I was retracing and reclaiming spaces and memories in a lazy afternoon ahead of Fall chill, and I noticed a leaf along the edge of a yellow curb, fluttering in the still air. …only it was a moth, a giant beautiful moth, struggling to climb up from the heat of the sun toward a shaded tree nearby. As it struggled to climb it was in danger of falling into the rain gutter below.
I knelt down and tried to nudge it along, but its giant wings were too heavy, so it fell back, still struggling. Finally, I offered it my thumb, to which it gasped and clung with dear life, and. Soon thereafter it fell into a closed-eye relaxed sleep.
So I sat there, wondering what to do with my newfound friend, and people gathered around me. Taking its picture and mine too, and photos for themselves, and all were amazed about this giant yellow moth.
Children with smiles and moms, all gathered around this moth resting on my thumb.
It became an instant friend and a messenger of deep resonance. A guide that crossed my path, and now yours, inviting us to the deeper mysteries within and alongside our mundane struggles…
This is a treatment for a film to be shot in SE DC, with Theo as the Principal cast. I wrote this yesterday after interviewing Theo and learning about his life. The short will be filmed this month. Your input is welcome.
This is part of a larger story called Soul Journey. Hope you enjoy it.
SFX: Silence, traces of AMBIENT sound
Opening credits over black
INT. Living Room — Afternoon
POV of CAMERA, crop-framed vignette on back
Hand COVERS the screen as it focuses the lens, moves away, and reveals a man in his mid-thirties stepping back as he sits down on a white leather sofa, still facing the camera. He wears his hair in dreadlocks, slightly disheveled and unshaven. His shirt is bloodstained.
He looks at the camera, away to the sunlight coming through the window, and back to the camera.
“All you people that wish my downfall, all you people that wanted to be me…fuck it, you won, you found my weakness, you found my stop.
(Beat) I did everything I did, negative or positive, for a reason, for my family, for my boy, and now everyone’s gone, so fuck it!”
INT. Living Room — Continuous
POV of Camera, ZOOM in and FULL-frame
“…I did it for money and I didn’t care if the other family had kids, if the mamma got addicted, who I killed… It didn’t matter to me even if it had to do with ruining another person’s life – fuck, they don’t mean shit to me.”
He looks away, snickers acidly, dejected at himself.
“I should’ve known eventually it would’ve caught up with me. It did… I mean everybody’s dead now, and there’s nothing I can do to fix it.
I should’ve stopped long time ago, but I was too stuck, I was too deep.
It’s too late, you can have it now, I don’t have a purpose anymore.”
“My boy, every time he tells me he just wants to be like me, and I’d tell him you’re gonna be better than me. Now everything is gone, my legacy is gone…”
“Shiiit, I got options, I got money — I mean I can go on a suicidal mission and kill everybody who did this to me!
(Beat) everything is real cloudy right now — I mean I just walked in my house and shit man…
The hell with it, as soon as this is done I’m done. I mean I’ve got the gun cocked. I’m not gonna give ‘em the satisfaction of coming in here and busting the door.
So this is my goodbye, I’ll see y’all in hell!”
He reaches down and grabs the crumpled pack of cigarettes from the coffee table and pull out a cig. There’s a Revolver next to the ashtray. He lights the cigarette and blows out the match, flicks it, takes a drag, leans forward and exhales a thick plume of smoke.
(Through the smoke)
“There is so much, I don’t know where to begin. …That baby and his mother I hooked on crack… She OD’d. Later I saw that baby all grown as a teenager without a mother walking the streets high on dope and me hiring that same “baby” to work for me… Fuck that man, for everything there’s a price to pay.
I didn’t give a fuck about that, I mean it is what it is — it was all about money.
Ha, my own old man was strung out all the time. That dude, I mean there was nothing I could do about him ‘cept thinking that I was NOT going to grow up like him to be like him.
I watched him laying on the couch and use that needle, right in front of me, sitting right there, and I was telling myself that when I grow older I’m not going to be like him. There was no looking up to him watching him hit that needle kill himself basically… It stole my hope.
He died when I was twelve. And after that I felt free – he was gone and I didn’t have shit to worry about.
That’s pretty much when I started, when I hit the streets.”
He snuffs the cig on the ashtray and grabs the remote and clicks. Music comes on. “Knights In White Satin” plays. He takes the revolver, leans back on the sofa, and closes his eyes while looking up. Tears flow from his closed eyes.
He opens his eyes. They’re moist and red, and intense.
“You know me, I never rolled with a bunch of people, was always by myself. I got respect from the old G’s in the hood, and they saw that I was down and do whatever for the cause and that’s how I entered the game.
I got in. I mean I hit them streets hard, they saw that I was a hard worker. Eventually it got me where I am at right now… But as you can see, this shit has a heavy price on it…
This shit has two options, behind the bars or in the dirt.
Fuck jail, I’m too good for that. All this shit that I did, people know not to say nothin’ about me cause they know what I did. I say all the people who are in jail are stupid. It don’t work that way with me.
I don’t think I’m the top tog, I know that I am. That’s why everyone wants my spot, that’s why they did this to my family.
Everyone always wants the top dog, they want to knock ‘em off the hill. And I want to let you all know you can have it, this is going to come back to you. You can have all this.
I have no kinfolk, no one to shelter me in my need, and what I have they disowned me back in the day — I have nothing else, this is it – All I had was my family that I built…it’s over… Fuck it.
You good folk out there, you wanna know how it goes down here in the hood? You want to know the heart and soul of what rubs us raw while you feast?
I mean you may look at me and say I kill mothers and fathers and kids and shit, but it wasn’t always like this – I was good how y’all say it.”
Long pause, reminiscing and looking to his right, deep into a distant past. Sighs and looks back at the camera
“My first job I was a lifeguard, saving lives instead of taking lives.
One night I was working late at the pool and I left work to come home — I was living at my aunts and couldn’t stay at my mom’s cause she was high on dope, so I went home knocking on the door. I could hear that everybody was in there but nobody wanted to open the door, so I just said fuck it. All my family was in there and no one was willing to open the door for me, so I went back to the swimming pool and decided to spend the night there.
Before I can go to sleep I hear gunshots, pam pam pam pram. (Gestures with the revolver, pointing it toward the camera)
No one knows I’m at the pool so I hide, and when I come out I see him. …The dude always with the top cars and girls in the neighborhood. I see him stretched out, just like that, with his pistol in his hand, in front of his Lexus on the floor, and I’m standing in front of him and thinking to myself where the fuck is the other nigger, why is he the only one there?
And from that point after seeing that shit I made me a promise that shit’s never gonna happen to me, I’m never gonna slip like that.
I mean I have stories to tell. …I seen my cousin die when his car blew up in a gun-fight. Every time I drive past the building I still see the smoke from that explosion on the wall still to this day. So many of my friends died – maybe if I hadn’t seen all that I’d still be sitting in my home with my family.
Or maybe if I had been in that car with him that would’ve worked too cause then I would not had a family to worry about.
When I was a real young kid back in the hood no one had cars so we’d be walking everywhere. I‘d walk to school through the cemetery and the woods hearing babies cry.
The first time I heard that I’d be what’s that all about? But then I heard it all the time, the crack babies, abandoned in trash cans and wrapped in plastic bags, you get used to it, go to school and forget about that, life takes over and you become desensitized nohin’ fucks with you, nothing penetrates.”
With his left hand he touches the wound on his shoulder, grimaces in pain and hidden rage, regains his composure and looks back at the camera.
“Being in this line of business that’s the one thing I could’ve learned, that’s what you ought to do, offing families and niggers, ordering hits and taking out hits.
Smiling in their face and shooting ‘em in the back two hours later you laugh and forget about it.
But all that ain’t shit matter now, cause all you mother fuckers figured it out…”
He looks down, rocking back and forth, leaning forward, looks up at the camera.
“I remember when my boy was born, when he opened his eyes and looked up to me and I realized something changed in me, something was different, he depended on me. It was something I never had and I didn’t want to continue that so you all fuck it.
Even though I’m doing negative shit out here in the streets I still don’t want my son to tell himself that he didn’t want to be like me. I wanted to succeed and work harder for him. This was my job.
I was successful at what I do in killin’ people and all that shit, at selling drugs, and he could be proud of me. I wanted him to see that I was successful.
I didn’t want him to be a mini me when I was his age.
Others meant shit. In my line of business emotions get you killed, it means you’re weak – I guess I’m weak now aren’t I? I mean I had all these people ‘round me working for me looking up to me and I could not show any weakness… I was their general. All that nonsense.
Anyhow, it’s about that time.
Its about that time, ‘bout that time. You happy mother fuckers? I bet you’re smiling right now, smiling ear to ear. You about to have my spot, killed my mother fucking family, killed my son. You all happy right now, partying, popping bottles and all types of that shit, hmm real funny, …funny, that’s real funny.
It’s aright tho, it’s aright, its aright…”
His eyes are welled with tear, looking slightly off camera into a memory, cradling the revolver close to his chest, clutching it with both hands. The gun gleams and bristles in cold blue steal sheen.
“TJ… TJ I’m sorry. Daddy fucked up. I’m sorry, you didn’t deserve this, none of this.
Shit, I though I was doing right by you. As you see I wasn’t. I’m gonna make everything right tho, daddy can fix this shit. I am gonna fix this, cause that’s what I do, I fix things, I fix things; this ain’t nothin’ cause I know how to fix it. You all just left, but it’s gonna be alright. We’re all gonna be back together again.
We’re gonna play basketball like we always used to, it’s gonna be like always.
…They motherfucking figured out how to stop me! they shot my kid!
Who shoots a kid? Who fucking shoots a kid?”
Cut to black Over SFX: Percussive BANG of the revolver
Credits roll over escalating soundtrack ricocheting the gunshot as drumbeats. A love song.
We welcome Maral Abkarian as a guest artist and look forward to her growth and explorations as she shares her vision with us.
In the upcoming weeks another talented artist from a remote destiny will be joining us with a special mission. We think you will be pleasantly surprised.
The Madonna series will be launched on the 27th of January with the first session in DC and the second session in NYC toward the latter half of February. The project will star Susanne MÃ¼ller as the divine goddess in subtle shades of hue!
Jaunary 30th will be the launch date for the first phase of the Jan Ra project. We’re excited about Divya’s collaboration. We’ll keep you posted as the project develops!don’t be surprised if the next posting is from deep in the Jungles of South India! Aly’s fierce eyes will grace the beat of your heart.
We’re looking forward to collaborating with Perry Schawrtz on a couple of upcoming film shorts. This will be our first significant foray into filmmaking, so you can imagine the charge in the air, sparks flying, wires frying, equipment malfunctioning!don’t worry, it’s all intentional, you’re supposed to smell the melting plastic!
The Kenya project will be launched on the 8th of February literally flying out of Dulles sort of launch — in collaboration with Priya she’s the one in Khaki clothes and Safari hat — and with assistance from Bishop Mutemi of Genesis. What do you get if you mix “blood diamond” , the Heart of Darkness, and dash of naivety, stirred in a heavy syrup of hypocrisy? You get our upcoming Africa project. Don’t expect miracles, the most we’re hoping for is flayed soul.
In conjunction with the Kenya project look for our upcoming World Bank exhibit late in February. Amazing paintings we think so — mini docu-art, and penetrating photographs. You get the picture, we’ve got big plans and talk big and…
If you’ve been invited to our exclusive fundraiser event, count yourself as one of the chosen; otherwise keep pulling on the sword!
In other news, talks are progressing with several key galleries in NYC for our late spring exhibition in Soho. We’ll keep you posted. And if you’re hip, we’ll invite you to our opening.
Captain Elan is entering its illustration stage and will be soon ready for an in-depth review. If you’re on the list of editors, then be ready to be delighted into the candy apple yester of your memories!
Shift! For those of you in the know, enough said. For the rest, what you don’t know won’t seduce you, desire is based on knowledge, or is it ignorance? There’s that thin red line again
Well!There is more, lots more, as far as the eye can see and the spirit can soar, we’ve got wings and big ambition, so join our Quixotic adventure as we court our Dulcinea and dance with Beatrice, frolic in Yin fantasy stirring in the womb of the Magdalenian princess! reach for those darn holes in the blanket of heavens