Monday, February 20, 2012

Rachael, alias "Maurice" alias "The Phantom of Broadway" alias "Gun Street Girl" hereafter referred to as Rachael, was to meet her adversary in Newark, New Jersey in a building near the Port Authority but still within jurisdiction.

The meeting was being brokered by Barry alias "The Masque of Red Death" alias "The Black Cat". The goal was a meeting between Rachael and Daniel Clark, aka Capo, head of a major Crime Syndicate to end a war between her, a splinter member, the Syndicate, and several rival gangs. 

Rachael was left to wait, guarded by two unidentified gunmen of the Syndicate.  Our sources indicate she was searched thoroughly, and that a handgun was found and confiscated.

In time, she was escorted by the gunmen into a conference room with a view of the water.

Capo smiled at Rachael and spread his arms wide, as if to embrace her, or to show his lack of fear. "My dear Rachael to see you again is such a pleasure! You've caused me quite some trouble."

Rachael stared sullenly at Capo. "Is Brian safe?"

"Safe as any lunatic in this city."

"That is not what I meant."

"Ah, but that is all you are getting."

"You think this will stop when I'm dead? That I won't be the last one to turn on you? That there won't be others?"

He laughed. "The problem became so simple once you spilled your guts all over the blog. It was clear why you were so different. You were never one of us. Do you know how few of us turn back from our path? Do you know how few proxies ever switch sides? None, for long. And never successfully. When you know what the Boss is like, you...stop. Stop whatever it is you were doing. You are an anomaly, an accident. A sideshow freak. Coal amongst the diamonds."

Rachael listened impassively, her face showing nothing.

"Goodbye, Rachael." he raised a gun lowered it at her face. Walking towards her. "Get on your knees, or I'll order his death."

 She got down to her knees. He walked up to her, starting to breathe heavily.

"Look up at me." He aimed the gun at her face. She looked up impassively

and stabbed him in the wrist with a fountain pen.

He screeched, and quickly she wrested the gun out of his hands, bit him in the....

in the...

She bit him in the reproductive organs, through his khakis, pushed him over, and shot him in the face.

She executed both guards who ran into the room, one shot after another. Her face blank, she smashed his phone with her heel and to walked out of the room.

Barry was waiting for her. He held his gun in shaking hands aimed at her chest. The two squared off. Barry shaking.

"Rachael don't come any closer, I-I-I'll shoot!"

"Barry, its okay, its okay...I don't want to hurt you. Run away. Hurry, more are coming soon. You don't deserve this."

"Rachael I-"

"Barry, for the love of God, Go! Get out of here!"

Barry looked torn, but lowered his gun and fled.

The entrance was blocked by two dark cars, men waiting for her.

She headed for the roof, planning to take the fire escape.

But waiting for her there

was me, with a gun.

Her face grew pale, and she stared at me. Like she'd seen a ghost

or an monster, perhaps.


Rachael faced down Van Helsing on the rooftop of the man she killed.

I had my gun aimed square at her heart. She gaped at me like a fish dumped onto a hatchery floor.

"Brian why are you"

"My names not Brian. I'm Van Helsing. I'm a Fighter."

I had been told about everything she'd done. She killed both of her lovers, Brian and Maurice. Poor girl thought I was Brian, that I was her dead lover. Her action had lead to the destruction of a cell of rational Agents waging a covert war on the "fanatics" of the city proper. She'd stopped that and had began killing people and causing the youth of the area to wage wars on each other. When she was dead this whole thing would be over.

And now the stage was empty. Just me and her. The way it had started. The way it should have always been. I was too weak to act before now, too hesitant.

 But now I am a Fighter.

She drew her own gun and we faced each other off, the city in the distance.

"Brian, remember me, please...Brian..."

"Stop that. Show's over, Gun Street Girl."


"I've been reading your blog. Following your movements. For months. And now its time, girlie."

"Brian, you have to remember me" she started crying, crocodile tears "Brian I love you I always loved you we can make it together please Brian, don't make me do this--"

"Do what? Kill me? Like Maurice? Like Brian? Like all these city kids?"

"Brian---" a sob.

I cocked my gun. I'd forgotten.

time passed.

She smiled at me "I know you can't Brian. You have to remember me, somewhere in there. You have to know.  Remember the night by the river?"

She took a step towards me.

"The night when you cried in my were so scared, so nervous but you were so brave and so you remember the day we went to the fair, and you were too scared to ride the loop de loop, but you won me a stuffed tiger at the Strong Man contest?"

I took a step backwards but she kept moving towards me, telling me all the tales of Brian's life, his story, her tale she had built around me, all these lies, all this showmanship. I almost wanted to be him, to be this Brian she had created for me, this part she wanted me to fill.

We were face to face, finally. our guns were lowered. Ten steps apart, maybe.

She smiled at me. She...Rachael is beautiful. She has the weight of the world on her shoulders, sometimes. She looks like a woman close to death, most of the time. But when she smiles...

I could have lived a lie for her, almost. I could have believed any tale she told me.

The sky began to darken, as if the world was reacting to this encounter by bathing us in twilight.

She reached out, to touch me. Her hand was empty. I reached out to touch her...

her face froze into a look of horror, revulsion, dread. She shrieked. 

"He's here! He's Real!"

Her eyes went out of focus, almost as if she was looking behind me.

She raised her gun arm and I reacted by instinct

and blew a hole in her chest straight through her heart.

She never looked at me, while she collapsed, while she gasped for breath. She was always looking just past me.

There was nothing there.

Another, just another set of Lies and Vaudville.

She gapsed for shallow breaths for a few more moments. I...I apologized to her. She focused, seeming to tear away from whatever was drawing her. She reached out her hand and I took it in mine.

"Br...brian...please...forget about this. I'm sorry...." a cough.

"Fuck...I guess he is real..." she gurgled, almost laughter. Her voice changed, subtly when she spoke again. "Man, I don't even have...any theater puns...for this...fuck..."

and then she was dead.

I closed her eyes, picked up the casing, left her gun and took her phone.

 She left a goodbye post, but I deleted it. You people don't need any more lies.

And that's it. Another dreamer killed by this city.  Another senseless death in a war bigger than all of us. Another Piece off the board.

Just another show that closed the curtains, turned out the lights, packed up, and locked the theater.

Heh, Rach,  see? I did one for you.

You won't be hearing from me again.


When the Chips are Down

I woke up this morning to the sound of my hotel room door breaking open.

 I pulled the gun I had hidden behind the pillow as Barry rushed into the room.

He stood across the room from me. We both had our guns raised, not moving.

"Hey Maurice."

"Call me Rachael, Barry."

"Its nothing personal Rach. I got ordered. Lover the gun, come on. I'm not here to kill you or anythign please?" pleading in his voice. Under orders.

It's Barry. And it is time.

"Just, let me tell everyone. Let me tell them that I'm going. Please, Barry?"

"Fine, you got ten minutes. Don't take too long though. Capo's pissed."

So it's time for the deal. In an hour and a half the deal will be done. a good man. I don't want any of you mad at him, okay? He's just as stuck as any of us.

I'll keep you updated as I can.

Friday, February 17, 2012

A lady is tuning a guitar in a darkened room, one lightbulb above her. A handsome man runs his fingers over the piano keys. They smile at each other and begin to play, their voices mixing as one.


If you've been kicked in or abused or mistreated or misused.
You were told there was nowhere to go but up for you.
If you've been hurt or you've been betrayed.
If you've been fucked or you've been displaced.
Then you were told it's probably been your fault anyway.

But your Hustler subscription or your Xanax prescription make you feel lonelier instead.
You don't want to hear about all the starving children.
You don't want to be told it's all in your head.
Cuz if it's all in your head,

that's terrible

I saw a junkie laying in a puddle of his own blood last week,
I saw a cyclist get hit by a car.
I saw a homeless guy chug a bottle of mouthwash on Christmas eve.
No, you can never fall too far.

You can by a Salad Glove and you can by an iPod.
You can sell that shit to Bookmans when your wife dies and you lose your job
and you can hope it gets better and you can follow your dreams
but hope is for presidents and dreams are for people who are sleeping.

My friend Erin says it best, "we're all two or three bad decisions away
from becoming the ones we fear and pity"
and Tony says it's important to bear some witness when you can

that’s not hard to do in the city that I live in

You don't have it any better.
 you don't have it any worse.
You're an irreplaceable human soul with your own understanding of what it means to suffer.
And that’s a huge




the piano is shut, the lights turned off.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Scene 1

A New York street on a foggy gloomy morning.
RACHAEL, her hair black and straight, enters stage right. SPENCER is walking almost aimlessly, unaware of her presence. She calls out faintly to him.

SPENCER looks up, dull with confusion.

RACHAEL  has gotten closer, sure that it is him. She reaches out a hand, but lets it hover.

Rachael: "...Spencer."

Slowly, too slowly, SPENCER  turns around, struck by some sort of dim recongnition.

Spencer:   "Rachael...?"

Rachael:  Spencer.

RACHAEL  touches his hand, gently. Cold.

Spencer: Hey...Been a while, huh? A grin, weak, unreal.

Rachael:  "Things were different then. Everything was so...We're not safe out here." She shivers

Spencer: "Not safe anywhere, these days. But how does coffee sound?"

RACHAEL smiles wanly and nods.  She has yet to let go of his hand.

Rachael: "So cold..."

SPENCER  gives her hand a a comforting, tight squeeze, turning forward so she doesn't have to see the pained look that flashes through his eyes. RACHAEL wraps both of her cold hands around his. 

Scene Two

They approach a little place. One of her friends from the bakery days owns it. No one would know it, no one would even wonder at the two of them in there. It was a quiet but unobtrusive cafe.

Spencer: "... I'd ask how things have been but I keep up on the blogs I'm... fuck, I'm sorry, for what it's worth."

Rachael: "I...I am also sorry."

Spencer: "For what?" That casual, faked smile is back, the smile he's spent hours practicing, looking in the mirror.

Rachael: I know that look. You don't need to use it on me." -beat-  "I am sorry...that you had to live like this. That you..."

A pause.

Spencer: I... I don't know what else to do." his voice breaks, and he swallows, looking downwards, trying to avoid eye contact.

Rachael:  "I...I don't either. But...I think we are alike enough that we can be honest with each other. No need to act."

Spencer: "I... can try...? There's not much there to be honest about anymore. Not... lately."

Rachael: "Perhaps a game then? a question for a question?"

Spencer: "... sure."

Rachael: "What are you feeling, right now?"

A long pause. SPENCER look conflicted, as if he is dragging something up from the deeps.

Spencer: "... Afraid. I... I know. I just know that I don't have a lot of time left. I d-don't...I don't w-want to die."

Rachael: She smiles gently. "I am glad...that you feel fear, I mean. And sometimes I feel the same way. But for now, we are alive."

Spencer: "... I don't know what's worse. That I'm not sure that it's real or...Or that I'm kind of... looking forward to it. To not hurting anymore."

Rachael: "I wish I had a good answer. But I think we all feel like that, when it comes."

Spencer: "How... how about you?"

Spencer looks up, pale amber lost. Empty.

Rachael: "I'm...conflicted. Fragmented. Unsure of a lot of things. Sure of some others. Afraid, excited, unhappy. Lonely."

He smiles at her. Or tries to. 

Spencer: "I...I think I understand that. As much as someone like me can."

RACHAEL smiles. A pause looms over the table. She opens her mouth, then closes it again. Shes taut, extremely nervous. She opens and closes her mouth again. SPENCER stops, frowning slightly, reaching over the table to take one of her hands into his own.

Spencer: "It's alright. It's... alright."

Rachael: "I'm afraid...Do you know about Catholic reconciliation?""

Spencer: "Sorry. Cultkid."

Rachael: "The idea is that if you should die, that because you have bared you soul to a priest, that you will have a clean slate for the end. Do you think it is better to do that, or let dark things that could hurt others never be known?"

Spencer: "... whatever makes you feel better in the end. That's all that matters."

A pause.

Rachael: "Did you read the interviews? The ones with Ben, I mean."

Spencer: "... yeah. I did. You had it worse than me, even-"

Rachael: "But there was a part. There was a person I mentioned, that I said I...I was attracted to. Am attracted to. Should I tell the person, even if I might be dead in a week, and they may never return my affections?"

His gaze softens, and he looks... sadly blank. 

Spencer: "I'm not someone... that would understand something like that..."

Rachael: "But what would you do?"

Spencer: "I'd...... you... have to do what's best for you first...?"

Rachael: "I don't know what that is."

She stares at him for a long moment.

Rachael: "Spencer...its you."

Spencer: "It's what? I'm... what?"

RACHAEL smiles. A fake sorrowful smile.

Rachael: "You...are the only one who can answer this question. No one else...could understand the question...the way you can."

Spencer:  "I find that a-awfully hard to believe. I'm usually bad at answering questions."

Rachael: "Do you love Elaine?"

Spencer: "... I don't want her to get hurt. Just like I don't want August or Lori or Sam or June... to get hurt." He looks downwards. "If... if one of 'em died, I'd want to die too. Isn't... isn't that enough...?"

RACHAEL nods to herself.

Rachael: "Spencer...I just want you to know, that I would feel the same way...if anything happened. You are a good man. Please, don't ever forget that, just in case..."

RACHAEL  starts to ready herself to leave. SPENCER's brow furrows in confusion, but something that's at least similar to resolve seems to set in his eyes as he takes on of her hands into both of his.

Spencer: "Don't go."

RACHAEL stops. She sits down, quiet, waiting. No emotion visible. Just waiting, not hostile. 

Spencer: "I...I finally read the play through. The one you gave me? Sorry it took so long, because it... it takes me a while and...It was wonderful. I wish I could write like that. Was like... it was real. Magic."

RACHAEL  smiles. Genuine.

Rachael: "It was nothing. Just a relic of a bygone time. I'm glad...that you are the one who owns it now."

Spencer: "I still think that it was too much. It... meant too much. Even I can feel that."
A pause.His voice drops low.

Spencer: "Do you know why the payment has to mean something? Why I don't take money?"

Rachael: "Why?"

Spencer: "... because if I surround myself with things that mean something to other people, I forget about not having anything that means something for myself. Sort of pathetic, really..."

Rachael: "Then, take the play as my gift to you. And then, it will mean something to you."

 Spencer: "... maybe it already does mean something."

They quietly smile at each other.

 Spencer: "... you really look good when you smile like that."

A long pause. No one moves.

Spencer: "I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry. Sorry for not being able to help you more. Help anyone more. I never did enough. Especially not for you."

Rachael: "You've done so much for me. You...What I told you..."

RACHAEL stops and smiles. She reaches over and kisses him on the cheek.

Rachael: "Whatever happens, this is how I will remember you. Please, remember me kindly.Goodbye, Spencer."

 Spencer: "... you're not going to come out of this alive, are you...?"

 Something flashes in his eyes. Fear?

Rachael: "I hope not! I have a lot I still want to do. I've never left the country, never climbed a mountain, never...never got married, had a child..."

her voice almost breaks

Rachael: "I have much to do, still."

Spencer: "... I want to see you again, alright?"

His gaze suddenly becomes pointed. Childishly stubborn.

Spencer: "Promise me."

She gently takes his face in both her hands.

Rachael: " have to promise me, as well. Okay?"

Spencer: "I think I can survive for a little longer at the very least."

He stands, hesitating for a second before hugging her.

Spencer: "... I'm allowed to do this, right?"

Rachael: "of course."

RACHAEL  hugs him back, tightly.

Rachael: " Goodbye, Spencer."

RACHAEL lets go. Exit stage left. The stage darkens on SPENCER staring at her coffee cup, rolling it in his hands.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cities never really change. They grow they gain buildings but every city is like some great best, some slowly breathing monolith crawling towards the water.

But New York is quiet.

I'm in hiding. there is still some time before I am expected.

I have...a few things to do before I go. A few things to set up, to worry over.

I will be in contact again.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Dearest Rachael,

Do you realize your spelling of your name is uncommon? Most these days leave out the second e. Interesting choice your parents made.

You may be wondering about how I found your email, or why I'm emailing you when I could just send a car or two of boys to Marcus' home. It is not as if his Mansion is secret. It is a public location and you've been there for three days at the writing of this letter. But if I did that, you'd probably shoot half of them, steal the car they came in and go back to writing soul poetry as you wander America. Again.

So I decided to go with a classic.  A movie villain plot, you might say.

We can't get you that easily. But do you know who can be easily snuffed out whenever we want?

Brian. Brian is easy to find. He is such a good listener, but I am sure you know that.

So this is what we will do.  Brian will be watched carefully by two of my finest hitmen for the next fourteen days. Ah, fuck it, I'm generous I'll give you until the twentieth. You come here and then we can put this mess to bed.

We would have let you go, Miss Sandings, if you hadn't started this gang war. Do you know how many husks are dead because of you? Do you know how many young boys from the Barrio, from the streets are dead because you set them against us?

Forgive me, I rant.

So here is how it will go. You will come back to the city. You will come to the location in he attachment file. Brian will be allowed to live. You will be given peace.

Or you can try to fight us, if you think you can. I'm not particular.

Get Well Soon,