Archive for Death

Death is for Losers! And What It Takes to Make a Short Film

Posted in Blog, Making-Of with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 14, 2016 by Rathan Krueger

It’s been four Summers since my first attempt at making a film. For reasons mostly involving me, it turned into a short film that wasn’t close to what I wanted it to be. I didn’t mean for the gap twixt one directing gig and the other to be so long. I’ve tried many times to get another film off the ground, but it’s damn hard to convince people to give you money if you have nothing to show (but I had nothing to show because I didn’t have money [oh, you vicious cycle…]). I did get a chance to direct again last year, but that was more of a sketch than a drawing. I’m still proud of it, though.

I decided to back away from being a writer-director, for a while, and became just a writer. Almost immediately, things started happening. I wrote a feature film that led me to being part of a production company, Artigianale Films. I made a few industry connections. I got two IMDB credits by way of shorts I wrote. I wrote a dark comedy web series that’ll premiere in September.

I got to write and direct DEATH IS FOR LOSERS!

Here’s the script, too: Death is for Losers!

And the IMDB entry.

The story behind it, like most things, is interesting. The web series has one director and I thought that I could direct an episode. To ease the burden and to get behind the camera. But he said, and I agreed, that things are better with one voice. There was a brief period twixt auditions and filming for the web series where, if I really wanted to, I could squeeze in a short film. And I really wanted to. So I started thinking about what to make.

I knew that it had to have one location, two actors, and very few camera set-ups to comfortably do it in the time I had. Three weeks, from conception to final edit. I wanted to make a comedy (or what passes for a comedy) because I wanted a pallet-cleanser from my usual brand of Sturm und Drang. I quickly latched onto the idea of two women plotting to kill a man, which led to the original title: HOW TO FAIL THE BECHDEL TEST (AND HAVE FUN DOING IT). Because a way to fail the Bechdel Test is to have the female characters do nothing but talk about men. The women were gonna gripe about a man in their lives and settle on killing them. Then it became one woman killing hers and the other killing him in a song. Because of that, one became a martial artist (Ileana) and the other became a musician (Freya). Then I changed the title to DEATH IS FOR LOSERS!, because they were gonna kill/”kill” the losers in their lives. Then Ileana became a lesbian and a musician.

I thought about why they’d kill, and quickly latched onto Freya having a terrible father. With Ileana, I didn’t wanna fall into the trope of a psychotic lover. But I wanted her to have, from her perspective, a strong reason for murder. That’s when I thought of objectophilia. To be left for an inanimate object is grounds to at least entertain the thought of murder, methinks. Then I changed it so they both kill with a song. If I kept the original idea, Ileana was gonna slip more and more into derangement, Freya takes her outside for a smoke, and they pretend like everything’s ok. But since they’re “killers”, it felt better to leave them on the stairs.

Them talking about the worst things in their lives came about because I wanted to make a 20-minute short and needed a way to fill the time. I also wanted to build up to Ileana’s dramatic reveal. Another thing I wanted to do throughout the short was to show sex in a positive as well as a negative light. Usually, sex is A Very Bad Thing, and I wanted it to be A Thing. Freya masturbates and doesn’t feel guilty, Ileana loves burlesque shows, Freya had a bout of incest when she was wee, Ileana’s lover left her for a roller coaster… Oh, and even though Ileana (rightfully) has bad feelings about her ex, I didn’t wanna make fun of objectophilia. It’s an easy joke, and I didn’t think that mocking a fetish was funny. If it’s not child-endangerment or snuff, I don’t see the problem with kink.

Albert Brooks once said that he’s funny in the way people are funny and not the way comedians are funny. That always stuck with me. A comedian has to make everything funny: it’s their job. People don’t have to be funny all the time. That’s the kind of “humor” I was going for twixt Freya and Ileana. If something makes you laugh, great, but I wanted them to keep your attention rather than make you chuckle. Now, sometimes I go for the funny, but I’m content with you not cracking a smile while you watch.

I wrote the camera angles in the script because I was directing and I wanted everyone to know what I wanted.

After writing (and reading aloud what I wrote to make sure that it’s easy for the actresses to say), I put out an ad on Craigslist. I hear the site gets lots of flack, but it’s been nothing but good to me, so far. I put out character descriptions, what I was able to pay (nothing, but I’d make lunch and give IMDB credits), and when auditions would be. I got a few replies… then I sent parts of the script and got fewer re-replies. I knew that was gonna be the case, though. Freya and Ileana weren’t traditional women, so I was prepared to see a nice drop-off in interested actresses. I wanna point out, though, that I wrote in the ad that I was looking for any race, and that the age range was 20s-40s. I don’t write with anyone in mind, though I do have traits tucked away. It’s a matter of finding the right person for the role, to me, not the right name.

Over a Saturday or a Sunday, I saw a few actresses. One stood out to me as a great Ileana, though she came in for Freya. Lexi had an energy that I thought counterbalanced Ileana’s gloom. Imagine if Fairuza Balk played Lydia, and you have an idea of my mindset. Freya was a character who WAS the spotlight, so having a high-energy actress play her could’ve tipped the scales. Luckily, Lexi understood and latched onto Ileana. Later, she thanked me because, after reading the script, she felt that Freya would’ve been harder for her to pull off. Freya came by way of an actress who almost couldn’t be at the audition. The day that I was gonna reserve the rehearsal room for x amount of hours, I got a reply from Nadia asking if there was space left. She wasn’t sure which character was right, then settled on Freya. Her audition was interesting because she almost talked herself out of it before she started. As a director, you have to be the calm in front of any storm that comes your way, so I just had to be reassuring and patient.

Soon after auditions, I had rehearsals. Part of casting is finding the right performers for one another along with finding the right performers, so I was glad that Lexi and Nadia were friendly as soon as they met. The first day of rehearsals was in a big room with three chairs. I didn’t want them to get too used to acting in the space because the location was a living room. They might plan their routine with chairs in a big room when they’re supposed to be on couches and stairs in a living room. The point of that day was to get them to know their characters and lines so that when they got to the location, they were ready.

I had specific ideas of what I wanted, but casting the right way meant that I didn’t have much to say. It might’ve been weird for the actresses, me not giving lots of direction (especially during filming), but they were doing most of the things I wanted already so all I had to say was “Yeah, that’s fine.” I’m not at all one of those dictatorial directors or asshole directors who feel the only way to get what they want is to scream or treat people like shit. I’ve learned from the best that the best way for actors and actresses to give a great performance (a director doesn’t get great performances) is to make them comfortable. That doesn’t mean be a pushover or let them do whatever the fuck they want, it means to let them feel that they can do anything and be safe doing it. Martin Scorsese and David Lynch don’t get people wanting to work with them again unless they create safe environments, because their films are so intense and demanding.

What surprised me most about Lexi and Nadia was what happened after rehearsals. We only had about a week left before shooting, and they took it upon themselves to rehearse with each other, with no provocation from me. They went to a place that had two couches and rehearsed for a night, then called each other to rehearse throughout the week. They wouldn’t have done that unless they thought the script was good, so I had to make more than sure that I wouldn’t let them down when it came time to direct.

We had a day and a half to shoot, which was whittled down from three days due to life getting in the way. I would’ve preferred to have shot in sequence, but because the first day was the half-day, we had to shoot the stair stuff first. We rehearsed that a few times, but it was hard for them because, y’know, it was the end. They made it through, though, and we finished up on time. The second day was everything else, and we shot that pretty much in sequence. Instead of moving the camera back and forth, we shot all the stuff with one angle, then moved to another one, and on and on. The ladies rocked it so well that we ended up finishing three hours earlier.

Then came editing. I was really up against the clock (two days, in all) because the web series was starting soon and the computer I was editing on was gonna need the space. It wouldn’t have been so bad if my hard drive didn’t make all the footage skip during playback. You can imagine how I felt when I was cutting together Freya talking about Rusty and her half-brother. Luckily, the skipping didn’t mean the rendering was gonna skip, too. What also sucked was that the clips didn’t snap together, so I had to zoom in a lot to make sure they were connected in the work area. There were a few slight hiccups during filming that I knew I could fix in editing, that’s why there are black cards with words during certain shots (to hide the two takes). Then I noticed there was a gap towards the beginning, so I had to slide EVERYTHING incrementally. Then the footage was shorter after that point, so I had to stretch EVERYTHING incrementally. There was a little vignetting added and I wanted to add some grain, but the rendering would’ve taken too long. Then it was just a matter of putting in the credits and the songs I made. Then gloating while feeling geekily proud because I finished editing the same day that SUICIDE SQUAD did.

I burned the short to a DVD and was ready to show it to the world… then I saw that the DVD split the file so that there was an 18-minute clip and a two-minute clip. I fixed it soon after, and released it. It’s submitted to one festival, and I’ll submit it to another at the end of the month. I’m so proud of it because of what I did, and also because of the people involved. Hope you enjoy it and whatever else I do in the future.

Death is for Losers! - Poster

The Sullen Doll

Posted in Fiction, Poem with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 6, 2016 by Rathan Krueger

It dangles
From the ceiling, the sky… from underneath
Its strings sing nervously
From flesh, sanguine-stained
Memories of red gave way to caked blackness
The once-turgid strings are brittle due to the arid nature of neglect
Yet they still hold, yet they still sing
The body is still warm, you see

Agony and despair… that is their melody
Played in time with the distant clock
Fading more with each titillated breath
A melody she taught herself to play

Her clock has almost forgotten how to chime
Though it is almost midnight
She does not lament, no
This has all been her choice
Each nick, bruise, and lash
If she has one regret
In her life abruptly lush with ecstasy and torment
It is that she never learned moderation
Lucretia, the patron saint of overindulgence

I believe it began with a kiss
As all worthwhile things should
His fingers were lost, entangled in my hair
And I liked it
They pulled, his strength made the gesture a dull ache
And I liked it
The familiar roughness made its way to every part of me
And I Loved It
My adamantine heart was melted by an exceptional sensuality
He warned me to nurse my endeavor, lest it became my addiction
“Watch it close, let it brew.”
But I yearned too hastily for so much more
The path to sainthood begins with death
Though I had no interest in piety
My hurried lust brought me to the Reaper, just the same

Lucretia eventually found
That there is a place in this world for everyone
No matter how deranged their desire
Even if it is to become the dangling woman
A gruesome plaything to her impatient appetite
A puppet… a doll

One last tickling shiver
And her fallow clock wafts finally into entropy

The dead are breathless
Yet there is an intimate truth on the wind
From their rictus grin
To your unwilling ear
“I’ll see you soon. Bound and able.”

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On a Star(man)

Posted in Fiction, Poem with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 4, 2016 by Rathan Krueger

 

The infinite velvet of the universe
Pinpricked with distant rays
In an instant, grows heavier
And sags with remorse
For on the pebble caught in the weave
The one we call rarely
A candle has gone out
Whose light stretched beyond the beyond
Whose absence has left deranged
Those who have felt his warmth and shade

Stricken thought the velvet
A million apocalypses rain
Obliterating pebble, rock, and stone
Born of longing and of anguish
The emotions that follow the dead
And he is gone
His grave a crack in the past
Little wonder no longer

After the apocalypses ran their courses
While the peoploids dwell in abject woe
A starchild wills itself to be
Gender-faded, to Mother Nature’s chagrin
The overwhelming gloom snatches its attention
And it tries to wipe off the viscous misery
But misery doesn’t let go, does it?
“What… this?”
Sadness, ‘Child
“What… that?”
The worst feeling that can ensnare
“Feeling?”
The unified field that connects all
“I… feel?”
Yes, ‘Child, even you
“I… sad.”
No, not quite
“I am Sad.”
The Starchild carries out its first folly
By letting others define it
But the definition comes from a cosmos in mourning
Thus the title becomes fate
The tackiness of misery is too much for Sad
And decides to give the slime a home
Its nails scrape the velvet
Until a spark flits away
Sad cups the tiny spark in its stellar hands
Fills the spark with its namesake still wet with paint
And releases it into the velvet
As the spark soars, it grows
In mass and despondency
Until it becomes what it was meant to be
A beacon star for tragedy
Twinkle, twinkle, Uncle Floyd
Its rays are a lighthouse for gloom
And gloom it finds
And gloom is drawn
Like a ship of suicides sailing across the morass
But sadness is indifferent to its surroundings
Thus the pulsar also drains
Perverts
Destroys
Apathetic Uncle Floyd

Sad realizes
Too soon or too late
The terror of Uncle Floyd
And collapses the beacon star
Pregnant with things that should and should not be
The bouillabaisse of emotions explodes
Staining the infinite velvet in remarkable ways
Sad shapes the cornucopia of colors
And surrounds them with dispassionate sparks
Until a constellation-like countenance stares at Sad
With a jagged nebula from brow to cheek
Sad smiles its first smile
And dubs its art…
“Loving the alien.”

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By David Mack

In the Storm, Death’s Maiden

Posted in Fiction, Poem with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 8, 2015 by Rathan Krueger

It started with rain, a ghastly rain that fell in spite
Of the lacking clouds through the hours not taking flight
A ghastly rain that fell and made dirt roads into clay
The infant pottery clasped my feet along the way
A shoe I lost, and then a sock, as I lost my fight
Against the ghastly rain until I had felt the light
The water curtain was so dense, all one saw was gray
One could only feel the light and find out where it stay
If I could relapse the Time Wheel… If I had the right
I’d make myself drown instead of suffering that fright

A fellow woman welcomed me with these words: “Good night.”
I thought it queer, but I should have let those words ignite
My intuition instead of casting it astray
Instead of leading me to where I… I now decay
Cruelty is not a game that only men delight
In playing. Womanly absences are so contrite
It’s what makes us so dangerous, our “victim” ballet
Some are truly weak, others wear the veil to portray
So that they lull, that they lure, that you take their invite
Into their parlors where, with your blood, they excite

I took her hand, the fool that I was: she took my life
Under her floor I rot, soaking up the ghastly rain

Daily Dialogue: When Love Must Die

Posted in Dialogue, Fiction with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 18, 2015 by Rathan Krueger

Even when all I have is the tiny keyboard on my tiny smartphone screen, I’ll still write two imaginary women talking to each other for 40 minutes like I do everyday. But I’m not happy about it.

Caitrin
Hey.

Josie
You’re back.

Caitrin
Of course I am. Where else would I go?

Josie
Away from me.

Caitrin
Never.

Josie
You’ll have to soon, whether you want to or not. Death has a way of ending things.

Caitrin
You’re not gonna die.

Josie
Is it always hard for an immortal to accept death?

Caitrin
Only when it involves someone they love.

Josie
We’ve been together for over fifty years. I think that’s a good run.

Caitrin
It is.

Josie
You really should find another immortal to be with.

Caitrin
We don’t exactly wanna be found.

Josie
I’ve never asked you this.

Caitrin
What?

Josie
Do you know… how you became immortal?

Caitrin
No. It’s strange but I woke up one day and knew I couldn’t die.

Josie
Did you celebrate?

Caitrin
This was thousands of years ago. We didn’t know how the sun worked back then, so to simultaneously understand the concept of death and know it didn’t apply to me… It took a long time before I could do anything.

Josie
Did you try dying?

Caitrin
No. And it was decades after my epiphany that I died the first time.

Josie
How did that happen?

Caitrin
I never told you?

Josie
No. And I never thought to ask. I figured that it’d be too traumatic to remember.

Caitrin
It used to be and, once in a while, it still is. But I’ll endure for you if it happens.

Josie
You don’t have–

Caitrin
It’s fine. It’s actually a quick story. Rape was pretty common back then, and I had the misfortune of being in the city of a losing army while the winning army invaded.

Josie
Oh no.

Caitrin
It wasn’t the first time I was raped to death. Probably won’t be the last, if he world’s as cyclical as it has been.

Josie
That’s so horrible.

Caitrin
It wasn’t always men. Or human.

Josie
What do you mean?

Caitrin
Sometimes, for “sport,” I was thrown into animal stalls and forced to do things.

Josie
You had to have fought back.

Caitrin
Look at me. I’m stuck the way I was since that thousands-year-old day. I can’t get muscles and my body can’t adapt to fighting. I can retain knowledge, but knowing isn’t enough. That’s why Neo didn’t use his kung-fu on that guy in the third Matrix film. Like it or not, men have better muscles than women most of the time. Definitely better than me. And never underestimate the power of lust. So no matter what kind of fighting back I could do, they’d always win.

Josie
I’d die before I’d let someone rape me.

Caitrin
I thought so, too. But when I was around 1,500, I gave up.

Josie
Why?

Caitrin
Got tired of waking up in weird places. And some people are turned on by corpses.

Josie
Humans are horrible.

Caitrin
Most of them.

Josie
Is that what death is like? Sleeping?

Caitrin
For me, it is. But everyone has a different experience.

Josie
How so?

Caitrin
I don’t know what goes own in peoples’ minds when they die. I can only watch them. Some handle it differently than others. But you’ve seen enough shows, films, and plays to know that.

Josie
Yeah…

Caitrin
You know, you don’t have to die soon.

Josie
You’re a magician and an immortal now?

Caitrin
In a way. I told you that it’s almost impossible for immortals to find each other. But it’s in complete opposition to how easy it is for one of us to make another.

Josie
How?

Caitrin
Eat my flesh.

Josie
What?

Caitrin
Just as I knew that I was immortal, I knew that I could make another if they ate a piece of me.

Josie
Have you? Made another immortal?

Caitrin
Eight.

Josie
Where are they?

Caitrin
Wherever the eternally reclusive go. But I didn’t love them as I love you.

Josie
I don’t want to live forever.

Caitrin
Why not?

Josie
I love you so much, Caitrin, and that love would continue. For a while. But that love would erode and pervert into hate. Because nothing lasts. What once we found dear, even for over half a century, would eventually tear us apart for eternity. No, I don’t want to be immortal. I would rather death bring us apart than hatred.

Daily Dialogue: Happy Birthday

Posted in Dialogue, Fiction with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 17, 2015 by Rathan Krueger

Forty minutes a day, I write the brain droppings of two imaginary women. Or rather, in today’s case, a woman and a girl.

Cheryl
This hike is fun, Mom!

Mom
Yeah… fun. Remind me why you wanted to do this for your birthday.

Cheryl
Because it’s nice to get out of the house and into nature once in a while.

Mom
I don’t think we’ve passed a single person on this trail.

Cheryl
Those idiots are probably inside watching the series finale of that show, and missing these wonders.

Mom
That’s right now? Crap, did I set the DVR? I’ll call home and check.

Cheryl
Methinks you’ll have a problem…

Mom
Why is there no service here? Mount Everest has WiFi but I can’t get a signal here?

Cheryl
Because it’s nature! And activists got a bill passed. Said the radio waves screwed with the squirrels or whatever. It’s just us up here, with no disturbances.

Mom
Oh. I’m so glad.

Cheryl
C’mon, Mom, I thought you’d be happy to be with me. I’m happy to be with you. I only get one chance to be nine, and I’m glad you’re here with me.

Mom
I am happy.

Cheryl
Yeah, sure.

Mom
I’m happy! I just wish I set the DVR.

Cheryl
There’s OnDemand, Mom.

Mom
Oh yeah. Yeah! Let’s get hiking! Where are we going?

Cheryl
To the top.

Mom
All the way to the top? Can’t you take it easy on your mom? I mean, you’re nine. I’m not.

Cheryl
Ok… I guess. Where do you wanna stop?

Mom
Anywhere that’s not the top.

Cheryl
A step before the top?

Mom
No.

Cheryl
Two steps?

Mom
If I didn’t believe in not beating my kids…

Cheryl
Ok, ok. What about the next pine tree we see?

Mom
Pine tree? Yeah, I can do that. Pine tree. Yeah. Let’s find it.

Cheryl
Yay!

Mom
Just be careful. I don’t want an angry bear to come after us.

Cheryl
Why would a bear come after us?

Mom
I dunno, bear reasons? Animals don’t make sense anymore.

Cheryl
I think you just don’t pay attention to animals.

Mom
Hey, I respect their space and they respect mine. I stay away from anywhere that smells like pee and–

Cheryl
EWWWWWWWW! Mom!

Mom
What? Oh, come on, you do it everyday.

Cheryl
I don’t wanna hear about this.

Mom
You used to do it in a diaper, too. Someone had to wipe you and change you…

Cheryl
Mom!

Mom
And then there were the times you made sticky boom-boom.

Cheryl
Mo– MOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!

Mom
Cheryl! Baby, are you ok?! Baby, can you hear me?! I’m coming down, just stay there!!

Cheryl
Mom…?

Mom
I’m coming, baby!

Cheryl
Mom, I hurt all over.

Mom
It’ll be ok, baby! Just keep talking so I can find you!

Cheryl
Mom, I think… something’s broken.

Mom
Don’t say that, sweetie! I’m almost there! I’m almost– Oh no.

Cheryl
What is it, Mom? Why do I hurt… all over? I can’t see…

Mom
Don’t move! Just don’t move and-and–

Cheryl
Mom, you’re scaring me…

Mom
HELP!! HELP, SOMEBODY!!

Cheryl
No one’s gonna hear you… Remember?

Mom
Then I’ll call–

Cheryl
Phones don’t work, either… Is it that bad, Mom? Is it why I can’t see?

Mom
Cheryl… I’m gonna get help.

Cheryl
Please don’t leave me, Mommy.

Mom
But I have to, baby.

Cheryl
Please… Don’t…

Mom
But we need to get you some help.

Cheryl
I’m cold…

Mom
You’re cold?

Cheryl
I watched enough movies… to know what’s… next…

Mom
I can’t lose you, baby. I can’t lose you.

Cheryl
But I’m gonna die…

Mom
You are NOT gonna die.

Cheryl
I don’t wanna… alone… I want you here… Mommy, please don’t… please don’t…

Mom
Ok, baby. I’ll stay.

Cheryl
Can we… make up Heaven until I… I…

Mom
We can do whatever you want, baby.

Cheryl
I wanna make it… pink…

Mom
I don’t think the guys up there would like it.

Cheryl
It’s… my birthday… They’ll understand…

Mom
That’s right. It’s your birthday.

Cheryl
I… I don’t blame you… Mommy… I’m glad we… we had today… even if I made you… miss your… show…

Mom
Oh, fuck the show.

Cheryl
Mommy… language…

Daily Dialogue: Dying and Recovering

Posted in Dialogue, Fiction with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2015 by Rathan Krueger

Due to yesterday being hectic and a headache taking me down, I wasn’t able to write anything. But I’m back to normal now and with great news: I got a professional screenwriting job. Signed the contract Tuesday. As for now, two new women are up to my same old tricks. Talking to each other for 40 minutes with nothing planned.

Dana
Can life really be so bad?

Tricia
Depends on who you ask. The starving man has a different opinion than the wealthy man.

Dana
I’m not talking about economics, though.

Tricia
What are you talking about, then?

Dana
Just… life. Can it be so bad?

Tricia
Compared to what? Death?

Dana
Yeah.

Tricia
Well, I have no idea what happens after I can’t wake up anymore, so I’d have to say that life’s pretty good.

Dana
But what if death’s better?

Tricia
Can’t see how. Unless you count that psychedelic trip your brain gives you to sail you into the great nothing.

Dana
It does what now?

Tricia
Scientists found out recently that’s what happens when you die. Death is an acid trip, man.

Dana
I thought you didn’t know what happens when you die.

Tricia
I meant after that. With the info-crazed society we have now, I thought that would’ve been all over the place now.

Dana
Nyet. That’s what happens? Really? I better not take any of those drugs, then.

Tricia
Why?

Dana
They say that your first psychedelic trip is the most intense. Why deprive my good-guy brain the chance to astound me one last time?

Tricia
So you’ve never tripped before?

Dana
No, I’m too in love with my mental faculties to try something like that. You?

Tricia
Too afraid.

Dana
Why?

Tricia
I hear it’s essentially a direct tap into your subconscious. Whatever things you keep deep inside are put on parade and you can’t get away.

Dana
So it’d help to not hate yourself.

Tricia
Yeah. And to accept yourself.

Dana
See? Even death is telling you to love yourself.

Tricia
How can I? I’m so dirty.

Dana
You’re still carrying the baggage that abusive fuck made you carry. It’s a good thing you didn’t know me when you were with him. Or is it a bad thing…

Tricia
I get it, but he’s gone now and that’s what’s important.

Dana
He’s obviously not if you still think of yourself the way he made you.

Tricia
I was with him for three years and without him for eight months. Excuse me for not being quick on the recovery.

Dana
Has he tried getting in contact with you since last time?

Tricia
No, I got a P.O. Box like you told me, and changed my number so only important people and people who don’t know him have it.

Dana
Aw, I’m important.

Tricia
You do bake a mean cake.

Dana
Only good for cake, am I?

Tricia
And conversation. I guess. And today, I didn’t get sad when I woke up with him not there.

Dana
After eight months? You better had. But seriously, I’m proud of you.

Tricia
I’m proud of me, too… but I still miss him, sometimes. And I know what you’re gonna say, but you don’t know the job he did on me. The brainwashing and the–

Dana
I was gonna say that I understand. A few months ago, I wouldn’t have. Since then, I’ve learned to speak Tricia. A very odd language.

Tricia
I’m surprised you can get through my chicken scratch writing.

Dana
Hey, I didn’t say that I could read Tricia. That’s gonna take at least another year, so don’t write any legally-binding papers just yet.

Tricia
Darn. I was gonna draw up my will, too.

Dana
Which is a great way to go back to my question: can life be so bad? I mean, you spent three years of yours in an abusive relationship.

Tricia
Yeah, but I’m not four years old. And I still feel like shit, but it won’t last. I’ll eventually get over it and regenerate into The Third Tricia.

Dana
Third?

Tricia
The first one was life before the darkness. The second one is life in the darkness.

Dana
Ah. What do you want life after the darkness to be like.

Tricia
Bright.

Dana
Ha. Ha.

Tricia
I’d like to think that I won’t fall into another chasm, but people are stupid and love magnifies that stupidity. I can only hope that my strong arm is there to protect me.

Dana
As long as I don’t get splashed with love’s stupid juice, you can count on me.

Tricia
Is there someone on your radar?

Dana
No, but you know how these things go. Living your life until one day, you’re living their life.

Tricia
Yeah…

Dana
Oh, Tricia, I’m sorry.

Tricia
Don’t worry about it. I’m traumatized, not delicate. I don’t wanna kill myself every time someone makes an unintentional reference to old pain.

Dana
That’s good.

Tricia
Otherwise, my blood would’ve been on your hands the week after we met.

Dana
Did you know that the English make pudding out of blood?

Tricia
What? What’s it called?

Dana
Blood pudding.

Tricia
THAT’S blood pudding? I thought it was… I dunno, cherry pudding. Or strawberry pudding.

Dana
Nope. Type-O pudding for you.

Tricia
What’s kidney pie?