be part of anything more than casual banter if they are not getting paid."

ME; "Others may do as they wish. But I wouldn't pay a dime for someones' casual banter."

LAKSHMI; "were you born and brought up in NYC?...tell me about the has the "melting pot" culture changed over the year?"

ME; "I was born and raised here. It's more Asian now. Years ago it was just the Irish, Italians and Jews. People are just people though. I don't have any interesr in racial and cultural indenity. And, from the media, we hear about these 2 subjects continuously. They're a broken record. Over and over again, racial and cultural idenity. They never shut-up about it."

LAKSHMI; "i too don't like the idea of making all news racially colored , an unintended pun, and racial profiling i think it's legitimate only when analysing crime, or to create a level playing field for disadvantaged communities"

ME; "In what way are people disadvantaged?"

(11) LAKSHMI; 'i meant under privileged"

ME; "Who's under privileged? I don't have any privileges. Nobody making Telivision shows about me. Do you mean poor people? Same thing. The 'Puppet Masters' have a strange agenda. Always something about Culture and Race. Who needs it? I don't."

LAKSHMI; "yes, poor people"

ME; "Which poor people?"

LAKSHMI; "which poor people were you referring to when you said poor people?"

ME; "You said 'they help the poor people.' Which poor people do you think they help?"

LAKSHMI; "poor people ie economially deprived, they need support to access opportunities. it helps to find out if a particular race/community suffers more than others, such data can help in analysis and later in development"

ME; "It's all a scam. It's all run by business types that see an opportunity to provide a service. They get politicians to cooperate with them. The media comes in and makes it all look really nice. Nn good comes from it."

(11) LAKSHMI; "what is it that you are calling a scam? please dont explain what a scam is...i mean, give me a contextual example, "

ME; "I'm all out of contextual examples. A 'scam' is a trick where someone gets fooled."

LAKSHMI; "in that case, i don't really get what you are saying. i'll need an example to understand it"

ME; "I really don't know what you're talking about. I explained everything. I said, a scam is when you fool people. That's all I know about it."

LAKSHMI; "you said "it is all a scam"...what were you referring to? i said earlier, please dont explain the meaning of scam, i know what it means!"

ME; "Oh, I see what you're talking about. You mean; 'How is it a scam?' It's money wasted. Money's moved from one place to another. What was wrong with where it was? Very few 'poor people actually get any benifit from it. Most of the money goes to the people who handle it."

LAKSHMI; "yes, and that means we need better governance of the funds and more transparency. the efforts to support the deprived cant stop, just because we have corrupt handlers. we need to figure out better ways to handle the handlers"

ME; "I don't much care about the poor or the rich. Can we talk about somethig else?"

"Nightpeople" internet address

(11) LAKSHMI; "sure, what do you care about?"

ME; "It's not that I'm for things. I'm against things. I'm agaist culture. I think it's just another word for mental disorders."

LAKSHMI; "what exactly do you not like about culture?

ME; "Good question. It always a substitute for making sense."

LAKSHMI; "isnt culture inevitable, where humans exist?"

ME; "A good point again but someone should tell them it's nonsense."

LAKSHMI; "a lot of things are nonsense in this world, telling their practioners that they are so, doesnt usually make them go away"

ME; "Agreed. But a record of the event should be made. Stupidity shouldn't go unnoticed."

(11) LAKSHMI; "true, and it doesnt always go unnoticed. There is a balance which takes place on its own, over a period of time. there is a law that takes over when imbalance goes on for too long. eg. nature's wrath being uneahsed upon us, for all the damage we have done to it, or occupy wall street a protest against the excesses of captalism etc. etc. things get set right eventually"

ME; "I'm not telking about that kind of 'stupidity.' I'm talking about the stupidity of almost everyone. That's what I meant when I said Culture is a substitue for making sense. I'm talking about eternal and total stupidity - not stupidity as an exception."

LAKSHMI; "not sure what you mean. culture is at the bottom of everything. it is the money culture which led to the excesses of capitalism which led to occupy wall street. it is the cluture of consumersim which led to rampant thoughtless growth that led to unsustainable development, which led to global warming et al !!"

ME; "I'm not talking about all of that. That's a symptom of the disease. 

(11) LAKSHMI; "ah! that is an interesting thought. maybe we'll get to the bottom of it someday. as for now good night, take care. am sure we'll run into each other some other time"

ME; "I enjoyed our conversation. I'm ususlly here in the nightime. Goodnight."

He departs. I leave the diner a few minutes later.

End of Episode Four


"Nightpeople" internet address

Episode Five:

Cast......In order of appearance
(12) Laree


It's nightime. I'm back at the cyber café, sitting in a booth.  Laree comes in and sits down opposite me.

(12) LAREE; "Hi."

ME; "What have you been doing? I've been here for hours."

LAREE; "I quit drinking, so decided to go Buffalo Wing hopping...they say this city has the best in the world, What do you think Rich?"

ME; "I'll have some too."

I motion to a server. She comes over and I order Buffalo Wings.

LAREE; "You know you don't have to patronize me Rich, you've probably had lots of Buffallo wings in your life, it's kind of a personal thing to me"

ME; 'I like them too. How did Buffallo Wings get to be a personal thing with you?"

LAREE; "I can't really explain it, but I'm sure you have a few things in your life that you can't quite why did you want to meet me here tonight?"

ME; "Just to talk. You can pick a subject if you want to."

(12) LAREE' "Let's talk about tomorrow, I want to do something different besides wake up and pass the time...any ideas?"

ME; "I'll probably come here tomorrow. I like it here."

LAREE; "You do seem to spend a lot of time here, I don't get it."

ME; "I was born. I have to be somewhere. I can't go to a distant planet where I could find something normal. So I'm here. This place has the advantage of food and drink. And it's warm and safe too."

LAREE; "Yeah, well to tell you the truth, I'm a little sick and tired of being warm and safe! I need to do something with my life and quick."

ME; "You have an urgent life. You can't just sit. You always have to be doing something. What do you have to do right now?"

The server returns with our Buffalo Wings and places them on the table.

"Do you have an urgent need to eat your favorite food?"

(12) LAREE; "Yes, I do have an urgent need to eat that food, but then once I have, it's like I have to move on to the next thing, I can't just sit here like you night after night, same food, same waitress It makes me feel ..... empty. Don't you ever feel empty Richard?"

ME; "There's nothing out there. We're doomed. The only thing that can help you is a cat or two or three or four."

She's eating the wings. I dig in too.

LAREE; "There is something out there...otherwise I wouldn't want it so bad. I have to say these chicken wings are by far the best I've tasted. So what are you doing after this?"

ME; "I don't have any plans. What do you want to do?"

LAREE; " want to go test drive a car?"

ME; "I don't have a license. I can drive but I haven't driven in years. I really wouldn't want to test drive a car anyway. I'm really not into excitement. I talk to people. I'm interested in what they think about and how they think things out. It's just a thing. I can't explain it - it's much like how you feel about Buffalo Wings."

(12) LAREE; "Is that how my life is going to be remembered the girl who liked buffalo wings?"

ME; "I think so. I'll order some more. They're the only happiness you have."

I motion to the server to bring more wings. She nods 'Yes.'"

LAREE; "I got an about we have a Lord of the Rings marathon tonight, and we can make our own chicken wings?"

ME; "What's a Lord of the Rings marathon?"

LAREE; "The movie trilogy...seriously, you had to ask?"

ME; "Oh. I've never seen it. We can do that if you want to."

LAREE; "You never heard of it, huh? So what kind of movies do you like, ones where two people sit across from each other and talk all night? Personally, I like a little action."

ME; "I've heard of it. What I said was, I haven't seen it. I don't have any interest in action films but if you want me to watch it with you it's okay."

(12) LAREE; "I don't want to force you. How about we just go for a walk around the city, untill we get tired, make fun of people and get buffalo wings?"

ME; "Okay. I don't make fun of people. We can walk around if you want to."

The server brings the second order of wings and places them on the table.

ME; "We were just talking about getting wings and here they are."

LAREE; "Yes, here they are. What do you mean you don't make fun of people-I don't believe that for a minute. Admit it're a passive aggressive critic that laughs silently behind unassuming gesture."

ME; "Really? Well, that's just incredible. I didn't know I did that. Maybe you're right though. Okay, I'm ready to make unassuming gestures. Do you want to get these wings to go?"

LAREE; "Good idea, let's take them to go."

ME; "I'll take them to the server and ask her to fix them up."

I go to the sever, the cashier, the server again and return to Laree. We grab our coats and exit the diner.

ME; "Where are we going?"

(12) LAREE; "We're just walking. How did we ever meet anyway?"

ME; "At the subway station on Chirstopher Street and Sheridan Square.

LAREE; "That's right, the just seems like we've known each other for much longer. Anyplace in particular you can think of that would be fun to walk to? I just don't know this area as well as you do."

ME; "Just walk around I suppose. Do you live near here?"

LAREE; "Not to far, would you like to come over and see some of my artwork?"

ME; "Sure. I like art. Is it what peoplke call contemporary?"

(12) LAREE; "Not at all, I'd say it's a cross between Monet...and Tarantino."

ME; "I know Monet is an impressionist from the late 1800s. I'm not familiar with Tarantino. I made a sculpture. no one liked it."

We continue walking. We turns a corner. We're quiet. There're people on the street. We walk. She stops at an old brownstone, opens her purse, extracts a key, walks up a set of steps to the front door, opens it and enters the vestibule of the building. I follow her. The door swings shut behind us. She uses another key to open a second door which enters into the first floor hallway with a staircase on the left. We walk up 5 flight of stairs and down a hall. She stops at a door, opens it and walks in. She holds the door, I walk past her into the apartment. She closes and locks it, turns on the lights and walks past me into the kitchen. I hand her the buffalo wings. There are stacks of canvases in the room. I go over and look at them. It's like she said, they're impressionist and something else.

She comes over and stands a little to my side.

LAREE; "Do you see anything you like."

ME; "They're appealing and fun. I can't buy anything right now."

(12) LAREE; "Can I get you something to drink?"

ME; "Do you have a Coke, Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Dr. Pepper? Nothing Diet."

LAREE; "Sorry, I don't drink soda. How about some ice tea or coffee?"

ME; "Ice tea sounds good, thank you."

Laree goes back to the kitchen. I sit down on a couch.

Laree yells from the kitchen

"So are you married, girlfriend, kids?"

ME; "No, none of those."

She reenters the studio room..

(12) LAREE; "Well, here's your tea. So what do you do to entertain yourself?

I set the tea down on a little coffee table. She sits down at the other end of the couch. She has tea too.

ME; "I though you knew. I mostly hang out at the diner. I don't go to concerts or singles bars or discos. I don't look for sex partners. I don't belong to any organizations. I don't engage in any political activities. You spoke the truth when you said I'm silently laughing at all of them with unassuming gestures. I'm really amazingly different but people don't usually notice."
"What about you? You want to do more than just pass the time of day. You have an urgent need to do things. What do you want to do?"

LAREE; "I don't want to sit around waiting for my turn to die, I guess I want to make a difference in the world. You seem almost inhuman?"

ME; "Oh, that's what you're talking about. Making a difference. That's what everyone talks about. You're a conformist. You can't make a difference if you want to make a difference because then you're a conformist. People who are all the same must always do the same things over and over again. Conformists can never change anything. It's the nature of conformity."

LAREE;"I suppose you're right. It's funny the harder one tries to non-conform they become a conformist in the sense that they secretly want to be a non-conformist just like everyone else. How do you think I should cure myself of that annoying behavior?"

Me; "Just stop saying you want to make a difference. Can you do that?"

(12) LAREE; "Do nothing...NO, I can't do that. Why would you choose to just do nothing?"

ME; "What do you think you're doing? It's all in your imagination. You just like to think you're doing something. It's mass hysteria. You're a conformist but conformist can't change anything just because they're like everyone else."
"Anyway, what do you think you're doing? There's nothing to do. It's just so incredible that you continue to believe you're doing something when you're really not."

LAREE; "I don't think you've heard a word I said Rich, I want to do something...don't you get that?"

ME; "I've been listening to you. You didn't answered my question. What do you want to change? And how are you going to change this mystery thing of yours? You don't understand you're just parroting other people words. The words of the ruling intellectuals, writers, theatre, movie and TV people. And the Preacher Man. They want you to be a conformist. It's how they make their living. Without a scam, they'd all starve to death. They certainly can't do any real work. What do you want to change anyway?"

LAREE; "I guess that's what I'm trying to figure out, and you're not helping me feel any better about it. How about we just watch a movie or something, my head hurts."

ME; "Okay. Do you ever watch the History Channel?"

(12) LAREE; "You want to watch the History Channel? I think I need to start drinking again."

ME; "You pick something."

LAREE; "Really! I'm surprised you agreed to that."

ME; "I can't argue with you. You threatened to go back to drinking if you had to watch the Discovery Channel."

LAREE; "You mean the History Channel. OK. I'm going to heat up the chiicken wings. Just get whatever you wan't."

She gets up and goes into the kitchen. I turn on the TV and go to the History Channel. They're showing a story about an Orson Wells radio broadcast of the 1930s. Laree returns with the chicken wings. She puts them on a coffee table, in front of the couch and sits.

ME; "This looks interesting. It's about a radio show of the 1930s. It was done by Orson Wells. The radio show sounded like a news broadcast. It was about an alien invasion. People thought it was real - that aliens were coming up the street. They got in their cars and ran away."

(12) LAREE; "Talk about a bunch of sheep! Can you believe people actually thought we were being invaded by aliens?"

ME; "That is weird. I can understand why people would want to leave this Planet of the Damned, but I can't understand why anyone would want to come here."

LAREE; "That was the funniest thing you said all night! I think they just want our bodies, that's what most aliens want from us."

ME; "What are they going to do with them?"

LAREE; "I think they like to use us as hosts, it's how they get their kicks."

ME; "I suppose."

LAREE; "The thought is intriguing but when it comes right down to it, I would never want to be violated or abducted by an alien."

ME; "Do you think that's worse than being abducted or violated by humans."

LAREE; "Good point, I've never actually met one but something tells me they would treat us like bug specimens. Do you ever wonder why the US has the highest volume of sightings?"

ME; "Why do you think that is?"

(12) LAREE; "Possibly, that our media system has created in us a thirst for sensationalism like no other country."

ME; "I suppose that's true."

We're quiet for awhile - just watching the film 'War of the Worlds.'

LAREE; "Orson Welles seems like an interesting character, kind of a dark person. Who's your favorite director? Pass the wings please."

I push the wings over to her.

ME; "I don't really have one. I used to, years ago, before I got dissalusioned with the works of Hollywood. Who are yours'?"

LAREE; "I like Quinton Tarintino, because he's fearless. Who was the one you liked before you got all cynical?"

ME;  "Fellini. I've never seen the films of Tarintino. I proably wouln't like them. It's been years since I've seen a film I like. I don't go to movies anymore or watch anything on TV exceapt the History Channel and a few others."

(12) LAREE; "Fellini was magical! What was your favorite movie of his?"

ME; "All of them. Do you have them?"

LAREE; "La Dolce Vita was one of my favorites, amazing cinematography for it's time. It seems the Italians have always been pretty good with their cameras, they have a real eye for beauty."

ME; "I'd really like to see it again. Can you click something and get it?"

LAREE; "Damn we're out of chicken wings Rich! I can't watch a movie without them."

ME; "I could go to a grocery store and get some."

LAREE; "You're a doll, sure you don't mind?"

ME; "It's okay. I'll be back in a little while."

I leave, go to a store, buy chicken wings, return and give them to her. She takes them into the kitchen. I sit down on the couch again. There's something new on the TV. War of the Worlds is gone. Now there's a story about the fifteenth century explorer Magellan.

She reenters the studioroom and sits.

(12) LAREE; "Well they should be ready in about 30 minutes. What are you watching now?"

ME; "It's about a fifteenth century explorer. He's the first person to sail around the world. Kind of. He gets killed in the Philippines but some of his crew make it back. One of his ships makes it back. He started with 5. He sailed Westward from Spain. Just like Columbus. They were at it for a couple of years. His name is Magellan."

LAREE; "Sounds pretty interesting, I can't imagine being stuck on a boat that long."

ME; "They didn't have anything else to do. You start out, you do some things - the next thing you know you're on a boat for 3 years. Life can be like that. You just never know."

LAREE; "You know I kind of like that idea, guess that's the real adventure not having it all planned out."

ME; "I've had lots of adventures - all of them horrible."

LAREE; "Really, I would love to hear one of them?"

ME; "I can't possibly accomatedate you. It would just be too painful for me. My life is not an open book. You can talk about your own adventures if you want to."

(12) LAEEE; "Oh, come on Rich, just one.

ME' "I can't."

We're quiet now - just watching Magellan on TV.

LAREE; "I'm going to go check on the wings.

ME; "Okay."

She returns from the kitchen with a spoonfull of sauce and hands it to me.

LAREE; "Tell me what you think of this blackberry chipolata sauce, kind of sacreligious to use it on wings around this town."

I swallow the sauce and hand the spoon back to her.

ME; "It tastes really good Laree."

(12) LAREE;,"That's all you can say?"

ME; "What do you want me to say?"

She goes back to the kitchen, returns with a platter of wings, sets them on the coffee table and sits again.

Magellan gets killed in the Phillippines. His crew sails away. There're looking for the Spice Islands - islands, already occupied by the Portugese. Soon, most of these ill fated voyagers will follow the fate of their heroic captain.

We watch TV and eat the wings. Magellan is gone. Now we're watching a story about the first roller berings. It's pretty interesting. Roller berings were invented by the Kelts 200 years b.c.e. They made them out of hardwoods. Archeologists, digging in an old tomb, discovered them in the wheels of a Chiftains chariot.

ME; "Do you like The Chiftains Chariot - or would you rather empty a bottle? Ha, ha."

LAREE; "I would rather empty a bottle of Irish whiskey."

ME; "You're really funny Laree. You make me laugh. Watch whatever you want. I'm okay with it."

(12) LAREE; "Let's just channel surf for a few minutes."

ME; "We could listen to music. Do you have a Pink Floyd album?"

LAREE; "Ha..I'm surprised I never would have guessed you're a Pink Floyd Fan? I don't have any of their music, how about Depeche Mode?"

ME; "I never heard of them but put it on."

She puts on the album and we listen.

ME;"This is torture."

LAREE; "Well...I have some Death Cab for Cutie, do you like them?"

We listen.

ME; "Do they make you feel less empty?"

(12) LAREE; "They make me want to learn how to play a musical instrument, do you play any?"

ME; "No. Why do you want to do that?"

LAREE' "I don't really, I just said they make me feel like wanting to play one, you know in the moment type thing."

ME; "Yeah. I''m going, see you around."

I leave and go home.

End of Episode Five

Writers Wanted

Episode Six:

Cast;..... In order of appearance.
(13) Bijou
(14) Lundy
(15) Sean


It's nightime. A month later. I'm back at the cyber café. I just walked in. Bijou is sittihg at the counter. I walk over and take a seat next to her.

(13) BIJOU; "I was wondering when you'd show up. Steer clear of the coffee. They must have made it this morning.

I motion to the waitress for a cup of coffee.

ME; "Fresh, old. It's all the same to me. I caught a truck this morning and made $150."

The waitress places a cup of coffee in front of me.

BIJOU; "Get out! I'd be feeling fresh myself with $150 in my pocket. Come on....details, dude."

ME; "Just loading a truck. The best part of it is getting paid and going home. What did you do today?"

(13) BIJOU; ""That must be like figuring out a rubic's cube. Congrats! Me, same old. Still looking for a real job. I did get cast in a student film, no pay of course. The premise sounds fun. Sort of a marine type Edward Scissorhands. The kid has lobster claws. I play his supportive Mom. What else did I do? Oh, I started writing a new story. It's about my pillow obsession. Still haven't heard about the last one I submitted. I fished out my dog's sweater for this cold weather. That's it. Want to catch a movie?"

ME; "I don't go to movies. I'm anti-pop culture. Do you want something to eat? I'm going to get something."

BIJOU; "That's fair. Are you anti-pop food as well? What did you have in mind? Anything except ultra vegan is fine by me. Let's see, how about asian something?"

ME; "Okay, There're lots of asian places around. But I can't possibly eat Japanese."

We get up, put on our coats and go to the cashier. I pay the bills and we exit the diner.

ME; "Lets' go this way. Okay?"

I motion to the right. She nods 'Yes.' We walk

"What's with your pillow obsession?"

She laughs.

(13) BIJOU; "It's just a humorous piece about the fact I have nine pillows on my bed. Pillow Man, as I call him, doesn't snore and so forth. Nothing heavy. So, if you don't go to movies, I suppose television's out, too. That leaves books, art, and theater? What about documentaries? Sports? Hmm?"

ME; "I don't like sports. I like the History Channel and the PBS Channels. I like books but I'm too busy to read now. I used to read a lot. I like art but I just glance at it and go to something else. Theatre is just more POP. Who are they trying to kid? Not me."

We walk and look around for a suitable asian restaurant,

BIJOU; "Well, here's what I can say. My ex is a playwright and he completely agrees with your opinion of the current state of theater. As for myself, I'm just glad sports is an area of life that requires none of my attention. To me the History Channel could be called the War Channel, still it can be informative. I subscribed to TV5, the French channel. It is great to see (and hear) their perspective about everything. Is that a Thai place?"

ME; "I guess. Do you want to go in? I'm not in a hurry. We can look around some more if you want to. I don't know anything at all about asian food. I know what an egg roll looks like and that's about it. They eat a lot of rice."

(13) BIJOU; "If you're up for a walk, we could try one of those Indian restaurants in a row on East 6th Street. It's as if a bus from Delhi stopped on one block and everyone got off and opened a restaurant. They eat a lot of rice, too though. By the way, what were you loading into the truck?"

ME; " I'm having trouble visualizing myself at a table with a plate of Indian food. I don't really like rice so much. Can you suggest something else?"

We're standing now.

BIJOU; ""It's your turn to suggest a place to eat, my dear. A burger, fries and salad are OK. Or, there are a plethora of trendy places on the Lower East Side. It is your call. What do you like? "

ME; "Lets go back to the diner and I'll get  us something."

BIJOU; "Well, that takes us full circle. OK. Thank you. I'll try their tea this time."

We head back to the diner. She gets a phone call and talks for awhile.

(13) BIJOU. "Richard, a couple of things, like a job, have come up, so, I'm bowing out."

She walks away. I walk back to the diner.

Later. Same night. I'm sitting in a booth. Lundy comes in, walks over and sits down opposite me. .

ME; "Hi, What have you been doing?"

(14) LUNDY; "I've been walking around trying to clear my head."

ME; "The cold night air is very refreashing."

A server comes over.

LUNDY; "I'll have a salad with gorgonzola cheese and coffee."

ME; "I'll have a steak, medium rare, baked potato and salad, with oil and vinegar. And an iced tea. Thankyou."

The server leaves.

ME; "I spent another day in and on a furniture van. We were in Brooklyn."

(14) LUNDY; "So what were you thinking about all day?"

ME' "Absolutely nothing. My mind was a total blank. There were people, trucks, money, trains and then I was home."

LUNDY; "Maybe there's only so much mental storm to go around. My head has been swirling."

ME; "Perhaps your head is a tornado?"

LUNDY; "I think it's a snowstorm, because even after the blowing stops and it all calms down, there seems to be a lot left to slog through."

The server returns with Lundy's coffee and my iced tea.

ME; "Now you have something warm to put your hands around. Do you think, perhaps, Global Warming is the cause of your cerebral cortex weather extremes?"

(14) LUNDY: "The climate crisis is definitely one of the many things my head is swirling with. I'm wondering if by 50 years from now we're all going to feel as though we're living in a kiln."

ME; "These are certainly desperate times. I just keep trucking. It's really all we can do. Our fate is in the hands of the 'Puppet Masters.'"

The server brings Lundy's salad.

LUNDY: "So you really don't believe we have any power at all?"

ME; "Only the Puppet Masters have power. And you can't talk to them about anything at all. They have they're very own MAD agenda."

LUNDY: "I'm looking for their Achilles Heel. I couldn't enjoy my life if I thought we were just doomed to ride this carbon current like a nosediving plane right into the ground... Had any interesting dreams lately?"

ME; "No. What do you mean by 'carbon current' carbon copy? Carbon copy equals parroting? People parrot the Puppet Masters?"

(14) LUNDY: "No, I mean the rushing current of carbon that is pouring into the atmosphere. The powerful people seem like they'd rather die, or at least have their grandchildren die, than consider breaking their addiction to luxury. So they're just going along with business as usual, and instructing the senators and congressman that they own to do the same. We've got a find a way to get off their suicide plane."

ME; "I have no interest at all in Global Warming. We have to talk about something else. What did you mean when you said your head was continually swirling. I don't have a swirling head. How do you make it swirl? What does it swirl with? This is phenomena I haven't heard about. The Man with the Swirling Head. There might be a screenplay here. So, tell me more."

LUNDY: "My head swirls with Global Warming. They aren't separable. It also swirls with a Peruvian woman living in Spain who was a mother to me when I was little, with how to make friendships last and grow, with how to get the IRS to leave me alone. It's effortless; it swirls all by itself with these things. I would be happy to be in a movie about it."

ME;"You refer to your history as something that swirls in your head. You think about those things and then they swirl. I have memories but I don't describe them as swirling. There're just there and then one is replaced with the other. This goes on continuously throughout ones life. For me, these pictures don't change at a suffient speed that I would refer to my head as swirling. But, I suppose, one could."
"In the meantime, while you're here with me, please don't mention Global Warming. This subject is just so painfully boring. Please, no more Global Warming."

(14) LUNDY: "My parents spent much of their lives pretending that dramatic, life-changing events going on around them weren't happening. Hearts would be broken right before their eyes, perhaps broken by them, and they would ask you to please pass the applesauce."

ME; "Same here. I always refer to mine as a Matched Pair of Turds. They provided their children with so much misery that we're barely functional. At the same time, they were accepted by society as role-models."

LUNDY: "I deal a lot with the issue of people who look great in public and so no one is willing to listen when you try to tell them how these people are causing suffering out of the public eye."

ME; "In what way are you conected to The Wonderful People?"

(14) LUNDY: "My field is domestic violence. So I deal all the time with men who degrade, demean, and terrorize women and children, and everyone in town insists, 'But he's a great guy! He comes to church! He coaches Little League! He pats dogs on the head! He went to college! The woman and children are obviously lying!' And a lot of times even the judges side with the abuser, despite huge evidence, because he just seems too nice."

ME; "I know. Nothing can be done about it. The entire society, from top to bottom, is oozing with every mental illness know to mankind. The media hides the truth. You can't get any help there. The Media are 'Friends of the Morons '"

LUNDY: "This is the best gorgonzola salad I ever had. What a great place!"

The server brings my steak dinner.

ME; "Did you hear me, when I said the Media are The Friends of the Morons?"

(14) LUNDY: "I don't like video screens. The quality of light makes me irritable, and it conveys emptiness. To me the media are only part of the problem; almost anything that we're sitting and watching on a screen is going to make us passive and a little depressed. so it gets harder to take action. Yet people find a way; the Occupy movement has been largely organized on screen I guess."

ME; "The Media hides reality. They never talk about how stupid and crazy people are. They never criticise relegion. On the contrary, they portray relegion as a wonderful thing. So really, how good can it get?"

LUNDY: "So, I'm curious. If people are stupid and crazy, why does it interest you to sit eating and talking with me, with all of these people coming and going around us? Wouldn't it be better to be in the company of a horse, riding through the woods? Or to be alone?"

ME; "It was really you that brought up the subject.of stupid crazy people. You said; 'everyone in town thinks domestic terrorizers are nice guys, even though they're obviously guilty, because they go to church. That's a pretty good discription of stupid crazy people."

LUNDY: "You didn't answer my question."

ME; "I'm certainly not going to go and live in the woods just because people are crazy and stupid. Why don't you go live in the woods?"

(14) LUNDY: "I like people. And I admire them."

ME; "Well la-de-da. Your're your mommies good boy."

LUNDY: "You still didn't answer my question. Why are you speaking with me?"

ME; "I don't know what could be going on in your swirlling head. I was sitting here, you came in and sat opposite me. I said Hi. Then you said something and I said something. We kept going like that - back and forth. And that's how we came to be talking to each other. You're like a child, asking the same dopey question over and over again. Don't you know why I'm talking to you? Why do I have to tell you? I'm talking to you because you sat down opposite me. Okay?"

LUNDY: "I don't think so. I think there's so much more going on than that. Anyhow, it's been a great learning experience for me, and I'm always eager to learn things."

ME; "Good. I want to work on the screenplay I spoke of a little while ago. I call it The Man with the Swirling Head. This is just a working title. It can be changed later. What I see here is something like the Dustin Hoffan film where he plays an autistic. I need lots of details. You told me a walk in the cold night air clears your head. How does that work? Does the swirling stop? Slow down?"

(14) LUNDY: "It just started swirling again. I think it was the gorgonzola in my salad. I need to head out onto the street and see where it takes me."

ME; "Okay."

LUNDY; "I'll get in touch after a breather and we can do "The Return of the Man With the Swirling Head".

ME; "Good."

He rushes away.

Later. Same night. I've moved to the counter. I wave a server over and order a cheeseburger, fries and a coke. She leaves.

She returns with the order. Sean walks in and takes a seat next to me.

ME; "Hi. Sean."

(15) SEAN; "Hi Richard."

ME; "Have you had a busy evening?"

SEAN; "I have indeeeeeed! been busy this evening. I've been running around like a chicken with my head cut off, trying to find a lady. I mean, you know me, I'm always trying."

ME; "Yeah. It's sad, poor humanity - just genitals with legs, arms and a head."

SEAN; "I'm going to disagree with you in regards to me but agree with you in general about humanity. men are indeed walking dicks with ears and (myself included) a bad hair cut and women want nothing more than to grab up some money to pop out as many babies as they can. Ah! but me....I fancy me self as a "Don Juan!" every woman has a beauty; that small something about them that makes me want to know what it is, but alas, here we are a couple of.......well, ya know. how's the coffee tonight? I need some in order to get home, but in the mean time......"

A seaver comes over. Sean says 'Coffee.'. She pours it and leaves.

ME; "Maybe you'll see something you like, in here?"

(15) SEAN; "Or perhaps I'll just go home and search craigslist until I've found what I seek; be it all dirty to most. I must say I've had some great encounters on that site; hahahaha! Or perhaps, I'll just sit here and talk to you for awhile and go home un-sated and unfulfilled as far as that goes, but then again...who knows??! it is the witching hour and I am inspired! let us drink coffee and eat, for tomorrow we may not survive the onslought."

ME; "You didn't order anything to eat."

SEAN; "I think the boooze just hit me. So after this cup of coffee I'm going home. thanks for the conversation but it's good night for me. Sweet dreams princess."

ME; "See ya."

He leaves.

End of episode six

Writers Wanted

Episode seven:

Cast in order of appearance
(16) Kristy


It's nighttime, several weeks later. I'm back at the cyber café. A girl, I know, is sitting several seats away. I go over and sit down next to her.

ME; "Hi Kristy."

(16) KRISTY; "Hey. What are you still doing here?"

ME; "I'm always here. Where do you always go?"

KRISTY; "Oh, me bad. I always go to Tastee Diner. Do you know Tastee's?"

ME; "I've been there. Did you say you're bad because Tastee's menu isn't approved by the health food persucuters?"

KRISTY; "Ha. No! Me bad because i never come here. Though they may not recover from a health food evaluation, they do have a nice staff. More or less... some are nice at being mean."

ME; "Lots of people are mean. What do they do to you?"

KRISTY; "Oh, they ignore me and don't return phone calls. Jeez, what else? Hm, guess it all boils down to your straight ignoring. Perhaps I should say ignorance?:

ME; "Ahhhh. What do you want to talk to them about?"

(16) KRISTY; "Oh, it depends on the person. One maybe, why don't you want to be friends? Another, why do you avoid me? Hm, none of this is making me look very good. Anyway, I've developed this radical spirituality out of it. Let people be. Do whatever they want. Whoever's in front of me, love them."

ME; "That is pretty spiritual. How do you do that? I don't love the people in front of me. I'm just carefull not to bump in to them and get killed."

KRISTY; "Ha, you have to do it with a smile. I actually move yards out of the way to not get killed and bump people on the street. But for relationships that really matter, I find that letting them do what they want, and deciding that I want what they want, actually helps. I go crazy some evenings, thinking about how she or he disrespected me or whatever. Then I think, what do I want? Usually, it's to be free. To be left alone. So I always get what I want."

ME; "I failed spirituality 101. And I hardly ever manage a smile. It's hard to be left alone. People always have idiot criticisms. And then you lose things."

KRISTY; "Lose things... what do you mean?"

ME; "I don't mean like, lose your keys or something like that. I mean you get pressed down. You lose out on job opportunities for one. But other things too. And there's nothing you can do about it."

(16) KRISTY; "Yeah, it sucks. There's really nothing you can do. But wait for this world to explode with new possibilities for stuff. What kind of job opportunities are you looking for?"

ME; "I'd like to be a computer repair person. I've never been able to get a school grant. Something always went wrong with it."

KRISTY; "Have you thought about Kickstarter?"

ME; "I'm on Kickstarter about something else. They weren't helpfull.. I gave up on school funding."

KRISTY; "Ah, you're trying to fund school? There's the Foundation Center downtown that has grants for that. They are super helpful. Have you heard of it?"

ME; "I've probably been there. I've been to all of them."

KRISTY; "What do you work at?"

ME; "I'm a furniture mover. It pays okay but I'd really like to work on computers."

(16) KRISTY; "Hm. Any relation between furniture and computers?"

ME; "No. I think I might be good at fixing them. I managed to keep my Yahoo Classic when everyone else was hounded into using new, faster, Yahoo. A friend of mine told me it once took her 49 minutes just to send a message with her newer. faster, Yahoo. Someone else told me he called themto put him back on Classic and they told him;'Too bad.' "

KRISTY; "Jeez. I've never even heard of Yahoo Classic. I pretty much caught wind of Gmail and loved it. Sounds the way you talk about it you could sell your Yahoo Classic."

ME; "I never had Gmail. I have a Hotmail address too. I never tried to sell my Yahoo Classics. Yahoo hounds you continuously to switch to newer faster Yahoo. Then when you switch, you get something you can't even use and they won't let you back on Classic.I always found something I could click to get back on. It wasn't easy. You really had to look. A lot of people never found the correct click and now they're doomed to newer faster Yahoo. Their stories are really sad."

KRISTY; "Ha, wow, that sounds like a tragedy. Like a race horse that's bounded. And you found the little click? So that's what I need to do. Find what clicks to keep me going classic."

ME; "Go to Help. Maybe. I can't remember all of it exactly. You have to carefully read every word. It'll say; 'If you don't like your newer faster safer Yahoo click here. You click the words 'click here.' And it shoots you back to Classic."

(16) KRISTY; "Way cool. I wonder how they do it where it doesn't cause problems? Is there some way they avoid glitches? I should switch back to the old Google for sure. So, you want to fix computers? Do you want to fix glitches, too?"

ME; "Well, that's all part of it. I can't fix glitches. You have to go to school for that. I just recently went to Stapes to have someone go into the computer tool bar and my set-ups and click something. I coiuldn't do it. The problem was a pop-up that wouldn't let me change screens."

KRISTY; "Such a bummer. That stuff is so simple sometimes, and yet we don't know it. I owe all I know to the IT guy at work, who's kind enough to help me with stuff. If you know enough, maybe you could get a job at Apple? Those guys love computers. I saw an ad for it where you can work at the Genius bar, with just enough experience with computers, but you don't have to know everything."

ME; "I didn't know the solution was in the set-ups or even how to go to the set-ups. I'm going to get instructions, one hour at a time, from the Staples girl."

KRISTY; "Ha. Well there's your education for ya!"

ME; "Yeah, I figured it out. Maybe someday I'll have my entire apartment filled with computer parts? That'll be neat, huh?"

(16) KRISTY; "Totally! I can imagine... you'd have the motherboard as your floor tiles... then the circuitry could light up your place. Pretty cool! If only you could cook with the heat! Well, at the very least your place will be very warm. You could tell people you're striving for that early IBM look."

ME; "Yeah. What does your place look like?"

KRISTY; "It's a small apartment. 750 square feet. It's supposed to be a 2-bedroom. But the second room is a shoebox."

ME; "Oh. I have a small apartment too. It's sparsly furnished - just a few functional things. I don't even have cable. I have an Analog TV with a converter box. I get lots of stations though."

KRISTY' "Hey, that's cool. I used to have analog too, with lots of stations. I loved WETA and Howard University television. Then they told me I had to get the cable box. And make a switch to digital. I now get all these channels but end up watching Al Jezeera."

ME; "I've never seen it. Apparently it's a station with a different viewpoint."

(16) KRISTY; "Yeah. You should have seen the footage during Eygpt. The uprising. They had it on day and night. All night long I watched it. It was super cool to see the real deal, the live footage."

ME "That sounds really neat. I know they put on some really horrible stuff, Lots of blood and gore. Have you ever seen that?"

KRISTY; "Oooh, no. I did see that video of that girl, though. The one online on YouTube. God. That was so terrible. Ooh, when I think about it I feel terrible."

ME; "I don't look at horrible things. I'm glad I didn't see it."

KRISTY; "Yeah. It was really sad. I barely watch my TV lately. I was just thinking about that. How I spend all my time on my computer, my Mac."

ME; "Have you noticed how many people can't use them at all? And when they talk about them, it's really sick - like they have a screw loose."

KRISTY; "What, you mean how people talk about Macs?"

ME; "No. The way they talk about computers - people that can't use them. It's very weird. Maybe you haven't noticed. I have a new Hp laptop with Windows 7. It has this terrrific feature on it. 'Go Online.' So I clicked it, did a set-up and now I have free internet. I go to 'hunnybunnyhub.' Have you ever heard of it?"

(16) KRISTY; "Wow! I have noticed people don't know about computers. But I haven't heard about hunnybunny or going online to set up free internet. That's amazing!"

ME; "I didn't either untill it happened. If you don't have a 'Go Online' feature on your computer you're probably condemned to pay for an internet connection. I'm sorry. I'd help you if I could. Even the people at Staples hadn't heard of 'hunnybunnyhub' and the Sharing Center.".
"I bought my 'magic' computer from a salesperson named Hoke. He said it had a lot of usefull features. I didn't see 'Go Online.' untill I got home and looked in the tool bar. I clicked it and nothing happened, I clicked it again and again. Same thing - nothing. And then, a black page came up. And on it were the words;; 'You are not connected to the Internet.' And 'Get Connected.' That was the beginning of the set-up. I kept clicking and then it said; 'Connections are available.' And gave me a long list of connections. I clicked 'hunnybunnyhub.' It said, 'connecting to 'hunnybunnyhub.' And a blue line streaked across a little box over and over again. And then it was over. And it said' 'You are connected to the internet.' I was on the internet for free. I was awed and felt very special."

KRISTY; "That's way cool. You know what, though? You might be using someone else's internet. It could be someone else's connection. Like your neighbors! That list you see... could be all the people in your apartment. Do you live in an apartment complex?"

ME; "That's just what happened. I joined a Computer Sharing Center. Do you have access to such a thing?"

(16) KRISTY; "No. I never even heard of it. What is it?"

ME; "It's free internet. But you have to find it. People join the Computer Sharing Center and then you get to send signals to their router. That's really all I know about it. It was just something on my computer when I bought it. Like I said; I have a Magic computer - like a Genie in a bottle. I can't tell you where to look on yours."
"A Netgear Wireless Adapter CD-Rom will allow you to see a Sharing Center. Also a TrendNet."

KRISTY; "Whoa, that's cool. I will have to look into that. Right now I have a Mac which I love. I mean, I really love it. But this networking center is great. You'd think Apple would come up with something like that. But as far as business goes, they'd probably get a lot of flack."

ME; "Have you ever used a wireless adapter?"

KRISTY; "Oh, yeah. I have a Verizon wireless device I use to connect to the Internet. Is that what you mean?"

ME; "I'm not familar with the Verizon wireless adapter. Have you ever used a Netgear or Trendnet wireless adapter?"

(16) KRISTY; "No. I'm not sure what I have. I think it's a hotspot. It's this little black thing that connects me to the internet."

ME; "That's a good discription of your predicament. Is the little black thing connected to your tower or is it on the floor?"

KRISTY; "It's on the floor. I think it's wireless. Goes by a satellite."

ME; "That's a router. It sends a signal to a modem which sends it to a tower or satelite. Do you have a little black thing sticking in the tower? If so, it could be either a wireless adapter or a mouse pick-up. A wireless adapter sends a signal to a router. It can send a signal to your router or someone elses router. It has a range of 400 feet."

KRISTY; "Hmm. My account is called Verizon Wireless. It's a little black thing, but doesn't have a usb drive except to charge it. It searches for a signal on my laptop. I'm not sure about a tower or how it works."

ME; "The fog is clearing. You have an internal wireless adapter. Now you have to find it and find what it does. At the lower right hand corner of your screen you should have a little blue icon that looks like steps, viewed from the side? That's the wireless adapter. Do you have that?"

(16) KRISTY; "Oh, no. It's not internal. It's a small black box I bought at Best Buy. On my laptop, there's a wireless sensor thing that scans for area signals. When at Starbucks, for example, I always sign in to AT&T. At Quartermaine Coffee, it's their service. So I get internet at home with this little black box, this Verizon wireless thing."

ME; "The wireless sensor thing that's in your laptop and scans for area signals is a wireless adapter. You can, perhaps, use it to go online at the Sharing Center. What does it's icon look like?" Do you pay Verizon for internet sevice? Is the Verizon wireless thing also the little black box you got at Best Buy?"

KRISTY; "Hm, I'll have to try that. I like your sharing center idea. What I have now I pay $50 a month. It's this thing I bought at Best Buy that enable me to do that."

ME; "What does your wireless adapter icon look like. Does it look like blue steps seen from the side?"

KRISTY' "No, it's like this pyramid thing. With black lines. The lines show up black when I have a connection, and gray when I don't."

ME; "When you don't have a connection, what does it say - not counting 'you dont have a connection?' Is the icon located at the lower right hand side of your screen?"

(16) KRISTY; "It's at the top righthand corner and doesn't say anything. If I scroll over it a dropdown list comes, saying Airport On or Off or something like that"

ME; "You can get to a free Local Area Network with a Netgear Wireless Adapter CD-Rom. That's all I can think of."

KRISTY; "Wow, totally cool. I'll have to check that out when I go home."

ME;"You have to buy it first."

KRISTY; "Oh, okay. Well, I'll check that online site you mentioned, and see if I can sign up."'

Me; "I don't mean that. I mean you have buy a Netgear Wireless Adapter. A CD-Rom comes with it. It's the CD-Rom that's important.

KRISTY; 'Oh, weren't you saying I can go online and sign up, and find a sharing center?"

ME; "You need a program to get online. It can be built into your computer or you can purchase it. Apparently, your Mac doesn't have it. You have to get the specific CD-Rom that comes with a Netgear Wireless Adapter.

(16) KRISTY; "Oh, OK, I'll have to look into that. How cool, thanks!"

ME; "Sure. Let me know how it turns out."

KRISTY; "Mmm, yum. I usually like to get breakfast foods, like eggs and pancakes."

I wave to a seaver. She comes over.

ME; To the seaver. "I'll have a steak, medium rare, a baked potato and a salad with oil and vinegar."

KRISTY; To the seaver. "And I'll have your lite French Toast, and two eggs over medium."

The seaver leaves.

ME; "Did you go to college?"

KRISTY; "Yes, I studied art at Santa Cruz. I could have gone to any college, to study art. But I chose that school because it looked so fun to go there. I know that sounds bad. But when I visited, I saw all these beautiful people, hanging out in the quad, and I was like, "I could go here?" and I did. It was so much fun."

ME; "Did you have scholorships?"

(16) KRISTY' "No. But I got residency because my dad lived out there. So it cost like $6,000 a year. I did get scholarships to other schools, I had a full scholarship to Cleveland Institute of Art. I had scholarships to other schools as well, and even a $12,000 scholarship to any school in Maryland. But, to my mom's dismay, I chose that school."

ME; "What was the very first art you made?"

KRISTY; "Ooh, well the first painting I ever did was with a friend, we painted a still-life. I drew as a kid, drew pictures of people. But I think the first piece of art I made was in high school."

ME' "Were you just a Freshman then? You must have advanced quite rapididly to get all those scholorships later on?"

KRISTY; "Oh, yeah. I had a great art teacher. He had us all going as kids looking at the masters, and critiquing them. He'd show us how an image was made, by drawing the negative space. It was so cool, we were really lucky."

ME; "So you graduated from college with an art degree. What happened then?"

(16) KRISTY; "Oh, well, then I moved back home. I had all these friends tell me I should move here and there. But I felt like I needed to get my act together. So I moved home. I'm really glad I did. I ended up staying there, and meeting all sorts of friends. And I really like it there."

ME; "Did you ever get a job where you use your art skills?"

KRISTY; "Yeah, after I came back I lucked out and got a job doing free lance painting. I worked for a company called Hargrove. Out in Lanham, Maryland. It was great. I painted on sets for MTV and BET for trade shows. And even worked on floats for the Macy's parade. It was great!"

ME; "That's neat. Did you ever do a gallery show?"

KRISTY; "Yes. I have one now at The American Center for Physics. And will have another one at the Arts Club in Washington."

ME' "Terrific."

(16) KRISTY; "Yeah, I'd love to know your thoughts. I gave this speech at The American Center for Physics, too. It was really fun. There was a whole room full of people there, and I was pretty nervous. My speech was about The Space Between, which was the title of the exhibit. It was really cool to think about my work, and how it was an inkling that made them, my inner inkling of what I wanted to do. And how that is "the space between" in art making."

ME; "I tried art. I wasn't very good at it. I occasionally go to galleries and museums but I just glance at the works. I know the difference between professioal and amateur and that's about it. I don't really have any thoughts about art. I suppose you do limited edition prints?"

KRISTY; "Yeah, how did you know?"

ME; "Most artists do, even the big ones. It's easy to convert them into cash."

KRISTY; "Ha. That's funny. I only started selling prints recently. Because I went digital."

ME; "Rembrandt sold prints."

KRISTY; "He made them on a press. That was more popular then. I guess I went digital and realized to make editions makes my art more accessible."

ME; "Do you find the prints are handy for getting quick cash?"

(16) KRISTY; "Ha, I wish. Not really. Not yet"
She smiles.

The seaver returns with our orders.

ME; "Do you write too?"

KRISTY; "Yes. I'm a screenwriter and a playwright. I've studied a lot and love the craft. What about you?"

ME; "I tried to write but nothing really happened. I could write something if I get interviews or with someone else in a conversational style. Would I recognize any of the titles."

KRISTY; "No, unfortunately not. I have one I'm revising called The Upset Is Optional, and a screenplay called Lifting The Veil."

ME; "Come to think of it - I just recently wrote a short story. Do you want to hear it? It's only 1000 words. It has a beginning a middle and an end though."

(16) KRISTY;,"I'd love to."

ME; "Okay." "I have a friend named Sean. He's on mental disability now. At one time he was a on-the-road salesman and made $50,000 a year. He lived, with his wife, Eva, in a $1/4 million home. His wife is a beutifull russian girl. He met her here in the US. She had a job in graphics. She was trained by the Soviet state. At one time, in her youth, she was a Young Pioneer. A kid with a red bandanna around her neck. The Soviet State discinagrated and she came to the US. Later, she brought her mother and younger sister here. Sean and she traveled back and forth to Russia and got married. They had 2 children together."
"Sean and Eva lived together for 10 years. Eva was friendly with Seans family - a mother and 3 sisters. She got them on her side and together they committed Sean to a mental institution. The police came to his home, he came out to talk to them and they put him in a straight jacket. He was a model patient, never caused any disturbances, cooperated with the doctors and was released in 10 days. He filled out papers and the goverment gave him a disability check. Eva divorced him. She got the kids, the house, a business and child support from the goverment. Sean got visitation rights, which never worked out. Eva and he went back and forth to court with nothing resolved. But in any case, he doesn't see them anymore. He's scared they'll cause a disturbance and get him committed again. He tried to call them. Eva said; 'Why do I want to talk to a phycho - because I'm stupid?' Then he tried to talk to the kids. Both of them said the same thing; 'Why do I want to talk to a phycho - because I'm stupid?'"

(16) KRISTY; "Oh my god. That's terrible. I mean, she really took advantage of your friend. You know what? Publish that story and you could get your friend's kids back. I mean, they really put a scam on him."

ME;"He's a phycho. What about your screenplay? Do you want to talk about it or is it a secret?"

KRISTY; "Well, I suppose I should keep it a secret. But it's an ensemble piece and I had a reading at my writer's group that went well."

ME; "Are all of your stories secret?"

KRISTY; "No, I usually give a log line. So the log line for my screenplay is, imagine what would happen if the world experiences a moment of oneness. It then follows six characters from that. I had a screenplay before that that I wrote, the log line was, "what would happen if a girl matched everyone in an online dating site?"

ME; "A Logjam. Okay, what would happen?"

(16) KRISTY' "Ha, that's funny. Well, the screenplay was pretty bad, but what happened was I met people, went online, and now I realize I've got to work on it. There's more I can do, now that I know more."

ME; "Well, good."

KRISTY; "Yeah, it's very satisfying. Making up characters, and writing scenes. I really love it. It's hard work, though. Writing is like no other art form. I think because the left brain is involved, and there are more associations, on a level say than you have with painting. With stories, it relates to your past, but with painting, and colors and textures, it hits you in another area."

ME; "Do you ever write real stories? That way, you don't have to dream stuff up. You just remember it and put it on a screen."

KRISTY; "Yeah, sometimes I do. I agree, that's fun. But with the screenplay and some other things I've written, it's fun to dream stuff up."

ME; "I can't imagine a character. I can only remember something someone did or that happened to them. Did you ever think that the characters you imagine might be figments of your imagination and in fact, no one in the world is really like that?"

(16) KRISTY; "Ha, well so far I've based characters on people I know. I haven't made up characters entirely yet. I'll take a person and augment one of their characteristics."

ME; "The plot thickens. Tell me about one of these augmented characters."

KRISTY; "Ah, cool. Well one character was based on an X-boyfriend I had. He was sort of a metrosexual. Really cute. I had a character who I based on him to come out with similar wit."

ME; "You have a character that's metrosexual. That's one sentence. Where did you find the rest of him?"

KRISTY; "Ha, well, he emerged in the dialogue and the action. He was quite different, he was a scientist."

ME; "What does he talk about? And what does he do?"

KRISTY; "He talks about how much he hates coming home, because his family is so difficult. The story's about a family coping with their mother's death. It's funny though. It's about this blue light that visits this family and gives them insights."

ME; "Well, that's just really precious. I'm an atheist. I hate to hear anything about God or Jesus or magic blue lights."

(16) KRISTY; "Ha, well this play isn't religious. It's not magical either, it's more surreal. I play with absurdity in it. And use the philosophy of the blue light to play with the characters.

ME; "Do you mean; it can't really happen but it's a good idea - like Our Heavenly Father? That would make it relegious."

KRISTY; "Hmm, I don't know what you mean. What do you mean? Oh wait, you mean like, the Heavenly Father is a good idea but isn't truly in existence? No, it's not like that. It's basic stuff, like forgiveness, and how people act when they try and apply that."

ME; "That's relegion. That's what the Christians are always talking about - Forgiveness. You're just calling relegion something else. The airways are filled with it - relegion in disguise."

(16) KRISTY; "Ha, no... there is an essential spirituality... not religion. I think you'd find forgiveness a basic human nature before religion came about. It's basic for survival."

ME; "If it's so basic, why do you have to write a play about it. Is it necessary to tell people who they are? I haven't noticed any forgiveness. Humanity is basically stupid and mean. Your little lectures and preaching isn't going to change that."
"What, specifically, happens in your play? There's the Hero and he's tortured with unforgiveness but he sees the blue light and he's saved. Now he forgives everyone. He lays in front of the front door and people walk all over him as they enter. He smiles. Like you, he's found spirituality. Is that how it goes? Something like that? A few things moved around but basically the same thing. You know, whenever I hear someone talk about spirituality I know I'm going to hear a really off-the-wall conversation. Just like this, where a griving family who lost their wonderfull Mommy, was saved by a blue light Do you have any shame?"

KRISTY; "Ha, wow. Well, it's not like you describe... you'll have to read it. But, for me, spirituality isn't a doormat. It brings me peace, a tremendous amount;"

ME; "I can't very well read it, can I? So tell me about it. What is this so called peace you've found? What would you be like without it? Why was it necessary for you to find peace? What was happening to you that made you angry? Maybe you're just imagining that you found peace? I mean, after all, It's just an emotion and maybe not even that."

(16) KRISTY' "Hm, I don't know what you mean. What I mean by peace is a reflection of a choice I make each day, so I can go to bed at night. I know it's not something I imagine, because there's, mostly mild, pain or suffering I'm going through to get there."

ME; "Do you remember anything about these, mostly mild, painfull choices? Apparently, you're following Christian Dogma and Loving your Enimies. Maybe you love the pain? You call this state of mind 'peace.' How do you know it's peace or anything else. It seems to be a mental exorcise you just like to do. Maybe you're a robot made-up by your mom and dad?"

KRISTY; "Ha, that's funny. People might call me a robot. But, it is my mind. I direct my thoughts with my mind to create peace."

ME; "As I understand it; you decide you're going to love people and then you abrogate your will and do everything just the way they want you to. You like everything they like. You dislike everything they dislike. After that, you cry yourself to sleep. Do I have it right? Did you ever think you're not really holding on but falling into the great abyss? If you chose to be a vegtable, what kind of vegtable would it be?"

KRISTY; "That sounds crazy! It's not as one-sided as that. Do you really think I live that way? Do I look like a vegetable to you?"

ME' "Yeah."

(16) KRISTY; "Well, that's funny. Thanks for your time, Richard, you are always one for interesting words. I'll have to be going now, time to go water myself."

ME; "Well, nice talking to you. Good night."

She smiles and exits, leaving some bills on the counter.

End of Episode seven

Writers Wanted

Episode eight:

Cast......In order of appearance.
(17) Brenda
(18) Wylie.... (also in episode two)
(19) John


It's nighttime 2 weeks later. I'm back at the cyber café, sitting at the counter. A girl, I know, is also sitting at the counter. I go over and sit down next to her.

ME; "Hi Brenda."

(17) BRENDA; "Richard, I didn't expect to see you here.?"

ME "I'm almost always here. Where do you always go?"

BRENDA: "Well, I usally go straight home after work but.....I didn't get to eat earlier and, well- rough day. Lots of crap going on in my life. You always come here? I didn't know that. What is going on with you?"

ME; "I like it here. What do you work at? I'm a furniture mover.""

A server comes over and I order coffee. She pours it and leaves.

BRENDA- "Thanks. Oh, miss, could I get a slice of lemon pie. I'm a director. Just got out of rehearsal. Will be glad when this one opens. Tech was a nightmare. Are you still pursuing a theatre career?"

ME; "Yeah. What's the worst part of it?"

(17) BRENDA - "Well, its dealing with all the personalities. If only we had that much drama on the stage! The set designer is impossible- he won't change a thing. I try to be so diplomatic but, I'm gonna half to pull rank and it won't be pretty. Hopefully, the AD will talk to him. Oh, and the leading lady has lost her voice. Previews in three days. Ah, here's my pie. You want anything?"

ME; "I'm fine, thanks. What kind of story is it? What's wrong with the sets?"

BRENDA- "The walls are all painted with replica paintings of this famous 1930s painter....I can't think of the name, but really beautiful. The only problem is that they are so colorful that they totally draw focus and that pisses off the actors and the lighting designer is mad because they are so hard to light. And the costume designer- OH MY GOD, he is furious that the wall clash with the peach Amanda's dressing gown which they spent, like 40 hours creating, apparently they sewed each jewel on individually. So, its crazy. Anyway- whats new in the moving business?"

ME; "Same old, same old. Pick it up, carry it and set it down. Go back and do it again. Empty the truck. 20,000 pounds of someones idiot life. Job finished. Get in the truck cab, Go back to the wharehouse. Get paid. Ride a train home."

(17) BRENDA- "You ever wonder what its all about, Richard? We are both doing shit that drives us crazy and we aren't getting any younger. Its depressing."

ME; "I've noticed that. The only people that look like they're having any fun are those Smiley Faces on TV. I just look at them and wonder. How did they get like that? Of course it's all an act but where did they find it? It's just such a mystery. And then I figured it out. That's how stupid they are. You know?"

BRENDA; "Ha! You make me laugh. Ignorance is bliss huh? Tell you what, this pie is the real bliss! Now I see why you came to this diner."

ME; "You really think I'm funny? People have told me that. I don't see it. I wouldn't dare go on a stage and try to make people laugh."

BRENDA:"Hold on, someone is texting me"

She looks at the message.

"Ah damn it, I am needed back at the theatre. The stage manager said the first electric just went out. Listen Richard, it was good talking to you."

She extracts several bills from her purse and places them on the counter.

(17) BRENDA; "Goodnight."

ME; "Goodnight."

She leaves the diner.

Later. Same night. I'm still at the counter. Wylie walks into the diner and sits down next to me.

ME; "Hi, Wylie."

(18) WYLIE: "Hi, Richard. The food is really good here. I had a really busy holiday season. I had a nice family gathering in the city, with some relatives. Some of the others were from Vermont, and - in one case- Nashville. A splendid time was had by all. I didn't do anything special on New Year's Eve, though. I just stayed home and watched the ball drop on TV. How were your holidays?"

ME; "I was here on New Years Eve, talking to someone. We had a really fun conversation."

A server comes over.

WYLIE (to the server): "I'll have five glazed donuts, and a big ice cream sundae with chocolate sauce and lots of whipped cream. And then some hot tea - but hold the milk, I'm on a strict diet."

"I am glad to hear you enjoyed New Year's Eve. Did you share a kiss at midnight with this other person? Or was it 'just friends' type deal?"

ME; "Just a friend. I'm over New Years Eve kisses. There're a thing of the past now. Did you bring in the new year with funniness?"

(18) WYLIE: "Well, I bought a DVD boxed set of "The Office" (the US version) a few days into the new year. That is one of my fave still-on-the-air sitcoms. I also have an idea for a new comedy video with an 'absurdist' premise - an art modeling session wherein the (female) model is fully clothed, but the artists are all unclad."

ME; "Okay."

WYLIE; "I consider Monty Python to be the apex of comedy. They went to the finest universities in England, and were very clever.

ME; "They were funny. Everybody loved Monty Python. They were the first ones to use the word 'spam' to mean lots of stuff no one wants."

WYLIE: "The Pythons also were great at historical and cultural references. I actually saw the late Graham Chapman perform live (a one-man show), and also met Terry Jones at a book-signing. Both great memories!"

ME; "Did you get to talk to them? Did they say funny things."

(18) WYLIE: "I only saw Graham do his live show, there was no 'meet-and-greet' involved. He mostly reminisced about his life and career. The funniest moment was when he did his 'one-man wrestling routine. I did get to meet Terry Jones at the book-signing. He was plugging an historical book he had just written, and came across more like a stuffy history professor, than as a seasoned comedian. But I did get his autograph, which I will cherish forever."

ME; "He's a closet pedant."

The sever returns with Wylie's order and leaves.

WYLIE: "Very good, Richard - wish I had thought of that! I see a lot of would-be comedians at work, and sometimes am puzzled at their approaches to their craft. Far too many people don't understand the mechanics of humor. They think that simply sharing stories or observations or opinions constitutes 'comedy'. For example, I once saw a would-be comedian start his set out thusly: "I forgot to brush my teeth this morning. Did anyone else do that?" After the predictable dead silence that followed, he feebly remarked "I thought you would appreciate that joke?" How is that mundane bit of life story even remotely funny? Another example of would-be humor that didn't work is a comedienne who tried to turn a sign she saw at a hairdresser's salon - "If you have any questions,talk to Jesus". She tried to spin that into humor, but couldn't. It didn't work for two reasons. 1) True-life observations only work as comedy if the audience understands the subject matter from first-hand knowledge or experience. 2) She didn't consider that the "Jesus" referred to in the sign was very likely an employee, who happened to be named Jesus (a common Latino first name)."

ME; "I like the one about Jesus. I've seen it before. It means; 'Don't ask me any questions.'"

(18) WYLIE: "Thanks for the explanation, Richard. That story reminds me of one of the oddest business signs I've ever seen. I was walking down the street in Queens, and saw a realty place that said "Gay Real Estate", in giant letters. In very small print, at the bottom: "Elaine Gay, owner"

ME; "I saw the same sign on Staten Island. But the owners name was Gay Pride."

WYLIE: "If that suggests what I think it does - that the person's actual name is 'Gay Pride', then that story tops mine. That person probably got teased mercilessly in school. It's about as bad as Ben Stiller's character in "Meet the Parents" ('Gaylord Focker'). I would be curious to know what the highlights of 2011 were for you. For me, there were two: seeing U2 live, and my cousin's wedding in Philly."

ME; "Not the same person, the same sign. 2011? I did a budget bundle. I attached a converter box to my anolog tv. I bought a new laptop with wonderful insurance. The store will fix everything for $100 a year. I brought the computer home and discovered a 'get online' feature. I clicked it and got a free internet connection. I installed a Magic Jack to the computer and got unlimited calling and free long distance. Magic Jack is only $20 a year."

(18) WYLIE: "Sounds good. I hope your new 'tech' stuff works out for you. That "Magic Jack' might be something I will look into getting for myself. I saw something interesting in a subway station, earlier today. A prim young woman was sitting with a typewriter in front of her, with a sign advertising her services as a poet. Apparently, you just had to name a topic, negotiate a price, and then she will compose the poem for you on the spot. I half-considered 'hiring' her, just as a lark, but decided against it. My other interesting 'subway' experienc was last week; I did a bit part for a music video (you haven't heard of the artist, most likely, but if you're curious, her name is Jessica Delfino) that was shot in a subway station by Canal Street. I played a bum who is approached by a cheerfully naive Jessica, and then bolts in fear/disgust. I will let you know when the video is ready to be seen."

ME; "What does the bum say to her? What does he look like.?"

WYLIE: "I don't say anything, I just walk away as Jessica approaches. For this role, I designed my own outfit - jeans and a t-shirt with "Got spare change?" scrawled on it. (I did the lettering myself.) I also put a British flag handkerchief on my head, and held a soda bottle in a paper bag (designed to look like a liquor bottle)."

ME; "Why do you walk away? Why does she approach you only to turn away in fear and dtsgust?"

(18) WYLIE: "I walk away so that another homeless man enters the camera frame, and he tells her random nonsense. Then she sings a funny/ risque number about how she doesn't want to have babies, in order to preserve herself anatomically."

ME; "Oh. You know, it's hard to imagine anything more pointless than popular entertainment."

WYLIE: "Are you saying you have no need for anything relating to the arts? That you never read novels, watch movies, or listen to music? Because all of that qualifies as 'popular entertainment'. Something to think about. If you are suggesting that some entertainment being offered to us is worth passing up, that is valid. Then it's just a matter of finding the high-quality offerings, and eliminating the lower-quality ones. But to suggest that all entertainment is low-quality seems unrealistic."

ME; "I like something now and then, But mainly it's pointless and vapid - like it been made for an audience of the brain dead. What's the point of Jessica's performance?"

WYLIE: "The point of Jessica's performance is self-expression, trying to find release and an audience. And by definition, a 'brain-dead' person cannot enjoy anything relating to the arts. A 'brain-dead' person cannot be an audience to anything, really. Can you read a book if you're comatose?"

ME; "Well, kind of brain dead - pointless, vapid and more than a little goofy."

(18) WYLIE: "Some entertainment can be that way, granted. But how do you account for Shakespeare's enduring popularity? Or that of The Beatles, Dylan, and the Rolling Stones? Or "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Citizen Kane?"

ME; "I'd like to see something with a different premise."

WYLIE: "Could you create this art 'with a different premise'? What would this art be like?"

ME; "The opposite of what it is now. It would be more realistic. Artists believe people are intelligent and good. I believe the opposite - people are stupid and evil."

WYLIE: "That sounds a bit nihilistic, Richard, but you are entitled to your opinion. Much art is realistic, though, at least in terms of how it depicts life and society. I also should point out that many of the most reviled people have more mainstream taste in entertainment than most people assume. For example, Saddam Hussein was a big fan of "The Godfather", Idi Amin watched "Deep Throat", and Kim Jong-IL loved American basketball and action movies."

ME; "What's going on? I said humankind was stupid and evil and you replied, Kim Yong liked action films. I can't follow leaps of logic. Maybe your're semi-comatose too?"

(18) WYLIE: "The topic was art. By relating the trivia about infamous people's tastes, I was suggesting that one's basic nature (i.e. 'good' or 'decent' vs. 'bad' or 'evil') doesn't necessarily determine one's likes in entertainment. I hope that makes sense."

ME;, "I'm talking about moving a bascic premise and you're talking about something else. I don't even know - you lost me. With a new premise, people wouldn't have to listen to jerk lectures about global warming or culture or family values or pride of Country or God. For a family I had a Matched pair of T%rds - yet they were accepted by the community as role-models."

(18) WYLIE: "This seems rather flippant, and somewhat juvenile. I think you and I aren't able to see eye-to-eye on anything we discuss. I am going to pay my check, and call it a night. Good luck to you, Richard."

He exits the diner.

Later. Same night. I'm at the counter. John walks in the diner and sits down next to me.

ME; "Hello, John."

(19) JOHN: "Hello, Richard. I hate sports and sports fans. Do you hate them?"

ME; "For sure. It's like watching grass grow"

A server comes over and John asks her for a cup of coffee. She pours it and leaves.

JOHN; "Sports is a substitute for thinking. For most sports fans, that's all they have in their lives. They have nothing else at all."

ME; "It's horrible to watch them. They're possesed. They talk about sports as if something is really going on. Grown men, batteing each other, to get a ball from one end of something to the other. It's pointless, but they never notice that."

JOHN; "Gawd, yes. Here's the typical sports fan conversation: "D'jew see ol' Bobby MacAllister catch that pass?" "I shore did." "I thought he wuz gonna miss it. But he didn't!" "He shore didn't." etc. ad nauseum - for hours. Poor, pitiful s.o.b.'s."

ME; "They'll say: 'So-and-so told me to do it like that and he was right.' But anyone can figure out
whatever it is they're talking about." 

(19) JOHN: "Yeah, this sort of mirrors the sheep-like mentality of the PC/BS crowd. I suppose falling in lockstep with a bunch of other robots is somehow easier and, presumably, safer than thinking for oneself."

ME; "I have a robot story. People with programs instead of brains. I was in a shape-up one morning and someone near me, he was talking to someone else, said; 'They're robots.' He was relating some incident. When I heard that I turned to him and said; 'What you said just now about people being robots is very interesting to me. I've thought for years that people are robots. But I never talked to anyone about it. Talking to you about robots is a real treat for me. Some people seem to substitute a program for thinking. They get to a certain point and instead of thinking, they stick in a program. And the program doesn't make any sense. It doesn't fit the circumstances. It doesn't get things to work but just the opposite.' He said; 'Right.' That's the only conversation I've had about people being robots untill just now."

(19) JOHN: "Well, y'know, Oscar Wilde once said "Most people are really 'other people' or 'non-people'. They only speak by repeating what others have said, their opinions are those of others they've heard expressed, etc. Most people don't even seem to have any opinion - about much of anything. For the life of me, I've never understood why so many people don't even vote. Mainly, they said "Oh, I don't have the time." Which is the lamest excuse of all. Hell, they don't have 5 minutes to spare every couple of years?Why don't they just admit that they don't give a damn?"

ME; "What do you think of churchgoers?"

JOHN: "Well, that's a pretty broad category. I suppose, like everything else, it's a matter of degree. You have your casuals, your intermediates and then you have your fanatics. Same as with politics or whatever. The fanatics I try to avoid. With the intermediates you have to sort of 'play it by ear'. With the casuals, sometimes you can even discuss things. How about you? How do you feel about them?"

ME; "I'm suspicious of them. I feel that if they can be deluded about one thing then they could be deluded about everything."

JOHN: "Like with the sports fans, I suppose what I really abhor are what I call 'one-subject people'."

ME; "In any case, there're a lot of crazies out there."

(19) JOHN: "Right. you can take any subject - controversial or not - and there are certain people who can talk about nothing else. Take' f'instance, well, anything. Some people can speak of nothing else. Born-agains are like that, sports fans are like that, gays, rightwingers, leftwingers, practically any kind of fanatic will have people whose lives revolve around little else."

ME; "I suppose. I know lots of people but I really don't pay that much attention to them. I don;t remember what they talk about. Somethig. One, I remember. She said she was a puppet-master and she was trying yo help humanity by educating them. The puppet-masters are anyone in show-biz. Then another one told me she used a blue light in her play. And the blue light gave people insights that helped them heal. The family had lost their mom. Another writer was fascinated with violence and could think of nothing else. I told him he was sick but he denied it. Another one wouldn't tell me what his book was about because then I wouln't buy it. Then I met someone who walked in the place and told me I was sitting in his f#cking seat. And, I was a 'jack off.' That's my picture of humanity up to the moment."

JOHN: "Oh, those kinds of people - writers or would-be writers - are richly a negative sort of way. A variation on that guy who wouldn't tell you about his book is the type who won't talk about it for fear you'll steal his/her idea. I have a friend who has written and re-written and rewritten the same play for ten years."

ME; "He said that too - that I was picking his brains for ideas. Apparently, if I wanted ideas I had to buy the book. He left in a huff."

(19) JOHN: "Then there are the writers who never write - and haven't written anything. Ever. Is there anyone who doesn't consider him/herself a writer? It's very similar to all those people who claim to be part Indian. If you ask, the answer's always the same: they all claim to be either 1/4 or 1/8 Cherokee. Most of these people have blonde or red hair and/or other physical features that are very un-Indian."

ME; "I've run into a lot of people who really are half indian though. Did you read Hunter Thompson? He was a dissenter but it never did any good. Dissenters have a poor tract record. Don't you think?"

JOHN: "So how do you really know they're half (or whatever percentage) Indian? Just from their own saying so? Yeah, I've read some of Hunter Thompson's stuff. I wasn't, frankly, too impressed. But 'The Rum Diaries' was a good flick."
"Most dissenters get clobbered over the head and that's the end of them. People are always raising hell about something but it hardly ever does any good. The government's gonna do what it wants and they don't care, really, what anybody thinks about it."

ME' "Would you agree, we're living in a Giant Lunitic Asylum? And sports fans and churchgoers are a Strange Life Form?"

(19) JOHN: "Maybe. I think one of the main delusions of the masses, though, is that anything can be achieved through all these protests."

ME' "I suppose you mean the Occupy protest. Do they actually know what to fix? Or how to fix it? I don't think so."

JOHN; "Their demands are very vague - which is why they're ultimately doomed to failure. They say "We're against 'Corporate Greed'. Okay, so what do they want anyone to do about it? I mean, how in the world could the Congress pass a law against 'Corporate Greed'?"
"It's like these silly 'Hate Crimes' laws. Hate is an emotion; how in the world can you even try to outlaw an emotion?"

ME; "I don't know."

JOHN; "These people are bitter, just like the people in the 1930s were bitter. But eventually they'll all have to realize that the only thing to do is tough out these rough times and next time don't piss away what they acquire."

ME; "Yeah."

(19) JOHN; "Right."

ME; "We all know nothing is ever going to change for the better. Sometime in the future we'll all starve to death from the effects of idiot leadership. My wish is to start a new political organization based on the credo that all men are created idiots. Endowed by their creator with a blank slate. I'll call the new party. "The World Is a Giant Linitic Asylum Party." You can apply for the position of assistant to the Party Chairman,"

JOHN; "That's reminiscent of Monty Python's 'the Slightly Silly Party'. Remember that? It was a takeoff on the media's frequent mention of a certain candidate as a "serious candidate", so they decided the opposite of this would be a "silly candidate" and an in-between candidate would be a member of the 'Slightly Silly Party'."

ME; "Okay. Monte Pythons passes muster. I'll make myself The party Chaieman of the the Slightly Silly Party. The first thing I want to do is announce to the people of the world they're stupid and insane. And they need Gestopo therapy."

JOHN; "You'll also have to mimic the outfit of the Slightly Silly Party. Remove one sleeve from a dress coat and the brim from half of your hat."

ME; "I'm going to leave out that part. But, no one will ever see me in a suit."

(19) JOHN; "Well then, how about an arrow through the head?"

ME; "No costumes or props. We'll make arguements and discuss things."

JOHN; "Well, don't you think that makes you seem more like a "serious candidate"? Remember, this is the 'Slightly Silly Partty'! Nonsense makes sense. You don't wanna get too logical, too sensible or too down-to-earth. Costumes and props can help to propel the 'slightly silly' message forward."

ME; "I don't need costumes and props. Have you considered my offer of Assistant to the Chair?"

JOHN; "Well, if you disdain props; costumes, I don't know if you will capture the 'Slightly Silly Party' nomination, for they're all about costumes, props and so forth. I'll consider Ass. to the Chair, couch, bed or whatever. Sounds a lot like the Vice-Presidency!"

ME; "Well, good. It's Assistant to the Chair. And it's not neccessary for you to refer to yourself as Ass to the Chair, couch or bed. Assisant to the Chair will do nicely."

JOHN; "So just what would your platform happen to be?"

ME; "I've already spoken of it. The peoples of the world must be told they're stupid and insane. And they need Gestopo therapy."

(19) JOHN; "Oh, I can just see them now lining up to vote you into office!"

ME; "Right, there're real problems with public acceptance. But, such a program has the real advantage that you don't have to lie all the time."

JOHN; "You know that song "Tell me lies, tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies"? I think every born politician knows and fully understands the meaning of that song.

ME; "I suppose. I'm not a born politician. Born politicians are in the Sensible Parties."

JOHN; "Well, don't you think that by running for office, that sort of makes you a politician?"

ME; "Well, of course. But not a born politician."

JOHN; "So what are the main planks of your platform?"

ME; "Oh, lots of things. I have to write about the Slightly Silly Party in a blog. Thankyou for bringing this fantasy group to my attention."

(19) JOHN; "And you should have a celebrity or a semi-celebrity as your running-mate. Who would thar be? Wavy Gravy?"

ME; "I don't have any running mate. I have to build up a party. That'll take a long time. In the meantime I'm the self appointed Chair of the Slightly Silly Party with a membership of one. I have a free blog and a very quiet audience."

JOHN; "So who's gonna be your Vice-President? You have to consider these things. Besides that, if you get a viable V.P. candidate, you'll be able to announce through the media that you have effectively DOUBLED your party's membership!"

ME; "There isn't any VP canidate. There's no party. There's no press. There's just me. I'm the Chair of a non-existance party. I have to find 10,000 members before the Slightly Silly Party even exists. It can't exist with just a Chair. But the Chair exists. Here I am. I'm a work in progress. Obviously, the party has to start somewhere, so it starts with a Chair. That seems reasonable, doesn't it? I'm here to process memberships. It's not a real party. It's a proto-party. Is any part of this unclear to you?"

JOHN; "Is there even any platform - or is it just like Ross Perot's campaigns?"

ME; "There are lots of things. But they have to be discussed in context."

(19) JOHN; "Lots of things...hmmm, okay. Anything you would care to elaborate upon?"

ME; "Not really. The subjects in question are tedious and boring. I'm willing to discuss them in an interesting context. But not otherwise."

JOHN; "Well, I really don't know what to say to that."

ME; "There's nothing else I can say about it either."

JOHN; "Talk about whatever you think I should know about."

ME; "What do you want to know about?"

JOHN; "Tell me all about yourself, every single facet."

ME; "I'm not going to tell you anything at all about myself. You're talking crazy. I'm not going to talk about the SSP anymore either."

(19) JOHN; "Okay, that's it. Conversation over."

He leaves.

End of Episode Eight

Writers Wanted

Episode Nine:

Cast.....In order of appearance
(20) Jim
(21) Eric
(22) Robert


It's nighttime, several weeks later. I'm back at the cyber café,  sitting at the counter. Jim enters the diner and sits down next to me.

ME; "Hi Jim."

(20) JIM; "Hey Richard. How are you"

ME; "I'm fine. What have you been doing lately."

JIM; "Oh still teaching, and I'm writing a lot...hey I just started doing my one-man Shakespeare show"

ME; "I don't know why Shakespearean actors insist on speaking period English. No one can understand them."

JIM; "Gee Richard, that ignorant, plebian remark may go a long way in explaining why we haven't spoken in 4 months. Actually it's just you that can't understand it. Everyone else has no problem."

I get up and move to another seat.

Later. Same night. I've moved to a booth. Eric enters the diner and sits down oppoaite me.

ME; "Hi, Eric."

(21) ERIC; "Hey Rick. How are things?"

ME; "They're okay. How are things with you?"

ERIC; "Well, it's late and I can't sleep. It's another one of those bouts with insomnia. My doctor has tried every drug under the sun... or moon should I say? At best it mellows me, but sleep is the elusive dragon I would love to slay."

A server comes over. Eric orders coffee. She pours it and leaves.

ME; "I don't have any trouble sleeping. "

I wave a server over and order a steak diner. She takes the order and leaves.

ERIC; "No trouble sleeping?"

ME; "I stay up a lot, so when I lay down I just pass out. I get by on 4 hours a night."

(21) ERIC; "4 hours? Are you one of those polyphasic sleepers? You know the kind that sleep 20 minutes every 4 hours? I tried that once. it worked great until I kept sitting up abruptly and getting ready for work, even on the weekends."

ME; "No. As I said, I'm just ready to go to sleep. I sleep 4 hours and stay up 20."

ERIC; "Oh. 4 is good to. It's a mild night isn't it?"

ME; "Yeah. Why don't you watch TV when you can't sleep?"

ERIC; "Have you seen the news? It's enough to depress you. Politics, Crime, Scandals, Cover-Ups, it makes a good blend between regular shows. Then there is the stagnated content of the "prime time". How often have you seen an original thought on TV? No, I would rather read a book. Not that all TV is bad, but for the most part it's geared for an 12 year old with too many hormones. Reading definitely opens your mind though. Do you watch much TV? what do you do for entertainment?"

ME; "I come here, mainly. I watch PBS and the History channel. As you say, TV is geared for a 12 year old. It's a wasteland. I used to read but not anymore. I miss it, but I'm busy with other things now. I tried to write, I'd like to. I filled up lots of large notebooks and then realized I didn't have a story. I'm too remote from things. I could write a book if I could do interviews. I need someone to bring the world to me - someone to tell me what they see."

The server returns with my steak dinner and leaves

(21) ERIC; "That's a concept Rick. Why, may I ask, do you need someone to bring the world to you? Do you not travel? Can you not travel? I seem to have the opposite problem, I can't stop thinking of ideas. It takes a great task for me to concentrate long enough to follow something to completion. Interviews in a diner eh? It's not a bad idea. Be glad you didn't hang out at a botanical garden, that would make for a long one sided interview. You said you filled up lots of large notebooks and realized you didn't have a story. What was it you were looking for? I usually find a story wherever I go, it's finding the finer points that take time. the steak here?"

ME; "I'm looking to answer the question why do I have to put up with morons? Steak is always good. I feel sorry for the cows though."

ERIC; "I think we're all looking for the answers. Clarifying the question makes it a lot easier. I guess I'm in that writing phase at this point. I have at least been able to focus on getting one story done. It felt triumphant, until all the rejection letters came. I guess that's what brought me to the diner, some coffee and deep meditation. Morons eh? Can't help you there. The few people I have met that I would say are moronic are usually just stuck in their thinking. I kind of feel sorry for them."

ME; "Okay. What do you think of the Slightly Silly Party? Monty Python though it up back in the seventies. Do you think it could be the hope of mankind?"

ERIC;; "I have never heard of it. Let me look it up on my phone..."

He's busy with his phone.

ERIC: "Wow! I must say, it nails politics perfectly. I don't particularly like to talk politics, but that skit was dead on with our present reality. Benjamin Franklin said we need a revolution every 200 years to keep our freedom balanced. His timing may have been a bit off, but his foresight was good. Even the bible says, "The heart is more treacherous than anything else and is desperate. Who can know it?" Politicians must have big hearts with that analogy. He, he."
"It's amazing how humans are so cyclical. I remember reading a book called "The Money Game" by Adam Smith. It was written in the early 70's I believe, the pattern this author showed about human greed, panic, and investing was quite eye opening. If he were still alive he would have called the housing crash long before it happened. The ebb and flow of life, we seem to be ebbing a lot more than flowing lately. Do you have a family?"

ME; "No. What did you want humans to focus on?"

(21) ERIC;; "That's an open ended question. I don't think it's so much about what humans focus on, but what they don't. War should be an absolute last resort for anything. I remember reading a book by Arthur C. Clarke, and an alien species had reach the pinnacle of society by outlawing war. If the species had to go to war, the veterans were to die right after the conflict due to the drastic change in their mentality. If mankind were to focus on what would help out each other in the spirit of benevolence, it would definitely change society. That's just my opinion and it's all it is, an opinion. What would you like to see out of society?"

ME; "Gestopo therapy for all humankind."

ERIC; "I'm confused. Do you think I meant Gestapo therapy for any soldier? I Don't. I think soldiers pay such a heavy emotional burden that the concept of "resuming" a normal life is something that the politicians who send them out want to believe. The reality is that these men and women return with things that they can never "unsee" and it's things that would easily turn you or I's stomach. I did law enforcement for a couple years and after each raid, I would pray to god and ask him, " Is this really what you wanted for mankind?" I wasn't stating to eliminate our military, but the need should be the absolute last resort, not based on a financial boost to the economy. And if the war should happen, it should be as swift and efficient as possible with the most adventageous weapons possilble. When this alien species fought the humans, they studied them. They gave people that were not in the fight a way of counter-acting the deadly biological weapon they were about to release to the society as a group. It wasn't a Nazi or Gestapo devastation due to a racial or religious bias. It was an answer due to the impending fact that their way of life and species were marked for extinction. Have you ever looked at life of man before world war I? Did you happen to notice that the news used to report that mankind was finally at the cusp of truly working toward great things. Ever since World War I, we have only had 27 consecutive days of peace. That war was almost 100 years ago and all we have to show for it, is 27 days. How sad. I guess I'm soap boxing. What do you think would help society Rick?

ME; "Therapy."

(21) ERIC; "That's it? Lot's of therapy? I'm Calling B.S. You're pacifying me. What one thing would you give to the world to fix it? I mean, we're just two guys in a diner, solving the problems of the world right?"

ME; "We're talking - but I had no intention of solving anything. What do you mean by; 'giving something to the world?'"

ERIC; "Doesn't it make sense that we should try to give something back to the world? I have a family and work hard to provide for them, but it only takes a little more effort to give to others. If you could leave behind a legacy, to be known for some contribution that helps mankind, no matter how great or small, what would it be??"

ME; "My feelings about mankind aren't very pleasant. Also; what would help them? They're insane and stupid. No one can help them. They don't want any help either."

(21) ERIC; "Mankind in general isn't very pleasant, I agree. But complacency only puts you and I in the same boat as those "unpleasant" folks. Think about this, what if Einstein, or Tesla, or Gandhi to name a few did nothing because of how sick the society of man is? What if Steven Biko, didn't stand up for his rights and kept his life of constant oppression. What if the greatest man who ever lived decided not to be the best example, since most people would curse in his name and live their lives with no regard to his counsel? I don't think it matters who it helps. What matters is that something was done to help. That help was put out their for the good people and the insane and stupid. The few that appreciate will take it to heart. I only hope that I can make a difference to society before I leave this planet, and I hope I can do it without winning a Darwin award too."

He chuckles.

"Maybe it's different because I have a family and want to give my kids something better than what I had."

ME; "You mentioned 'the greatest man who ever lived.' Who would that be?"

(21) ERIC "There were a lot of great men that lived, Abraham, Ghandi, Reagan. Well, maybe not Reagan, I may have had too much coffee. The man that made the most impact in people's lives and still does to this day would be Jesus. His example of how men should act is perfect. Sadly, most people are too self absorbed to care how a man should act, and justify their actions based off of how animals act. I remember when I worked in law enforcement how one guy tried to justify his rape charges by stating that dolphins did it all the time. The judge didn't blink when he handed down the sentence. After seeing the way society is, and has been for centuries, it makes sense then that he would be the greatest man, or finest example one can look up to. Imagine this world without any good examples. I am just saying, we each can do a little to help make society a bit better. Maybe I'm just too optimistic."

ME; "Optimism is the least of your problems. You're insane."

(21) ERIC; "Haha. I may be. Nothing wrong with insanity as long as it's used for good. I can't remember who said it, but I remember the quote, "Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you." Guess you can't beat that. I do know this, you can't expect anything of anyone, except yourself. That is why being a good example is important to me. You said you like to watch the History Channel and PBS, what do you like about them?"

ME; "I just do. You could easily drive someone insane. You've probably done it thousands of times."

ERIC; "I can get carried away talking. Sorry."

ME; "I think it's a good thing you've checked your descent into madness."

(21) ERIC; "Madness? Well Richard, it was good talking to you, best of luck in your endeavor to find that elusive story you seek."

He leaves.

Later. Same night. I've moved to the counter. Robert enters the diner and sits down next to me.

ME; "Hi Robert."

(22) ROBERT; "Hi."

ME; "What have you been doing?"

ROBERT; "I've been trying to work on a script. It's weird, though, because I'm not allowed to write anything that takes planning or thought. For example, my main character is going to order some french fries, but I don't know why."

ME; "This is truly fascinating. Because he likes french fries? Why aren't you allowed to write anything that takes planning and thought?"

ROBERT; "My patron, the guy who holds the key to my future career, has laid down the law: You think, you stink. You plan, you get the can. All I can do is eat french fries and hope for the best."

ME' "How are you doing with it?"

ROBERT; "I'm still a little non-plussed, but I believe I'm getting the hang of it. What would you do in my place?"

ME; "Does he/she want you to invent a non-traditional plot? i.e. something different than 'save the little girl from the burning building?'"

(22) ROBERT: "That's the thing. There's no clue. Anything can happen. But if it does, we'll be right back in this diner, trying again to have an interesting conversation."

ME; "Hey, I just finished a story. It's only a thousand words. I have no idea what to do with it. It's good for 5 minutes. I'll tell it to you."

"I have a friend named Sean. He's on mental disability now. At one time he was a on-the-road salesman and made $50,000 a year. He lived, with his wife Eva, in a $1/4 million home His wife is a beutifull russian girl. He met her here in the US. She had a job in graphics. She was trained by the Soviet state. At one time, in her youth, she was a Young Pioneer. A kid with a red bandanna around her neck. The Soviet State discinagrated and she came to the US. Later, she brought her mother and younger sister here. Sean and she traveled back and forth to Russia and got married. They had 2 children together."
"Sean and Eva lived together for 10 years. Eva was friendly with Seans family, a mother and 3 sisters. She got them on her side and together they committed Sean to a mental institution. The police came to his home, he came out to talk to them and they put him in a straight jacket. He was a model patient, never caused any disturbances, cooperated with the doctors and was released in 10 days. He filled out papers and the goverment gave him a disability check. Eva divorced him. She got the kids, the house, a business and child support from the goverment. Sean got visitation rights, which never worked out. Eva and he went back and forth to court with nothing resolved. But in any case, he doesn't see them anymore. He's scared they'll cause a disturbance and get him committed again. He tried to call them. Eva said; 'Why do I want to talk to a phycho - because I'm stupid?' Then he tried to talk to the kids. Both of them said the same thing; 'Why do I want to talk to a phycho - because I'm stupid?'"

"So what do you think?"

(22) ROBERT' "If that's true, it's a shitty deal for Sean. Maybe we should talk to him and see if we can help him get his kids back. If it's not true, then it's missing a lot of elements that would make me care."

ME; "He's a phycho."

ROBERT; "There's no such thing as a 'psycho'. He's just having a spiritual crisis on an energetic plane of existence. I'm sure we can help him work it through. Then he can at least get visitation rights to his kids. Maybe full custody."

ME; "I don't want to do that."

ROBERT' "That's a shame. If you study the energetic planes deeply enough, you can accomplish a great deal that seems impossible to others."

ME; "I'm certainly impressed with your very vivid imagination. Tell me more."

(22) ROBERT; "For example, I know exactly what you're going to say and do next. That's why I came down to the diner tonight: to watch you do it."

ME; "Very funny. I don't believe you can see into the future."

He waves a sever over and orders coffee and a hamburger with lettuce and tomato. She pours the coffee and leaves.

(22) ROBERT; "D'ja ever hear of Alfred Hitchcock? You might acknowledge that he knew something about making good films and telling good stories. He said a good story is just like real life, with the boring parts left out. With The Boring Parts Left Out. If you want to make a "true life" film, you can follow in the footsteps of Andy Warhol, who filmed 6-1/2 hours of John Giorno sleeping. Great Cinema! (not). If you're a genius, maybe people will pay attention to it. If you're not, you'll need to follow proven techniques to make something interesting to an audience. And the first trick is to leave out the boring parts."

ME; "I didn't like 6-1/2 hours either. There's a problem with leaving out the so-called boring parts. Then you become a censor. And it's possible that you left out the really interesting parts because you're a moron."

(22) ROBERT; "Also, there's a reason lots of people go to Spielberg and Truffaut films, but not to Warhol films. You can call it "censorship," but it's more accurately termed "story-telling." If you're a talented story-teller, you can accurately discriminate between the boring parts and the interesting parts, and you know which ones to leave out. If you're not, then you won't tell such good stories, and fewer people will be interested in experiencing them. One of the first impulses of the human animal is "tell me a story". It's not "let me see uncensored reality with all the boring parts intact". To be afraid of censoring reality in service of a story is to be an untrained, immature, untalented, or overly-ideological story-teller. For example, I wrote a long diatribe on the cosmology of story-telling, but I won't tell it to you because it's boring."

ME; "Thankyou. You should extend the same mercy to your students?"

The server returns with his hamburger and leaves.

He bites into the hamburger and doesn't reply. I get up and move to another seat.

End of episode Nine.

Writers Wanted

Episode Ten:

Cast in order of appearance.
(23) Happiness


It's nighttime, several weeks later. I'm back at the cyber café, sitting in a booth. I wave a server over and order a steak. Happiness walks in and sits oppisite me.

ME; "Nice to see you again. How's the book coming along?"

(23) HAPPINESS; "What book? I seem to have lost my touch. I can't write anything. Nothing comes to me. I wonder if my writing gift has rusted with misuse or abuse or lack of use."

The server comes back. Happiness orders a chicken diner and a coke. The sever leaves.

ME; "I remember the title of the book was 'Victims of Circumstances.' Who were the victims and what were the circumstances?"

HAPPINESS; "The victims were adopted children who did not know that they were actually adopted and were fighting for inheritance from their father's estate and their step mother who also had no clue of what her so called husband was keeping as a secret until he got seriously sick and told some of the truth.The cicumstances surrounding these victims: family feuds,illegal dealings, relationships, scandals, gain and loss of jobs, money and posessions. At the centre of all this lies the question about gut-feel or intuition. The step mother had a feeling that something was not right in her relationship but her man was good to her and treated her like a queen, her mother did not trust her daughter's husband and was frank about it.Ma Pearl said; 'All he wants to do is to use you to get what he needs and you will be sorry one day when you look back and realize I was right. All he wants from you is your sound business mind and nothing more'Nellie'Mom,please! If that were true he wouldn't be so good to me.'"

ME; "You have a conventional plot and now you have to fill it in."

(23) HAPPINESS; "I have been trying to wríte the story in so many ways but now I'll just continue and I'll see how it all comes together in the end.

Nellie says; 'Ma let's be honest:there has never been a single relationshíp i have had that you approved always find fault with my partners. You call them liars, cheats, and two-faced bastards. Is it not in the bible you preach about tirelessly that 'thou shall not judge,' Who are you to call people names like that? Can you see what is in their hearts? Ma Pearl; 'In this case I'm not passing judgement. I'm simply stating facts and it has absolutely nothing to do with my realigion!' Nellie; 'I'm sorry I shouldn't be dragging you faith into this.but my mind is made up: I'm throwing caution to the wind, I'm listening to my heart just this once.' Ma peal; 'And if all this comes crashing down on you?' Nellie; 'I'll cross that bridge if I come to it."

ME; "Well, I don't know what to tell you. Except, that you have a long way to go. Do you have any personal interest in this story? Is there something that you're trying to explain to people?"

The sever returns with my steak.

(23) HAPPINESS; "Yes. I do have a personal interest in the story .What I want all of us to look at is: there is no right way or wrong way of falling in love and I would also like to show the simple truth that everything really happens for a reason. I am what I am today because of each and every little thing that happened in my life.As an example from my own life I can point to the fact that I know seven of the eleven official languages of South Africa because I moved around a lot. So I think even things that may not have been that significant have made me what I am. Wouldn't you say the same for you? I mean at least to some extent? Sometimes I remember my childhood: being brought up living half my time with my African parents and half with my grandmother's English bosses, from them I learned speaking, reading and writing English better than most people of my race. Fom my family I learned not to look down on African languages and to be proud of who I am without being cocky."
"My own mom and I had a bad relationship for so long because I tried to live up to her expectations,and pretended to be something I was not to make her happy but it was only when something in me snapped and I told her:"This is me mom,accept me as I am.I am sick and tired of pretending to be something I am not!" Her reply was:"I thought you liked living like that and I only pushed you to improve on what you had started.You obviously won't gain much for being what you think people want you to be,but you can go where you never imagined possible being what you love to be."

ME; "Were your own loves like those of the people in your story?"

(23) HAPPINESS; "Some of them are somewhat similar to my own loves, I would say. If I may ask you, why would a man keep a secret from his own wife?"

ME; "Well, lots of reasons, I suppose. I don't have any interest in conventional people or what they do. Marriage is conventional. I think convential people are a Strange Life Form."

The server returns with the chicken diner.

HAPPINESS; "What do you mean conventional?"

ME; "Conventional people are similar to each other in important ways. The words conventional and conformity mean almost the same thing."

(23) HAPPINESS; "Ouch!That hurts!I have never looked at marriage that way. With what you say I will look closely at my relationship with my late husband.
Give me some time and I will let you know what I have learned."
"There is something that my friend and I were discussing the other day: sympathy.We drove past a beggar on a street corner.I wanted to give him some of my coins but my friend said no,when I asked why she said the beggar could use the energy he is abusing by finding a job and earn his keep,all he was doing was laying a guilt trap for us ,to make us sympathize with him and give him our hard earned cash for free ,maybe because we want to believe we are kind and generous.She says times are hard for all of us but she says if many of us who drove past gave him a cleaning job,for example,from time to time he would eventually stop standing at the street corner and do something for himself.Sympathy does not help where it is not deserved.The beggar is not a cripple or blind or too old,but then we also started talking about women who hold on for dear life to marriages to abusive,cold hearted men that we always sympathize with,for they say there is nothing they can do.My friend believes no matter what happens in our lives there is always something one can do.It is all in the mind,she says.That raises a question with me:once I was involved with an abusive man who strongly believed that whatever he believed would be as he believed,he strongly believed I would never leave him and that if I did I would not live long.That was 12 years ago.I left him and my life is such a bliss without him,do you believe in the power of 'thinking things into life?' If you do, tell me if it has limitations?"

ME; "I don't believe things can be thought-into-life."

(23) HAPPINESS; "Well some people believe that if you hold the picture of what you want to be in your mind long enough,vividly enough ,strongly believing it shall be,then so it will be.I think it is one way of survival as is faith,religion,beliefs ,star sign reading and so forth."

ME; "You're doing the same thing your abusive ex-boyfriend did; 'thinking things-into-life?'

HAPPINESS; "I am not "thinking God into life" because He is Life.Without Him I am doomed. Considering all the pain and heartache we cause ourselves, before we even trouble anyone else, do you honestly think we would all be alive today if not for God?"
"I was brought up in Christian families and the differences I see in my life as a believer keeps my faith burning. I had been at the lowest low and now I am on my way up again. With me it is only when I pray sincerely that I receive what I ask for. I do not always kneel down to pray sometimes I sit at my office table or dining room table and talk to God about anything that may be on my mind when my other family members are out and I am all alone at the house.I call Him" Father" and I tell Him everything.All the nonsense that I cannot repeat to anyone I tell him. When one of my enemies suffers and I am aware of it and I feel some satisfaction because I feel he/she deserves it I tell him and ask for his forgiveness because I should not find pleasure in someone else's pain. What I know is I am a human being first and foremost and a Christian."
"He gave us freedom of choice. So what happens to us is mainly out of the choices we make. Do I regret having married someone who would look straight into my eye and lie to me?For a long time I did,now I see it as a life lesson that has since taught me not to accept all as it seem,to leave room for dissappointment,to know that if someone hurts me he has hurt himself because maybe by the time he realises why I was sent his way I would be gone never to return and he will suffer the pain of losing me alone and live with the consequences of his actions.I am not afraid of being in love again and getting married.To me couples complement each other.They are two halves of the same one,two different shades:black and white?When I was true,frank,honest my husband was a lying ,dishonest bastard but we loved each other.We enjoyed each other's company.Partly of how I am today is because I had known him and I chose to be with him."

ME; "I really don't get it. How do you figure; 'You're doomed without Him?' Or; 'He gave us freedom of choice.' Wouldn't we have freedom of choice without Him? I've had the same discussions with Chrictians all my life and they always dig-in-their-heels and insist they're in contact with God even though so many other people don't see Him. Where is He? How do you know He's there? Do you really beleive you have conversations with Him?"

(23) HAPPINESS; "I do not believe that if I argue with you I will convince you that my religion is the right one:I believe in who I believe in but I will be honest to you my faith is based on "hearsay".I have never personally in flesh met my God.It is for me a spiritual connection that I cannot explain to anyone else.It lacks logic,subtantial evidence,it goes against human understanding,and I hate arguing over it because it is a waste of time.As an educated woman under normal circumstances I should not be a Christian but I am.It is my choice in a free world where my means of survival depend on my very own understanding of what goes on in my life and to those around me."

ME; "We can talk about something else."

HAPPINESS; "Let us talk about parents,parenting ,our own parents,and how we are as parents if you are also one that is"

ME; "I don't remember the details, so I can't really discuss parenting. I wasn't happy with either of my parents. I thought both of them were pretty incompetant as parents and pretty worthless people. I had an unhappy childhood and the rest of it has been the same. My parents were strict. I grew up in middle class circumstances. My father was a stockbroker and my mother was a housewife. I don't have any children."

(23) HAPPINESS; "My parents are both still alive, my mom is the "ruler" in my family even though she denies it.She did not want me to go and study overseas and hid my bursary forms,lied to me about it until I found the hidden forms in my Matric year and in a stupid fit of anger dropped out of school shortly afterwards.I have hated my parents passionately for many years for all that they should have done for me and failed to,for being such hypocrites, holding the Bible in one hand and serving the Devil on the other by lying, cheating, pretending when it suited them but two years ago I decided to take my life back,let go of the anger,chose a happy attitude,stopped being judgemental towards them,allowed myself to be true to who and what I am.I do not live my life based on some church doctrine or depending on my parents approval.I do whatever makes me happy.I told them exactly what I think of them and chose to forgive for my own sake."
"I have 3 biological kids and 1 adopted.I love them immensely and I spoil them rotten.I give them the best I can afford.I listen to them.I know from experience that even though people believe old people are clever kids are the wisest of all mankind and if only we could stop and listen to them we could learn valuable life lessons from them.When their father passed away they were my pillar of strength though they did not say much everyday when they came back from school they would come and hug me without saying a word,after a while they suggested we talked about him,remember the things we loved about him,and forgive his pitfalls for no one, myself included ,is perfect."
"Making peace with my childhood pain,anger,disappointment was very hard.Some days are better than others.My parents "fuck-ups" excuse my French ,will be part of me all my life.That is for sure."
"Maybe it is true what they say:what does not kill you can only make you stronger. I'm grateful for your presence in my life Richard,I don't know why you are here but I am happy you are"

ME; "Thanks. You could write about yourself and then just change the names of the characters. Why did your mother hide your school papers?"

(23) HAPPINESS; "There was this "prophecy" going around back then ,my mother being a fanatical Christian and all,that the Lord Jesus Christ was coming back in year 2000.They said all the things that the Bible had said would happen before His return had happened, "the signs" they call them were there,so since the world was coming to an end going to school was a "bloody sheer waste of time".Even though my mother was discussing this with her church members,she was the only one who took it seriously serious!They also read a newspaper clip on South African girls who left our country for greener pastures overseas only to find themselves working as slaves in rice farms,completely deprived of any kind of communication with their families.Her excuse is she was trying to protect me.My schoolmate who had the same opportunity leaves overseas as we speak ,she only comes South to visit from time to time which means the bursary fund was legit.Now my mum says maybe it was never meant to be.I don't buy that for one second,she played God in my life because she could. It was only me that would suffer the consequences. Once she said; 'As long as I am still depending on her she was my god.'"

ME; "Where were you going to go to school?"

(23) HAPPINESS; "I would have gone to Britain.We even had teachers from Britain who used to work in our school for six months at a time.Our English teacher in Matric ,which is the last high school class in South Africa, was a Englishman. He taught us from January 1992. He was the first teacher to teach us Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet".It was a demanding position I think, teaching African kids Shakespeare whose everyday English knowledge was not so good to begin with.I sometimes played the interpreter.The funny thing was whenever he asked if we all understood before asking questions we all said yes.When I asked my friends why they did that they would say there was no point in telling they didn't because no amount of explaining would help anyway because it wasn't the subject that was the problem but the language itself and the accent ,of course."

ME; "When did you get interested in writing a book?"

HAPPINESS; "I started writing at an early age.At first it was my way of telling those around me how I felt about some of the things that were happening in my life without them knowing.I would re-live my disappointments but have them end in triumph in my stories,this reminds me of a story I wrote after I fell pregnant for the first time out of wedlock in which the "girl" in the story was loved and accepted by boy's parents when I had been publicly disgraced because my boyfriend denied having had sexual intercourse with me which hit me hard because he was my first love.I trusted him so much and I never saw that coming, and to this day he has never told me why he did that even though we talk and we are on good terms."

ME; "Did you save any of your stories?"

(23) HAPPINESS; "When I ran away from home in 1993 I left my journals at home and my mom burnt them."

ME; "Why did she do that?"

HAPPINESS; "She told me that she only got to know me through my writing,I guess she did not like what she read.I was totally frank about my life,I "told" her exactly what I thought from a safe distance and I did not have to deal with the consequences of my "actions"She told me my stories were so deep.Sometimes I wish she could be totally honest with me but she is holding back and she pretends as if all is ok."

ME; "What did you write about?"

HAPPINESS; "In our quest for perfection,self-betterment,or shall I call it 'holiness' some of us tend to forget that we are human first and foremost and to err is human.No one had always been the perfect role model.We have at one point or the other commited mistakes that we look back at and think:'I don't know what came over me to turn me like that.'We can hide all we want behind the "my mistakes are irrelevant now" but they are.It is the source of our ever-changing attitudes.If one feels that one is a better person it is plainly because they tried different ways of doing things:right and wrong before they reached a state where they felt :"this is it!this is what I should have done a long time ago!"We need to remember that in this life one man's meat will always be another man's poison,so what works for you may not work for me and there is nothing wrong with that.Parents cannot live their children's lives for them."

ME; "You know what would be neat - a word by word accont of something you and your mother argued about."

(23) HAPPINESS; "She gets tiresome after a while."

ME; "Lets hear it."

HAPPINESS'; "In a moment of weakness,I spoke to one of my brothers about how I felt about the way that mom was treating us unfortunately for me she was eavesdropping and she listened in for a while and the next I know I got such a big slap across my face,my head was spinning! And she said; 'How dare you?After all that I have done for you !Do you think you would do a better job at raising children than I do?Do you undermine God's authority to make me your mother?Do you think I am being stupid if I do not allow you to have freedom like all the other kids?I grew up in a family where we could go where ever we wanted to without being questioned and do you know what happened to us?Two of my brothers are in jail,we all ended up being either alcoholics or drug addicts!'
'But I am nothing like you and all I want to do is music' .
'So you want me to give a licence to run around with those stupid boys under the 'we are singers' banner when I know what they can do to you?'
'There is nothing they can do to me now that had not been done to me before?' 'What do you mean?' 'You know exactly what I mean.' 'What are you trying to say to me?' 'Oh please!You always tell me how the Lord shows you everything even in your sleep,and you have call me names,but still pretend as if you do not know what I am talking about?If you do not allow me to do this I will leave.' If He really shows you everything even in your sleep you wouldn't ask me what I mean so I think someone in here is lying or is pretending to know more than she really does heaven knows why!'I said,walking away. 'Don't walk away from me !I am still talking to you!' 'If you agree to let me pursue my dream I'll listen.' 'Are you trying to control me now?' 'Is it working mom?' 'Listen I am older and there is nothing that is happening today that has not happened before,it is the same old life story but it is new to you because you are the new characters,trust me when I say to you I know what is good for you.' 'Do you want to know what I think?' 'Ye-s? 'I think you hate me for being the person you could never be even if you tried.One day you will wake up thinking 'let me go and check if my puppy is still in its kennel' and find it gone,what will you do then?Punish it?Maybe,but you will have to find it first,what guarantee do you have that you will be able to find it?None.' 'Are you thinking of running away from home?Have you ever really looked at those people living in the streets?Do you know how much they suffer?Don't be stupid,in this world you will be nothing without me!Do you hear me ?You will be nothing !' 'There is a very good reason why the Creator put a head on each and everyone of us. . .' 'And you happen to know this reason Ms Know-it-all?' 'No,mom,I don't but my point is we all have to think for ourselves,we cannot build our lives on other people's doctrines.' 'Do you think my faith is some stupid doctrine? If only you could stop and listen to me until I finish. I am your mother. and on earth I am the most important person in your life,I am the one you should respect the most before you can even start fearing the Lord.,unless you want to live under a curse.' "

ME; "Well, it sounds like you and your Mother were pretty unhappy together. Did you leave home soon after that?"

(23) HAPPINESS; "I should have but the fear of living under a curse kept me at home.I started taking religion seriously,tried to get her approval and acceptance.,going to church with her,fasting when she said we should only to find her eating before the agreed time to go off the fast and when I asked why she would do that she told me she was in a better place in life,I was the one who needed to punish my flesh more because I was young and the devil was after the youth because if he won them over they followed him passionately,youth is fearless,she pointed out to me how most of her school friends had died young for the political struggle and how involved in politics my friends were and she said the reason for that was they had nothing to lose.Whatever happened to them it was their parents' responsibility but once one has a child one would do ones best to stay alive if nothing else. I said to her; 'I thought whether we live or die the Creator had the last word,ma?' 'Yes and No.Some people's lives are taken away long before they are due because they sin so much He cannot keep them amongst us any longer.''I know people who should be gone by now but they are alive even though they make us suffer so much like our 'leader' in this area.''Don't speak about the leader!Do you want these people to burn my house down and kill us all?' 'I thought you were not afaraid of death, your gate to eternal life?' 'Are you making a mockery of my faith?' 'No ma,I was just asking.' 'If I die now who would take care of you?' 'No one.' "

ME; "How old were you then?"

(23) HAPPINESS; "I was seventeen and so angry at so many people and so many things that I did not even know what and who sometimes:I was angry at my parents because they wanted me to be what they wanted to be and my mom had threatened to curse if I failed,I was angry at my dad because he never seemed to have a mind of his own,whatever mom said it would go and his reason was our mom had done such a good thing for us,giving birth to us and putting our needs before her own and I wondered if he felt somewhat guilty having made her pregnant not once or twice but 10 times!Only 7 of us survived though but still it happened and once I overheard my mom cry while they were arguing about something and she said:'Had I not married you and had so many kids my life would have been so different,I wanted to be a model once and I could have been then you came along.I am not being ungrateful but right now this is so hard on me because if there is no food in this house the kids come to me.' "

ME; "What was the curse?"

HAPPINES; "She threatened she would curse me so nothing would go right in my life.I were to be cursed in coming and going,in each everything I did,I would fail at school ,be disliked by everyone,be a complete failure,suffer wherever I went.She read me a Bible story about boys who were making fun of an old man of God who were burnt to death by fire that came from heaven.Just the thought of being a failure paralysed me,I was the cleverest kid at school,a linguist,with a huge fan base,I enjoyed attention,loved it like crazy,the attention I mean and imagining a life without the 'friends' was crippling"

ME; "How does a curse work?"

(23) HAPPINESS; "A curse does not work. I didn't know that. Like all things, it is what you make of it ,your perspective,your belief.Your reaction."

ME; "How soon after that did you figure out a 'curse' doesn't work?"

HAPPINESS; "I only learned this much later in my life,much much later it is sickening.I have had to teach myself to venture into the uknown,take my chances,try and fail and learn from my failures and I had to learn to learn from other people's mistakes:that was the hardest thing because I have always had people listen to me and I was always interested in me,in my own story so learning to stop and listen not only to those around me but to myself as well was excrutiatingly painful.And I had been so pretentious for so long:pretending to like people I could not stand,pretending to be more interested in religion than I really was to win my mom over,pretending to enjoy looking after my younger brothers when I found it quite tiring at times,pretending to be interested in reading spiritual motivational books when I knew nothing held my attention like a Danielle Steele's romantic reads with the happy endings and Wilbur Smith's soulful,compelling reads, confession of which would have ruined my good reputation and maybe left me labelled a weak helpless sinner."

ME; "What do they do to weak, helpless sinners?"

(23) HAPPINESS; "Weak helpless sinners are 'cut-off' from the church:They are asked to confess their weakness infront of the whole congregation,asked if they understand that what they do is not acceptable to the Lord, advised to keep coming to church and only allowed to sit right at the back alone.No single member of the stronger church member is allowed to sit next to the weak.The cold treatment of the weak helpless sinners varies depending on what it is that they do that gives the church leaders to believe they are the 'poisoned branches'.In severe cases they are no longer allowed into the church until they repent,report to the church elders,follow whatever routine the elders give them until they have proven themselves to be worthy of being inside the house of the Lord or to sit with everyone else.Severe cases are out of wedlock, cheating on a spouse,fraud,divorce it is not allowed if you insist on it you are 'cut-off' .Minor cases would like mine reading 'ungodly stuff' a bit serious if it is romance because I would be planting an evil seed in my brain which will mislead my heart and end up driving me to sin."

ME; "What do they do to people who stop going to church?"

(23) HAPPINESS; "In some cases depending on the church members they would come to your house uninvited time and time again to remind you of the fate of the ones who turn away from the Lord's grace.They would remind you of your good deeds before you fell from grace and encourage you 'to come back home',if you resist and may be order them to leave they may curse you or threaten to and if you are quite agressive some may say this prayer:'Dear Lord we have come to your servant's house to remind him of Your grace,he will not listen,and like Pilate we wash our hands,we will no longer have anything to do with him because he has chosen the dark path,he has given himself to the lord of the darkness,have mercy on his soul.As from this day forward we will not speak to him,or hug him or shake hands with him.We will not eat on the same plate as he does or even sit on the same chair...'(at which I laughed because we used the same taxis and sat on the same seats with some of them for a while when I was in doing my first year at high school) and then say on their way out; 'Peace be with you'.Once while doing this the man they were visiting was so angry he pointed a gun at them and asked who wanted to go and see the Lord there and then ,no one wanted to die,they all apologized and begged him not to kill them,he didn't but it proved what others say :we are human beings and no matter how good the promise of the eternal life is the simple honest truth is no one who is alive really knows what happens when we die,and no one wants to die just like that"

ME; "Why didn't you do what the guy with the gun did? What happened to him? Did he ever go back to church? Did they visit him again?"

(23) HAPPINESS; "I couldn't!I didn't have a gun!He never went to church again and no one ever approached him again.They used to pray for him for a while but they convinced us that the guy was posessed and that only the Lord could help him,my issue had always been the right way of life we are meant to believe in is man made,it is based on someone's way of thinking and understanding of the good Book and the reason we have so many churches in Africa is each and every leader of a church may disagree with the other members of the church and decides to make his own.We had a disagreement in our church about females wearing pants:others said it was unacceptable,others said God is the God of the heart and deeds and not of the outer coverings,that it did not matter what we wore but it mattered if we cared for others,respected others,loved ourselves and those around us and did what is right.Since the man who said this was not a prominent member of the church they tried to cut him off the church and he started his own."

ME; "Do you feel our planet is a Giant Lunitic Asylum?"

HAPPINESS;"I could not have said that better myself!What on earth is wrong with us?We complicate the simplest things!And heaven knows why?Just over a week ago I watched a TV programme discussing mental illness and the TV presenter was speaking to a man who lives on the streets and his family members say he is a lunatic and guess what he said when asked if he was mentally unstable?'We are all sick mentally,no one is of sound mind whether we admit it or not!'He said that and oh my! GIANT LUNATIC ASYLUM!"

ME; "What do you think 'crazy' people talk about?"

(23) HAPPINESS; "The very things that everyone talks about!Hello!That man on the show was worried it was going to rain and his roof had a leak and yes his tent roof or cover did have a leak!The only differrence amongst us may be: the ones whom we believe are mentally unstable have the limitless faith of children,they believe that they are richer than they really are,they believe they see people who passed away along time ago and maybe they really do?It is hard to tell!If they don't trust you they tell you on your face!The one thing that I have noticed about the so called mentally unstable they are more loyal to those who are good to them than we could ever be in our sane minds,they also never forget any good that anyone has ever done for them,and they always go to the same house where they are fed at the same time everyday for their meal,they never forget to say thank you!At least the ones I know in my community are like that."

ME; "I don't mean those crazies. I mean the inhabitants of the Giant Lunitic Asylum. I don't believe everyone says the same things. The 'crazies' can be profiled; - that is; the 'crazies' I'm talking about -not the other-way-around."

(23) HAPPINESS; "In the Giant Lunitic Asylum there is never a dull moment. The first group that comes to mind is the 'perfect, humane, kind, loving, never-go-wrong type' whose members are so perfect they are surprised no one ever notices! Their sense of dress is the right one, their manner of speaking is the one we should all use. Their parental upringing methods are not open for discussion because 'their is absolutely no reason why anyone shouldquestion them.' After all, they are the perfect ones! What makes one better than the others? I need to know. How many rofiles do you have? How exactly do you come up with these profiles?"

ME; "With stories. Here's one. Jimmy and I were walking, with a dog, when a women, also with a dog, came the other way. She had her's on a leash. The dogs barked at each other. We got our's to shut up and left. When we got back; Jimmy said; 'She's the kind of person who'll call the police and get you in touble. But she didn't do that. I guess we're lucky.' "

(23) HAPPINESS; "I once had a lady who ordered a birthday cake for her church , when she placed the order she said it was for a birthday for one of her employees' child and she asked me to order pink icing for the cake and when she came in to collect it she swore she told me it was for the church and she could not present a 'pink cake' for the Lord's children, it just wasn't acceptable and she wanted the icing changed to blue right there and then!How would I know this was to happen?How do you profile this 'lovely' lady?Even though I speak well,I just stood there speechless and she was shouting on top of her voice for everyone to hear how a stupid African sales assistant who should not be anywhere near the company phone had made the worst ,most stupid mistake of the year and how she 'the poor innocent victim' had to suffer the consequences,she insisted she deserved a discount for her trouble but my boss said no,all we could do was to give her the 'blue cake' if she was wiling to wait.Don't you think our ladies are of similar tendencies?Luckily for you ,you managed to make your dog keep quiet.But I think my boss also knew how to profile because he told me not to pay any attention to the lady's comments,where on earth do these people come from?They're on a mission: 'I can take you to hell and back and get away with it,ha! ha! ha!' "

ME; "What's their mission?"

(23) HAPPINESS; "Oh,yes!In pursuit of a record deal and TV acting part I met a guy who told us:'the wannabe actors' he was the director,which turned out to be a fancy name he gave himself,he was simply an agent who was making money by placing an advert on the paper claiming to be looking for actors with or without experience who had passion for drama and arts for an upcoming South African movie which was to be filmed in SA and overseas towards the end of the year..My friend and I went for 'auditions' at his house in Roseglen,Johannesburg.He told us the choice was ours,he would never force us to play parts we felt uncomfortable with and we believed him.When we finally went for 'class' I was told to kiss a man I had never seen before in my life ever,when I told him I did not think I was in the right place to do that then ,he told me and everyone else who was there then that we were all there in pursuit of a dream we could never achieve because even though we were 'attention seekers' we were not prepared to do anything and everything we had to do to get what we wanted.When I reminded him of what he said on our first audition he screamed and asked if I was in the right state of mind!"

ME; "Was that your first experience with a filmmaker?"

(23) HAPPINESS; "No it was not my first experience but he made me realise that the more I pursued the acting career the more I met very weird characters and he made start thinking that there should be more to this life than the 'fake' glamorous life of TV stars.He also made us meet people who with all their fame and glory on TV were so plain and unattractive in real life,and some were just not so intelligent.He did two things for me that I know for sure no one else would have done them better for me:1.He taught that if I did not see myself as a star no one else would"stars are not the people on your TV screens,it is all about how you see yourself, know it,believe it and live it before you really get into it.He taught me that I did not have to take nonsense from anyone even if it meant losing on my short term goal,never to compromise what I believe in no matter what the cost"

ME; "Tell me about the other filmmakers."

HAPPINESS;"Then I met a certain Ben,he came in with a good angle I must say and he really had crowds following him because he was not just a TV casting agent but he was the one with Christ.Africans, at least most of them, have a thing for religion and faith.I cannot say he lied to us but in our pursuit of success,fame,happiness and fortune in a 'world' full of liars,cheaters and wolves in sheepskin where the Lord did not exist,and His name was not even mentioned, he came as an answer to our prayers.(even though at the time I did not even open my mouth to pray at all,and I never set foot in the house of the Lord).We started everything with prayer,did our local gospel music show with so much oomph!I thouroughly enjoyed his company and he was so much fun to work with,he was very 'girlie' and even though he wore his expensive glossy suits most of the time it was seeing him in jeans that had us gossiping behind his back about his curvaceous 'booty'!We really hoped he would be kinder to us but when he had me and my close friend do an advert for the South African Energy Regulator and paid us peanuts it turned us off and that is when I kinda had a fall-out with him.It was also a very difficult period for me financially so I don't really think it was all about how he acted more than it was about my own desperation to find money and opportunity right there and then.We were not surprised to read about him being gay in a newspaper it only confirmed our suspicions."

ME; "Have you done any stage work?"

(23) HAPPINESS; "Yes I have,not much but yeah I have done it.I was afraid at first,and for my first ever audition for a singer/actor part I could not sing due to stage fright,my voice came out in a weird high pitch and I was disqualified.This happened again when I went for a studio audition with my music producers ,and even when I recorded my song on their various artists album I was nervous when I did the first two songs and even though they decided to put one of those songs in the album I am not happy with the quality of the music I made,I believe I could have done better.The other thing with me is if I feel out of place where I am I do not function well,and that is exactly how I felt in my music company and that is part of the reason why I did not pursue my music dream any further,it is ironic that I am a multi-talented artist who has failed dismally at making even a single gift I have prosper.I got tired of building new relationships in the show business because my experience has taught me most producers and film-makers say all the right things all the time but they only care about themselves and nothing but.An artist is only valuable if they feel he/she will bring in the fortune"

ME: "A minute ago, you said you met TV people who were 'not so intelligent,' What did they do that you think was stupid?"

(23) HAPPINESS; "Once we met with one of our TV stars,a role model to some ever since this 'role models mania' started:we had hoped since he portrayed a character so well on TV he was wise to our disappointment when asked what his take on the HIV/AIDS pandemic and teenage pregnancy was,he told us we know that in our 'culture' we do not discuss sex with 'children' and bedroom-related topics were not for public debate.We said we were asking for his advice as an influential public figure and as a parent,we asked if he really believed with everything going on in the world today if it was in our best interests to follow on our forefathers' footsteps he insisted answering that question would somewhat divulge personal feelings and ideas he did not want to share with the public."

ME; "I think you mean; he's conservative and therefor 'stupid.' Is that what you mean? I agree with you, conservatives are stupid people. But liberals are stupid too. Everyone who represents the public talks about the same thing. They have to because the majority of people are simple-minded morons. Some people say the 'stupids' have a brain like everyone else - so maybe someday they could make rational decisions. I don't believe that. I think the 'stupids' have a 'stupid brain,' It works backwards - the more they use it the stupider they get."

(23) HAPPINESS; "It is hard to believe that we still have people amongst us whose level of stupidity only seems to' grow' or shall I say gets worse with use or abuse or lack of use thereof.We have all different types of information guides everywhere but hey for some reason we have the so-called conservatives:What is rational in a lady giving her whole life into someone else's hands to decide on what she has to do even in matters of whether or not to use protection when having sex fully knowing what could happen? What is rational in someone giving up an opportunity of a lifetime that he/she knows means everything to him/her simply because someone close does not approve?"

ME; "I see things like that almost every day. It's really weird. Most people are robots. They use a program even when the program is the opposite of what they're supposed to be doing - route instead of thought."

HAPPINESS; "We are supposed to learn from other people's mistakes but instead we go round and round through the very same vicious circle it is pathetic,and most of us come out saying if I knew then what I know now I would have made a better decision.I am a perfect example of that:my mom had a child outside the wedlock ,I knew about it but I went on to make not just one but three to spite her.I wonder if I am the only one who has done the most stupid decisions to make someone who has nothing to do with it suffer only to suffer the consequences all by myself instead and finally realising much later that every little thing I do I do it for me."

ME; "Yeah."

(23) HAPPINESS; "I have to be going now, Richard. It's been nice talking to you. So long."

ME' "Same here. So long, Happiness."

She gets up and leaves.

End of Episode Ten.

Writers Wanted

Episode Eleven:

Cast...............In order of appearance.
(24) Tamara
(25) Erica..............(also in episodes one)


It's nighttime, several weeks later.  I'm back at the cyber café, sitting at the counter.  Tamara's sitting
by herself, also at the counter. I get up, go over and sit down next to her.

ME; "Hi, Tamara."

(24) TAMARA; "Hey Richard, what are you doing here? How are you? I haven't seen you in ages!"

ME; "Yeah, It's sure been a long time. Are you still writing?"

TAMARA: "No I'm not writing so much right now, what are you doing?"

ME; "I'm not writing so much either. Now and then. But no one likes my stories. They want something different. They want a story where the storyteller tells them they're wonderfull people. I can't write a story like that. It would make me nauseous."

(24) TAMARA: "Usually people want a happy ending. Or, if not that, a main character that is moral. What happens in your stories?"

ME; "Nothing like that. I'll give you an example. I wrote this story just recently."

"I have a friend named Sean. He's on mental disability now. At one time he was a on-the-road salesman and made $50,000 a year. He lived, with his wife, Eva, in a $1/4 million home. His wife is a beutifull russian girl. He met her here in the US. She had a job in graphics. She was trained by the Soviet state. At one time, in her youth, she was a Young Pioneer. A kid with a red bandanna around her neck. The Soviet State discinagrated and she came to the US. Later, she brought her mother and younger sister here. Sean and she traveled back and forth to Russia and got married. They had 2 children together."
"Sean and Eva lived together for 10 years. Eva was friendly with Seans family - a mother and 3 sisters. She got them on her side and together they committed Sean to a mental institution. The police came to his home, he came out to talk to them and they put him in a straight jacket. He was a model patient, never caused any disturbances, cooperated with the doctors and was released in 10 days. He filled out papers and the goverment gave him a disability check. Eva divorced him. She got the kids, the house, a business and child support from the goverment. Sean got visitation rights, which never worked out. Eva and he went back and forth to court with nothing resolved. But in any case, he doesn't see them anymore. He's scared they'll cause a disturbance and get him committed again. He tried to call them. Eva said; 'Why do I want to talk to a phycho - because I'm stupid?' Then he tried to talk to the kids. Both of them said the same thing; 'Why do I want to talk to a phycho - because I'm stupid?'"

"What do you think?"

(24) TAMARA: "That's very sad. Is that a true story?"

ME; "Yeah."

TAMARA: "Was it someone you knew?"

ME; "Yeah. A friend of mine. He's a real psycho-nut. Do you know any psychos?"

TAMARA: "So he really was psycho, it wasn't just his wife making it up? Do you think she was right to keep him away from their children?"

ME; "Yeah. He's a real crazy."

(24) TAMARA: "Well it's interesting, how you first told the story, you made it sound like you were sympathetic with the guy. You didn't give much detail, but the way I took it, you implied that the wife was the one in the wrong. You first spoke as if the guy had been treated unfairly, putting emphasis on how he suffered. But then next thing you called him a psycho, and now a crazy, which is a derogatory terms. And also vague terms, which could cover quite a range of conditions. Of course, situations like this are complex, it's not all 'black and white' as they say. I myself find the details and the complexity are what can make a story fascinating. When there is no clear solution. When everyone involved has both altruist and selfish motives."

ME; "I was just telling a story. I was never sympathetic to him. Funny how people take things the wrong way."
"Eva, the wife, told him; 'Why do I want to talk to a psycho - because I'm stupid?' This is the use of philosophical logic. She presents and answers a question at the same time. It's that, that I found interesting - otherwise, it's just another story. Philosophy is the art of thinking."

TAMARA: "It was a rhetorical question meant only to insult him; it was hardly philosophy, or logic, or even funny. Look, Richard, this conversation isn't going anywhere, I don't think we are on the same level. I gotta go."

Tamara gets up and leaves.

Later. Same night. I've still at the counter. Erica enters the diner. I haven't seen her in several months. She comes over.

.(25) ERICA' "Hi there. It has been an interesting few months since I've been in here last. How are you?"

ME; "I'm okay."

She sits down next to me, picks up a menu and pursues it.

ERICA; "Did they change the menu, as my tuna plate is missing."

A server comes over.

ERICA; To the server. "Hi there. I think I will just have an iced lemon-water and a grilled swiss and portabello mushroom melt."

"Richard, what are you indulging in tonight?"

ME; To Erica. "Thankyou."

(25) ERICA; "You're welcome.

ME; To the server. "I'll have a steak, medium rare. a baked potato and a salad with oil and vinegar. Thanks."

The server leaves.

ERICA;  I made $200 over the weekend. And tomorrow night I am catering a house party, taking care of the bartending, food service, and anything the hostess of the party might need assistance with."

ME; "My Mother was a Bean Bag. That makes me Son of Bean Bag."

ERICA; "Richard, I'm not going to waste anymore 'food-for-thought' on you."

She gets up and moves to another seat at the counter.

ME; "This is just so deja vu." She can hear me.

After awhile the server returns with our orders.

We eat.

(25) ERICA; "How's your steak?"

ME; "It's fine."

Erica left hours ago. I haven't spoken to anyone else. I wave a server over and order a cheeseburger and fries.

ME; "I've been abandoned."

SERVER; "Lucky you."

End of Episode Eleven.

Writers Wanted

Episode Twelve:

Cast........In order of appearance
(26) Cande


It's nighttime, a week later. I'm back at the cyber café. I just walked in. Someone I know is sitting at the counter. I walk over and sit down next to her.

ME; "Hi, Cande."

A server comes over and I order a coffee, cheeseburger and fries. She pours the coffee and leaves.

"I have to ride elavators up and down all day long. I stuff and unstuff them with furniture. I'm a furniture mover. I'd really rather be a writer."

(26) CANDE; "I think it's pretty common for people to be stuck in places they don't want to be. You're a mover wanting to be a writer. I want to be out of my relationship and in another, I want to be an artist, not a teacher, I want to live in another city or country even... The grass is always greener hey?
What have you written that is worthy of you saying you want to be a writer? What do you consider to be your masterpiece?"

Cande waves a server over and orders a slice of lemon meringue pie. The server retrieves and serves it.

"I haven't had this in years."

ME; "It's necessary for me to write with someone else to write anything at all. I'm rather remote. I need someone to tell me what they see. What kind of art do you want to make?"

(26)  CANDE; "Hmmm what they see??? I'm not sure I understand. I have written with others before. Usually a collaboration of nonsense stories to make each other laugh. I've also written erotica with others, pushing the story in directions to make the other cum. But I'm not quite clear on what you mean."
"I can't say exactly what type of art I'd like to make. I do a bit of everything I draw, paint, sculpt, do photography, I love to break physical objects down and recreate using the pieces. I like textures, I like light, I like colours, I like getting my hands dirty. I suppose there's an art to everything, including stuffing furniture into elevators."

ME; "I don't notice the details of life untill someone points them out. I just see the overveiw. 'I live on planet earth.' 'Planet Earth is a Giant Lunatic Asylum.' The details are lost to me."
"There's an art to stuffing furniture into elevators. But it isn't ART. My last attempt at art was a Giant Roach House. Someone gave me a large cut-in-half paneled door. It was cut lengthwise. The guy's insane father in-law had done the cutting. I inserted an ironing board, facing outwards, between the 2 halves. I thought the ironing board, with it's legs folded, looked something like an insect. I attached a TV antenna to the head part. People said; 'But no one wants roaches in their house. They're trying to get rid of them.' That was years ago. I still have it."

(26) CANDE' "Wow a giant cockroach sounds pretty interesting. Where do you keep it?"
"There is a very fine line between art and reality though. Take for example the Damien Hirst exhibit I just saw in London. Everything in there screams science or medicine. He took dead animals, dissected them, put them in formaldehyde and put them on display. He took the cabinet from a random pharmacy and put it into a gallery. Take one of your elevators stuffed full of furniture and personal objects and put the whole thing, elevator and all into the TATE Modern or MOMA here in NY and you'll have yourself ART. You just need the money to get the elevator and that's it! You're a world famous artist. Hmm now that I've thought of it maybe I should act on the idea before someone else does and gets famous with my idea."
"I now understand what you mean, though, about not being able to see things until someone points them out. I feel like that myself 90% of the time. I think all humans are like that. They need interaction and to hear reasoning before they can really make up their own minds about things."

ME; "It's nailed to a wall in my apartment. And rests on the floor too. I tell people it's an example of Contemporary Kitsch. I never know what artists are talking about? Something. It's weird. How did they got like that?"

The server returns with my cheeseburger and fries.

(26) CANDE; "How do we get like what? I have to be honest with you, I read and translate a lot of art critique crap, and I don't have a clue what they're talking about 90% of the time, but I don't know why they talk like that. I assume it's to sound superior. Is that what you're referring to?"

ME; "Yes. That's what I'm talking about. Isn't it weird people are accepted as superior because other people can't understand them? Why doesn't someone say to the 'superiors;' 'Are you insane?' That's what I'd say. I wish they'd talk to me."

CANDE; "Why do you wish they'd talk to you if you think they're insane? Lawyers and politicians do the same thing too, let's not forget. I agree, it is weird that people are accepted as superior because they talk confusing crap, but at the same time, they probably studied to talk like that."

ME; "I'd like to tell them off. I think it's anti-social to pretend to be superior when you're not."

(26) CANDE; "What's say we go out and find a "superior" artist and we tell him/her off? It can't be that hard to find one."

ME; "Okay."

CANDE; "Why do you think it's antisocial to pretend to be superior? They socialize within their circles. To be honest, I've met a bunch of relatively important artists, It's often not the artist that thinks they're superior, it's the art critics and gallery owners that put them on pedestals. The artists I've met are pretty down to earth."
"Have you met any 'superior' artists? Do you know someone we can go find to tell off?"

ME; "I've met several artists but we didn't talk about art. I didn't express any interset in it so they didn't talk about it. I don't think we're going to find an artist who wants to talk about art. I've met several writers, playwrights and actors. One of them was a Shakespearean actor. I asked him why actors use period English. And then added no one could understand them. He told me back I was the only one who couldn't understand them."

(26) CANDE; "Hahahaha, Richard, sorry, I just find that really funny. You have to admit, it was a good answer. I suppose you've taken into consideration that some people do understand period English. Some people actually really like period English."
"Right so getting an artist to tell off is out. How's about I delve into your psyche? What kind of music do you like?"

ME; "I certainly don't believe people understand period English. I don't listen to muscic anymore. I spent years listening to Rock and Roll and then stopped. I like some classical muscic. I still like Pink Floyd. The Dark Side of the Moon is just so hypnotic."

CANDE' "Wow, we actually have something in common. Pink Floyd is my favourite band. Dark Side of the Moon is one of their best albums. I went to see Roger Waters in London with his new Wall concert.
How do you like your women? Are you married?"

ME; "I'm not married. People are just people, I suppose. You just have to see what happens. I wouldn't like anyone obese, crippled, real skinny, disfigured or old. Or anyone with a lot of mental problems or an extreme addiction."

(26) CANDE; "When was your last relationship? or are you in one now?"

ME "I haven't had a relationship in a while."

CANDE; "Why not? Do you choose to be single?"

ME; "Yes. Apparently people hang out together for the purpose of entertaining each other. I don't do that."

CANDE' "I see. Is that how you view relationships? As just entertainment?"

ME; "I suppose. How do you veiw them?"

(26) CANDE; "Hm good question. I guess I see them as a sharing. The term 'entertainment' for a relationship just seems a bit shallow to me."

ME; "Oh. People want to share my life-of-hell? I didn't know that. What do they share? They might find it difficult because in reality they don't share the same body."

CANDE; "Wow, having a bad day eh? Why is your life hell? In my, perhaps idealized, view people make emotional connections. People share their feelings and experiences. And yes it is difficult, people don't share the same body, but that's what makes it interesting."

ME; "As you say, you have an idealized veiw of life. People don't have to make emotional connections and share feelings and experiences because people are shit. Every day is another bite of a big shit sandwich."

(26) CANDE; "Do you consider yourself shit too or just others?"

ME; "Just others. You're kind of funny."

CANDE; "So, kay, let me get this straight. You think all people are shit except you. You don't think there are others out there that are similar to you in not being shit?"

ME; "I guess that could happen."

A server comes over and clears away the empty plates.

ME; To Cande. "Do you want a hot fudge sundae?"

(26) CANDE; "Yes please! I'm going on a dessert binge at this point."

ME; To the server. "I'd like 2 hot fudge sundaes, please."

She leaves.

CANDE: "So doesn't that make you sound superior? I mean saying that everyone but you is shit? I don't get it."

ME; "They're not the same thing. Apples and oranges. The first was about the artists who wanted to sound superior and went to college to learn how to do it. You brought it up. The second is about people being shit - which apparently, you don't argue with. You're being obtuse."

(26) CANDE; "I'm trying to get your view on things, not trying to express mine. I'm just trying to understand. If all people were indeed shit, then you'd consider yourself shit too, and that would make sense. But If you don't think you're shit then you can't possibly be the only non shitty person on the planet. Saying that you are the only non shitty person on the planet makes you sound conceited (or superior to others in some way). I don't want to judge without understanding first. Which is why you think I'm being obtuse."
"Maybe the hot fudge sundae will make you a little sweeter. I like you Richard. But I think you need to lighten up a little. Don't get me wrong I can totally understand that you may be miffed or dissed or feeling like your life is shit. You're here, you were born, might as well try to make the best of life."

ME; "I didn't say I was the only non-shitty person on the planet. I acknowledged your arguement that, possibly, there could be others. I like hot fudge sundaes but my mind is made up. People are shit. There isn't anything on the planet to make the best of. I can't lighten up. I'm filled with a wonderful need to be a Herald. Wake up. We live on The Planet of the Damned."

(26) CANDE; "Sorry, I must have misunderstood somewhere along the line. wanna tell me why your life is shit?"

ME; "It'a long story. As long as my life. I don't have time to tell it to you. Just stick around and you'll see it unfold in all it's grusome details."

The server returns with our sundaes.

ME; To the server "These look great."

SERVER; "Sure." She leaves.

CANDE; "Oh man these look so good."

ME; "You mentioned you translate art critique's. How does that work?"

(26) CANDE; "I occasionally translate from Italian to English, generally art related articles for magazines and stuff. I hate it but it brings in a little extra cash when work is slow."

ME; "What do you usually do?"

CANDE; "I'm an English teacher and an art teacher/interpreter of sorts."

ME; "Do you teach here in Manhattan?"

CANDE; "Oh goodness no, I'm just visiting friends here. This is my first time in New York. I live in Italy and I'm Canadian if you hadn't picked it up from my accent. I'm on my way to visit family and friends back home."

She smiles.

ME; "I tell people My Roach House is Contempory Kitsch but I wonder if it really is? Perhaps it's Faux Contempory or Contempory Folk Art? What do you think?"

(26) CANDE' "Hm to be honest I'm not an expert on art terms. I'm not really sure, but I'd say contemporary or folk contemporary both work."

ME; "I think I'll call it Contemporary. Did you speak Italian when you were growing up?"

CANDE; "Nope, I grew up speaking English and studying French at school. I picked the language up there, living and loving in the language. Do you speak any other languages?"

ME; "No, just American."

CANDE; "Ever tried to learn another language? like at school or anything?"

ME; "Not seriously. I took a Spanish language class in Highschool. I could read and write it but not speak it."

(26) CANDE; "Did you like it? Apparently there's a gene for languages that will develop if stimulated at an early age... Dogs and cats don't have it but parrots do. I'm a lot like a parrot, I'm good at imitating sounds."

MW; "It was okay. I never liked school. I was good in English and some math. I didn't finish highschool. I didn't go to college or take any courses. I'm the person the ruling classes are talking about when they say; 'He has 'LOSER' written on his forhead.' I don't Love Jesus or country or family."

CANDE; "Yeah I know what you mean. I was pretty bad at school in general, I was average at English, I was terrible with math and science. I graduated but never went to university. I'm an atheist, I hate bureaucracy in Italy and would move back home but have gotten stuck there like a fly in glue."

ME; "How did you end up in Italy?"

(26) CANDE; "It's a long story, I'll give you the romantic short version. A guy I liked back home asked me to travel there with him to go to art school. I said yes, he bailed, I went anyway and then met my partner and stayed."

ME; "I suppose there're lots of old ruins in the neighborhood. Do you live in the northern part of Italy, near Milan?"

CANDE; "I live in the north but closer to Venice. And yeah there are a lot of nice old buildings around. Have you ever been to Italy?"

ME; "No, I havn't. Can you see the Alps from where you live?"

(26) CANDE; "No, I can't really see the Alps.... I've seen the Dolomites though, a small chain of mountains that are quite pretty. I don't ski you see, so I wouldn't have much reason to see the alps."
"Do you travel much? Or are you the type of person that thinks that everything they'll ever need is right there in Manhattan? I asked a guy working in Manhattan directions on the best place to get off the subway to see a bit of Brooklyn, and he basically just said "Why would you ever want to leave Manhattan?' He had never left Manhattan."

ME; "That's New Yorkers for you. The rest of the world doesn't exist for them, kind of. They know it's out there but it's very very weird. I was born on Staten Island but I prefer Manhattan. I miss the ferry boat ride though. I love to sit outside on the top deck with a hot dog. It goes pass the Statue of Liberty."

CANDE; "Yeah I love that ferry ride, I went the other day for the first time. It was lovely. We didn't actually get off at the island though, we just took it for the ride there and back. So have you traveled?"

ME; "No, I've never been outside of New York."

(26) CANDE; "Did you decide not to travel or was it just chance? I find travelling so interesting. Meeting different people from all over the world just opens your mind to all sorts. I guess you must get that here in New York too though, the variety I mean."

ME; "I've met people from all over the world just right here in the diner. Do you find Italians humerous? They're famous, here in New York, as funny people."

CANDE; "Yeah Italians have a bad rap all over. They know it though and rarely try to fix anything. It's just the way they are. They are funny... Haha funny but also just strange funny. I dated my boyfriend because he made me laugh, I want to leave him because he has a hard time being serious."

ME; "What do you want him to be serious about?"

(26) CANDE; "Anything really. Mostly our relationship. Do you have kids?"

ME; "What's wrong with your current relationship - vis-a-vis, you and your boyfriend? What is it you want him to do differently - so as to attain Earthly Paradise for both."

CANDE; "Well we've been together for almost 15 years, you'd think I'd get a marriage proposal or some kind of "serious" talk about our future together. I'm still waiting. I'm not getting any younger either. I tried to leave him this year. It didn't work."

ME; "Why do you want Marriage? What would it change?"

(26) CANDE; "Well to be honest it wouldn't change anything really except my knowledge of his commitment to me I guess. In fact I don't really know that I "want marriage". I could just live with him admitting he wants to be with me. He has always said that he felt like I wasn't going to stay with him, but at the same time he has never done anything to make things more "official." We don't have an anniversary... is another example."

ME; "I don't know what to tell you. Some people just aren't sentimental about anniversaries. It doesn't mean they're bad people."

CANDE' "No, I know he's not a bad person because we don't have an anniversary, but it's the sum of a lot of little things that creates a difficult environment in the end. Add the lack of an anniversary with never saying 'I love you' to the constant bickering to rarely having sex to... The list goes on. It's a joint effort, it's not just him. The relationship just isn't that strong."

ME; "I don't live with anyone. I don't even want to. As I said before, people aren't there to entertain. People are trouble."

(26) CANDE' "You must have desires though, needs, even sexual if not romantic."

ME; "Well, that's an interesting twist. I didn't expect you to say that. It's very candid though. Sex is an addiction. I try not to think about it."

CANDE; "I guess I tend to ask what's on my mind. Sex could very well be an addiction, but what about just basic human connection and intimacy?"

ME; "No, sex isn't therapy. It's not something for something else. It's a thing in and of itself."

CANDE; "Did I say something about therapy? I asked if you ever need/crave basic human connection and intimacy."

ME; "To me, sex is just something very weird that feels good. I don't pursue it to make a human connection or share intimacy. Those things are prsent during sex but they're not what I'm looking for. And really, I'm not that interested in sex anyway."

(26) CANDE; "But are you interested in intimacy with another human being?"

ME; "By intimacy I suppose you mean sex. As I said; 'sex is addictive.' I try not to think about it. Sex is weird.. It hardly seems human. I'd rather just talk."

CANDE; "Why do you associate intimacy with only sex?"

ME; "That's how the word is used. People say' 'They/we were intimate.' - refering to a sexual encounter. Anyhow, we were talking about sex. You brought it up."

(26) CANDE; "Yes but not just sex, I was trying to understand your relationship with other human beings in non sexual ways. Being in love, being intimate (not sexually) and having contact with others. Intimacy doesn't just mean sex. Intimate can also be a setting, a conversation, feelings. It can be a lot of things."

ME; "Oh, I didn't know that. I thought it just meant sex - the other, just doing things. I never thought of conversations, settings and feelings as initimate. I just called them conversations, settings and feelings. I have plenty of those. We're in a diner setting right now, having a conversation. And I'm enjoying this hot fudge sundae. The nuances of initimacy are lost to me. Do you have a great need/craving for initimacy?"

(26) CANDE; "I do, yeah. Do you not feel close to someone emotionally?"

ME; "I don't have any close friends. I did at one time. If it happens it happens and if it doesn't it doesn't. I don't worry about it."

CANDE; "And you don't get lonely, ever feel like you want to talk to someone who cares, want someone to give you a hug at the end of a shitty day?"

ME; "No, I don't need hugs. I'm a big boy now."

(26) CANDE;"Oh I see. You're one of those guys that doesn't admit that feelings should be part of a man's repertoire. Hugs are for kids. Crying is for babies. That kinda thing...I'm willing to bet that you're lonely and you'd rather pretend you don't 'need' anyone rather than admit that you're lonely."

ME; "I'm not lonely."

CANDE; "hm ok... if you say so. I think that it's human nature to need other human contact. Being close to someone. I think it's very difficult even for the most isolated person to completely isolate themselves from everyone, emotionally especially."

ME; "I'm pretty isolated but moving along."

(26) CANDE; "Oh yes, I'm sure you are moving along. Everyone does move along, no matter what. Are you happy with who you are and where you are in life?"

ME; "I'm not happy. But that's because I'm living in a Giant Lunatic Asylum."

CANDE; "Hm where is the GLA? Is it NY?"

ME; "It's the World. We're living in the GLA."

CANDE; "So how can you ever be happy? And if everyone is a lunatic, then you and I must be too..."

ME; "I said we're living in the GLA. I didn't say anything about you and I being crazy."

(26) CANDE; "Alright. So who do you define a lunatic and how do you define them lunatics? If you live in an asylum... I'm sorry to say that by definition you are a lunatic too."

ME; "I want to talk about one thing at a time. We're not all lunatics by definition. The lunatics define the place because they're the biggest part of it. I'm a minority. Perhaps I should try to create a legal case?"

CANDE; "Are you sure about that? Institutions are erected to hold and care for those who are not mentally stable. Asylum is an old word, it's just a type of hospital. It's not the patients that define the hospital, it's the state that creates it for a social need."

ME; "Crazy people define the asylum. It's irrelavent who created or appied the word."

(26) CANDE; "Ok if you say so... So how do you define a lunatic?"

ME; "Well I'm glad you asked. A lunatic is a devotee of goobly-goop. They love it and ignore anything else."

CANDE; "And here I was thinking I was in a serious conversation."

ME; "It is a serious conversation. People aren't supposed to love goobly-goop. Do you? What's your opinion of it?"

CANDE; "What is goobly-goop?"

ME; "Gobbly-goop is nonsense talk. It begins and ends nowhere. People love it. It's what blood is to Dracula. It substains them. They'd go comatose without it."

(26) CANDE; "Are you sure you aren't one of them?"

ME; "Yes. If I was one of them I wouldn't be talking about them. Huh?"

CANDE; "hahaha, that's a pretty good theory. It's like saying: "if I say I'm insane then I must be sane, because people who are insane don't know they're insane. I'm not sure it works though. I've met some pretty crazy people who maintain they aren't crazy. And no offense Richard, but a certain quantity of our conversation has been pretty nonsensical Gobbly-Goop."

ME; "Well, I'm glad you're having a good time. But try to concentrate. I'd like to convince even one person of the validity of my theories. What's your opinion of Goobly-Goop. Do you like or hate it."

(26) CANDE; "I try to have meaningful conversations with people. And I've been concentrating, don't you worry about that. The fact that you call meaningless chatter "goobly-goop" is a little immature. But that aside, I don't really care what other people talk about and whether they have meaningful conversations or not. What's important to me is that the people I interact with are capable of having meaningful conversations."
"Have you considered that you might just live a relatively sheltered life and that you could need to get out into the big bad world to see who and what's out there and talk to people who live in other realities?"

ME; "You're in the big bad world? And I'm in the sheltered world? Huh? Discribe the Big Bad World to me."

(26) CANDE; "I didn't say live in the big bad world. I was suggesting that you should try traveling, meeting new people, getting out to see what's beyond your nose before judging the world as the asylum you live in."

ME; "When I say Goobly-Goop I mean the nonsense speeches/lectures people make/give. I'm refering to moronspeak. I'm not talking about people's idle chatter."

CANDE; "Your words were "Gobbly-goop is nonsense talk. It begins and ends nowhere." and you continued with saying it was "nonsense lectures and moronspeak".... it's all very vague and I'm not even sure clarifying what it means will help."
"I've told you this already, I like you, I don't want to offend you but I have three theories: 1) you blame others for something that can be controlled simply by changing the people you talk to 2) you are too preoccupied with your own theories that you don't actually listen to others. Or 3) you need to get a different perspective on the world, meet different people, open your mind and views. And I mean all of those things in the nicest way possible."

ME; "You're not familiar with the word moronspeak. And don't recognize the subject as such. Okay, I just asked. I'll drop the subject. We don't have to discuss my hobby - the study of 'morons.' What would you rather talk about?"

(26) CANDE' "Ok... Let's try this. You tell me what you think moronspeak means."

ME; "Sure. Moronspeak is the speaches/lectures the leadership delivers to the 'morons.' It's everything they talk about. It makes the 'morons' happy to hear it. It's also a genre of literature. But not advertised as such because those who create it enjoy pretending it's something else. They're a bit bashful about their penchant for wallowing in shit. Do you know a bit more now about the meaning of the word moronspeak?"

CANDE; "Ok, that's a good description of moronspeak. I just wish it were an actual word. I realize now that by goobly-goop you meant garbledygook. Nonetheless, it clarified things but it doesn't change anything. There are plenty of people on the planet who ignore it, who don't swallow it, who don't want to talk about it, who don't care for it. And if you are surrounded be people who do care about it, if you feel like you are in an asylum then you need to change something."

ME; "You know, I suppose, that the garbledygookers dominate the world. There's really is no place to go? People who aren't garbledygookers acquiest to them. They think Jesus wants them to be nice to morons. Even if they don't beleive Jesus is a God they think he had good ideas - peace, love and forgiveness."

(26) CANDE; "You have a good point. There are a lot of people who give in to all the 'moronspeak' as you term it. And many of those who don't give in to it are probably religious... I am neither of those, and I am not alone. Most of my friends follow the same views as me, and I live in a catholic country."

ME; "I'm ready to drop my tirade against 'moronspeak' and move on. Thanks for listening. Lets talk about artists? Do you want to do that? I think I heard one of them say art is communication sans words. And it's at a deeper level. Does that ring a bell?"

CANDE; "Yep, artists say that a lot. I think it can be true, but isn't always true."

ME; "Can you think of anything else they talk about?"

(26) CANDE; "Artists tend to talk a lot about work, how to get it, where to get it. Then when they have it they talk about how they're going to do it... They talk about money and the common lack of funds, taxes...."

ME; "Yeah. How they're going to do it sounds interesting. Do they talk about how and what they're going to communicate?"

CANDE; "They generally communicate their emotions. Sometimes consciously sometimes subconsciously."

ME; "Oh. I didn't know what they were doing. Thanks for the info. Do you do that?"

(26) CANDE; "Yeah I do I guess... but sometimes art is just a pretty picture. People read into it more than they should sometimes. Or maybe other people can see into an artist through their work, and the artist is completely unaware of it."

ME; "Art, like you said, is just a pretty picture."

CANDE; "Art is not always just a pretty picture... I've definitely seen ugly, scary, thought provoking, reaction provoking, sickening, revolting, beautiful, awe inspiring, and mind boggling 'art'."

ME; "Gee, all those things. I don't enjoy being arbitrary but I have to say I never walked away from a museum or gallery with an idea. I think ideas have to be conveyed with words."

(26) CANDE; "I'm sure if you saw a severed cow's head bleeding on a gallery floor covered with flies you'd have a different opinion."

ME; "That would be very ugly and sad, I'd feel sorry for the cow, but it isn't an idea."

CANDE; "How do you mean it isn't an idea?"

ME; "Where's the idea? I don't see an idea here. The cow's head doesn't put an idea in my head. It's nothing to think about, learn or know. Art can't convey ideas, only words can."

CANDE; "I'm not sure I understand what ideas have anything to do with it... We were talking about art communicating, not giving you ideas."

ME; "My point is, it doesn't communcate anything. It just sits there doing absolutely nothing except being a little interesting, sometimes enchanting. But it never communicates a concept. You, at one point, proposed it was thought provoking. But it's not."

(26) CANDE; "You generalize a little too much. I'm not saying all art communicates. Some of it does. I think it also depends on what you mean by communication, and what your expectations are. And possibly how much you really care about what you're looking at. Some art can provoke feelings, it can communicate concepts like life, death, beauty, emotions happiness, sadness, melancholy, confusion...
My point about the dead cow head is that it can provoke a feeling of disgust or interest. It could cause you to be curious about what it looks like inside a head or how flies reproduce inside it. It could cause you to ponder your own death. It could also cause you to come away with nothing. It all depends on the person. That is part of the point. For each person it's different."

ME; "I genereralize too much. That's funny. If art's thought provoking then it follows it also explains something. But it doesn't. Art is just something to look at. It explains nothing. We can move on. Thanks for listening to my art tirade. What about you? Do you have a favorite rant or tirade?"

(26) CANDE; "Sorry, I don't agree. Thought provoking is exactly as it claims to be, the process of making you think, not the process of explaining. I think that if you expect art to explain something you're expecting too much and you are going to be disappointed."

ME; "Well, that's what I'm saying - art doesn't explain anything. And it doesn't get people to think. It's just sits there. There's nothing to think about. And, if it did, it still can't provide an explaination. If, for some reason you want people to think about something then you have to first tell them there's something they don't know. Then, when they see that, you give them the solution. That's done by writers - not artists. Artists just make objects to look at. Writers explain. You know, you're not really 'rant' free like you think you are. But I already knew that. Find an artist - find a ranter."

CANDE; "Who said I was rant free? I don't see why art should give solutions and I don't see why art has to be what you say it is. I think that everyone is entitled to their own opinions and that they should be respected. I also think that you have difficulty listening and are relatively closed minded and inflexible. You refuse to accept that there is much beyond what you believe. You ask questions as if you are open to hearing an opinion and then you impose that opinion on the person you are speaking to."
"Art never professed to give solutions, so why should it? It's what writers do... as you say. Art is different from writing for exactly that reason."

ME; "That's all I was saying."

(26) CANDE' "As I said, art doesn't profess to give solutions, writing gives (on occasion) solutions. Art professes to communicate (on occasion)."

ME; "Okay. We're still on the art tirade. I thought we were done with it. So arts communicates - that's the trick? It doesn't give solutions. It starts people thinking and then they find the answers on their own. I don't think so. Art is just something to look at for awhile and then leave. Out of sight - out of mind. It does nothing. It just sits there. It's a bauble. People don't get anything from it except a fleeting moment of interest. It doesn't make them think about anything. Only writers can communicate."

She laughs a lot.

CANDE; "Right... whatever you like Richard. See what I mean about insisting on your own opinions and not being open to other ideas?"

I laugh too.

ME; "Yeah, I see that. I really do."

I laugh again.

"You're funny. You make me laugh."

(26) CANDE; "Do you know why art exists?"

I raise my hand.

ME; "I know."

I lower my hand.

"People make it. I made a scupture out of two halves of a door. Some guy's crazy father in law had cut it in half, lenghtwise. The night before the cutting incident, the son-in-law, his wife and the father in law had been talking together about the aftermentioned heavy mahogany front door. They were good and drunk too. No surprise there. The son in law had taken it down and put it on a work table with the intention of refinishing it."

(26) CANDE; "As interesting as your "door story" is, it has little to do with why art exists."
"Art doesn't exist just because people make it. Art had a specific historical development. Apart from prehistoric art, one side of the evolution of art was simply that when christianity arose the Church wanted to communicate religious stories to the general public. At that time 95% (or more) of the general public couldn't read or write. So art was used in public buildings, especially churches but not only, to convey the story of christ. Just before Christianity they depicted political figures."
"Then there's the fact that many rich people (at that time) had decorations in their houses on walls and floors depicting, among other things, their travels to foreign countries, scenes of the Nile or other parts of Africa with crocodiles and leopards and such. This was to show, the 99% of people who couldn't afford to travel, what existed outside their small town or village."
"The development continues still in more recent years. Take Fascism or Communism for example, they used murals in public places to depict the ideologies of those political movements. In other countries today it is still going on." "Many artists today still live through communication to the general public, otherwise they wouldn't have work. Nowadays of course artistic people have more money, work in more stable jobs, and are less inclined to need commissions from public entities to create public art. So they create smaller less significant things at home. Some become famous and display in galleries, and some don't, but that doesn't mean that art doesn't communicate."

ME; "I don't think people learn much from seeing a picture/sculpture of a crucifiction or the other things you spoke of.. You can learn from a 'walk' 'don't walk' sign but that's about it. Pictures don't communicate very well. And, in any case, this has nothing to do with what we've been talking about. What does a Picasso or a Rembrant tell someone? Absolutely nothing. Only writers inform. What do artists think they're telling people anyway? You're an artist. What are you telling them? Tell them they're overdue for a visit to a shrink. Because they're all crazy."

(26) CANDE; "You are missing the point. Painters communicate whatever they want to. It's up to the public to interpret it however they want. You interpret with nothingness, I guess that mirrors you as a person."
"Rembrandt painted portraits of people. He was paid to. Now he communicates to modern day people what people from the 1600s looked like, what they wore and whatever else. In the past he communicated how wealthy his commissioners were."
"Picasso depicted his emotions and how he viewed the world, probably among other things."
"If you think that "pictures don't communicate much", then I guess, in your case, there isn't much to communicate with."
"Why should I tell you what I communicate in my art? Do you think I'm going to bear my soul to a person who refuses to put his own pride aside to listen to other opinions? I guess since you created something artistic, a giant roach, I should tell you to visit a shrink. Good night Richard. It was mmmh......... frustrating talking to you."

Cande smiles and gets up.

ME;  "Hey, we had a really fun conversation. huh?"

She leaves.

End of Episode Twelve.

Writers Wanted

Episode Thirteen:

Cast.....In order of appearance
(27) Kamarie
(28) Mark (not the same person as the persons in episodes one. two amd 19)
(29) Darren
(30) Betsy


It's nighttime, a few weeks later. I'm back at the cyber café, sitting in a booth. Someone I know is sitting at the counter. I get up, go over and sit down next to her.

ME; "Hi, Kamarie."

(27) KAMARIE; "Richard, hi."

ME; "What have you been doing?"

KAMARIE: "Just got off shift. I'm gonna finish this cup of coffee and this crossword and then... ? As they say, the night is still young..."

A server comes over. I order a steak and a coffee. The server pours the coffee and leaves.

ME; "I could never get interested in those things."

(27) KAMARIE: "You know, I'm not really -that- into them either. I just- I dunno- wanted to like them, and then realized that you just have to keep doing them to start "getting" all the clues. At any rate, I cheat on these things a lot."

She holds up a smart phone.

"They've got an app for that..."

ME; "I come here a lot and watch a little TV - PBS."

KAMARIE: "Do they have an app for going to shitty diners late at night? Or even watching PBS? Heh. Seriously though, why spend so much time here?"

ME' "I don't know. My life is a mystery to me. It just what I ended up doing. What do you think I should be doing?"

(27) KAMARIE: "I dunno. What do you want to do? I mean, what would make you happy? If it you ask me, I want... I just want to travel. I want to go everywhere and see everything there is to see all over this world. And I want to laugh in every place that I go to. And not have to worry about money and not have to ever tend bar again. You know? Just go. So what would you do, if you could do anything?"

ME; "I wouldn't work anymore. I'd blog all day and come here in the evenings."

KAMARIE; "No, Man. I mean, what would really, REALLY make you happy? That's just a little depressing sitting behind a computer all day. Wouldn't that get lonely?"

ME; "I don't get lonely. Do you get lonely? I have interesting onversations with the people I meet on the internet. The endless clicking is wearisome though."

(27) KAMARIE: "Well yeah. I get lonely. I mean, take this city (for example). This huge, GIANT fucking city of all cities. There are six million people surrounding me all the time. And I feel like I have to isolate just to- to- I dunno, think. Think about something other than the sound of six million people. I imagine it's very much like the sound of six million people chatting online and clicking away at their blogs. All wanting to meet someone else. To reach out, but the only way they know how is by click-clacking away at a keyboard."
"I guess what I'm saying is that even when surrounded by so many- even if virtually- the sound of loneliness is louder than that of life all around."
"But, you know, that's only sometimes."

ME; "I think you lost me. Maybe loneliness is hard to define. I like to talk though. So you're a bartender. You must have a million stories to tell."

(27) KAMARIE: "More bad jokes than stories. Once you've seen one drunk, you've seen them all."

ME; "Bartenders tend to be cynical. The burdens of life weigh heavy on their shoulders. What would you like to do?"

KAMARIE: "I think life is pretty cynical in general. I like bartending, sometimes. But more than that I just like being. Being in existence is pretty freakin' rad. Bartending at least accommodates a good schedule. If you have the right job, you only have to work three or four shifts a week. Then you can do a lot of living the rest of the time."

ME; "I work part time too."

KAMARIE: "Oh yeah? What-do-ya-do?"

(27) ME; "I'm a truck helper. I work on furniture vans. I spend the best part of the day riding up and down on furniture-stuffed elvators. And back and forth from the van to the shipper's apartment. People get really pissed waiting for the elavators. Sometimes one of them will grab me, throw me off the elavator and take my place. Sometime the boss buys pizza for us. The job always takes a big crew. Some people work on the shipper's floor and some with the van. Sometimes the van is parked a couple of blocks away. A gang of people have to guard the furniture when it's on the street. Each guy gets $100 minimum. It costs plenty of money to move when you live in New York City."

KAMARIE; "I have to go. Goodnight."

ME; " 'Night."

She leaves. The server returns wth my steak.

Later, Same night. I'm still at the counter. Mark enters the diner and sits down next to me.

ME; "Hey."

(28) MARK; "Who came up with "hey?". It's neither hi nor hello. And neither one of those has a "y" in it. Anyway -- ciao."

ME; "People say it. People are inscrutable."

MARK. "That's why for the most part -- I don't like people."

ME; "You've come to the right place to Rant and Rave."

MARK; "I used to go out with Rant but when her sister Rave came home from college I had to end the relationship. I fell in love with Rave."

ME; "Do you care for Monty Python?"

(28) MARK; "I like it particularly with a salad."

I get up and move to another seat at the counter.


Later. Same night. I'm still at the counter. Someone I know enters the diner and sits down next to me.

(29) DARREN: "Nice to meet you again Richard. How's the coffee here? I could use a cup."

A server comes over. Darren tells her; 'Coffee.' She serves it..

SERVER: "Are you hungry? We have the best brownies in town. 100 year old recipe."

DARREN: "I'll give it a go."

She smiles, serves Darren a brownie and leaves.

ME; "What have you been doing?"

(29) DARREN: "Been busy working on an outline for a screenplay."

ME; "That's nice - anything you can talk about?"

DARREN; "Yeah...sure. It's a short action film. The story of a broken man that finds redemption and a new career. How bout you? Are you working on anything"

ME; "I'm trying to get an acquaintence of mine to write a story with me. She's a big fan of Jesus."

"Here's the story - but just the first few lines. I'm in a diner. She enters the diner, sits down and hands me a picture of Jesus. She says. 'Here's a picture of Jesus. Kiss it.' I kiss it and hand it back. She kisses it and hands it back. We go back and forth like that for awhile. That's as far as I've gotten with it. I wrote her about it but she hasn't replied."

(29) DARREN: "That's too bad. If you can convince her to cowrite with you, what direction will you go with it?"

ME; "I don't know. I have to get with her. I suppose she'll pull out a Bible and harangue people. She's insane but I like to goof with her."

Darren laughs a little.

DARREN: "Sounds like a good friend How much research have you done on religion?"

ME; "None. I don't know anything more about it than anyone else. I don't have any interest in it."

(29) DARREN: "I thought you said you wanted to work on s script with your friend about Jesus."

ME; "I did say that. I would just be goofing."

DARREN: "Aghhh, well then what kind of stories are you interested in writing?"

ME; "Life stories, leave the car chases out."

DARREN: "Life stories are great when done properly. As long as the audience feels invested and there is a pay off. Life is stranger than fiction."

ME; "It's certainly true that life is stranger than fiction. The story of life is the story of A Stange Life Form."

(29) DARREN: "I think that's up to interpretation. Different cultures believe different stories."

ME; "Yeah, different creation stories. But they all have one thimg in common - there're all crazy."

Darren laughs.

DARREN: "Well I don't know bout crazy. Thats the beauty of having freedom of religion. People will make their religion a way of life. But that is their choice. I don't want anyone judging me, therefore I dont judge."

ME; "If we don't talk about the 'nuts' - what are we going to talk about?"

Darren laughs again.

(29) DARREN: "You're too much - and what kind of nut are you?"

ME; "I'm okay. I'll ask you the same question?"

DARREN: "I'm just another peanut amongst many. How do you feel about them damn Macadamian's? You really should try a brownie. They're heavenly."

ME; "I just finished a steak. I'm not hungry."

DARREN: "Bbq season. Gotta love it. So are you more interested in filmmaking or writing?"

ME; "Writing. It's simple and cheap. Also, mime and lilt don't convey concepts. Only words can do that."

(29) DARREN: "But why limit that to mere concepts? When you envision a concept in your mind, do you see words or pictures?"

ME; "No, just words. I tell a story with words rather than mime and lilt."

DARREN: "But when it is played out by characters in a story, that is when it can truly be appreciated. Maybe you've just seen to many bad movies."

ME; "Books have characters. Lets change the subject. I've said several times I have no interest in audio or visual."

(29) DARREN: "Alright. Since you're taking care of the tab, who' your favourite author?"

ME; "I never said anything about taking care of the tab. You have significant dreaming problems. The book I most noticed is 'Catch 22.' But i've read and like thousands of books."

DARREN: "Thanks for the observation. I like to call it wishful thinking. Why does Catch 22 stand out from thousands of books?"

ME; "Do you even have a brain, Darren? 'Catch 22' is really unique. Normal people know that. Did you read it?"

(29) DARREN: "Normally I would drag your worthless smart mouth outside and clean the streets with you. But because all I have is sympathy for you, I will wish you well in your torment. Please don't hurt yourself or little children. I'll tell the waitress you pissed yourself because you have a bladder control problem. Goodnight and good luck with the healing."

He gets up, goes to the waitress, tells her I pissed myself and leaves. I tell the waitress that I didn't piss myself, Darren made it up. He has an anger managemeant problem. She accepts my explanation.

Later. Same night. I'm still at the counter. Someone I know is also sitting at the counter. I go over and sit down next to her.

ME; "Hi, Betsy."

(30) BETSY; "Do I know you?"

ME; "Oh,sure. We talked before. It was a few days ago. Not here. I was feeding pigeons in Washing Square Park. You were with a guy. He spoke your name. That's how I know it. I gave you some bird food. You said; 'Thanks.' I said; 'Sure.' Do you remember now?"

BETSY; "I'm impressed you remember my name. I have to ask people over and over again what their name is and I still always forget. So I'm not going to ask you, yours; because I'll just forget it and have to ask you all over again. I read about this memory palace, where you remember stuff with visualization but I couldn't remember what I was supposed to visualize. I hate pigeons; but I wanted to piss off the guy I was with. He's always saying "Don't feed the pigeons", "Don't feed the ducks", shit like that. He's a real killjoy. So I did it to piss him off. Thanks,though."

ME; "The whole world's a killjoy. We're living on The Planet of the Damned."

(30) BETSY; "Are you serious? That's a really wierd thing to say."

ME; "Oh,sure. Absolutely. This is really the Planet of the Damned. Did you think it was the Planet of Joy?"

BETSY' "Now you are really beginning to piss me off like my boyfriend with "don't feed the pigeons" "don't feed the ducks." You think that's it? Those are your choices? Damned or Joy? Hell or Bliss? Good or Evil? All or Nothing? Yeah, sure when you were six years old and your parents had all the power and you thought every day was a triumph or a failure because they loved you or hated you. Not now. Not since puberty for God's sake. If nothing else, post puberty is a world of relative values, not absolutes or we'd all be dead from frustrated desire. Have you never read Einstein for God's sake? The Only Absolute is the Speed of Light. The Speed of Light, not the Speed of Darkness. The measuring rods shrink and expand; expand and shrink and expand again. Every particle and sub particle shrinks and expands and changes creating light and energy from forever ago into infinity through a molasses-like space-time substance that nourishes life like sweet breast milk. I won't listen to spunky nihilism that's based on the Gospel of Boy Ego. That's why I left my guy and came here for comfort food. Look at this menu, go on look! Pies, cakes, muffins, bagels, macaroni and cheese, hamburgers, french fries, baked potatoes in their jackets, orange and grapefruit juice, milk, cheese omeletes, tomatoes, toast...are you kidding me?"

ME; "I'm glad you're happy Betsy."

(30) BETSY; "I didn't say I was happy. I'm utterly miserable. But I don't blame the world for that."

ME; "You blame yourself, huh?"

BETSY; "I guess you could say that."

ME; "I find it truly amazing you want to confess to a lifetime of personal failure. I don't do that. My idea is that the world is in the hands of really 'sick' people. For instance, sick, dysfunctioning parents. The whole society is 'sick' - with a morbid, tragic interest in relegion. And disguised relegion. Relegion by other names. I met someone who had a magic 'blue light' religion. When the magic 'blue light' came on it gave people 'insights.' It's necessary for someone to tell people they're sick and stupid. But no one's doing that."

(30) BETSY; "Goodness, no, I haven't had a lifetime of personal failure, although I have lived over 70 years. I've travelled the world several times and met fascinating folks; everywhere I went: Spain, Morocco, France, Italy, Greece, England, everywhere really. And I've taught hundreds, maybe even a thousand of the next generation, old and young, rich and poor. As for sick and stupid; I have suffered tragedies, of course. Who hasn't? You sound kind of paranoid to me. Would you say that's accurate?"

ME; "No, I'm not paranoid. You said you were utterly miserable. And I thought; 'Another example of parental destruction.' That's all. But if you choose to blame yourself for your misery, then so be it."

(30) BETSY; "I'm glad to hear you're not paranoid. I agree that child abuse is a global tragedy, one of the worst. On the other hand, the child is the father or mother of the man or woman. We are now creating our parents. We're responsible. It's not the blame game. Blame and guilt keep us stuck. I am sad at the moment over some recent losses and I am grieving them; that's my misery. Thank you for noticing."

ME; "But it is the  'Blame Game,' It's high time writers told people the truth. Guilt can set us free. Club people over the head with it. Tell them over and over again; 'You're sick.' You're stupid.' That's my 2 cents about 'public relations.'"

BETSY; "I don't want to argue with you. I just came in here for a sandwich and a drink. I'm going to read my book now. It's The Story of Edgar Sawtelle and I am reading the last chapter. I'm sorry to see it end; it is such a wonderful book. It was nice meeting you, though."

I get up and move to another seat at the counter.

End of Episode Thirteen

.Writers Wanted

Episode 14: .

Cast......In oreder of appearance.
(31) Jose
(32) Kyle


It's nighttime, a few weeks later. I'm back at the cyber café, sitting at the counter.. Someone, I know, is also sitting at the counter, but down a ways. I go over and sit next to him.

ME; "Hi, Jose."

(31) JOSE: "It's a shame they don't sell Irish coffee at these places. A coffee shop with a liquor licence would be a gold mine right about now. Aye Rich!"

ME; "Yeah. Keeping busy?"

JOSE: "Somewhat. Girl just left me so I'm kind of bumming around, trying not to lose my shit. How are things going with you?"

ME; "I'm here every night - just about"

JOSE: "That's cool. What are you ordering? Can I interest you in a coffee or orange juice? My treat."

ME; "I just ate. Thanks."

(31) JOSE: "Water it is!"

Jose waves a server over and orders a glass of water. She pours it and leaves.

ME; "Are you working on a story?"

JOSE: "Nope, I'm just looking for some inspiration. Like that fryer throwing away two tons of fries over there. That's gotta be good for something creative... So what brings you here?"

ME; "Not the fryer - people. I'm interested in what they're talking about. When I was younger I wanted to study psychology."

(31) JOSE: "Psychology? Not bad. You don't need to go to school to be a psychologist though. Plus, most of what people say is bullshit anyway. We should be more interested in what they're not saying."

ME; "Yeah. People aren't so forthcoming."

JOSE: "Yeah they should come up with a strategy to reverse that. The therapists or whoever."

ME; "Like what?"

(31) JOSE: "Can hypnotism bring out the truth in people? Eh, it doesn't really matter..."

Jose takes a flask out from his breast pocket and eyes two shots of whiskey into his coffee. Then slides the glass of water towards me.

ME; "I don't know anything about hypnotism."

JOSE; "It's alright. Well for someone looking for conversation you don't seem to have much to say! It's alright though. People lose their minds looking for the perfect words to express themselves. If they really had something important to say it would just come out naturally. What I'd give to be a free floater just living one day at a time."

ME; "You don't have much to say either."

(31) JOSE; "That's where you are wrong sir! I'm a free flower. Not to be confused with a plant. I'm a Flow"

ME; "What does a Flower do?"

JOSE: "No idea. What's it do? Cause in my case, I flow, man. I flow."

ME; "I see. You flowed down the street and into the diner."

(31) JOSE: "I waltzed in here, actually."

He waltzes back out.

Later. Same night. I'm still at the counter. Kyle enters the diner and sits next to me. 

ME; "Hi, Kyle."

She looks deep into my eyes, lets out a sigh, and buries her face in her arms.

ME; "What's with you?"

(32) KYLE: "You could at least apologize for leading me down the garden path..."

ME; "Oh sure. I don't even know what you're talking about."

KYLE: "Ohhh, dear Ricky... You don't have to play evasive, I know you've forgotten all about me since our tumble."

ME; "I didn't foeget about you."

KYLE: "Well... I wouldn't have known, seeing as you left without saying goodbye. You have another girl by this point, I suppose."

ME; "I've been right here since I saw you last. You didn't come by. I don't have another girl."

(32) KYLE: "So, let me get this straight, it's my job to hunt you down if I ever want to hear from you again? I thought we were closer than that, Ricky... You've always been so cold, so detached, why?"

ME; "Gee, I don't know Kyle. Do you want a hot fudge sundae?"

KYLE: "You still know my favorite dessert! Mmm, that almost makes me want to forgive you."

ME; "Good."

I wave a server over and order 2 hot fudge sundaes. She leaves.

KYLE: "So tell me, Ricky darling, why is it that you felt compelled to leave me?

ME; "I didn't leave you. I've been right here the whole time. Let's stop arguing and have a nice time."

(32) KYLE: "Of course, dearest. My mistake. I sometimes forget how sensitive you are under all that ice. Is there anything in particular you wanted to talk about, sweets?"

ME; "Sure. The Royalty. Who needs it?"

KYLE: "Now Ricky, surely you know - the ones who naysay the party, usually, are the ones who can't get in. What could you possibly have against the lucky people whose job in life is to be visibly exquisite?"

ME; "I think they're stupid looking."

(32) KYLE: "That's terribly brutish of you, Ricky. I think they're just delightful! And the parties... Mmm. I bet you wouldn't be so quick to condemn if you'd actually been invited to one. And what's this I hear about you hanging around with strippers? Honestly, Ricky, don't you ever want to be a part of normal society?"

ME; "No. I have zero interest in being what you call 'normal,' I see the so- called 'normals' as geeks. A Strange Life Form."

KYLE: "Oh, my darling... I didn't realize how bad you had it... What about people? It seems to me, if you want to get along with someone, you've got to charm them, entertain them a bit, smile and pretend that he or she, ahem, might be more important than one's own tiny internal temper tantrums. Make sense, dearest?"

ME; "You're being very stressful again Kyle."

The server returns with our Sundaes.

Kyle takes her sundae and slowly licks the drips off the side of her glass, keeping her eyes trained on me.

(32) KYLE: "You seem flustered, Ricky. Is there anything I can do to put you at ease?"

ME; "I'm not flustered at all Kyle. But I'm not having a Nice time either. You're being confrontational, rather than pleasant. Am I ever going to see the Nice Kyle? Is there a Nice Kyle in there? A Happy and Pleasant Kyle? Or always just a Complaining and Arguementive Kyle? 'Put me at ease;' that was you're question. Sure. Tell me about your rotten day."

KYLE: "My day was rather unpleasant, now that you mention it. I've been... tense... lately. Ever since you left, I've found it impossible to find, well... Satisfaction. Satisfaction, Ricky. Don't give me that look, I'm lonely, Ricky, and nothing helps anymore."

ME; "Perhaps the Sundae will make you feel better?"

(32) KYLE: "What happened to our intimacy, Ricky? You won't even look me in the eyes, am I so repulsive to you?"

ME; "'Deep eye contact for the purpose of intimacy.' You know Kyle, you're really quite the little 'nut' bundle. Is it just possible I could eat my Sundae without Kyle's - amazing - repertoire?"

Kyle wipes a trace of chocolate from the corner of her mouth and gazes out the diner window, as a sparkling tear slides down her cheek like a lonely slug.

(32) KYLE: "You've never understood me, Ricky. How could someone so thoroughly calculating as you ever really understand someone like me?"

She heroically stifles a sob.

ME; "That's a good point, Kyle. I'm going to finish my Sundae while you heroically stifle your sobs. Thanks for the break."

KYLE: "Don't you ever feel lonely? Sometimes?"

ME; "I'm always here or at work. There're always lots of people around. I'd feel lonely if I lived in the woods by myself. But then I wouldn't, because I'd make friends with the chipmonks, squirels, birds, racoons, possums, coyotes, bears and cougars. I'd have lots of pals."

(32) KYLE: "I feel lonely all the time. Even when I'm lying next to a gorgeous man, I still feel this nagging sense of being cut off, like I can't connect without the veneer of social grace. Which I possess in unforunate abundance, as you know, Ricky."

ME; "Oh sure Kyle. You have trouble getting orientated without the veneer of social graces. Everybody, who knows you, knows that. You just lie there and think 'where am I.'"

KYLE: "That isn't to say I don't connect with people, Ricky, I connect all the time with older men. But they never tell me anything about themselves, it gets so lonely... Do you think I'm beautiful, Ricky?"

ME; "Sure. Very beautiful."

Kyle fishes through her purse, snaps open a dusty pink compact, and refreshes her makeup.

(32) KYLE: "So tell me, Ricky, why is it you think we're all, how did you put it, 'Strange Life Forms'? Don't take this the wrong way, dearest, but doesn't that sound like the notion of a crazy person?"

ME; "Not at all. People have really bizarro ideas. Well? That makes them bizzaro. Geeky. They talk absolute nonsense and they're quite serious about it too."

KYLE: "Well, everyone needs something to be serious about, don't they? You, for instance, are quite serious about being unique, Ricky. Perhaps to make up for your forgettable existence? No, no, forget I said anything! I can be brutal, too, on occasion, Ricky. Me... oh, I suppose I'm serious about love. It certainly makes me a serious girl from time to time..."

ME; "What's this stuff about my forgettable existence? How do you figure? You're really very  unpleasant. I don't believe you're capable of love. Just the opposite."

(32) KYLE: "I am certainly capable of love! Certainly... Ricky... What do you mean by that horrible remark?"

ME; "You continuously complain and criticise - like a broken record. That's not love - it's hate."

KYLE: "You're raising my passionate self, Ricky, and I know for a fact that she... Oh, to hell with it, if you think I'm a monster, just say it! Just say it! I'm human, Ricky! I'm a human being and I have flaws, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry..."

Kyle unleashes a maelstrom of tears, her words gurgling through her clenched teeth. Her face puffs up and ugly, blotchy red. Mascara blazes two blackish little stained trails down her cheeks.

ME; "Alright, calm down. I'll be nice to you. I won't say the bad things anymore. Enjoy your sundae, be a human being and have your flaws. Okay?"

Kyle pulls a sleeve up over her hand and dabs away at her eyes, the mascara splotching into dark Rorschach blots.

(32) KYLE: "I don't understand it... but I've never loved you more than right now, Ricky."

ME; "I don't understand it either."

KYLE: "Ricky, there's something I need to tell you, and even now it's hard to get at it directly, I feel all tight inside just thinking about it."

ME; "You know, Kyle, you really make me sick at my stomach. You sound like you're going to tell me you're pregnant. Jesus, you're a Puke."

(32) KYLE: "I have been feeling sick in the mornings, but that must be from all the gin. No, Ricky, I'm not pregnant, don't be dramatic, heaven forbid. My husband and I... you see... We split. It's done."

ME; "I didn't even know you were married. Who's the lucky guy?"

Kyle withers like a raisin, her radiant face shrivelling into a pouty, disgusted frown. For a moment, she seems old.

KYLE: "I'd rather not talk about him."

ME; "Oh, sure. Sorry I asked. What are you going to do?"

Kyle gazes out the window at the streetlamps and stoplights.

(32) KYLE: "I'm going to run away."

ME; "Where to?"

KYLE: "I'm going somewhere where nobody knows me, I wanna get a clean slate again, start fresh. Maybe fall in love."

She smiles and her eyes drift. The fantasy gets clearer and the room evaporates like an unpleasant dream.

ME; "Hey, Kyle. Come back."

She returns.

"How come you're always talking about love?"

(32) KYLE: "Love is the most potent and persistent illusion I know. Even the ache is addictive."

ME; "It's certainly all of that. If you know it's silly why do you keep talking about it?"

KYLE: "What else is there, Ricky? What else is there in the world that can make you feel like you're not missing a part of yourself?"

ME; "You could get a little birdy. A pigeon. You could get a mouse. I'm going to get a steak. Do you want a steak?"

Kyle stares back for a long moment, not quite believing me, her eyes brush over my features, feeling around for compassion, but my trademark world-weary smirk is stony and unyielding.

(32) KYLE: "I... think it's time for me to go, Ricky... You've honestly been a brute to me, when all I need is someone to listen, or someone to..."

She stands. checking over her shoulder before slipping a stack of napkins into her purse and snapping the clasp. She tucks a wispy stray hair behind her ear and looks at me, vulnerable, remorseful, with red eyes and black cheeks.

ME; "Well, I wish you'd stay. Stay for a steak. Okay?"

Kyle leans in and kisses me lightly on the lips. She walks towards the entrance, slightly shaky, and as she pushes the glass door open, she looks back at me.

(32) KYLE: "Wish me luck, Ricky."

ME; "Sure, good luck Kyle. Nice to see you again."

The door closes behind her and she's gone.

End of Episode 14

Episode 15:

Cast...In order of appearance
(33) David


It's nighttime, a month later. I'm back at the cyber café, sitting at the counter. I wave a server over and order a steak dinner. David enters the diner and takes the seat next to me.

ME; "Hi, I got here just a few minutes ago."

(33) DAVID;: "My first time here. What's good? I should mention that I don't eat meat."

ME; "They have lots of vegetarian dishes."

He picks up a menu and reads it. The seaver returns with my coffee.

DAVID: To the seaver; "I guess I'll try the fried eggplant."

She writes the order in her pad and leaves.

"Have you been down to see the Occupy Wall Street site at all?"

ME' "No. What about you?"

(33) DAVID: "Well no, I've just arrived and am new in town. But I've been following the Occupy activities back home in Portland, Oregon, and noting the rotten local TV news coverage it's been getting, so I was curious about what was happening 'on the street' here in New York. Do you get any sense of how most Manhattan and Brooklyn residents regard the protesters?"

ME; "I'm not attuned to the nuances of 'public opinion.'"

DAVID: "Fair enough. What do you think about them?"

ME; "I suppose, nothing. Nothing will come of it. Nothing will ever come of anything. It's as Shakespear said; 'All sound and fury, signifying nothing. A tempest in a teapot." No one has ever said it better and they never will. The Great Bard got the best line of them all. And now, for the rest of us, the future is empty"

(33) DAVID: "Oh, come on. You must have plans. Don't you worry that someone else will step on them, even inadvertently? What gets you out of bed in the morning?"

ME; "Oh, I continue to write. But I'm also aware that I'll never write such a line. None of us will. We're condemned to always write below Him. I can just see Him now, somewhere in Stratford on Avon. He's laughing a lot, His pen poised over the page, and then He writes; 'A tempest in a teapot.' And then he laughs some more and thinks; 'No writer will ever match this.' And then He's convulsed with laughter and falls off His chair onto the floor and rolls around laughing and yelling. 'No writer will ever match this.'"
"I am working on a line though. I was talking to a girl about a computer and we were trying to figure something out, I can't recall what it was. She told me; 'I don't think with words.' What could she possibly mean?"

(33) DAVID: "Heh. I don't know, but it doesn't sound either workable or necessarily desirable to me. The only other options for 'thinking' that I can imagine are images and emotions. The former would be lovely, the latter seems potentially dangerous. And in either case, you've got to translate those 'thoughts' into words so that others can understand where you're coming from, what you want, or you're just going to be operating in solitary forever. And that's no good. So I'm not sure thinking any other way than with words is all that useful . . . if it's even possible. "As for Shakespeare, you gotta take a break from him. I agree most of us will never write -- consistently -- anywhere as well as he did. But look at it this way: he wrote a lot of bad English, too; and it's not that hard to write something just as beautiful and pithy, I think. It's just gonna be very short unless you spend the next 50 years honing your craft. There's really no point in comparing yourself to him all the time. That way lies madness . . . and Hemingway's rifle. You gotta write the very best YOU can do. No one else can do that. And hardly anyone's gonna bother comparing your writing to Shakespeare's -- they just wanna know if it's worth their time to read whatever you've turned out -- so why should you?"

ME; "The girl really said that though. And I can't recall the context. But maybe someday I'll hear it again. It doesn't interest others like it does me. We can talk about something else."

The seaver returns with our orders.

(33) DAVID: "Can you believe how moronic many of the Republican candidates are acting right now? Perry, Santorum, Bachmann? I can't believe their handlers are letting them veer so much into far-right territory for the primaries. It's like they've already given up on the youth vote, which might have been a decent risk before Occupy Wall Street, but I don't know about now. And they're setting themselves up to alienate an awful lot of moderate middle Americans long before the national election. But maybe they're banking on people's really short memories."

ME; "I don't tune into the goings-on of the 'drones.' To me, it's all just a great big blank. The future is hopeless or an accident. You can talk to a wall but it doesn't know your're there."

(33) DAVID: "Well, I don't 'tune in,' either, but in our social media-rich environment, it's nearly impossible to avoid at least headlines and splash quotes from the news, whether they're circulated by print newspapers, ISPs, or one's Facebook friends. And sometimes they're good for a laugh, I have to admit."

ME; "You're not the first person who's told me the 'drones' are a source of endless merriment."

DAVID: "On the other hand, they're not mere 'drones'; often, many of them hold or reflect power centers in this country . . . as well as some of the unsavory notions and values of many of our fellow citizens. That ain't a comfort."

ME; "Drone leadership is equally funny."

(33) DAVID: "Uhh, not when it legislates morality on the one hand -- and claims to be opposed to government interference in our lives with the other. Somehow, I fear the private morality

ME; "I used to read really a lot and would sometimes do a book a day. But, now, it's been years since I opened a book. The last book I read was by John Updike. It was 'The Coup.' It was entertaining and moved along very well. All the characters were well formed. And what they were doing was exciting. He uses a code to describe universal insanity. He calls it 'myths.' There's no confusion about what he means though."

(33) DAVID: "The only time I've read a book a day was when I was on a cruise ship, which is pretty rare. But I've always read more than a hundred books a year, ever since my mid teens. I like a big mix, though like many guys who bother to read, I used to consume a lot more nonfiction -- history and bios and such. While I didn't go as far as to sniff at mysteries and police thrillers, I didn't really touch 'em until my wife prevailed on me to try a couple literary thrillers in my mid 30s. That was about the same time as the movie of  'L.A. Confidential' came out, and that inspired me to read almost all of Ellroy."
"Nowadays, a good half of my reading has become police procedurals and mystery novels -- especially foreign ones. In the past year I read all Henning Mankell's Kurt Wallander series and the original Martin Beck series by Sjöwall and Wahlöö. Now I've flipped over the recent Irish novels by Tana French, _In the Woods_, _The Likeness_, and _Faithful Place_. Damn, that gal can write. Her first-person narrators -- young Murder or Undercover detectives -- are a little more well-read, philosophical, and poetic in their thoughts than I think would actually be the case in reality, but that's part of what makes the books so fun to read, apart from the fiendish plots."

ME; "I don't know how they dream up all that stuff. I couldn't. War books are my favorites. Did you see the mini-series, Band of Brothers?"

(33) DAVID: "No, I've been meaning to. For the most part, I don't watch television -- we don't even subscribe to anything more than basic cable -- but I try to catch up on good stuff like 'Lost,' 'The Wire,' and 'Mad Men' on public library DVDs if I hear they're good. 'Band of Brothers' is one that's been at the back of my mind. The last war book I read was Stephen E. Ambrose's _D-Day: June 6, 1944, The Climactic Battle of World War II_, which was pretty good. Excellent general's overview of the battle as planned and executed, plus lots of great stories from the ground fighting."
"But yeah, I'm astounded at the plots people devise. I often feel I could write as well as many writers I read, as far as description and maybe even dialogue goes, from sentence to sentence . . . but I'm danged if I could come up with a decent plot in its entirety."

ME; "What do you think about our war with the Muslim fanatics? It's hard to pick a winner. It has the real novelty of a war that could last for decades."
Then there's the war going on in Mexico. Maybe the drugs lords will win and create the first true narco state"

(33) DAVID: "I think all the current wars are a tragically stupid mistake. I was against 'em from the start, and I haven't seen any evidence that they accomplished a damn thing except the waste of human lives and destruction. Well, and they've also played a substantial role in plunging the country into a recession. As happens in every war, they made a few U.S. defense contractors fat, though."
"My wife Carole has often joked that we should have invaded/annexed Mexico long ago, which would have solved both our cheap labor and oil supply problems."

The seaver collects our plates.

ME; "The only good way out of it for the US is to end its support of the state of Israel."

(33) DAVID: "What does that have to do with anything? Do you think our dependence on Saudi and Iranian oil, or fundamentalist Muslim terrorism will stop if the U.S. stops supporting Israel? Or that the U.S. entered Afghanistan and Iraq for any particular reason relating to Israel? I really don't see any essential connection there."

ME; "The Muslims are angry with us for our support of Israel. That's why they attacted us on 9/11. If we end that support, they'll leave us alone. We entered Iraq because of some made up story of WMD, that's a different issue. Now they hate us for two things. The Muslim terrorists aren't angry with Brazil or Mexico or hundreds of other countries - just us. It all goes back to our support of Israel. That's where it all started - and continues to this day. The're angry because we take up for Israel in every instance. We help the Israelies persecute the Palestinian Muslims..We're a part of that persecution."

(33) DAVID: I disagree. I think Israel is mostly just another excuse. Everybody needs a scapegoat -- individuals need someone to blame for their own dissatisfaction, and despotic rulers (of which there are not a few in Muslim nations) need someone toward which to distract their own people's discontent so that it doesn't turn on the local government. Jews have been a longtime target, going back six or more centuries for Christian nations, and now Israel focuses that discontent for Islamic countries."
"Incidentally, I think it's hilarious that the reactionary forces in this country who, a couple generations ago, would have been among the most virulently anti-Semitic -- recycling the 'Jesus was killed by the Jews' and Protocols of the Elders of Zion crap -- I'm talking about people from Gingrich and the Bushes to the vast majority of Pentecostal and other fundamentalist Christian congregations across the Midwest and South, are now among Israel's biggest backers, for their own twisted reasons. How did that change come about? Was it inspired by Israel's butch performances in the Six-Day and Yom Kippur wars, as well as garbled readings of the Book of Revelation?) "That's not to say Israel wasn't partly founded by terrorists in the 1940s (my wife Carole and I are reading Sir Martin Gilbert's excellent 1998 book, _Israel: A History_, aloud to each other right now), and the Muslim nations don't have any understandable complaints about that establishment and subsequent Israeli policy . . . but really, when most Arab states have operated from an official policy of 'total annihilation' of their neighbor for most of subsequent decades, you're not talking rational foreign policy. I simply can't respect most Middle Eastern Arab governments enough to demand that the U.S. do what they might wish. If Israel weren't around to kick, they'd be bickering with each other, no question about it. "I think rage toward the U.S. among Islamic nations goes much deeper; it's more personal than that. It has to do with relative lack of civil liberties in Muslim nations, relative absence of free spiritual thought since Islam never experienced its own 'Protestant Reformation,' and all the economic goodies the average American enjoys (at least, as seen through the highly imperfect prism of the movies we export to the rest of the world). Fundamentalist Muslims are puzzled and outraged that we don't pray to the right God and yet somehow we have been allowed to grow into the richest, freest, strongest, and most disrespectful kid on the block."

ME; "You have your opinion and I have mine."

(33)DAVID: "Does that mean you aren't going to defend it?"

ME; "It means I'm entirely unconvined of the importance of your arguements and I'm certain of my own. I really don't see that you presented any arguements worth a discussion."

(33) DAVID: "You raised the topic of Islamic fanatics, you proposed a direction for U.S. policy, and then refused to defend your position. I regard that as both ill mannered and intellectually dishonest. If you were certain that your own position was intellectually defensible, I would think you would be eager to provide the evidence. But if you merely wanted to demonstrate your superiority to yourself, then I have a hard time regarding you as either a thinker or a writer."
"As for persecution of Palestinians, I haven't observed any great support for them historically -- or solutions offered -- on the part of their Islamic neighbors. I repeat, if Israel didn't provide an excuse for Syria, Iraq, Jordan, and Egypt to kick around, they'd be ignoring the Palestinians at best, and making an underclass and refugees of them at worst. So Israel's persecution of Palestinians -- a very real problem, I grant you -- is mostly just an excuse for Islamic terrorists. "I have no interest in supporting Israel, by the way. I don't particularly care whether the U.S. provides them military support. We've been selling arms to Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and pretty much everyone else in the region over the past 50 years, as well. None of that's done anyone any good."

ME; "This is really kind of painfull but I'll have to do it. I'll repeat what I said. The terrorists are attacting the US solely because we support Israel. If we stoped supporting Israel then the terrorists would leave us alone. Again, I don't consider your arguements to be discussion worthy. And I can't really rebut you because you really haven't said anything important. You just say; 'I don't like that idea.' The Muslim terrorists are angry at us because we've chosen to pick sides. By supplying Israel with arms and training we've helped them win several wars against both the Palestiniians and their Arab neihbors. We give them vast amounts of arms and money. They use these to occupy the East Bank and blockade Gaza. We support them in the UN. Through Israel we have been waging a war against all the surrounding Arab states. This is just as clear as the nose on your face. No sensible arguement can be made against what I've said. You have no case whatsoever. You're just babbling."

(33) DAVID: "I don't see it as that simple. As I said before, we have regularly sold arms to nearly every Muslim nation in the Middle East, including Iraq when it was run by Saddam Hussein so he could slaughter Kurds with it. Then we turned against him and helped the Kuwaitis during the first Gulf War. Osama bin Laden explicitly criticized both the U.S. and Saudi Arabia because they were and are allied; he wanted to see U.S. bases removed from that nation. "You can declare that the other Arab states are up in arms about the treatment of Palestinians, but you haven't refuted my assertion that they treat them like dirt otherwise. None of them will grant Palestinians citizenship rights, even if they've lived in Egypt or Syria or Jordan or Lebanon for 50 years or more. Egypt gave them the Gaza Strip because hardly anyone else wanted to live there, and Jordan put them in refugee camps as well. In effect, Arab/Muslim states WANT Palestinians to suffer, because it's effective public relations. "If you can offer a list of Islamic nations that have expressed a willingness to support a two-state solution, that would go some way toward suggesting they're willing to deal fairly, but I'm not aware that anyone has. "Do you have any evidence, any statement by Muslim terrorists, that says they'll stop attacking the U.S. as soon as it drops its support of Israel? I doubt such a thing exists. Even if it did, I would continue to suspect that Israel is partly an excuse, not the sole reason. Do you think it's wise to trust the word of a fundamentalist or terrorist of any stripe?"

ME; "The terrorists have said over and over again that they'll stop blowing us up the very instant we end our support of Israel. I haven't collected these statements but I remember them from news stories."

(33) DAVID: "And I repeat: You actually trust the word of people who advocate violence as a political tactic? I wouldn't. Who is being the most naive here?"
"If Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, and all the rest have bought arms from the U.S. and then turn around and call us evil names, deny the reality of the Holocaust (as Ahmadinejad has), and deny Israel's right even to exist as a state, then I submit we are not dealing with rational sovereign leaders, let alone people worthy of our respect. "And they're not even the terrorists. Were the U.S. to utterly withdraw support from Israel, would you deny that this would likely lead to another bloodbath, shifted from Iran-Iraq throughout the 1980s and Iraq's genocide against the Kurds in the late 1980s, to the Mediterranean coast? That's not good foreign policy either. "But I don't care that much about support for Israel. I despise some of the policies it has pursued over the years. Your problem here is not just with the American government, or even American Jews (who are deeply divided over U.S. policy toward Israel as well as Israel's domestic policies), but also with powerful Christian interests in this country who also believe the U.S. must support Israel no matter what. They're almost as absurd and extreme as anyone . . . short of Islamic terrorists."

ME; "Yes, I would trust them in this. As I said before, they're not attacking Brazil and Mexico and 100 other countries - just us. You're not entirely rational about this subject and I'm not going to discuss it anymore. There has to be an end to it and the end is now. No more. I won't discuss it anymore."

(33) DAVID: "Actually, Islamic terrorist have attacked other countries -- many countries, many times. The train bombing in Madrid, in which al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for killing and wounded thousands. . . and the suicide bombings in London, during which four mostly Pakistani activists killed over 50 . . . are two that come to mind. "But a little research would reveal that Islamic terrorists have struck in such far-flung and seemingly unlikely locations as the Philippines, western China, Batna, Algeria, Mumbai, India, Bali, Indonesia, and many many times in Russia."
"You might respond that these are not all the same Islamic groups, but what difference does that make? The point is that they all had what they seemed to think are perfectly valid reasons to destroy other human lives across the globe, and until you can show that U.S. support of Israel, or even just Israel itself, is the reason in every case, I don't think you can assert that terrorism will end the moment the U.S. withdraws its backing of Israel. "If you are indeed choosing to quit the field on this subject with me, I offer the following suggestion in any future discussions you take up. Phrases such as 'I don't consider your arguments to be discussion worthy,' 'This is just as clear as the nose on your face,' 'You really haven't said anything important,' and 'You're just babbling' do not constitute evidence of anything except a lack of respect for the other person and, indeed, for the act of debate. They prove nothing, they offer no opening to further ratioinalation, and they strongly suggest that the other party is not the person with the closed mind. If you cease discussion because you fear that you cannot make your position understood, then there has to be at least the implication that your position may be indefensible . . . at least to third parties."
"Ultimately, such response are just plain disrespectful of others and ultimately, to yourself for inviting and engaging in such games. You would do well to clense such remarks from your future public statements if you wish to be taken seriously as a thinker and writer."
"Now. Is there any other topic you would like to introduce, only to shut off debate once the other party responds with zeal and sincerity?"

ME; "Absolutely not."

(33) DAVID: "You spoke earlier about how none of us will ever write as well as Shakespeare, and that he's looking down on us and laughing about that. While I can agree with the first half of that statement, I'm not so sure he would be as contemptuous of the rest of us, were he able to communicate. I'm sure he was highly competitive with his peers in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, but I'm not sure he would regard the future in the same light. Perhaps he would mainly just be curious as hell to see what people have been writing, and trying to understand the terms in which we see the world now?"
"After all, he never published most of what he wrote; who knows if he ever intended to? Perhaps he believed much of the work we revere today was only to be heard, and not read?"

ME; "I was just interested in his idea; 'All sound and fury, signifying nothing. A tempest in a teapot.' No one will ever say the same thing better or as well. That's kind of interesting. The world is a Giant Lunitic Asylum. A Tempest in a Teapot."

(33) DAVID: I grew up listening to the great British actors of the mid-twentieth century --Michael Redgrave, Donald Wolfit, Maggie Smith, Maurice Evans, etc. -- reciting Shakespeare on the "Living Shakespeare" LP series, and I've since acted in productions of a number of his plays, from "Romeo & Juliet" to "Macbeth," "Julius Caesar," and "King Lear." Somebody, I think it may have been Rubinstein, said a masterpiece is a work that is written better than it can be played, and I think something of the same goes for Shakespeare. Even in the worst productions I've seen, I still enjoy hearing the language at play and war."

ME; "I'm not really a Shakespear fan. I was just interested in his one idea of a Tempest in a Teapot. Actually i can't understand his plays because of the strange pronunciations of the words. I've read some of his plays and really, I don't know what all the ta-do is about."
My favorite book is 'Catch 22' - not Shakespear. However, I'm glad you found a little happiness prancing around all those stages in period costumes."

(33) DAVID: "How do you know I was in period costumes? You don't. You have a tendency toward presumption and snarkiness, tending toward condescension, that is a deterrent to good conversation."
"Catch-22 is indeed an amazing book. I've read excerpts from Catch-22 aloud to audiences at a coffee house and a bank in my city, and last year I received an email from Heller's daughter. I'm also working on an in-depth profile of the novel for a literary website based in Britain called Book Drum."

ME; "You have your opinion of a good conversation and I have mine. I like my conversation very well. You have a lot of opinons about me that I don't share. My opinion of you is, you're a posturing ass and a really tedious bore."

(33) DAVID: "And yet here you are, still listening. Why is that? Having a high opinion of one's own conversation is a form of solipsism. You're not really in a position to judge; that's the prerogative of other people. But if you enjoy your own speech so much, I suppose you won't suffer if other folks choose to avoid you."
"Your opinions certainly appear to be well fortified against any incursions from reality, since you seem to be either unable or unwilling to describe them when asked for details, or defend them when challenged. That must be very comforting. You raised topics for discussion, then airily dismissed them when I've tried to engage you on them. "For example, you mentioned how much you enjoy reading about war and then failed to sustain the topic or mention any titles . . . other than a TV miniseries. This, of course, after you declared that 'it's been years since I opened a book' -- a deadly admission for an aspiring writer. Most of the writers I know or have heard of read incessantly. You proposed to discuss 'our war with the Islamic fanatics," then shut down discussion when I offered a contrary point of view. "None of this strikes me as the hallmarks of good conversation. If anything, you have behaved like a man who wants to avoid conversation." "You praised Shakespeare's writing to the skies and then telescoped your interest down to a single idea -- that the world is a lunatic asylum. Care to discuss that? Somehow I don't have much hope."

ME; "I'm waiting for you to leave. You don't make arguements - you ramble on about things that don't concern the subject. I'll discuss the Giant Lunitic Asylum. Don't they all go to church? There isn't any God. What are they doing there? They're there because they're sick."

(33) DAVID: "If you consider the source, Macbeth is wracked by the murders he's committed, he's been seeing ghosts, and he's just learned that his wife has killed herself. So I think Shakespeare is characterizing the guy's diseased mind at this point, not making a statement about the world as it truly is --or was, in Shakespeare's time." "Out of context, though -- or rather, in our current context -- the notion that we're living in a giant lunatic asylum doesn't seem so farfetched, after all. Certainly people who cling to God and the church seem sick to me, in some sense. But to be intellectually honest, if they're able to delude themselves so completely, could I be fooling myself just as much; and if so, what about? I can't be absolutely certain I'm any more clear-seeing and objective than they are, can I?"

I stand up.

ME: "You're  the Great Ass of the Universe." 

I move to another seat.

End of Episode 15

Writers Wanted

Episode  16:

Cast.....In order of appearance.
(34) Tom
(35) Sunny
(36) SS
(37) Grace
(38) Gillian
(39) Lon


It's nighttime, a few weeks later. I'm back at the cyber café, sitting at the counter. A stanger, sitting next to me, speaks.

(34) TOM; "Hey bud, can you pass me that sugar?"

I pass him the sugar.

ME; "Here you go."

TOM; "Man, this is just about the worst coffee I've ever had the bad fortune of tasting. You come here often?

ME; "Yeah."

(34) TOM' "Not a big talker, eh? Well, if you been drinking this swill, it's no wonder. I appreciate you not wanting to offend with the sort of breath this stuff leaves on a guy."

(to the waitress) "Hey Hon, How 'bout making my new friend and I a fresh pot 'o' jo. I just need to wake up a bit, but another sip of this 'two day in the bottom of the pot' pond scum is liable to send me running back to the Hell I just left. What d ya say sweets? I'll give ya a tip to remember."

SERVER; "I'll make some more."

ME; "That's fresh coffee in front of you. She just made it 15 minutes ago."

(34) TOM; "Your kidding me right. Fresh? Damn, that cop smacked me harder than I thought. I suppose all the bleeding my mouth's been doin' for the last hour could have something to do with it."

(To waitress) "Thanks for making another pot anyway, hon. Didn't mean to sound like a dick."

(to me) "It's just been one of those nights, ya know?"

ME; "I'll ask the obvious. What did he do that for?"

TOM; "I guess he thought I was smartin' off or sumthin. All I said was 'Yeah, well why don't ya plant a garden.'"

ME; "Garden?"

(34) TOM; "I know, right? OK...let me go back and start at the beginning. So....I get my load over to the --------- Distribution Center at around 3:45. Of course they're all going home at 4:30 so I had a feeling I'd probably have to wait until well into the second shift before anybody ever started to unload me. Well, THAT was wishful thinkin'. I press the warehouse manager for an unload time. He says, 'What's your appointment time?' to which I reply 'What appointment? I picked up in Texarkana yesterday and here I am. When you gonna unload me?' to which he retorts, 'Drop in the drop yard. That load isn't due in 'till Monday.' By this time I'm steaming. 'MONDAY. That's BULLSHIT!' So I get on the horn with my dispatcher who proceeds to tell me to stay with the load until I'm empty. 'But it's Wednesday,' I shout, because by now, I'm thoroughly pissed. 'You said you'd have me a load ready to take me to the house. I've been out 38 days and I'm long overdue for my hometime!' You see, I did him a favor by taking a couple extra loads, keeping me out 10 days after pulling a double, no less. I'm supposed to be out 14 days, home 2 or 3. I been out 38! I told him to find me a load or send somebody to pick up their truck in New York City! Know what he says? 'Let me put you on hold.' I wait 15 minutes thinking he's trying to find me a load out of this hell hole -no offense pal- when the line goes dead. I call back...HE'S LEFT FOR THE DAY! So, I go drop the trailer and I bobtail out of the place. By this time I'm starving and once I hit the G.W. I ain't stopping 'cept for go juice 'til I hit the Bluegrass...I live in the know, Louisville..? So I'm trying to remember what the name of this cafe is one of the drivers told me about. It comes to me..The --------- ------ Cafe. He said it was just several blocks south on Amsterdam between W 81st and W 80th. I figure what the hell, the distribution center is at 93rd and Colombus, not that far, straight south. I'll get some grub, maybe a lap dance, a beer or two and then head for the George Washington and then on to the yard. So I get to the cafe and I'm digging this little Puerto Rican chick who couldn't speak english to save her life, but MAN, what an ass, and could she shake it. Sort of reminded me of my puppy back home. Whenever he gets excited his tail doesn't go back and forth, it goes around in a circle, like a propeller? That was this chicks ass to a T! But when I discovered I only had about 30 bucks cash on me, I knew her interest in me was going to fade pretty quick. All of a sudden, I remember I still have a little blow in the truck. Picked up an eightball at the ----- in West Memphis on my way out here. That's how I made it from Texarkana in a little over a day. Long story short, or is it already too late for that, we finish off the blow, she heads off to next poor slob. No poon for Tommy. I wallow in one more Bud..or two... which, by the way knocks me down about $20-tip included, and I head out. By this time I'm pretty buzzed, still able to drive just fine, of course, I get in my truck and head for the GW. I'm rolling only about 10 minutes before I realize I'm headin south on the Henry Hudson toward the Lincoln Tunnel! I need to be going north! They ain't letting trucks thru the tunnel due to road fuckuption...sorry-construction. SOO.. I wait 'til I see one of those breaks in the guard rail, you know, where it says NO U TURN - FOR AUTHORIZED VEHICLES ONLY? And I whip a yoo-ee. No sooner than I get straightened up in the lane, I notice in the dummy side west coast mirror disco lights! Shit! I fire up a smoke real quick, pop a Hall's mentho-liptus, they cover alcohol smell on the breath, pull it over to the shoulder, pretend to unhook my seatbelt, which, of course, I was not wearing, grab the door handle to get out and WHAM! There he was, standing on the step with his ugly mug stuck half way in the cab like he was gonna kiss me or something. 'LICENSE, MEDICAL CARD, CABCARD, INSURANCE!!' 'Insurance is in the system ain't it?' I asked. I wasn't sure if I had an up to date card in my book. SMACK! came the first hit to the left side of my face. This one I gave him because he didn't mean to hit me, he was just being over zealous in the execution of his dickheadedness by thrusting his hand in to grab my info at which point I turned my head to look at him and his hand caught me in the jaw. It was also at this point that I caught a whif of his breath. So I hold up my hand containing the Hall's and say 'whew, here dawg, have a breath mint.' Well, I don't think these big city po-po get my Kentucky style humor 'cause at that point the back of his hand met my nose and lips with a considerable amount of force. I felt like this time it wasn't quite as accidental as the first. 'WISE ASS EH? GET OUT OF THE TRUCK!!' By the time my feet hit the ground there were no less than 4 cruisers there each with their own little dickhead or two. 'STAND OVER THERE AND KEEP YOU SMART,and may I interject; bleeding, MOUTH SHUT!! So about 4 of them get up in the truck to search it. I lean over to the two standing next to me and say 'Don't they need a search warrant? Or you reckon they's just having a circle jerk, and ain't you all's feelings hurt 'cause you weren't invited? The hand came up, headed straight for my mouth, when all of a sudden the first dickhead on the scene jumps out of the cab and shouts, 'I FOUND THREE MARIJUANA SEEDS ON THE SLEEPER FLOOR!!!' To which I reply, 'Yeah, so why don't ya plant a garden.' SMACK!! The hand, which up until now had been suspended in mid-slap followed through to completion. Got lucky for some reason, they impounded the truck and let me walk. Found my way here. Trouble is...let me see what I got...yeah, I'm down to about 12 and 1/2 bucks. I was gonna get something to eat 'cause the food at the titty bar wasn't to appetizing, but if this is how fresh coffe tastes, I'd hate to waste my last scratch on a perfectly good grease burger just to have it ruined by the steely flavor of my own blood. I mean I ain't no vampire or nothing, heh, heh. Jeez, ain't they got no cigarette machine in here? And why can't I find a pay phone anywhere? My cell got impounded with the truck. What the hell is happening to this country? HEY TOOTS, WHERE'S THAT FRESH COFFEE!! Hey pal, can you point me to the nearest Greyhound Bus station? What did you say your name was again?"

ME; "I'm a truck helper. I work on furniture vans. There's a Greyhound Station near Times Square."

I give him a cigarette.

(34) TOM; "So you know exactly what I'm talkin' about!"
The server refills his cup.

(to the server) "Thanks hon."

(to me) "Oh yeah, that's better. Maybe 'cause I left out the sugar. Hot, black and nasty. Just like my women. Thanks for the square, pal. I ain't real familiar with the area, obviously. Which direction is Times Square, and is there a bodega or sunthin on the way where I can get a pack a cowboy killers and a Mountain Dew with my last Hamilton?"

ME; "You go uptown to Times Square and walk north. I think it's on 48th street. It's real big. You can't miss it. There's a tobacco shop down the street. Go out and turn left and it's on your left."

(34) TOM; "Sure. Left. Story of my life. My wife 'left' once. I thought for good. But, as luck would have it (and I think it could be said we've already established the type of luck which is....MY LIFE) she returned. I guess the grass isn't always greener on the other side. After I call her and relate the little story I just told you, and ask her to wire me some money for a bus ticket home, I might get there and find she's 'left' again., we both know I'm not that lucky. Since I'm the kind who actually ikes to prolong the inevitable, I think I'll just sit here and have another cup a jo. So....what'd you say your name was got any suggestions as to how I could embellish the story a bit so I don't have to listen to her bitch when I call her?"

ME; "The story sounds okay. People call me Richard."

TOM; "Right. So, Richard is it. That's your name then, or is it, as you say, just what people call ya? Thanks for your approval, by the way....on the story."

ME; "What's your next move?"

(34) TOM; "Next move? To be honest. You see, Richard, the story which gained your the way I can see through your so-called 'approval'. You weren't fooled were ya? I know, I was pretty far fetched. There really wasn't much truth in it. Over-all, that is. The part about me dropping my load over here at --------- warehouse, that was true. The rest? Not so much. I'm not really the Billy-Bobtail, Jimmy-Jack Knife, tough-guy big-rigger I tried to make myself out to be. I'm just a fricking moron with a big 'L' right in the middle of my forhead. I was just trying to work some angle so I wouldn't have to face up to the truth. There was no altercation with the law. I would never smart off to a cop like that. Trust me, I know where that kind of behavior can land a guy only too well. Been there, done that. The titty bar cafe thing? Also a total fabrication. My wife would smell the guilt emitting from my pores as soon as I was within a mile from the house. The part about me being lucky to have her leave me? Just plain stupid. I can't live without her. She really did leave once, but it was because I was messed up on drugs and couldn't hold down a decent job. I almost committed suicide over her leaving, but I couldn't even do that right. That's why I made up the story. I was actually gonna tell her that so she would think it was somebody elses fault (the company, the cops, whatever) that I lost my job today. I was afraid she'd think I was using again. But I'm not Richard, really. The truth is I lost my temper. When they said sit on the load 'til Monday, I thought I was gonna explode. When I get angry, I don't just see red like some. I see violence. Deep, dark, crimson, blood red, you know. people being hurt, and me doin' the hurtin'. I went out to drop my trailer in the yard, and I was so pissed and acting like such a spoiled little brat that I didn't pay attention to what was around me.I was actually thinking seriously about driving that tractor all the way back to Louisville and straight up that dispatchers ass. But like I said, I'm not really a tough guy, I just play one on this diner stool. Anyway, I backed into a new Peterbuilt. I shouldn't have been such a cry baby, man. I'm lucky to have a job with my history. Anyway, it's my fourth chargeable accident within three years and you're only allowed three. So when I called it in they said 'You're fired'. Well, I'm not sittin' on the load knowing when I get back they're gonna let me go. Besides, they send some Newbie up here and he can jump in and start fresh. So I walked. And walked.....and walked. I ended up here. I did leave my cell in the truck. Guess I'll go back and get it on my way to the bus station. I do only have about twelve bucks on me. We got a little money saved up. At least enough for a ticket back to Louisville. I'll find another job. I'm not worried. I don't ever worryabout money. I always land on my feet. Trust in the Lord and He'll always provide, as they say. You probably think that's hokey, but the truth is, in and of ourselves, we're not able to save one hair on our own head Richard. I don't know what you believe, existentially that is, but me...I've never been able to rely on the self for either preservation or salvation and yet here am I. That's why I know there is definitely some Higher Power. Something bigger and better than us. I don't understand it totally, I can't really explain it, but it When I call my wife, you know what she's gonna say? Come home Dear. We'll figure it out together. Don't be upset. It'll all work out for the better. It always does. GOD I love that woman. Hey man, thanks for the smoke. And the directions. And the talk. You know, for a man of few words, the ones you let trickle out....speak volumes. You oughta be a Psycholotrist or sumthin, heh, heh. You helped me out Richard. I'm forever indebted to ya."

He puts his ten dollar bill on the counter.

(to the waitress) "Thanks for the fresh java young lady"

(to me) "Well, gotta bus to catch. You have a nice evening Richard, if that really is your name."

He pushes the door open and turns to me with one last thought.

"If I never see ya again, have a nice life....and God bless."

He disappears into the night.

ME; "He sure fooled me."

She picks up the ten.

SERVER; "I saw through his story. I didn't beleive him for one instant. The cops wouldn't let him go. He'd get 5 years for each seed."

Later. Same night. I'm still at the counter. Sunny enters and sits down next to me.

ME; "Hi Sunny. What have you been doing?"

(35) SUNNY: "Writing so much copy my eyes may bleed. For now, it's just my fingers."

ME; "Do you have a favorite subject you like to write about?"

SUNNY: "Favorite? Sure. But no one wants to pay me to write about this place."

A server comes over. Sunny orders tea. The server pours it and leaves.

ME; "So, what do you write about?"

SUNNY: "Oh, you know, the usual... people and buildings and food."

ME; "Yeah. The usual. I like to write about how people think things out."

((35) SUNNY: "Oui, mon ami. When you tell it right, the how is more interesting than the why, mais oui?"

ME; "How would you tell it?"

SUNNY; "Tell the truth, I always say. Much more interesting than the fictions we weave around it."

ME; "Where would you start?"

SUNNY: "I would start at the begining, but, mon ami, you know when the French spills out, I am too tired to tell it right."

ME; "Okay."

(35) SUNNY: "Don't be disappointed. Maybe, if I had a stronger cup of tea..."

I wave a server over.

ME; To the server. "Give my friend a double strengh tea, please."

She pours a cup of hot water into a cup and puts 2 teabags in it.

ME; To the server. "Thankyou." She leaves.

SUNNY: "It's not the same as real tea, no matter how many bags. Curse my Brit half, I need real tea! And honey. I can be as insufferable as any double-mocha choka latte lover."

(35) SUNNY; To the server. "May I have honey, please."

The sever gives her honey and leaves.

ME; "Well, you were going to start at the beginning."

SUNNY: "Find the thread of truth, start there. Then, unravel it."

ME; "I have an idea about the starting point. I think it evolves out of the instant. That is, you notice something when someone says something. Otherwise there really isn't a starting point."

(35) SUNNY: "I can't imagine that there is only one start to any story. Seems a matter of perspective."

ME; "I've lost tract. Something about how people think. You probably have to wait for context before you can put something down on paper. Someone has to tell you what they're thinking about."

SUNNY: "Someone always does. Life imitates Art, same old story."

ME; "Artists are the 'puppet-masters.' The people of the world are their puppets. Do you agree or disagee?"

(35) SUNNY: "Can't say I do; sometimes, the painting feels drawn through the artist, a story takes over the writer... 'the play's the thing,' after all. Not all Art is intentional, though it often begins that way."

ME; "How do you account for the fact that although most people are incapable of an original idea they have them. Where do they get them? From someone. And who? Artists, that's who. And I include writers, playwrights and actors"

SUNNY: "I wouldn't say most are incapable, just unwilling to self-actualize enough to create the petri dish of observation and enlightenment that yields a fresh concept."

ME; "They parrot everything. That's why they're called conformists. And that's why I call artists the 'Puppet-Masters.' Anyway, how do people self-actualize? That's a good one. 'Have you self-actualized today?' For reasons of their own, people make excuses for the non-thinkers. It's nothing I want to do."

(35) SUNNY: "Let's not talk sheep. Somebody has to be the bourgeoisie. It really doesn't inspire keystrokes, right? As for the self-actualisation..."

ME; "It inspires keystrokes in me. The study of the 'Sheep' is my passion. That's all I ever do. Night and day; 'Sheep, Sheep, Sheep,' into infinity. One could say, I count sheep."

SUNNY; "Sunny sez; 'Gotta go.'"

She gets up and leaves.

Later.Same night. I'm still at the counter. A stranger, sitting next to me, speaks.

(36) SS; "So what are you havin to eat?"

ME; "The usual."

I wave a server over and order a steak.

Later. Same night. I'm still at the counter. Someone I know is also sitting at the counter. I go over and sit next to her.

ME; "Hi,"

(37) GRACE; "Howdy, stranger. What do you want? Everybody wants something."

ME; "Can we talk?"

GRACE; "Sure, we can talk. I like to talk."

ME; "I saw you dancing in a club up the street."

GRACE; "How did you like the club?"

ME; "It was okay. I like to watch dancers."

She gets up and walks away.

Later, same night,  Someone, I know, is also sitting at the counter but down from me. I go over and sit next to her.

ME; "Hi, Gillian."

(38) GILLIAN; "Brooo, haha, what up?"

ME'; "I've been talking to people all night long. One of them gave a $10 tip to one of the waitresses for a cup of fresh coffee. And it was his last ten. He's stuck in the city untill he can get busfare back to Kentucky. He trove a truck up here, got in an accident and got fired."
"What have you been doing?"

GILLIAN: "Nothing like that guy. Sounds like he wants to hit the bottom. Guess this is a good place to do it, you know?"

ME; "It's not so far from the truth. He said he had the letter 'L' stamped on his forehead. I didn't see it though."

(38) GILLIAN; "Probably 'cause it's on most people here so you don't even notice. We're the outcasts."

ME; "Artists and writers come here a lot. They're not outcasts."

GILLIAN; "But a lot of 'em feel that they are. Alienation and disdain is peppered in all the great ones. Isn't it right that acute loneliness produces the most beautiful work?"

ME; "I've heard people say that. But I don't believed it. It sounds like a familiar myth. Most of what people believe are just myths."

(38) GILLIAN: "But isn't all myth based out of truth, the basest things that we want? Maybe people believe the idealized version so they have something to strive for, something a little shinier, a little closer to the reality they desire. You could also call me a sentimental idiot who doesn't know what I'm talking about."

ME; "I'm not here to insult you. We're just havng a harmless conversation. The word myth means just that. A myth is an illusion. It never happened."

GILLIAN; "A unicorn hasn't happened, but I think that artists feel ostrasized by their surroundings is valid, if only for periods of time in their life. I guess the sentiment isn't exclusive to artists, though. Everyone feels like they're on the verge. Artists capture it tangibly."

ME; "I never saw them capture anything. They live in a dream world - where bizzarro is ordinary and vica-versa. Artists and writers are the ultimate failure."

(38) GILLIAN; "Yeah, at keeping a sustainable income and making an impression on you. But they offer perspective from the norm and whether or not you think it's valid, you've thought about something different than routine, that isn't comfortable. Maybe the artist sacrifices herself for the progression of critical thought."

ME; "Whatever they're doing is a mystery to me."

GILLIAN; "Come on! Lighten up a bit. You've never had a piece of art affect you? Like a film, a book, a painting, some music? You're warmer than that, man."

ME; "They can't explain what they're doing. I want an explanation not a feeling. I need more than mime and lilt. I need words. I'm not so warm as you think. And I'm pretty pissed off about how artists and writers portray the world. I don't recognize their picture. I see something very different. I see a tragic world of stupidity and insanity. Why don't they reject the 'stupid' people? The sheep. Tell them they're stupid. Bad sheep. Stupid sheep."

(38) GILLIAN; "There are artists who are esoteric, show open contempt for their audience, criticize the masses with controversial pieces. In all cases, artists aren't meant to dictate their righteousness. Their place is to catalyze change through conversation by bringing attention to a topic, really to show us a reflection of ourselves. If you think that contemporary art is superficial and shallow, sustaining ideas of a hedonistic and thoughtless world, that's an indication of our current environment. This isn't exclusive to "stupid" people; that's everyone. I can't say I'm crazy about the viewpoint, either, it is pretty scary. But I'm going to be bold and say that a movement's on the cusp. Know what I mean?"

ME; "I can't say that I do. I think you're imagining things. There's no 'movement on the cusp.' It's business a usual. I'm also going to be bold. I'm ready to dictate my righteousness."

(38) GILLIAN: "But that's what I mean! Everything we've just discussed has instigated you to a point of such emotional discontent that you want to do something! That's what a movement is; a collective realization for change in reaction to the stagnancy or bloatedness or whatever else sucks in the status quo. And your answer is to tell the "stupid sheep" that they're just that? I bet if you're more specific you'll find people - maybe in this diner - who share your ideas."

ME; "I could get a box, go to Washington Square Park, stand on it and make Blah-Blah speeches."

I wave my arms around.

"Blah-Blah, Blah, Blah-Blah Blah-Blah Blah-Blah, Blah Blah Blah, Blah."

"Like that. What do you think?"

(38) GILLIAN; "Blah blah-ing might make it easier for people to zone you out and shrug you off. Nobody likes getting told what to do. You have to clever and nudge'em in the right direction. Or get people emotionally unified so there's no second guessing an action."

ME; "My point is it's all Blah-Blah. All public speaking is Blah-Blah."

GILLIAN; "Then how would you affect change? You don't like artists or public speaking. How would you get the fire burning?"

ME; "I'm not trying to change anything. I don't beleive it's possible. Certainly not by me. Or, by anyone. No public figure intends to change anything important - never thought of it. A world of idiot drones is just simply immovable."
"What do you want to change, anyway?"

(38) GILLIAN; "I'd like to give people a shake. I want to tell them to take responsibility for their actions. It's easy to rest the blame on something outside of your control but everything starts with the individual. From there, really anything can happen. Nothing comes easy, though, people need to sacrifice their comfort. Yet, the results can be empowering. Look at the women's suffrage. My opinion would not be considered equal to yours if it wasn't for the changes demanded by a public group. I think that's inspiring."

She gets up and leaves.

Later. Same night. I'm still at the counter. A stranger, sitting next to me, speaks.

(39) LON; "So what's the deal? Am I in a diner on Bleeker? I prefer the East Village but whatever. Who's picking up the tab, I'm hungry. I don't care what that other guy says, asteroids don't concern me anyway."

ME; "The deal is, you eat it - you pay for it."

End of Episode 16

Writers Wanted

Episode 17:

Cast...In order of appearance.
(40) Sassy
(41) Veronica


It's nighttime, a month later. I'm back at the cyber café, sitting at the counter. I wave a server over and order a steak. She leaves. Sassy walks in and sits next to me.

ME; "Hi, Sassy. How're tricks?"

(40) SASSY; "Hey. I had a guy fall asleep on me halfway through a lapdance!"

ME; "Do you ride the guys boner's Sassy?"

SASSY; "In my dreams! You get a slap on the wrist if you grind the guys in my club."

ME; "Sounds frustrating."

SASSY; "You men always want more anyway. But it can be frustrating for me too - being super horny all night then going home alone."

ME; "Why do you go home alone?"

(40) SASSY; "If I go home alone then I can meet guys like you at the diner."

She giggles.

ME; "Oh. Why don't you have a boyfriend?"

SASSY; "Or a girlfriend? I dunno...not at the moment."

ME; "I suppose you party a lot?"

SASSY; "My life is one long party - I work in a bar and all my friends are training to be alcoholics."

ME; "I don't party so much."

(40) SASSY; "All work and no play, huh?"

ME; "I'm not working right now. I'm not popular. I don't get invited to parties. And I wouldn't go if I did. People don't like what I talk about. They'd all want to beat me up."

SASSY; "Thats a shame. You can always come party with me, but it will cost you $400 an hour. Promise not to beat you up though!"

ME; "I don't pay people to party with me. Besides that, You're my diner buddy. You can't charge me."

The server returns with my steak. Sassy gets a coffee.

(40) SASSY; "I know, I was only joking... But I wish more customers were as chill as you. Make dancing much easier."

ME; "Thanks, I appreciate the compliment."

SASSY; "I mean, being a lapdancer is more than just jumping up and down a pole. You have to be able to connect with customers to make money - and that means a lot of chit chat"

ME; "Chit-chat is so forgetable. It's a mystery. It would be neat to record this stuff."

SASSY; "A Titty dancer with spy equipment would be so James Bond. Don't know where I'd put the camera though!"

ME; "Yeah. That would be mission impossible."

She laughs.

(40) SASSY: "G-string? Earrings? I take most things off, you'd only get half a conversation."

ME; "Earrings sound interesting."

SASSY; "You could stick a punter cam in there too. See what I see, hear what I hear."

ME; "Would you really do that?"

SASSY; "No! I like my job!"

ME; "I suppose."

(40) SASSY; "You should see the size of our doormen - all pumped up on steroids and bench presses. If I got caught spying I'd get more than a slap on the wrist."

ME; "What would they do?"

SASSY; "Beat my face up or sack me on the spot. Or both."

ME; "Gosh. Can't they take a joke?"

SASSY; "Maybe I'm overreacting a little... but they don't play nice."

ME; "Yeah. You better not do that. If you got caught they'd think you're a Narc. You could never explain you're really just exploring the mysteries of chit-chat."

(40) SASSY; "I'm a chatterbox who tattle-tales ... Would you buy that?"

ME; "I wasn't aware of that."

SASSY; "No silly....that would be my defence!"

ME; "It doesn't look like much of a defense. I think a dumpster would be the next thing you would see - or not see. You should work on not getting caught."

SASSY; "Ha Ha I'll try!"

ME; "When are you going to carry this out? Do you know where to go to get spy equipment?"

(40) SASSY; "No. Do you?"

ME; "Yeah, you go to an electronic's store."

SASSY; "I haven't been in one of those since I was 12! Klutz's like me stay away from electronics and hardware."

ME; "You won't be another James Bond."

SASSY; "I'll be the stripper with a heart of gold who dies in a rain of money halfway through the movie."

ME; "Yeah. You're type cast. Are you really like that?"

(40) SASSY; "Everything apart from getting rained on ... That doesn't happen as often as I'd like, unfortunately."

ME; "When you were growing up did you imagine you would end up a lapdancer? I met someone who wanted to be a Junkie when he grew up. He would tell people; 'When I grow up, I'm going to be a Junkie.'"

SASSY; "No way! That's hilarious... I wanted to be a princess. Or a librarian. I don't think I even knew what a lapdancer was!"

ME; "Okay, that was when you were just a kid. What did you want to be when you got to High School?"

(40) SASSY; "I wanted to work in fashion, to be able to express myself creatively. I guess my performances now are a progression of that. People can always see when I am being creative on stage. You can sense the passion - the audience reacts if it looks like I am doing it for myself, enjoying myself, ya know?"

ME; "Why do people tip the dancers $100 or more? They don't get anyting for it. They're just standing there, looking."

SASSY; "But that's what they came in there to do! Guys come in looking for a good show, the girl of their dreams, a chance to feel part of something sexy and exciting. Plus tipping gives them a chance to show off in front of their friends - look at how well I'm doing, I'm a real man."

ME; "I've seen that. Could you get a job doing something else?"

(40) SASSY; "I've been to university, got loads of qualifications under my belt but you know what Richard? At the moment I am happy with my job. It's a good career for now - it allows me plenty of independence and I don't have to get squashed on public transport with all the 9 to 5ers. Plus it's good fun - most of the time...."

ME; "What is it some of the time?"

SASSY; "Shakespearian. When it's good, it's really good, but when it's bad, it's horrid. I've had tears, tantrums, fights and creepy moments ... But only every other month or so. Not bad really."

ME; "What are your tantrums about?"

(40) SASSY; "I get really black moods, especially if I drink gin at work. Unfortunately gin and tonic is one of my favourite drinks so I can't always help myself. If I see all the other girls doing well but I can't even give away lapdances then that's very frustrating."

ME; "Yeah, that sounds really heartbreaking. Do you ever fall under the table or off the barstool?"

SASSY; "I've fallen off the stage a few times. I once spun around the pole while I was doing a trick and completely misjudged where the floor was, landing with a big thump on my bottom. Left the biggest bruise - for the next two weeks all the guys thought I'd been spanked a little too thoroughly! Then there was another time when I was giving a drunken lapdance and accidentally kicked the guy in the head. Oops."

ME; "Did he ever comeback?"

(40) SASSY; "Bizarrely, he gave me a $50 tip. Blamed himself for getting in my way - god knows how!"

ME; "I guess you just never know. What did your parents say when you told them you were lapdancing?"

SASSY; "I thought they would go spare but they were totally fine about it. It was my friends who had more concerns. Funny,huh?"

ME; "Yes, very chuckily. Tell me about your trip to Hollywood."

SASSY; "I went to a stripclub in Hollywood - Deja Vu Showgirls on the Boulevard itself. The dancer's loved me though - I made it rain on them all night."

ME; "I have a joke for you. 'What do you get when you cross an Onion with a Jackass?'"

(40) SASSY; "Not sure - are they sitting in here by any chance?"

ME; "No. You get a Peice-of-Ass that makes you cry."

SASSY; "Excuse me?"

ME; "That's the joke, Sassy. What do you get when you cross an Onion with a Jackass? You get a Piece-of-Ass that makes you cry. I guess you just don't get it. It's funny. People laugh."

(40) SASSY; "Oh yeah. Guess I'm just a little slow on the uptake tonight. I need another drink but coffee will have to do for now. Where's the waitress?"

Sassy waves a server over and points to her empty coffee cup. The server pours a refill and leaves.

"I don't make people cry. I make people happy, encourage them to have a good time, dance and drink. The only tears are mine when I have had a bad night or drink too much gin."

ME; "You're Happy-Sad Girl."

(40) SASSY; "Aren't all women? It's hard being a girl that has to be upbeat all the time - I keep the sad face for when I'm on my way home."

ME; "So you're sad till you get home to your laptop and then you're happy again."

SASSY; "Right. I'm going home now. Goodnight.

ME; "Goodnight."

She gets up and leaves.

Later, same night. I'm still at the counter. Someone I know is also sitting at the counter. I get up, go over and sit next to her.

ME; "Hi, Veronica."

(41) VERONICA; "You are aggrevating, but I must say you make me laugh."

ME; "Kristy thinks I'm funny too. I don't think you know her."

VERONICA, "No, sorry I don't know her. I just moved here, don't know many people, yet."

ME; "Oh, I didn't know that. I can tell by your accent you're not a New Yorker."

VERONICA; "I'm a country girl. But a tough one, even in the big city. I've come here to make my fortune as a writer. But, since I'm a starving one, I'm here eating on the cheap."

ME; "Do you want a steak? Writers have to keep up their strengh."

(41) VERONICA, "Sure. Biggest steak you can afford, if you don't mind? I haven't eaten all day and I'm feeling dizzy."

ME; "Okay. Do you want a baked potato or french fries? What kind of dressing do you want on your salad?"

VERONICA; "A baked potato, extra butter on the side. And thousand island dressing, with extra on the side."

I wave a server over and order 2 steak dinners. The server leaves.

ME; "Did you read 'Catch-22' by Joseph Heller? It's a great classic."

(41) VERONICA, "I hope it doesn't say something bad about me, as an author, if I say no. I read a lot of books by authors like, Patricia Cornwell, Tess Gerritsen, Robert B. Parker, James Patterson...well the list is quite long."

ME; "They're mystery writers. I like mysteries. I don't know how they figure out all that stuff."

VERONICA, "I guess you could say each person is like a puzzle piece. And each piece fits in, gradually, until you have the whole thing put together. Or that's my thoughts on it. Sound silly , huh? But I guess my favorite books involve horror, mystery, and even a laugh, like books by Dean Koontz."

ME; "I don't read much anymore. I used to. Now I just work, come here and go home. This place is just so fascinating to me. There's always someone new to talk to. Now there's you."
"You're not going to try to write mysteries, are you?"

(41) VERONICA,"I can see the appeal of coming here. Looking at other people and wondering what their lives are like. Is that man over there in the corner, a mass murdurer, maybe? Or a caring father raising a child on his own? Oh, stop me please, my imagination is having a field day."
"But, me? Who knows what I'll end up writing. I'm interested in everything--horror, mystery, humor, etc.. Can one write a book that's a montage of everything?"

ME; "I guess you just start writing and see what you end up with. Do you use paper or a computer? I use a computer. It makes editing easy."

VERONICA, "For sure, my computer. I hate typewriters."

ME; "Yeah. Woody Allen says he uses the same typewriter he started out with 50 years ago. Do you like Woody Allen films? They're funny, huh?"

(41) VERONICA,"I did not know that. Yes, I like him, though I've not seen many of his films. I go more for movies with action, with tough guy actors, such as: Nicolas Cage, Bruce Willis, and Sylvestor Stallone."

ME; "Oh. I like interllectual stuff. We're opposites. Did you see the Mini-series; 'Band of Brothers?' That was neat."

VERONICA, "Opposite, is good. Darn it, you've got me again. No, I've not seen a Band Of Brothers. But I've got a long list of favorite TV shows."

The server returns with our salads.

"Oh, good here's the salad."

ME; "I didn't mean to 'get ya.' Did you ever watch 'Seinfield?' What are your favorites?"

(41) VERONICA,"It's quite alright. Yes, I loved Seinfield. I've got a long list of favorites. I'll name a few: Blue Bloods, Grimm, The Mentalist, Person Of Interest, Nikita, Haven, Alphas, Face Off, Hot Set, Phych, and Covert Affiairs. I'm being conservative, here."

ME; "Sounds like you watch a lot of TV. I hardly ever do. But, when I do, i watch something on PBS."
"I suppose you're trying to write a thriller?"

VERONICA,"Crazy how people can be so different about TV. I've actually put my book writing on the backburner-- for the moment. I'm working on a feature length screenplay for an upcoming competition."

ME; "Yeah, but it's a action/thriller, right?"

(41) VERONICA,"I guess you could say it's a little of everything. Police procedural, daughter's search for the truth, murder and action."

ME; "I like to write about how people think things out. Do you have a job?"

The server returns with our steaks and baked potatoes.

VERONICA; "Well, my job was demanding and I couldn't spend much time writing, so I quit."

ME; "Oh."

We eat. 15 minutes pass.

"I have to work or I'd be out on the street, freezing and starving to death."

(41) VERONICA: "Well I would too, but my mom left me a little money. I'm good for about two more months."

ME; "I'm glad to know you're not homeless."

VERONICA; "Nope, not homeless, though a homeless author might rack up the sales. That's pretty cool. Didn't know one could do that."

ME; "Why would a homeless author 'rack up the sales?' I don't get it."

VERONICA; "Well maybe not, though I think all things are possible. I just imagined a homeless woman, writing on tiny scraps of paper. She writes the story of her life--what she sees on the streets every day. A publisher, maybe, notices her writing on tiny pieces of paper as she pushes her cart full of trash down the street. And it goes from there."

ME; "Oh. That would be nice for her."

(41) VERONICA: "Yes. Anything, I'd think, would be better than picking up trash and living out of a cardboard box."

ME; "I think you have to go to a publisher with a manuscript. I don't think they discover authors - not at first. If you're already published then they might come to you."

VERONICA; "I agree, the chances of that are next to impossible. But as I'm taking free liberty, with my imagination, I'm giving her a better life."

ME; "You're really nice to her. What will you do if you don't get accepted in the compition? Will you go back to work?"

(41) VERONICA; "Oh, I've always planned to go back to work, I just needed to take this time for me, to see if I could succeed as a screenwriter."

ME; "What do you do that's so very demanding?"

VERONICA:"Who says a job has to be demanding, to see if you've made the wrong turn in life?"

ME; "Writing's a lot more fun. But not if someones bothering you about a deadline. Money doesn't interest me. I like to piss people off. I can do that and there's nothing they can do about it. If I said the same thing to their face they'd punch me out. Life can be neat if you find the trick."

(41) VERONICA: "That's true. Writing for myself, no one else, and making money too, that would be awesome. Yes, I can see where it'd be easy to say anything--in writing--and get away with it."

ME; "I've never actually tried to publish anything. I think it would be a waste of time - just irritating and stressful."

VERONICA; "Anything and anyone can be irritating, we just have to want something bad enough."

ME; "I can't get an audience. People don't like what I write about. I turn them off. I almost never get a compliment. It would be silly of me to try to get published."

(41) VERONICA;"I think the most helpful advice ever given to me was this; write for yourself, to please yourself, not anyone else."

ME; "That's terrific advice. But it turns out, I'm the only one who likes my stories. What about you? Do you think you'll ever find an audience?"

VERONICA:"Well I hate that. I know there's an audience for all kinds of writing, though, maybe you just haven't found your nitch. I'd like to think there's an audience, for my writing, only time will tell."

ME; "Yeah, that's what I'm talking about. I'm a nitch of one. It's rough."

(41) VERONICA; "Well I always say, if somethings making you sad, look for other areas that make you happy."

ME; "A Hot Fudge Sundae would make me a little happy. Do you want a Hot Fudge Sundae?"

VERONICA: "Definitely. Extra fudge too, please."

I wave a server over and order 2 sundaes. She takes the order, clears away our empty plates and leaves.

ME; "I have a Theme I like to discuss with people - but not everyone. The Theme is 'The World is a Giant Lunatic Asylum.' What do you think about that?"

(41) VERONICA; "Well, being that I've met a wacko or two, say like my two ex's, I'd have to say that idea, or theme of a "Giant Lunatic Asylum" is a very real possibility."

ME; "Tell me about the 2 'Wacko's.'"

VERONICA: "The one that was never happy with anything, or the one that stalked me for two years-- after we broke up? I save those two for my weekly visit to the therapist."

ME; "You have money for a therapist? Well, both of them. I'm not pressed for time."

(41) VERONICA: "I do have a little money put aside, as I mentioned earlier tonight. I use that to help with some anger issues--where the ex's are concerned. Let's just say--one ex-- went to jail, for a bit, but he didn't learn his lesson."

ME; "What happens next? This is like your thrillers."

VERONICA," What followed was two years of harassment and me watching over my shoulder, every where I went."

ME; "What did he tell you?"

(41) VERONICA, "Things like, if he were me, he'd pray, because I wasn't going to live until morning. Mind game crap like that."

ME; "What first attracted you to him? Did you have any inclination he was a genuine 'Wackooo.' What was he like?"

VERONICA; "It's often said that people, such as serial killers, can be some of the nicest people. These kind people can be a Ted Bundy, in sheeps clothing. Who knows what makes people like that on the inside?"

ME; "Yeah."

(41) VERONICA: "I can see by your lack of words, that I've given you food for thought, or I've shocked you."

ME; "Neither. I'm just concurring. Erica says 'food-for-thought too. I don't think you know her. She comes in here occasionally."

VERONICA; "Cool. Erica sounds like a wise woman, though I can't say that I know her. I'm usually in here long enough to eat, then on to other things."

ME; "I suppose, 'burning the midnight oil' to write your screenplay?"

(41) VERONICA; "That among other things, like replying to scathing comments from rude editors. Just had one hand me my butt on a plate. I hate editors and their high handed manor with writers."

ME; "I've never submitted anything to an editor. As I said; I know perfectly well no one wants to read me."
"Do you have the letter on you? I'm sure it would be funny."

VERONICA; "No, she was a total--excuse my french--B-I-T-C-H--and I threw out her letter."

ME; "Okay."

(41) VERONICA; "Let's not talk about me only, what kind of nightmares do you have to share?"

ME; "I already shared. No one likes what I write. I suppose rejection slips are funny. Everything that comes from the elite is really humorous. They're the Perfect Blah-Blah, you know."

VERONICA: "Well since you've already shared and I'm angry and don't care to talk about the powers that be and their ignorance, let's start a new topic. Otherwise, it's getting bad out and I think I need to go"

ME; "Choose a topic."

(41) VERONICA: "How about movies? Which one's could you watch over and over and never get tired of them? For example, I never get tired of movies like Jurassic Park, I Robot, Indiana Jones, Resident Evil, etc.."

ME; "You're so enthusiastic. It's very touching. I prefer art films. My favorite directors/writers are, Fellini, Igmar Bergman and Woody Allen."

VERONICA; "Indeed, I've been a huge fan of movies all my life.Come to think of it, we've already talked about movies. I'm blank about a topic, at the moment. Have you seen anyone you know come in yet? Maybe we could have them pull up a chair and talk to them?"

ME; "Or move to a booth. But no, I don't see anyone who wants to share a booth with me. Here's a topic; will we be at war with Iran within a year?"

(41) VERONICA; "Yikes, the topic that causes fights. he-he. I will say that if we stay on the current course we're on, yes fighting is coming, no avoiding it."

ME; "Something about Americans, they just can't mind their own business. They have to tell everybody how to live their lives."

VERONICA:"I guess all of us, you and I included (and not just the Americans), feel we have to speak our minds, at some point. Just the way it is."

ME; "Americans are famous for being Busybodies. More than other people."

(41) VERONICA, "You are obviously, a rude non-American."

ME; "Well, that's what I'm talking about. Americans can't accept criticism. They get angry and hostile."

VERONICA; "Richard. It has nothing to do with not accepting criticism. I love my country and your comments are not funny, they're rude. You do this to get a rise, I think you're silly. And I don't want to talk to you anymore. You've gotten enough of my thoughts. Now move on."

I get up and move to another seat.

End of Episode 17

Writers Wanted

Episode 18:

Cast......In order of appearance.
(42) Eriq
(43) Evan
(44) Carole
(45) Danny


It's nighttime, a few weeks later. I'm back at the cyber café, sitting at the counter. Someone I know enters the diner and sits down next to me.

ME;"Hi, Eriq."

(42) ERIQ; “Hey Richard. How was your day?”

ME: “Fine, thanks.”

ERIQ: “Mine was a bit stressful. I feel really bad. I had to fire someone today. I can’t even sleep because of it. He had a family. But I kept warning him about having affairs at work.”
“I just can’t help thinking about what would have happened. I mean, it could have been a disaster either way. Either someone’s husband was bound to find out. Or his own wife would have known sooner or later.”

ME; "I'm not a Christian. It's difficult for me to wrap my mind around the situation you describe."

(42) ERIQ; "Christian values? Yes. But I'm actually thinking safety first, then morals second. Here it is, a man fooling around on his wife, and here? at his job? And then with our female employees?. This could have still been an awful disaster one way or another. Look, let's change the subject. My daughter turned five today. Boy is she excited about the presents she received. I can't believe somebody gave this kid and I-pad. An I-pad for a 5 year-old?"

He picks up a menu.

ME; "I don't have an I-Pad - just a Laptop and a Magic Jack. I have free Internet. The Magic Jack costs me $30 a year. I use a Converter box with an old Analog TV and pick up free TV with a antenna. I did a 'Budget Bundle.' I get all 3 for $30 a year."

(42) ERIQ; "I don’t have an I-pad either. I use my netbook. As for television, I also have a converter box, no cable TV. It's not worth my time. I actually remember the days of Antenna TV. Speaking of, I've gotta get this call. When the waiter comes over, please order the usual, steak and two baked potatoes. I will be right back in a sec. My phone stopped ringing. Never mind. Where were we? Oh. Here comes the waiter now."

"Sir,I already know what I want. I will have a medium steak, two baked potatoes, the house salad with Italian dressing and a tea."

The server pours the tea and leaves.

Eriq puts back the menu.

"Is anyone else joining us?"

ME; "Not that I know of. I'm going to get a steak too."

I wave the same server back and order. He leaves and returns with 2 salads and tea and leaves again.

(42) ERIQ: "You know? I've just self-published my book titled MY MELODY - "The Musical." It's so doggone hard getting free publicity. I've tried craigslist, facebook and other social medias. I'm starting to get a bit discouraged with this PR thing. But when I think about it, it is all hard work. It's like working for yourself."
"Now, what was I orignally talking about before I mentioned my book? Its slipped me. I will think of it in a minute."

ME; "I don't know. Do you want to talk about the book?"

ERIQ; "Yes, I would like to talk about my book. But first I need to stop my phone from ringing."

He removes a cell phonr from his pocket and looks at the caller ID. "I'd better take this real quick."

"Hello? Yes, that will be fine. I'm having dinner now."
"Okay, I will see you later."

He turns the phone off and sticks it back in his pocket.

"That was my lady friend. She asked me to come over this evening after we're finished."
"I actually started writing it as a Broadway style musical stage-play. I tried to make it as an electrical, exciting and as dazzling as possible. I wanted it to keep people entertained. So I wrote a finalé and added International and modern American musical themes through the decades to it. After I finished the script and songs, I realized that the script didn’t even have a plot. Then I decided to just make it out of a book, a Musical/Romance Novel, titled MY MELODY - "The Musical. Funny, it started out as a song about my daughter some years ago."

ME; "I don't understand why it has 2 titles - My Melody and The Muscical?"

(42) ERIQ; "Because it was actually written about my melody, which was my daughter when she was 2. But I made a musical out of it. So I called it MY MELODY - "The Musical". Now that I've finished the book, I am able to finish the script with a PLOT."

ME; "Is your daughters name Melody?"

ERIQ; "Actually my daughter's name is Erika, named after me. But I called her at that time my little melody... Now she's 30 years old. Still a melody."

ME; "You'll have a terrible time trying to get it produced. Everybody does."

ERIQ; "Well I haven’t tried to get it produced yet, because I have actually just finished the book. And now I am working on perfecting the script, since finishing the book. The songs are already in place. I am now looking for agents who can help push this thing to Broadway. Right now, that's the goal. But a more immediate goal is to make this book a best seller..."

ME; "Oh, find an agent. I've been trying to find a patent attorney. I'm not going to describe the invention, no one ever understands it. Except for one person, an attorney, but he wanted $350 an hour. I couldn't afford him."

(42) ERIQ; "I have gone to the library where you can find the information to patent your own inventions. That way you can either do it yourself or at least find out how to do it. Please make use of that, because 350.00 and hour is way too much. I also found out that attorneys charge for copyrighting creative material, when you can just do it yourself. Good luck with that."
"About understanding your invention, try me..."

ME; "I couldn't really. When do you think you'll find an agent?"

ERIQ; "Not sure. It can take a while to find an agent. But as for now I am making that a project to track communications."

ME; "What's a project to track communications?"

(42) ERIQ; "Make/organize a project on how I track all of my communications to each agent. For example, I may contact one agent and track dates and time of everything written between the two of us. Sometimes I find these tedious things to be a little fun when I organize and keep everything in its place. And most of the time I do the unpleasant tasks first. Anyway, I am seeking other writing opportunities. This would also help my writing career."
"What kind of day did you have?"

ME; "Up and down elavators all day long. Elavators stuffed with furniture. I'm a furniture mover. I go to a furniture wharehouse, in Brooklyn, in the morning, and shape-up."

ERIQ; "Oh, Great!!! I have to move my baby grand piano Oakland to Antioch. - a 35 mile drive. Do you have an idea about how much they would charge me to do that?"

ME; "It's an all day job for 5 people - one of them with a truck. So, it would run about $500 - a dollar a pound."

(42) ERIQ; "I am not used to this time change. Since flying in from Los Angeles last night, I still feel pretty tired. Here comes our steaks now. They look really good."

The waiter places the steaks on the counter in front of us.

"Now, what were we talking about? Oh, the piano. I'm going to put that on hold and deal with it when I get back."

We eat. 15 minutes pass.

ME; "Why don't you get one of those funny electronic piano's that weigh just a few pounds. It would be cheaper than moving a real one."

(42) ERIQ; "I want to move my piano because it means a lot to me. It's a baby grand, one I played my concerts on. Also I HATE those electric ones. There's no true sound to them."
"I'm going back to my hotel and crawl into bed. This three hour difference is really getting to me."

ME; "I've enjoyed our conversation."

ERIQ; "I've enjoyed our conversation as well. Have a good night."

ME; "Goodnight."

He gets up and leaves.

Later, same night. I'm still at the counter. Evan enters the diner and sits down next to me.

ME; "Hi."

(43) EVAN; "Sorry I'm late, how long have you been waiting?"

ME; "I've been here for hours. You're not late, you could come anytime."

EVAN; "Hours, huh? What have you been doing?"

ME; "Talking to people or just sitting here. What have you been doing?"

EVAN; "Dreaming. At least I think I've been dreaming. I had a dream last night that I thought was real, you know? One of those that seems real, but turns out to be false as the day goes by. Not an immediate... uh... hrm... what's the word? It's like 'cancellation' and 'trump' rolled into one. Anyway, the whole day has been a complete unraveling of the dream from last night. Almost like the dream was meant to be debunked by the day, does that make sense?"

ME; "I recently met someone who dreamt she was a bag lady, with a buggy. And a writer. So one day, she's sitting there writing and a book publisher walks by, stops, reads her book and publishes it. Was it a dream like that?"

(43) EVAN; "Wow, was it a book about bags? No? Ok, no, it wasn't that two dimensional. I probably wouldn't remember it if it was that simple. It was real enough to hear and feel everything. My hand got cut off and when I woke up, I was surprised it was still there. It was like I has already gone through the stages of loss and reached acceptance long ago. It's really nice to have both hands, don't you think. Makes opposable thumbs easier to demonstrate."

ME; "She was writing 'My Life as a Bag Lady.'"

A server comes over.

EVAN; "I'll have a coffee, thanks,"

The server pours a coffee and leaves.

ME; "I have awful dreams. I guess you do too, huh?"

(43) EVAN; "I always figured an awful dream is one you don't learn anything from. Pointless dreams suck, you know? What are your dreams about?"

ME; "I couldn't possibly talk about them. They're too horrible."

EVAN; "Ok, I won't press. As long as you're not a psychic, we should be fine."

ME; "I have horrible dreams about my Mother. She was insane."

EVAN; "Insane? How

ME; "For one thing she talked about 'Crazy Sh#t' all day long - mornimg, noon and night. She never shut up. She would tell people about her visit to the Battleship Arizona. She was deeply moved. Stuff like that. But those were her good points."

(43) EVAN; "'Least she has good points. It'd be terrible if she was just a pain in the ass."

ME; "What have you been doing, except dreaming."

EVAN; "Honestly? I've been trying to figure out which direction I should go next. I've been all over the place, at least it's seemed that way, but I haven't left my mark on anything. I've had years of telling myself that I want to be an actor or a writer, but I haven't gotten to a place where I'm comfortable with the idea or the thought. So I've been stuck doing nothing while trying to do something. And trying to make light of as many shitty situations as possible. If I took half my life seriously, I'd probably be in a mental institution by now."

ME; "You've come to the right place to be a 'Loser.' Though I've met people here who actually sell things. I met a writer who's had 2 books published. An Artist who shows her work in Galleries. And a Theatrical person who Teaches."

(43) EVAN; "Loser is a dangerous title to apply. I don't consider myself a loser, just directionless. I've had direction at one point or another: I've been in student films and I wrote a short film that's being screened in a month or so. I even won a playwright competition. This world is so open ended that it's hard to go in one direction when you're aware of multiple. I heard someone say writers are bull headed creatures. It helps when there are so many distractions. I'm glad the people you've met have had success. It means it's possible. I know I'm capable of creating that work, I just haven't moved forward with it."

He sips his coffe and stares off into space.

"Loser...? I haven't given up, so I'm not a loser. It means something different to me. You don't think you're a loser, do you? It takes discipline to sit in a cafe and talk to random people."

ME; "People hate my stories. They want someone to Jerk-Them-Off. I don't feel like it. I think I write like Hunter Thompson. But people read him, nobody reads me. Did you ever read him?"

(43) EVAN; "Dude, just write. I'm sure Mr. Thompson went through his lows. Every writer does. Just persist and don't stop. Not because of fame and fortune, but because you love it. And people don't hate your stories. Also, if that is your mind set, maybe you need to get out of this god forsaken city and go somewhere uplifting. Like anywhere else."
"And no, I never read Thompson. I've never been exposed to that stuff. Gotta write like yourself, man. I tried writing like Harold Pinter, but it's not the right time for it. He's dead and I'm alive in a very different world. You too. Thompson didn't have iPods."

ME; "Harold Pinter, huh. Never heard of him. What does he write about?"

EVAN; "Harold Pinter was a playwright. He died in the last couple years. He's brilliant. Check out his Nobel prize speech. Phenomenal. He's famous for what thespians call "the Pinter pause", a pause in conversation that speaks volumes. I think Mad Men utilizes it a lot. He wrote plays about wars and defective relationships, but you would't know it by the inane conversations of the characters until the end. It builds in the audience's mind until it's layer out in the simplest fashion. It's beautiful and completely unique."

ME; "The Pinter Pause. That's truly awesome. I've had lots of defective relationships. My life is a defective relationship. Who are the Mad Men? Never heard of them either. I'm really getting an education,"

(43) EVAN; "Mad Men is a tv show about publicists in the 60s. It's strange, but incredible. If you have patience, check it out. Defective relationships help us figure out what's effective and what is defective. You learn through pain and figure it out. There also comes a point where it just clicks."

ME; "Thankyou. This is the first day of my new life. What is your play about?"

EVAN; "It's about a cafe where people deal with relationship issues. People who meet, are in relationships, are in shitty relationships. It explores how we are trapped in patterns. Some of us escape them and others stay trapped. It's cheesy, but it works.How bout you? What's your writing about?"

ME; "Mine is about a cyber café. The cast are all writers. They play themselves. We don't work out anything. We write for awhile and then part. I never hear from them again. Ships passing in the night."

(43) EVAN; "Sounds pretty whimsical. Hope you learn something from it. On that note, my coffee's gone and I need to walk out that door."

He places 2 dollars on the counter.

EVAN; "I hope you find what you're looking for. Everyone deserves a break once in a while, including you. Be brave in the face of adversity. Welcome a challenge... Blah blah blah. It's easier to say it when it comes from inside rather from outside."

ME; "So long."

He gets up and leaves.

Later, same night. I'm still at the counter. A girl walks in the door and sits next to me.

(44) CAROLE; "You gonna finish those fries?"

ME; "You can have them."

I push them over to her. She crams them in her mouth with both hands, gets up and leaves.

Later, same night. I'm still at the counter. Danny enters the diner and sits down next to me.

ME; "Hi."

(45) DANNY; "Hey, how's it going?"

MR; "I just gave away my fries to a hungry female. She came in, sat next to me, asked me for the fries, ate them and left. I never saw her before."

DANNY; "So this chick just practically stole the fries?"

ME; "She didn't steal the fries. She was really hungry and I wanted her to have them. She didn't say anything except; 'You gonna finish those fries?' I wonder if I'll ever see her again?"

DANNY; "Did she smell good?"

ME; "She didn't look or smell like a 'Bag Lady.' I guess she's holed up someplace but without food. If she'd stayed around I'd have bought her a steak. She engulfed the fries and left before I had a chance to talk to her."

(45) DANNY; "That was a little rude, the least she could have done was provide some conversation. I got caught up with this guy in the lounge uptown, he was trying to sell soap, I felt like I was talking to Tyler Durden."

ME; "You got me. I gon't know who Tyler Dincan is?"

DANNY; "Fight Club... Brad Pitt... The first rule?...nevermind. What was the last guy movie you saw?"

ME; "I don't go to movies anymore. I come here or I watch PBS - TV. I don't have cable either."

(45) DANNY; "Well, if this was PBS you would become the beta of the group if you keep letting strange women politely jack you for your supper. I don't care if you're belt buckle is undone from a holiday feast... If it's on your plate then it belongs to you, and it's no bottom feeder's right to mosey on over and eat your food. It starts with Legos and ends in nuclear wars, and you my friend just got bombed."

ME; "I don't mind helping a hungry person. You should have seen her eat. She crammed the fries into her mouth with both hands. The fries were gone in a second and she was too. It was quite a show."

DANNY; "Like vultures after a lion is satisfied."

ME; "I'm glad you don't know this girl. I don't think you'd like her."

He gets up and leaves.

End of Episode 18

Writers Wanted

Episode 19: .

Cast....In order of appearance.
(46) Charles
(47) Yosselly
(48) Mark (not the same person as the persons in episodes one, two and 13)


It's nighttime, 3 weeks later. I'm back at the cyber café, sitting at the counter. Charles enters the diner and sits next to me.

(46) CHARLES; "What are you having to eat?"

ME; "I was just going to order a steak."

CHARLES; "It has been a crazy night and I am in desperate need of some help. Maybe we can help each other!"

ME; "What do you need help with? Did you kill your girlfriend or something? I can't help you. Don't tell me anything that's against the law."

CHARLES; "NO! I am a law abiding citizen that pays my taxes. I'm living a Life-of-Hell. I don't know what to do or where to go or who to talk to!"

ME; "Of course not. No one does. And there's absolutely nothing anyone can do about it."

(46) CHARLES; "I disagree, but what do I know? I am just another bozo on the bus who thinks they are riding alone in a limo."

ME; "You said you needed help, so I though you didn't have The Answer. Was I wrong?"

CHARLES; "The answer is there is no answer, and the living hell I am going through is dealing with people who think they have the answer and try to make you conform and agree with you. I just got in a fight with a guy who told me that the president is really working with the Russians, and he wouldn't let me say no!"

ME; "Yeah. People are Crazy."

He gets up and leaves.

Later, same night. I'm still st the counter. Yosselly enters the diner and sits next to me.

ME; "Hi, Yosselly."

(47) YOSSELLY; "Hello, Richard."

ME; "What have you been doing?"

YOSSELLY; "I've been working... I moved here to find inspiration for my new novel. I wrote Tikey, another novel, and haven't written much after that. So New York City will hopeful get me writting. And you, what you been doing?"

ME; "Just hanging out. What's Tikey about? Did you get it published?"

YOSSELLY; "Yes I did. It got published, it's a love story based on my parents... It's really good. I'm now into writting poetry...So enough about me. What have You been doing? Anything new?"

ME; "No. Same old,same old. Just hanging out and going to work."

A sever comes over.

(47) YOSSELLY; (to the server) "A coffee. Thanks"

The server pours it and leaves.

ME;  "Do you have a blog, I do. I'm on Twitter too but nothing ever happens."

YOSSELLY; "I had heard about blogs before but don't know much about it. I don't have a Twitter. I have a Facebook but same thing, nothing happens. Tell me more about your blog..."

ME; "I have a story in the blog about people in a cyber café. If you want to know about blogs go to google and type in 'free blogs.' "

YOSSELLY; "Oh. Well how long have you had it?"

ME; "4 years."

(47) YOSSELLY; "Wow, thats a long time."

ME; "I've been at it awhile. But enough about me. What about you?"

YOSSELLY; "What about me?"

ME; "I don't know."

YOSSELLY; "What would you like to know?"

ME; "What are you going to write about?"

(47) YOSSELLY; "I don't know yet."

ME; "You can put me in your story. I'm a furniture mover. Do you want to know what a furniture mover does?"


ME; "Okay, just an idea. Here's something new. You go to a guy's apartment and he has a sculpture of a giant roach. Can you use it in your story?"


ME; "Wow, you don't like any of my ideas. What are you going to write about?"

(47) YOSSELLY; "I don't know yet. I'm thinking something based on a true story."

ME; "What kind of True Story are you looking for?"

YOSSELLY; "Like a love story."

ME; "Right. Let's pretend you and I are in love. What happens now?"

YOSSELLY; "Well Then i would write about things we do together."

ME; "Okay. You and I have been out somewhere late. We come in here for something to eat. Where do we go next?"

YOSSELLY; "I kiss Your neck. 'I'm tired; it's been a long day; I Want to Take a shower and go to bed.' I kiss You On the lips and leave."

ME; "What are we going to do tomorrow?"

(47) YOSSELLY; "We go for a walk on the beach. I take my dog, Princess. We walk, Hold hands and Plan our weekend. We stop, look at each other and kiss."

ME; "What's the plan?"

YOSSELLY; "I'm going."

She gets up and leaves.

Later, same night. I'm still at the counter. A stranger, sitting next to me, turns to me and speaks.

(48) MARK; "A dude eating dinner in a diner in Denver is not going to fill your stomach."

ME; "Huh?"

MARK; "In a diner with a shiner."

I move to another seat.\

Episode 20

A few weeks later. I'm back at the diner and sitting at the counter. I order a cheeseburger with fries. After awhile the server returns with it. Someone sits down hext to me.

(49) CAROLE; "You gonna finish those fries?"

It's happening again. The same girl. I look up and push the fries over to her. She crams them in her mouth with both hands, gets up and leaves.The server returns.

SERVER: "That girl just used both of her hands to stuff fries in her mouth."

ME; "Yeah, I know. Whenever she sees me with fries she comes in and asks me for them. I give them to her. That's how she eats fries."

SERVER: "Maybe she's Spastic? Do you think?"

ME; "She's found Bizzarro World and a little happiness. It's not so competitive in Bizzarro World. "

She smiles a little.

SERVER; "No. Not in Bizzarro World."

She leaves to wait on a customer.



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