My First Screenplay and My Brother's Cat
by Eric Bosse
My brother Ed casually -- maybe even subconsciously -- pinched his nose and let go.
He said, "It needs revision, that's all. A little work."
"Like I said," I said. "It's a first draft and rough at that."
Ed's whole face squeezed in on itself, as if he'd swallowed sour milk. He shook his head and smiled.
"What?" I said.
"You're going in the wrong direction." He straightened a pile of Scientific Americans on his coffee table. He petted his cat, Borg.
I said, "What direction would you take?"
He opened the script to page three (the part where Chaco and JoeyBoy fist-fight in the alley behind Bouncer's Bar) and said, "Take this line."
I sipped my beer. "What's wrong with it?"
In a slow deadpan voice that destroyed the line's rhythm, Ed read: "'You bettah fuckin' shut yo jealous ass up 'fore I shut it for ya.'"
I said, "It's street poetry."
Ed waved the page in the air. "It's obscene and dumb and overwritten, not to mention anatomically impossible."
I flicked my bottle cap off the coffee table, across the floor. Borg the cat chased the cap into the corner by the TV. "Anything else?" I asked.
"Well," Ed said, "yeah. For one thing, it's highly unlikely that a guy who made fifty million bucks on the stock market by the age of 26 would give up his career to take a bisexual prostitute around the world for S&M adventures, you know, or that the trip would be her only escape from a foul-mouthed pimp."
"So the script needs a massage," I said.
Ed nodded. "It needs major surgery. Oh, and the pimp's gadgets."
I took a handful of peanuts from the bowl on the coffee table. "The Rolex?"
"Um, it had a mini-grappling hook."
Ed reached for the beer cap Borg had batted under the sofa. "The climactic scene in the Eiffel Tower elevator shaft doesn't work for me, either. Oh, and the closing line."
"What about it?"
Ed flipped to the last page. "'Maria,'" he read, "'let's go for that martini.'"
I said, "So?"
"It's the dumbest, most moronic, alcohol-glorifying, lowbrow ending of any movie I've ever heard of. Bad made-for-cable shows have better endings."
"Don't hold back," I said.
"I thought there might be something salvageable, but. . ."
"Aw," he said, "I mean, there are definitely good moments."
I ate a peanut. "Like what?"
"You know," he said. "The sex scenes were well written. Have you actually been to bed with two women?"
I shrugged. "It's not so hard to imagine."
"You must have imagined it a lot. Great details. And the James-Bond-meets-Pretty-Woman concept probably hasn't been done too many times before."
I ate another peanut.
"Oh, and the montage sequence near the beginning," he said, "when Andy follows Maria through the ghetto, watches her shooting up, turning tricks, getting beaten up by Felix -- that was effective."
"So you think I have some talent?"
"Definitely," he said, scratching Borg behind the ears. "If you really put effort into it, you could go a long way."
"You're right," I said. "I've got work to do."
Ed picked up the remote and unmuted a car commercial.
I tossed a peanut into the air and caught it in my mouth. Borg crawled into my lap. I scratched his neck. He purred.
I cleared my throat. "Which title should I use?" Ed glanced at the cover page. "I like 'International Blonde' better than 'Ho No Mo,' but neither is what I'd call a perfect fit."
His eyes drifted back to the TV.
Ed didn't look my way again until Borg hissed and moaned as I tossed him out the open window, into the shrubbery.
About the author:
Eric Bosse makes stories, screenplays, poems and films. He lives in Colorado, eats way too much cheese, and dreams of someday being mistaken for Morrissey. He is also hard at work on the second draft of his novel, Kings and Queens of America. Oh, and he edits The God Particle.