BRIEF EXCERPT – CHAPTER ONE
A ONE WAY TICKET TO TINSEL TOWN
The tag end of a smoldering night blankets the slumbering city of Long Beach, when my eyes dart open with the sudden realization that today I am leaving this life behind. Today I am chasing a dream to the bitter end and the lofty notion of leaving this paper thin white shellacked walled sardine can studio apartment, where I lived while attending California State University, Long Beach is both exciting and paralyzing at the same time, because right now failure is not an option. No, this has to work despite no transportation, no residence, no connections, no references, no headshots, no writer credits and nothing else logically aligned in regards to anything even remotely worthy of a successful mission. No, in other words, this is a one in a million shot and not to sound cliché, but staring at the dark ceiling on this sofa bed at this early morning hour, I know somewhere deep in the darker synapses of my mind that I’ll either get there or die trying. Right now there seems no other way. Right now, textbooks have given way to a serious and dire reality and no diploma, internship or cap and gown matters anymore. No, right now it’s on me to see a lifelong dream through and I’m tired of waiting for it to happen, so I’m taking this innate, iron willed, energetic, undying, electric, heavenly, Utopian, relentless, intense, unbridled vision straight to the very core, because I refuse to settle for that life never asked for. This is the real nightmare, that 9 to 5 time card punch and march of misery for mere peanuts to merely pay the bills and survive in a cold, dank, dark world where any dreams have died off eons ago. No, that won’t be me, at least not right now, so I stagger, because today is the day when young men set out to make a name for them self and everything else be damned.
It is 5:30 a.m. when I double check the backpack that contains everything left to my name. Inside is an Apple laptop, some clothes, a pair of hair clippers, a movie I made and two screenplays I have recently written. The first one is called Utopia and it’s a pride and joy, something that took a long time to write. The second one is called Hell Ride and it is a straight-to-video type gore fest about a serial killer on the loose in an amusement park that took two weeks to write. There is also the short film on a VHS tape with IDTV that I wrote and directed on a cheap Hi-8 Video Camera, a film I had spent every waking day and night editing not to mention spending my Pell Grant money on and one that turned out to be far from Citizen Kane. It is a modern day Kane and Abel, where the bad twin kills the successful TV talk show host twin and takes his place in life. It is also the film that got me kicked out of the film and journalism programs at CSULB over a month ago now.
My head wants strong coffee, but instead I sip left over, warm, burning booze in the form of the bottom 1/3rd of the remaining bottle of Old Crow that gives me chills and somehow I convince myself this helps. There is little time to contemplate the “what ifs,” in this barren sardine can studio apartment, barren from the trips to the pawn shop and barren from the quick sales to friends for means of mere survival, before I just pick up and walk out just before the sun. The old shaky cheap front door sways wildly in my wake and there is no need to lock it and no need to look back, there is only what is over the next horizon. There is only tomorrow, there is only that place just under the cosmos and just above this sacred terra, where all good things happen, though there is no telling how many tomorrows may be left. But Dear Reader let me ask, what are we if we do not take a risk? I mean what would we become if we gave up on our dreams? Any decent answer escapes me.