KW.2.INTRODUCTION

The Introduction of Kill The Writer as read by Snoop Dogg

[Voice Offstage] : James Dean, give us an introduction, why dontcha? Jim? Jimbo? Where’s Jimbo?

Then we’ll just turn the mike over to our friend Monsieur de la Cruz from the Moulin Rouge! What do you have for us, Monty?

[Cruz] : Thanks Marshall, what I’ve got here are the first sea soaked pages of The Writer’s book Kill The Writer! Here to read the first chapter of the book is Mr. D-O Double G himself—Snoop Doggy Dogg!

Introduction

I was born 1994. Mom and Dad had me in the usual way, then they brought me home. After that, they got to raising me. 1995 came around, and I was one; it wasn’t no big thing. I figure about everyone gets to one.

By the time I was two, I got to speaking. According to my parents, I spoke well right off the bat. We were driving and I was looking out the window, and when I saw a boat, I said, « I see a boat. »

I didn’t get to lying till I was about 3. About that time, I took a cookie from the cookie jar. When my parents asked me whereabouts that cookie got off to, I told them, « I dunno. »

1999 pulled up and I got real literary. I was taking classes at the local Kindergarten. The teachers told me I had a way with words. Now, when my parents asked me whereabouts the cookie went, I’d tell them, « It got to steppin’ and I ain’t seen it since. »

I saw some years go by, and I met some people while I was steppin’ along through life. I made a friend, and of all of the friends I made, I liked him best, so we played video games, and skateboarded, and we learned about the world together. He showed me music, women and drugs. In return, I gave him an audience. Then 2011 put him in jail, and I had all the music, women and drugs I could want, but I didn’t want them. I wanted my best friend, but that’s all 2011 left me, so I took them.

I saw 2012, and about that time we all thought the world was going to end. They even made a movie about it, and I saw it. I took a girl, too. That wasn’t anything special, I mean the way I see it, I figure about everyone took a girl to see that movie. In that way, I figure no one actually watched that movie.

I took that girl out a couple of times after that. We did all the things kids do when they’re in love, and we had sex, and it was nice, and not long after we broke up. I took her on a walk, and it was real sweet, but in the end I grabbed her hand and I looked her in the eyes and I said, « it’s not gonna work out. »

She was upset. A tear rolled down her eye, and I watched it drop from her cheek to the ground. It fell, and I think it fell slower than it should have, because it looked like a pretty heavy tear. She was upset, and she asked me,  « But, John, why? » And I was real good at lying, I mean, I’d been lying since ’97, and so I told her it wasn’t her, it was me. I told her how our love had got to steppin’ and I ain’t seen it since, but she didn’t believe me I guess, because she said, « Johnny, I don’t believe you. There has to be a reason. » An so she asked me if it was something she did. Maybe it was something she didn’t do. She asked me all kinds of innate things, but in the end all I could do was think about that tear, and wonder what kind of sound it made when it hit the ground.

2013 came around, and I graduated high school. I didn’t do too much figuring about that. Really, I figured back then about everyone got to graduate. I met a girl that year, and she was pretty cool. We had sex, and I took her out on a date, and after those two things I still thought she was pretty cool, so I asked her to be my girlfriend. She thought that would be pretty neat, but she was still seeing her ex, and I said that was fine, but then one day it wasn’t, and so I told her that. She told me okay, and that she liked me a lot, and she would tell her ex to go about his business elsewhere. A day went by, and I called her up. I asked her how it went, did you talk with him, and did you break things off. She said it went well, and she spoke with him, and no, they had sex instead and she didn’t get around to breaking things off with him.

I was sitting in a college classroom in 2014 when they told me that I could learn everything I ever needed to know just by going to the library. So by the end of 2014 I’d left that classroom for good, and started my career as a writer. I told my parents thank you; thank you for sending me to college, but I figure I know what I want to do with my life, and now that I got that sorted, I better get to stepping. Of course they asked me what it was that I wanted to do. So I told them:

“Mom. Dad. I want to be a writer.”

They told me fuck off, and I did, so here I am. 2014 wrapped up, and I had no friends, no love, no family, no job, but I read Slaughter House Five that year, and I learned that I did have friends, and a love, and my family still gave a shit, and I had lots of jobs, but I just wasn’t in the right spot in time.

I learned that in a library and it kept a bullet out of my head better than calculus, so I figure that one teacher was right.


Before I finish this introduction I would like to leave you with one small sample conversation:

You write pretty good, kid.”

I said, thank you.

“I think you got a bright future, kid.”

I told her, thanks.

“I mean, I’m reading what you’ve got here, and I gotta say, it’s brilliant. I ain’t never seen nothing like it. You write, and I see it. I see it like I’m standing there looking right at it. You know what I mean?”

I told her, I think I do, ma’am.

“So. Tell me, kid—what’s your secret?”

I told her,

“Write simply.”

That’s what I told my boss right before signing a contract with the local paper. I didn’t know it then, but Death was in that room with me that day. See, the way I figure, right as I was moving to sign with the local paper, Death went and slipped his own little contract over top the local paper’s contract. So, in short, I signed two contracts that day:

One for the local paper.

One for my own death.

Next Chapter

KW.1.FIRST.SCENE.

First Scene for Kill The Writer

A scene; two people; a woman and a boy; they stand in a room with white walls; that’s the set.

A prop; it’s a manuscript; the woman reads the title; cue scene.

[Woman] : Kill The Writer? That’s provocative. It begs the question of… why? Why kill the writer? What has he done? Who wants to kill him? Does he deserve to die?

Kill The Writer? I’d read it.

Yeah, I’d probably read it.

Some directions; the woman turns some pages; the boy sips the juice.

A prop; the juice; it is sipped upon; the boy sips upon the juice.

Cue dialogue.

[Woman] : So what’s their name? The writer, what’s their name?

They haven’t got one? What do you mean they haven’t got… how could they not have a name?

More directions; juice is sipped; woman reads; set change.

Set; the walls will now be blue; they are no longer white.

[Woman] : So we’ve got a writer, without a name, and someone wants to kill them?

Do we even know if they’re a good writer? I mean, what if they’re a shit writer?

What do you mean it doesn’t matter if they’re good or not? Are you saying that this novel challenges the way we think of good and bad, what’s right and wrong, defies our notion of this social construction and of our every day reality through a series of simply constructed linear arguments vis a vis a humorous allegory?

Well shit. That’s intrigue.

Stage direction; drop the juice.

Cue story.

Chapter 3

I’m off schedule. I just reread the plot outline for this and I realized that goddammit, we’re off schedule. Quick summary of what you were supposed to know by Chapter 3, but in the style of, say, an interpretive dance, go!

A Dance of Remembrance

As written by a violent criminal

Setting: A dorm room. It’s move-out day, the end of Freshman year, and there are boxes strewn about the stage.

[Dancer 1] leaps onto the stage. They’re a swan. They’re a graceful gazelle bounding across the mighty saharan plains. That’s me.

[Dancer 2] waddles out on stage wearing clown shoes. He’s got a big button nose that squeaks when you honk it, and every step he takes makes a farting sound. That’s my roommate, David.

They dance around each other. They approach each other, my dancer with finesse, balancing on his tippee toes. David’s dancer makes little fart sounds to center stage. Then they scurry back, real quick. It’s a game of cat and mouse.

I’m not going to lie, I have no idea what an interpretive dance is supposed to look like.

Clown-feet McButtonNose pantomimes putting objects in a box, and my dancer does the same, but instead of looking like an awkward mess, he looks like sex on fire. God, I see it in my mind, and it’s just like I’m back in that dorm room again.

I’m packing up my shit,

“Believe it or not, I’m going to miss this dorm.”

David looked over from his side of the dorm room, midway through dismantling the electric piano,

“Yeah, not a bad start. One year down, three to go,” Or something. He said some generic, basic shit like that.

Meanwhile, I was philosophizing. Head up in the clouds, better call me Socrates, because while I packed up my shit, I was unpacking some wisdom,

“Honestly, I think I learned the most here in this room,” I remember that room so well. We had a hammock strung up between our two beds that held food, a futon that had a serious lean on it, and we even had a flatscreen balanced between our two dressers. Both our beds were lofted with desks pushed underneath, creating little caves where we studied. David’s piano touched the corner of his desk and cut off his cave from the rest of the room. We really got lucky that year with housing: the dorm room was pretty mega.

“I’m not going to lie,” I continued, “The number of times I thought we were either going to die or get kicked out this year… I mean, in retrospect, it was amazing, but in the moment… you know?”

“Hindsight’s 20/20!” Spouted off David. Ok, tbh, he didn’t only speak in clichés. The thing is I don’t remember what he actually said, and it’s not super critical to the plot so screw it. In this story, he speaks in snow clones and clichés.

Besides all that, it’s true. We did almost die several times in this dorm, and I legitimately thought we were going to get kicked out. I mean, we did a lot of drugs. Some of them, I don’t even know what they were called, just a string of letters and numbers. Our friend Austin knew a guy who knew a guy that bought this stuff online and he was more than happy to pass it on to us for a small finder’s fee. So much powder has passed in and out of this room that I personally wouldn’t be surprised if the dust alone could put you in a coma if you breathed in too hard. It’s a wonder we didn’t get high every time we swept the floors.

We’d just about finished packing up. I hollered over to David as I put the lid on my last rubbermaid, “you about finished over there, buddy?”

“What’s mine is yours!”

“Good to fucking hear,” I sat down on the container. With all our stuff heaped together in two giant piles, it left the rest of the room looking damn barren. I sighed, and I tell ya, I could’ve just about cried. First year was a good time; I’d gotten most of my gen-eds out of the way and next year I’d be digging my heels into some real, grade A fucking science.

“You know, David, I’m going to miss being roommates with you, and uh… hey, actually, what happened to that mask from Halloween?”

“Finder’s keepers!”

“I feel like we never threw it away…” This part was true, all this bit with me asking about the mask, it did actually occur to me to look for it. Since Halloween, I’d seen it a couple times in random places throughout the room; David even hid it in my desk once to try and scare me. I probably should’ve just chucked it then, but…

“One does not simply throw the eponymous mask in the bin.”

“You reckon?” I reopened a couple of my containers and shifted around a few bags, but I wasn’t about to spill everything out on the off chance I found that 10 cent garbage mask. Whatever, at that point, I figured it was gone, and honestly, even today I still have no idea why I cared about it back then. Probably just for the memz.

“Alright, David, my shit’s packed. Imma start hauling stuff down to the car, but before I go, I just wanted to say…” I looked at the guy, and well, what was there to say? Ugggggh this story is getting all clogged up with nostalgia gunk, let’s move it along. Anyway, I tell David it’s been real and he replies,

“The early bird gets the worm.”

“Yeah, man. It does.”


Huh. Right, so, we got everything out of the way that should’ve been in Chapter 2. Let’s see, after that… well, after that comes sophomore year. Uh, so, can we just do a montage for sophomore year? Can you even do those in a written work? Well, when in doubt, try it out:

Sophomore Year

A short-film in print by Mark

Pan in on a boy—no, a young man—sitting at his desk. He’s writing, but what? What is he writing? He’s at the desk, hunched over, slaving away over an open textbook. 

Next shot: it’s a lecture hall. There’s a professor, and he/she/it/zhe/a zebra/whoever is lecturing a classroom filled with oranges—no, students, filled with students—and they’re all taking notes. Rigorously! Furiously scribbling down every word the professor says. It’s chaos, it’s pandemonium, it’s the sickeningly boring reality of every goddamn day!

And cut to the third shot: it’s the young man. He’s in a library. But it’s a library on the moon! But it’s not a library either, it’s a fast-food restaurant and the waiter serves him his food, but the food is actually a stack of books and the waiter is wearing a zebra costume—the young man looks at the zebra. It’s now a real, live zebra! He tells the zebra that he ordered fries with the meal! He ordered fries!

Sex. The next scene is sex, but the lights are off, so it’s just a black screen. But there’s still noise! You can hear the sex! The sex is audible! And it gets louder. You hear more sex. You hear the gradual crescendo as sex approaches its climax and then you hear a single deep baritone voice announce, “I came.” And the lights come on and it’s the zebra! The zebra is standing in the doorway and it’s holding the fries! He came with the fries!

Shot five is the young man once more, but now he’s at the desk. He’s studying once again, and studying feverishly. He studies with more intensity than he makes love and the room is getting hotter. It’s steamy. You can see the steam. It’s steamy and the young man adjusts his collar. He’s warm. He’s very warm, indeed. He looks suddenly into the camera, a pleading expression reflected in his eyes. He’s too warm!

Shot six, it’s a grainy old fashion shot of the professor at the chalk board. He’s lecturing about life. Or science. Or math. Or maybe he’s a she! It doesn’t matter, it’s all the same, and on the board there’s a picture of an orange! It’s absurdity! There’s no one in the classroom, but he’s lecturing! The students are in the library and they’re studying, but the class is still happening!

It’s the final shot and it’s a skeleton drinking at a bar. He’s got a cigar. He doesn’t care about lung cancer, he’s a skeleton; he hasn’t got any lungs! He’s wearing the young man’s clothes and there’s a student sitting next to him. He looks at the student and asks her, real straight, “So, you want to study chemistry?” And the student says yes! She says yes! And the skeleton says, “Well, here are all my notes from last year,” and he hands her the notes! All the notes we saw the young man slaving over during the montage, they’re all there! The student looks at the notes, and we see them clearly for the first time, and it’s all just one word. It’s one word, and it’s repeated over and over and over and over and that word is help. The student says thank you, Mister Skeleton, and she skips out of the bar. She skips! As she would through a field on a sunny day with the flowers and the bees all happy and it’s gorgeous. With the notes. She skips out of the bar with the notes in her arm, balancing on her hip.

And that’s when the skeleton looks into the camera and says, “What a life, eh?”

Fin

So we’ve knocked out sophomore year. That summer I got an internship. I worked with a research lab at the university, and in the mornings I took summer classes. I took summer classes in the morning, worked in the day, and when I got home I studied until it was well into the night. Then I got high.

Such was life and life was such and I lived in a house with my buddies. I lived upstairs. Thomas lived in the room next door, and Austin lived downstairs. In the other rooms were mannequin. I tell you, if my life were a movie, it’d be a real low-budget life. It’d be The Room.

I’ll tell you about the day I moved in:

Chapter 2

This was the dumbest thing I’d ever done, and I mentioned that to my psychologist come Monday morning.

I’d just handed her Chapter 1 of this story. Minus the bit at the end, but shhhhhhush, I’m putting the fourth wall back up.

She took it and read silently for a minute. Every once and awhile she’d pause and ask me a question.

“What happened to scene two?”

“We were in the car. It’s more or less assumed we got to the mall somehow, so I just cut it out. You can write it in if you want, I really don’t care.”

She kept reading. I think she ignores me sometimes.

“Did you not like your roommate?”

“What? No, he was fine. Why do you ask?”

Now she looked up, “I’m picking up a lot of tension, maybe even hostility, between you two in the play.”

“What? No… ” I said, snatching the play back from her and rereading it, “Are you talking about the casting choices? The marionette? The sex-doll? I was just having a little fun, don’t read into it.”

“You realize that it’s—”

“—Literally your job to read into everything I say? Noted.”

“Did he ever do anything that bothered you? Anything that really got on your nerves?”

“Oh, no. I mean, yeah, but like normal roommate stuff,” I shifted around in my chair, remembering those early college days. Good times they were. I tapped on the shrink’s desk with a pen. God, what a rookie, who puts a desk between themselves and the patient? What is this—amateur hour? It’s like she’s worried I’m going to stab her or something, “Sometimes he would play piano really loudly and sing Liunus and Lucy while I studied, so maybe that annoyance bled through a little bit in my writing, but… ” I reflected for a moment, “Yeah, nothing really out of the ordinary. He was a good guy.”

“Liunus and Lucy? The song from Charlie Brown?”

“Yup.”

“That song doesn’t have any words, it’s nothing but—”

“—tell him that.”

She read on. I stopped tapping on the desk. Didn’t want to be annoying or anything like that. I’m trying to be more polite these days, I really am.

“I think it’s interesting that you imagined your imaginary theatre piece having a tight budget.”

“Why’s that?”

“Well, it’s imaginary. You could’ve chosen any budget. You could’ve had unlimited funds if you’d wanted.”

“Eh, probably means my parents didn’t hug me enough as a child.”

“Did they not?”

“No, they did.”

Two minutes later, she asked the golden question.

“So what about this mask?”

“So what about this mask, indeed. That certainly is the question, isn’t it?” I replied, ever so slyly.

Oh, now we’re on to the good stuff. That’s the title of the story, if I’m not mistaken… I’m not mistaken am I? It is, in fact, called White Plastic Mask, yes? How many of you thought it was figurative? Maybe a metaphor? Go fuck yourselves; it’s a real shitting mask. Made of plastic. Plastic, mind you, that is indeed white. Like a comedy/tragedy mask, you know, one of those basic theatre ones that’s got a creepy blank expression on? Yep. That that’s the one.

And now I’m looking at you, Reader. That’s right, you!!! The person who is reading this story right now. Didn’t think you’d get roped in? Oh, you’re in it now, baby. You’re in it to win it. And I’ve got one question for you:

What do you think about the mask? You think it’s evil? Maybe it stabbed my friend. PLOT TWIST. It was the mask all along. But, if that were so, why would I be in the looney bin? Ooh… questions, questions…

I think it’s evil,
hehe,
let’s find out.

Next Chapter

White Plastic Mask

The way I see it, very few people realize it the day that their story starts.

As for me, my story began with six scenes from the Halloween of my Freshman year:

Exposition: in the style of Shakespeare

Cue scene one. Set pieces? A table, three chairs, and two plates of breakfast. What was the breakfast? Doesn’t matter; throw in some interchangeable meats, a couple greens, and cut out some colored construction paper bits and sprinkle that over top for flavor. The cafeteria food was alway shit anyways.

Populate two of the chairs with actors. Actor number one, that’s me, Mark. Number two is my roommate, David. We’re both chem, but I’ll be the only one who finishes the degree. David switches majors halfway through sophomore year, switches to Journalism. Doesn’t matter–could’ve switched to Archeology, still would’ve gotten out of this hellish major. Power to him.

Scene 1

I’m hungover. He’s hungover. It’s Saturday morning, it’s no small wonder that we’re both awake by ten, much less already in the cafeteria. Did I mention the food is shit? Not exactly incentive to get out of bed in the mornings.

David asks me what we’re doing today.

[David] : What are we doing today? Oh, and my name is David.

He says this.

I tell him we’re getting costumes.

[Mark] : We’re getting costumes. Do you know what you’re going to be? Also, my name is Mark.

[David] : *answers.*

It doesn’t matter what he says, just end the scene.

What did we learn from scene one? Don’t bother answering, I’ll tell you: My name is Mark and later today we’re going to get costumes. Skip to scene three, I’m tired of this bullshit exercise.

Scene 3

The time is midday-ish and we’re in a mall. For set pieces, let’s say a couple extras, a bench, two store fronts and a moose waving in one of the store front windows. I want to make sure the audience is paying attention, you know? Rattle ‘em a little, ya feel me?

Right, so, same actors from scene one and…. Action!

[David] : Let’s check out this store. Pointing at the store front featuring the waving moose*.

*Insert stage directions: it’s critical that this moose is waving the entire scene. It’s essential to the art.

Now I call David an idiot,

[Mark] : Do you even know what you want to be tonight?

David agrees that he is, indeed, a fool,

[David] : UuUhuh, Do you? » Director’s note, for actor two, the « UuUhuh » is delivered at a low baritone pitch. Keep in mind, you are replying as a fool would.

Knowing, as I do, that fools will often forget that they are indeed fools even moments after you call them as such, I reiterate myself,

[Mark] : For the hundredth time, yes, I’m going as Heisenberg. From Breaking Bad. How do you keep forgetting that?

And I’m bored. Go ahead and end scene. Cue set change and prep for scene… fuck, I guess we’ll do four. Prep for scene four, it’s necessary for scene five or something. Goddamn, this is beat af.

Scene 4

Here we go. Scene four. We are now inside the store so just paint the background to look like a store. Do it as cheaply rendered as possible, because this is one of those seasonal Halloween stores and they all look like a pumpkin ejaculated over a 7/11. Same actors, same everything, just cue the damn scene. Actually, strike that, replace David with a marionette holding a piece of paper with a smiley face on it. We’re working with a budget here, why bother paying for voice work and make-up. Cue scene four.

Actor one and marionette meet at center stage. I say to the marionette,

[Mark] : David, have you found your costume yet?

Just shake the marionette around. That’ll look like he’s answering.

[Mark] : What do you mean you don’t have a costume yet? We’ve been here for [insert increment of time], I’ve already found my costume, pick something out and let’s go.

Continue shaking marionette. I literally can’t even remember what he actually said anymore,

[Mark] : Well, what do you have in your hand? That looks like a mask. A white plastic one. Just buy that and let’s go.

Shake marionette. You know what? Just drop the marionette on the ground. Dim lights, end scene, and have actor one kick the marionette into the audience. Keep ‘em sharp, that’s what I always say.

What are we at? Scene five? Jesus Christ—at least we’re almost done.

Scene 5

The setting is my dorm room, but you know what, you can just use a giant cardboard cut out of a penis for the background. That’ll do just fine. I’m dressed as Heisenberg, and for David, take one of those blow-up sex dolls and set it on a wooden chair. Get a hairy one. I don’t know if they make hairy ones, but get a real hairy one. It’ll be ironic, because neither of us can grow dick for facial hair. Tape a white plastic mask to his hand and we’ll go ahead and cue scene. Go!

[Mark] : Hey, David, I’m talking to the sex doll now, You ready to go, buddy? Got your mask on?

He does not. Let’s have a techie behind the chair moving David’s little sex doll limbs around. Also, let’s go ahead and put an upside-down strap-on on his face. Yeah, like a BDSM Squidward costume. Or Pinocchio’s wet dream. Perfect.

[Mark] : You don’t have your mask on, do you, little guy?  Says I, sitting down next to my phallic friend. Insert stage directions: let’s have penis-nose look at the mask with as much of a thoughtful expression as one Cronenberg sex-doll can muster. 

Now David’s got some dialogue here, so we’ll just represent that with a cardboard cut-out speech cloud, held up behind his head by a techie.

[Speech bubble 1] : Hey, Mark, what does this mask look like to you.

[Mark] : It looks like a white plastic mask, you fuckboy, now put it on.

[Speech bubble two] : I think it looks like it’s sad. Like it’s done something it regrets.

I’m not even joking, he actually said that one. Like, what the hell, am I right? Way out of left field with that speech bubble, David.

[Mark] : That’s just weird, let’s go, buddy.

End scene five.

Scene 6

Scene sex, or six, or—you know what, yeah, scene sex. Just two actors fucking on stage. One of them is wearing the mask, and it’s fucking the other one in the ass and that’s the show, good night and I hope you got your money’s worth.

I set my pen down and looked at the script. My psychologist said to fill out two pages, front and back. She said, “feel free, Mark, to go over that if you want. Use as much space as you feel like you need—I don’t want to limit you in your expression of yourself.”

But my story is real simple. I wrote double spaced, all capitals, and it still only took up one and a half pages, front and back. Yeah, this story’s pretty damn easy. I studied chemistry. I couldn’t take it. I went crazy. I stabbed my friend with a knife.

The end.

Next Chapter