Archive for Short

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

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(bitter)Sweet Thing

Posted in Dialogue, Fiction with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 21, 2015 by Rathan Krueger

I hate that I haven’t been able to do my writing exercises, but I have the best reason. Been too busy with being creative! I’ve had SO much to do lately, with writing and recording things (like interviews with Holocaust survivors), that I haven’t had time to come back here. But this is here and I like doing things here, so I’m gonna post something here every, max, two weeks. Sometimes it might be a writing exercise, sometimes it might be a poem, or a short story, or maybe even an essay. I’ve wanted to write a few pop-culture essays for a long time, but talked myself out of them for one reason or another. Anywho, I have something new to post: a short film script I wrote for someone. The only rule was that I had to use elderly characters.
EXT. PORCH – NIGHT

We catch an elderly man and woman in the middle of their
conversation. The woman, MEREDITH, stands on the steps. She
wears a sweater, silver necklaces, a long, floral skirt,
flats, and an aura of happiness. She carries a take-out bag.
The man, JACOB, stands on the sidewalk. He wears a t-shirt
under a frock coat, slacks, loafers, and puckishness on his
sleeve.

MEREDITH
It’s been so long since I’ve been
on a date.

JACOB
It’s been so long since I’ve had a
reason to go on one.

MEREDITH smirks at his uninhibited flirting.

MEREDITH
Men I spent time with usually got
all the flattery out of the way
before dinner.

She gestures towards her bag.

JACOB
Well… They’re suckers, aren’t
they?

MEREDITH
In a rainbow of ways.

JACOB attempts seriousness.

JACOB
I’m glad you said “yes,” finally.

MEREDITH
With the way you’ve been hounding
me, Jacob, I felt you’d be asking
me out even at my wake.

JACOB
Yup.

MEREDITH
I was half-joking.

JACOB
And I’m completely serious.

MEREDITH
Why?

JACOB
Because lying’s for suckers.

MEREDITH
I mean, why me? Why so strongly?

JACOB
There’s so much road behind me that
I basically have a ditch left, so I
better take advantage of any
precious moment I can.

MEREDITH leans forward teasingly.

MEREDITH
You think me precious?

JACOB crosses his arms.

JACOB
I think you know what I think.

MEREDITH
An aged lady likes to hear thoughts
aloud. Helps her know which voices
are hers.

JACOB
Like anyone would believe that
you’re senile.

MEREDITH
Humor me.

JACOB
Three guys walk into a bar. Fourth
one ducks.

MEREDITH
You know what I mean.

JACOB takes a step towards her…

JACOB
Do you believe in love at first
sight?

…and she avoids him.

MEREDITH
No.

He takes another step…

JACOB
Love?

…and her another sidestep.

MEREDITH
No.

He stomps mock-angrily…

JACOB
Not even a little fate?

…and she playfully spins in place.

MEREDITH
Not even a horoscope or a fortune
cookie.

JACOB
You know, you really know how to
rob a romantice of his bag o’
tricks.

MEREDITH
I was never a modern woman.

JACOB
Well, call me crazy if you want–

She points at him.

MEREDITH
Crazy.

JACOB
At least let me finish, Meredith.

MEREDITH
Oh, alright.

JACOB
Some fellas, like the one standing
in front of you, believe in love.

And points again.

MEREDITH
Crazy.

He moves her finger down to her side.

JACOB
(sing-song)
I’m not done yet.

MEREDITH
Mm-hmm.

JACOB
Do I love you? At this moment? No.

MEREDITH
Way to make a aged lady feel
wanted…

JACOB
Hound you as I may have done… it
was never out of love. It was about
a maybe. I COULD fall in love with
you, and that, frankly, was enough
for me. I’m old– We– You and I,
damnit, we’re old. But that doesn’t
mean we can’t love.

She turns around solemnly.

MEREDITH
It does for me. I’m not who you
think I am.

JACOB
Who do you think I think you are?

She looks at him over her shoulder…

MEREDITH
A decent woman.

JACOB
What, did you sell secrets to the
Reds?

…then looks away.

MEREDITH
No… Just myself, and failed at
it.

JACOB
…what?

MEREDITH
When I was growing up, it was just
my aunt and myself. Aunt Helene.
She got sick on my 19th birthday…
and never really got better. Soon,
it became clear that I was gonna
have to take charge and–

JACOB
What about her husband?

She faces him.

MEREDITH
I told you: it was just she and me.
What also became clear was that
jobs weren’t throwing themselves at
19-year-olds. Good ones, anyway. I
had to take drastic measures to
make her better. Luckily, it was
the Swinging Sixties. I don’t
regret having sex for money. I regret
it not being enough to save her.
(remembering)
Tuberculosis. That’s what it was.
At least she didn’t die on my
birthday, too. But she lied. When I
was a little girl, I asked her to
tell me what it was like after she
died. In all my nights at her
grave, arms wrapped around her
tombstone, I only heard my sobbing.

JACOB
I don’t see how that keeps you from
being a decent woman.

Her gaze turns frustrated.

MEREDITH
How could you not? I wasn’t able to
save her.

JACOB
You weren’t able to save a lot of
people in this world.

MEREDITH
I only set out to save one of them,
and I couldn’t do that.

She starts to drift into sadness, and he gives one loud CLAP
that startles her out of any malaise.

JACOB
Self-pity doesn’t suit you.

She regains her composure.

MEREDITH
Oh, be quiet.

JACOB
It’s the truth. You’re too strong a
woman to STILL let that burden drag
you down.

She looks at him with a smirk, then shakes her head with a
sigh.

MEREDITH
Most men would let a woman cry,
then try to be a hero.

He puts a hand on his hip like Superman… and falters.

JACOB
I’m too old to embarrass myself
with derring-do’s. Reading Batman’s
enough for me.

MEREDITH
Ha, you still read those funny
books?

JACOB
(pridefully)
I never stopped.
(humbly)
Speaking of… I’d like to kiss the
hand that would stop me.

She playfully takes a few steps away from him.

MEREDITH
Before your confession, I was gonna
suggest more than a kiss.

JACOB
Don’t be that way, you’re too
beautiful a woman to be cruel.
Besides, don’t you wanna dust off
your Swinging Sixties bag o’
tricks, Bettie Page?

She opens her door and stands in the doorway.

MEREDITH
Come on, then, Mr. Sinatra.

He happily follows her while rolling up his sleeves.

JACOB
Ring-a-ding-ding.

Daily Dialogue: Cauldron of Malice – Chapter Seven

Posted in Dialogue, Fiction with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 11, 2015 by Rathan Krueger

Here’s Chapter One.

Today’s a little late and a little short because something came up, but I still wanted to write something because I wanna stay committed to my goal and because I enjoy these characters too much to skip out on them.

Catherine
Anarchy through manslaughter… I do enjoy this new age of yours. Oh. “Manslaughter.” Catherine, you’re too much. Agatha? Agatha?

Agatha
Hmm, yes?

Catherine
You were drifting away.

Agatha
Apologies, the notion of what my commencement means arrived before me.

Catherine
Really now? What reality unveiled itself to you?

Agatha
One in which the patriarchal road to ruin is paved with good intention, and lacquered in blood.

Catherine
But those who walk upon it must be careful, yes? The slickness might do more harm than good for those overzealous wanderers.

Agatha
I suppose.

Catherine
A murderess mustn’t fall prey to suppositions. Every action must be definite, true, or else cracks of disclosure might reveal themselves.

Agatha
“Cracks of disclosure?”

Catherine
The deformities that lead police to their front door, lousy with shackles of the physical and emotional.

Agatha
Ah. Then a pox on supposition.

Catherine
A pox and a fine layer of manure.

Agatha
Indeed. Speaking of manure…

Catherine
Yes?

Agatha
We should go back to fertilizing the new you.

Catherine
Refining our loquaciousness, eh?

Agatha
I’d like to think of it as repaying a debt.

Catherine
What do we place under the magnifying glass now?

Agatha
I feel that we should take a particular event in your life and demolish it.

Catherine
Is that the rapping of spite I hear upon my door?

Agatha
Not at all.

Catherine
Oh?

Agatha
Mayhaps the slightest swipe.

Catherine
Honesty makes queens of us all, dear Agatha.

Agatha
Then be the queen of misrule and unfetter yourself upon me. No sense in suffering in silence, given the purpose you’ve given me.

Catherine
You would suffer me?

Agatha
I’ve done nothing but thus far. In the most pleasant sense, of course.

Catherine
You thrill me, dear Agatha.

Daily Dialogue: Cauldron of Malice – Chapter Six

Posted in Dialogue, Fiction with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 10, 2015 by Rathan Krueger

Here’s Chapter One.

Agatha
Wh–

Catherine
I believe we’ve delved enough into my miseries for a while. Lest we forget your knighthood into execution.

Agatha
Oh. Oh yes, that.

Catherine
Don’t sound so disappointed, dear Agatha.

Agatha
Forgive me.

Catherine
Remember: the finest way to establish female dominance in this misogynist age is by righteous, incidental slaughter.

Agatha
But what of your killings?

Catherine
You need to be tainted by blood more than I, and need a stronger purpose than I, because of your status. If you slayed those you chose to assist you, why, you’d be labeled mad and sent to bedlam most profusely. A lady of the court needs to hold herself in higher esteem. But if your felonious yearnings were the bastions of morality, you’d be heralded for ages untold.

Agatha
I suppose you have a point.

Catherine
Speaking of “points,” oh me, oh my, we must find you a manslaughter apparatus. You can’t kill someone by merely willing it.

Agatha
Should I not find the sinister urge, firstly?

Catherine
The woman not maketh the clothes, dear Agatha. If someone offered you a hug, how would you react?

Agatha
I would think to recoil a bit.

Catherine
No cord or twine for you, then. What comes to mind when you think of mounds of freshly driven snow?

Agatha
Poking it with a finger until I make the shape of a face.

Catherine
Would you allow someone to drink milk that has long since passed freshness?

Agatha
If they don’t have the sense to see the obvious, I don’t have the patience to be their sense.

Catherine
Does the sound of shattered glass excite you?

Agatha
Very much so.

Catherine
You’re a greedy, queer one.

Agatha
Oh?

Catherine
Poison, knives, and firearms are all within you purview.

Agatha
How did you extinguish life?

Catherine
A tightening of a slipknot and a little patience.

Agatha
Which would you suggest for me?

Catherine
Each of the three has their charm, so it’s a matter of what’s easiest to obtain and which brings the least alarm.

Agatha
I suppose that eliminates the pistol.

Catherine
I suppose it does.

Agatha
Damnation. I do love a good pop.

Catherine
Would you say that you are a steady woman?

Agatha
No… holding my balance is clearly not one of my virtues, any of my relations would profess to you.

Catherine
Then you deserve the blade.

Agatha
Why not poison?

Catherine
Phials are a fragile thing, and you wouldn’t want to be ended by what you intended for someone else because you bumped into an escritoire.

Agatha
No, not in the least.

Catherine
Fret not, dear Agatha, for there is quite the range of bladed devices for you to wield. From a surgeon’s scalpel to a soldier’s zweihander.

Agatha
I don’t think a sword that shares my height would be very discreet.

Catherine
True, but it is a delightful visual for me.

Agatha
I do enjoy the idea of using a tool of warfare against the patriarchy. The irony of phallic objects and such.

Catherine
And such. What, then, catches your fancy?

Agatha
It would have to be something that is prevalent in every person of wealth’s home, so less attention could find me.

Catherine
As if anyone would expect a woman could have the wherewithal to be a murderer. We’re so dainty and fair!

Agatha
The fools. A rapier. Yes, I shall wield a rapier.

Catherine
Do you plan on carrying it with you wherever your… travels take you?

Agatha
No. Maybe have a few places in the city to commit my crimes uninterrupted, then leave copies of my weapon of choice there and leap twixt them all.

Catherine
What will you name them?

Agatha
“Revolution.”

Daily Dialogue: Cauldron of Malice – Chapter Five

Posted in Dialogue, Fiction with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 7, 2015 by Rathan Krueger

Here’s Chapter One.

Agatha
You’ve stated that out of the 14 people you’ve asked for help, you’ve not left one alive.

Catherine
That’s correct.

Agatha
Did you mean to give them purchase?

Catherine
Meaning that my intention was to kill? No, dear Agatha, like I told you: I killed them when their uselessness became supreme.

Agatha
But was that always meant to be their end? Did you always mean to end them when they didn’t matter to you?

Catherine
Oh. No.

Agatha
Why kill them, then?

Catherine
It began as an accident, then accident became ritual.

Agatha
When did the colors fade into one another?

Catherine
The fourth would-be helper.

Agatha
Why do you feel the need to incorporate your lovers into your life?

Catherine
My, you’re a little jitterbug, aren’t you?

Agatha
Consider it shock therapy. Volleying many inquiries that don’t flow into one another keeps your replies unprepared. And more true.

Catherine
I do adore your rationale. Why, why, why… Do you involve your husband in your affairs?

Agatha
I don’t have a choice. Marriage, sadly, tears down walls of privacy and seclusion. But don’t think that I wouldn’t leave him unawares if the opportunity ever presented itself.

Catherine
I see. Maybe because the ideal relationship, in my mind, is one where both parties share everything.

Agatha
Have they ever offered to share first?

Catherine
No, I believe not.

Agatha
Have they ever shared more than you?

Catherine
I was always more the cornucopia.

Agatha
Have you ever killed a companion?

Catherine
No, that would be worse than death for me.

Agatha
Yet you have no issue with murdering those whom you choose to help you through your pain.

Catherine
Because they’ve failed me, and I detest failure.

Agatha
Do you consider your past relationships failures?

Catherine
No, of course not.

Agatha
Then what do you consider them to be?

Catherine
I… I… don’t… know.

Agatha
Was your first helper a kidnapping victim?

Catherine
They all were.

Agatha
What was the first like?

Catherine
Whitney was–

Agatha
Whitney was a woman?

Catherine
Yes.

Agatha
Were they all?

Catherine
Why would I go to a man about matters of pained femininity? Whitney was what you would call a frequent bar patron.

Agatha
A libations expert.

Catherine
Heh, quite. One late night, or early morning, whichever statement suits you, she happened to have found her way into my carriage.

Agatha
Those pesky carriages always manage to find gudgeons.

Catherine
Indeed. When she was a bit more clear-headed, I told her what I wanted from her. She wouldn’t hear of it, though. She kept clamoring on about wanting to be let go and wanting more spirits. On and on. The final straw was her releasing her bowels on the marble floor. I had no choice but to… deal with her, so I did.

Agatha
How did you deal with her?

Catherine
I was angry, you see, because I wanted things to go well. Because of that, I might have gone a bit too far. In any case, she was the same consistency of her shit when I was finished with her.

Agatha
You could have let her go.

Catherine
And have her tell the world that she set foot in my establishment? Pish-posh, dear Agatha. Pish-posh and hornswallow.

Agatha
Do you ever think you’ll love again?

Catherine
I’m acutely aware that I will. Which is why I desire your help to change my dependent ways.

Agatha
How bad did it get? Your dependence on others?

Catherine
I almost lost my life.

Agatha
Why?

Catherine
Because when they left me, I found that there was more of them in me than me. Do you know what that’s like?

Agatha
No, and, begging your pardon, I would like not to ever know.

Catherine
When there is so little of you left, one wonders why to bother existing.

Agatha
Have you ever participated in self-mutilation?

Catherine
I… think that’s a question best left for later.

Daily Dialogue: Cauldron of Malice – Chapter Four

Posted in Dialogue, Fiction with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 6, 2015 by Rathan Krueger

Here’s Chapter One.

Catherine
Shall I start with the worst or the… least-worst?

Agatha
Completely up to you, Catherine. If you rise from the miasma, you have not else to go but up. If you wade in the shallow end, the pain is less, but the intensity grows with each stroke.

Catherine
Would you judge me in either path I take?

Agatha
Only if you don’t finish your journey.

Catherine
Fair play.

Agatha
Would it help if I urged things along?

Catherine
I wouldn’t turn away a helping hand.

Agatha
Your dependencies…

Catherine
Yes?

Agatha
Have they always been human?

Catherine
I don’t understand.

Agatha
Some people choose animals to help them through the dark times. Others choose a totem of some sort.

Catherine
No, I’ve denied myself the crutch of fauna and homunculi.

Agatha
Were you ever strong enough to not need someone?

Catherine
Such barbs…

Agatha
When it comes time for you to teach me in the ways of homicide, I know I’ll be spared the velvet glove.

Catherine
Indeed.

Agatha
So consider this a petty, preemptive revenge.

Catherine
Heh, I see. Yes. Once upon a midnight dreary, I was self-sufficient enough to need only my person. Then dreariness took me, as it takes all things.

Agatha
Have you taken your problem to those in the company of Freud?

Catherine
Those stuffed shirts and bushy beards can only cure the cause, not the symptom.

Agatha
Then you were healed once?

Catherine
If a patient can be cured of half a cold, yes.

Agatha
If those educated to help the mind haven’t been able to help you, what chance does one such as myself have?

Catherine
I didn’t want them to help me.

Agatha
I do believe you’re slightly mad.

Catherine
See? Already you’re better than the cerebral brigade.

Agatha
Have you gotten anyone else to help you in the interim twixt the brigade and myself?

Catherine
I fear the answers down this road will frighten you.

Agatha
I’ve steeled myself against most horrors as we have spoken to one another.

Catherine
Yes.

Agatha
How many?

Catherine
Fourteen.

Agatha
And… how many people have you killed?

Catherine
Fourteen.

Agatha
And I’m here to service you as they had?

Catherine
Yes.

Agatha
What an ugly, yet beautiful world. Where did your victims fail?

Catherine
There isn’t a particular place. Rather, they just simply stopped being useful.

Agatha
Did you find them as you’ve found me?

Catherine
More or less. But don’t worry, I’ll warn you if you’re treading down a well-worn track.

Agatha
At least I’ll have that.

Catherine
At least you’ll have that.

Agatha
No sense in delaying, then. Tell me the worst instance of you depending on someone.

Catherine
They have a similarity to them. Thinking about it, the instances only differ by degrees.

Agatha
What makes them branches on the same tree?

Catherine
Love.

Agatha
The ballad of codependency… I should have known.

Catherine
Hmm?

Agatha
It’s what I refer to the typical relationship as. Whenever one speaks of love, they proclaim that they can’t live without the other, that they would do anything for the other, and whatever else the parrot squawks.

Catherine
Do you judge me?

Agatha
No. Only pity.

Catherine
I pity myself.

Agatha
Leave that to the adolescents. Tell me more of your ballad.

Catherine
When it plays, I try to incorporate my desirable into everything I do.

Agatha
And when they leave, do they take the brick or mortar?

Catherine
My world topples down… what’s the difference?

Agatha
Brick is substance. Mortar is support.

Catherine
Oh. Mortar. I may be love’s bitch, but I know to at least make my needs more important than theirs. Even if it’s slightly.

Daily Dialogue: Cauldron of Malice – Chapter Three

Posted in Dialogue, Fiction with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 5, 2015 by Rathan Krueger

Here’s Chapter One.

Catherine
Chaos, it seems, has a sense of humor.

Agatha
A teacup not shattering when dropped on a rug perhaps owes more to Newton than misrule.

Catherine
Perhaps.

Agatha
Is the worth of your currency still valid?

Catherine
Of course. I am just taken aback is all.

Agatha
Were you expecting to corrupt me first?

Catherine
No, I just expected–

Agatha
That we live in an orderly word.

Catherine
Heh. Slave and master.

Agatha
Might I inquire your age?

Catherine
Is that not something best left to lawyers and morticians?

Agatha
Between most women and men, yes. But we are not most women and men. Besides, you have a lot to confess. Might as well begin with your vanities.

Catherine
Fair play. Twenty-eight.

Agatha
Oh? I am older than my teacher?

Catherine
It’s not the sand in the hourglass, dear Agatha, it is the road the hourglass has been traveled.

Agatha
Then you insinuate that you are more experienced than I?

Catherine
Aren’t I?

Agatha
I have seen six years more of the world than you.

Catherine
And I have seen more of the world than you. Queer that a woman would value her age.

Agatha
Why is that?

Catherine
It is the thing that is volleyed at us by society as a handicap.

Agatha
I care not for a world that values vestigial virginity over all else, and I dare not participate in said world if I can avoid such.

Catherine
More and more, I find that I made the right choice in choosing you.

Agatha
Now, continue on your set path and reveal your pains to me. Your prosperity dependencies.

Catherine
Yes… yes. Where do I begin?

Agatha
At the beginning is always a sound position.

Catherine
Yes, but dreadfully typical. I don’t wish to take our wondrously peculiar situation into stoic realms.

Agatha
It would be worse than the guillotine, it would.

Catherine
Worse than a banquet with queen and court.

Agatha
Worse than fornication during my moons.

Catherine
I don’t mind that as much.

Agatha
…what?

Catherine
Oh, wipe that incredulity off of your face, dear Agatha. It is as fine a time as any for pleasure.

Agatha
Watch what devilry you speak.

Catherine
And why, might I ask, is it devilry?

Agatha
Blood leaks from within, and crampage reigns.

Catherine
Yes, but I do not have to worry about being with child soon after, and there is another… more carnal purpose.

Agatha
I feel faint.

Catherine
But carnality feels all the more richer when your nether-regions have–

Agatha
Harpy, be silent!

Catherine
Oh, you are so fun to tease, dear Agatha.

Agatha
Don’t think that I am unaware of your scheme.

Catherine
Oh?

Agatha
You wish to distract me, delay the inevitable for as long as possible. But that’s the dilemma with the inevitable: eventually, it arrives.

Catherine
Perhaps you’re too clever for my blood…

Agatha
I declare a momentary moratorium on the word “blood,” until you cease your aberration tactics.

Catherine
Of course.

Agatha
And all words synonymous with it.

Catherine
Damnation…

Agatha
So. Why do you need to go to such extremes, like kidnapping a lady of means, to help you depend on yourself for happiness?

Catherine
It is a long tale.

Agatha
I doubt you’ll be releasing me anytime soon–

Catherine
Heh, no, I won’t.

Agatha
–so time isn’t a consideration for me.

Catherine
Very well.