chapter 11


- - taylors movie -–- -–- - – - - - - -  -  -    -    -     -


Whathe hell was that? it was like bein in a foreign country. or your first night at burning man.

something was definatly goin on. even if the whole we-cant-tell-you
thing was just to fuck with me, still— i find that card in my kitchen,
then i get to bluesky and they act like im spose to work there?  you
cant explain that away, sorry. believ me   i tried.

its almost like somebody was tryin to trick me into moving
here. but why would anybody wana do that? and who would want to?
the only person that knew i was comin to athens was claire—

Claire. wow. seems like forever since we talkd. the infamous
curbside drop  off. we never went this long without talkin. i hope she
wasnt worried bout me. i hope she was doin good up there in the big apple.
what was she doin right now? did she miss me? was she mad? would we
live happily ever after?

I pulld out my phone and was suprized to see it wasnt my phone,
it was jesses. it still had three bars, tho. i took it around the corner
behind the brokendown van, for privacy.

817, 664, 5091. SEND


deep breaths


remember to ask about her trip


doesnt matter. shes not gona pick up


Claire? o my god i cant believe i got you! its so

good hear your voice, ive had a crazy trip,

but—  hows new york?

s anybody there?

claire, can you hear me?

cant hear you, hello?

HELLO? claire?

new hotel, it has all this metal in it, i get

terrible reception. Al if this is you callin

from the hotel, ill call you back at this

number, okay sweetie?

keep scrolling

ok but hurry.   claire?

love you bye.

i can still hear the way she said it— love you bye.

like lullaby.


i sat on the bumper of the brokendown van and waited for her to call.


and waited.

fuck bluesky. fuck athens and all these ridiculous people. all i wanted was claire— to talk to her, to see her face, to get back to our life together.

funny. when i was with claire, all i could think about was blue sky. now that id found blue sky—

all i could think about was claire.

Time to go to the hotel. i dont care if it costs two hundred bucks, im gettin a room, lockin the door, and goin the fuck to sleep.

then-- a vibration in my pocket—

jesses phone!

holy shit i was gona talk to claire!

did i realy wana talk to claire?

course i did, what the fuck?

tookout the phone—


i didnt anser.

i heard a voice behind me.

there you are, cool. mind if i get my

phone back, i needa make a quickcall.


hey jesse, i been lookin allover for you.

somebodys callin you right now actualy,

it says dont anser.

my mom. its her anivershry, hold  on.

he took the phone.

hey mom happy anivershry, i was gona call earlier

... ]

i started to leave, but he held up a finger for me to wait.


[ . . . ]

u=huh. . . u=huh. . . mom

[ . . . ]

jesse put his hand over the phone and lookd at me.

can you talk to her a sec, i need a get a coffee.

he handed me the phone without waitin for an anser.

jus say u=huh whenever she stops to take a breath.

and he went into bluesky.

i lookd at the phone in my hand. you could hear the voice of jesses mother comin thru the receiver.

i raisd it cautiously to my ear, and found the woman in
the middle of such a gush of uniterupted syllables— it was stunning.
i could never do her justice, but ill atleast try to give you a taste.

but thats uncle art, you hant met uncle art have you? no he woulda been outa the famly by the time you were old enough to remember, not offishally oranything   we just stopt callin im and he stopt comin around, now sposedly hes gettin married to this woman who already had two kids when she mettim, he hardly ever sees her tho, he works offshore on a rig in louisiana, i wonder if theyll hafta shut it down cause a that oil spill, that would be devastating. but i dont see this one bein any difrent from the last one, remember that carolyn woman? no you woulda been too young, god the heels on her, i thought she was gona fall over, whadaya call em, platforms? like the hippies use to wear?

[ pause ]


oh did i tell you your fathers thinkin a takin social security when he turns sixty five? but you know if you defer til your sixty seven you get a much better deal,

etcetera, til eventially jesse came back and took the phone from me

u=huh. . .

[ . . . ]

mom i gota go, i just ran into a friend.

[ . . . . ]

love ya, happy anivershry.

[ . . . . . ]

bye mom

[ . . . . . . . ]

im hanginup now ok?...  one two three bye.

he hungup.

thanks man i owe ya one. so how ya likin athens so far?

its prety cool.

no kiddin, you can add plus-ten to your cool hit points

just for visitin, where allve you been?

i went to a pizza place, pepinos i think it was calld. and

i went lookin for you and ended up in this tiny record store

run by a manic guy

todd. hes one a the more absurd human beings youll ever meet.

but thats what he gets paid for i guess, he sure aint makin money

sellin records.


im not kiddin. hey man i gotta run but thanks for talkin to my mom,

ill see ya tonite im sure, ill buy ya a drink.

but i dont

[ he was gone before i could finish, so i said it to myself ]


What i didnt think about, until after jesse left, was that now there was no way for claire to call me back. id have to call her. from the hotel i guess. unless i rememberd to pack my charger [ which, lets face it, there was about a zero percent chance of that ]

so the hotel then.

i dont know how long itd been since dave and kathleen left, well over an hour im sure, altho it was gettin hard to keep tracka time. but some piece of intuition told me when somebody in athens says an hour or so it could mean anything up to a day.

i could certainly find the hotel on my own. i found it the firstime, and i wasnt even tryin.

i walkd out to the street to get my bearings. there was
the overlook, id forgotten about the overlook. you could see people
downtown, dotting the sidewalks like ants, occasionally somebody
would push somebody and youd see a speck go shooting off. then—


an explosion.

it came from somewhere near downtown.
a cloud of black smoke was formin on the horizon.


– rhhaa!

the sound of distant cheering.

but look— at the bottom of the hill,

something familiar,

gold and blue...

super 9 sign in trees

the super 9!

not far from here,

maybe two hundred yards as the crow flies. but there was no road i could
see goin that way. it was too steep. id have to take other odd all the way
back downtown, then hike back up odd street. it d take me twenny minutes
at least, if i didnt get lost or run into anymore distractions— which seemd

but dave did say there was a shortcut.

i scand the hillside. a buncha trees between me and the hotel,
it would make sense thered be a trail.

oh, wait— there was a clearing. and it lookd like somebody
had made some steps outa rocks. . . .

The trail was easy to follow,

not cause it was well-markd, but because of all the trash [ beercans
and wiskey bottles, cigaret buts, banana peels, socks. a feather boa.
a condom ]

it was darker in the woods. cooler, too. like summer hadnt quite hit yet. the birds were all chirpin at once. you could tell they were inlove. or fightin.

the trail got less and less litterd as it went. and therefore harder to follow. eventialy i was forced to admit i didnt know which way the trail went. i wouldnt even garantee i was still on the trail. that there still was a trail.

the wind hisst thru the trees. the birds were goin nuts.
somethin screechd, it sounded like a monkey—

i was lost. in a strange wood.
but it wasnt that bad. i hav a terible sense of direction, but atleast i know
which way is down.

there was some undergrowth, but it didnt pose any serius obstacles.
infact, as the hill got steeper i started jumpin over shit, swingin on trees,
i built up some prety good speed—

till i came to a creek—


a scrub tree—

it bent double

slung me back onto the bank.


somethin was comin thru the woods—


i couldnt see anything but trees and vines—



out from between two trees comes this huge dude with a camra infronta his face, runnin RIGHT AT ME.

i wanted to flee  but there was the creek   so i just cowerd.

he pulld up just shorta knockin me in the creek,



and lowerd the camra, an old vhs, i think.
it was huge, whatever it was. and the lens was heldon with packin tape.

the man behind the camra lookd like
stephen spielberg crosst with superman. he was sweating profusely.
his face was so pale it glowd. i would later findout this was due to
sevral layers of sunscreen applied against the aging effects of the
sun. i was already startin to suspect it actually, he smelld like a
coppertone factory.

Ho ho ho, did you see that? theyll swear i used a crane!  hi,

how ya doin im taylor.

he held out a hand. i shook it. it was prety greasy.

i wasnt stalkin ya i promise. . .

[ awkward laugh ]

i was shootin some test footage and you ran into the shot. but

it lookd great, i think we can use it.

you scared the shit outa me.

and well scare the shit outa them. . .  If  i can sell this shot.

we better do it again tho, for covrage.

you want me to be in a movie?

have you never been in a movie before?

well— no.

then todays your lucky day! now go back upthere,

you remember where you started runnin?

taylor sprinted up the hill to where id started running.
he cupd his hands around his mouth and yelld down—


he lookd franticly around. pict somethin up off the ground.

ill mark it with this robitussin bottle. see?

[ he heldup an empty bottle of robitussin ]

ill put it. . . HERE. on the enda this branch.

taylor sprinted back down the hill.

 ’d you see me run up that hill [ pant ] how old would you say i am?

i dont know. thirty five?

c'mon, dont overestimate cause i asked ya. how old were you

thinkin before i askd?

i wasnt thinking of any age.

because im age-less! you think i could pass for twennyeight?

i gota look twennyeight at the oldest when i take this baby

to producers.

i shrugd.

what about without the hat?

taylor doffd his hat [ a baseball cap that said star wars ]
smoothd his hair and smiled like he was havin his picture made for the
cover of E!

maybe a litle younger.


a year or two?

just two years? great. i thought my hair was the one thing i still had goin for me. well, now that youve completely destroyd my confidence, i hope ya wont mind lettin me get one more shot. and this time couldja maybe run a litle faster?

taylor ran up the hill and took his mark.

when he turnd around and saw that i had not also taken my mark—
yall, he was crestfallen. it was hard not to feel sorry for him.

c'mon, atleast gimme one more take. without covrage,

evrything we ve done is basicly— garbage.

how long will it take?

however long it takes ya to runup the hill and run

back down it again.

i agreed. i said id do it one time. i walkt up there to the branch with the robitussin botle on it.

taylor was about twenty feet to my right. he spoke thru an imaginary megaphone—

when i say ACTION, start running. as fast as you can. its ok

if you fall— actualy would you mind FALLING?

ill try.

all i can ask, all i can ask.

taylor lifted the camra up over his head—

and. . .

he raisd his other hand. he seemd on the brink
of hyperventilation.


i ran down the hill as fast as i could, and tried to ignore the fact that there was a madman runnin right behind me not lookin where he was goin.

about halfway down  i rememberd to fall.

falling on purpose is not as easy as you might think.
i didnt quite manage to fall. but i did pretend to stagger.

when i got to the creek i grabd hold of the little tree and did a prety sweet swingout.


taylor skidded to a stop.

pressd an eye to the viewfinder and reviewd the footage with a devius grin.

ho, ho, ho, who needs a crane? not me . . . wait—

what was that thing you did, where you lookd like

an elaphent gettin ready to bowl?

it was spose to be staggering.

didnt look like staggering. lets do it again.

this is startin to sound like more of a time comitment,

i better say no.

cmon, dontcha wana be a star?

no, actualy. i just wana get to my hotel. speakinawich, you

dont happen to know how to get to the super 9 from here?

i do. . .

were close right?

tell ya what— ill get you to the hotel. ill walk you there personly.

but first lets do one more take. and this time if your not gona fall,

atleast look over your sholder, like somethins realy after you. can

you look afraid? leme see you look afraid.

i tried to look afraid.

taylor squinted.

it ll do.

I let him talk me into one more take, that was it. if he tried to make me do another one— well id just keep runnin.

i went up there and took my mark by the branch with the robitussin botle on it.

taylor was already in position. he lookd like he was gettin ready to start the indy 500.


i nodded.

and. . .

he was doin the peepee dance.



a figure came outa the woods and hit taylor
with a flyin tackle!

it was a woman— she lookd like a giantess, but a realyshort one. a midget giantess i guess. i know that doesnt make any sense   but thats what she was like.

taylor tumbled downhill, protecting his camra.

about halfway down he grabd onto a tree

turnd around

stashd his camra behind the tree and assumed a defensiv stance.

Deidra. i thought we agreed no more unprovoked.

you broke the treaty taylor, not me.

the woman closed the gap between herself and taylor with the swift assurance of someone used to combat.

what part?

the no-filmin part, what other part is there?

taylor backd up as far as he could without bein in the creek.

thats just for you and andy, i thought.

and him [ she nodded at me ] were peeps.

taylor lookd at me.

i didnt know.

ignorance’s no excuse. you have two options

taylor, you know what they are.

at this point i began to plot my escape.
i think i could make it across the creek by hoppin on two rocks. but id
hafta hitt em just right. maybe it d be better just to run beside it.

deidra noticed my scheming.

dont run away al, im here to rescue you!

who are you?

im deidra! were peeps! you dont know what that means

yet, but you will soon!

i didnt know what to say.

deidra returnd her atention to taylor.

whats it gona be dude— flee or do battle?

taylor sholderd his camra, said—


and bounded off thru the woods, like george lucas crost with a deer.

i tookoff too.  tho in the oposite direction.

wait! [ deidra yelld ]

i dont know you [ i said ]

but you will,

she said, or somethin like that. i couldnt hear too well cause i was

runnin thru the woods.

So here i am, runnin blind— i have no idea where im goin



in the woods, behind me.

GETTIM MAX! [ deidra shouts ]

i dont look over my sholder—sorry taylor—i just keep runnin—

crunch- cranch

hes prety big, whoever he is—

c r a s h - -

and hes gainin on me


i can hear him, behind me—

gruba- frooff!

what is it, a gorilla?

the trees thin out—

a parking lot!

im five steps from freedom


i trip on a root

i go flying

i remember thinkin—

im gona hit that tree.

keep scrolling

then as they say

in the movies—

fade to black.