So, where were we before work interrupted
us? Ah yes, the screenplay. Of Myths and Legends.
Lesley, Bart and Stu. And Errol Flynn. And Bob
Anderson. Who are they? Hollywood legends.
Bob was the swordmaster for The Princess Bride
and Lord of the Rings. Highlander, too. Oh, and…
Star Wars. He taught Mark Hamill how to swordfight
and was a known associate of Errol
Flynn, one of the best-known actors of his day.
Flynn met Bob on The Master of Ballantrae.
“More on this later…” (Parts 1 and 2) are two
poems I wrote about my first attempt at
a feature-length motion picture script. This is
the third. Picking right back up where we left off:
Lesley Jones is on the bus riding home from
work. He’s just dreamt of Bob and Errol and a
terrifying being in a long black cloak
who carries a broadsword like a nine iron
and shrieks like a banshee when it swings the thing.
Bob rubs his eyes and looks at the scenery
outside the bus as it nears his stop. Liquor
store, pawn shop, cash advance, pawn shop, fast food joint,
pawn shop, pawn shop, pawn shop. We pay money for
gold and sell guns to anyone with a pulse.
Anyway, Bob gets off the bus and walks to
his apartment. Sarah, his ex, bounces by
with her new boy toy, whose name is Zakk with two
Ks. Why? Because “Zeta Kappa Kappa, bro.”
Lesley sighs. They leave. He checks his mail and finds
a Netflix envelope. He almost smiles
as he enters his apartment and opens
it to reveal Airborne, a movie made in the
early nineties, starring a young, thin Jack Black
and Seth Green. Lesley watches it while drinking
two bottles of Jack Daniels and laughs his ass
off. As he finishes the second bottle,
the movie comes to a close and he flips to
the local news, showing the New Year’s event
in downtown Winfield. He sees Sarah and Zakk
waving at the camera. He sees Bart push
someone. He sees someone push back. He sighs and
turns off the TV, then lays back and goes to
sleep on the couch under a poster for Led
Zeppelin. Quick story about John Bonham:
he is the greatest drummer in history.
On his 30th birthday John drank so much
he passed out and choked on his vomit. He died…
just like Lesley Jones does in the screenplay. Yep.
He dies, then wakes up in a different world
to the sound of his cell phone. It’s Bart calling.
“Look out your window!” he demands. Lesley does
and sees absolute chaos. Anarchy – cats
chasing dogs, chasing people, chasing squirrels.
Car alarms. Gunfire. Explosions. Madness.
Bart tells Lesley to pack a bag and meet him
under the 8th Street bridge, where they used to play
as kids so they can follow the river south
to the storage space Bart and his cousin Stu
put together a few years back after they
watched Shaun of the Dead and Stu got it in his
head that a prepared storage facility
with a car ready and waiting would be a
good idea in case the apocalypse
went down while they were alive. Lesley looks out
the window and shakes his head. “I’m not leaving,”
he tells his only friend. “This will blow over.
It’s just a…” he stops as a man on fire
runs past the door with a Thompson sub-machine
gun, singing “Joy to the World” at the top of
his lungs. “Here’s your Happy Holidays!” he shouts.
The fire doesn’t seem to faze him and his
bullets are fired haphazardly. Lesley
throws up on his living room rug and almost
passes out. Bart screams into the phone for him
to hurry. He hangs up, packs a quick suitcase
and sprints out the door without his phone. About
five minutes later he steps under the bridge
and he’s all alone. He puts down his case and
starts looking around the marshy shore, searching
for anything that looks out of place in the
environment. The only sound is that of
violence from the town and the cawing of
crows in the trees. From the road above he hears
singing and stops for a moment on the north
side of the metal-girdered bridge. A glint of
light further up the river catches his eye
and he walks into the tall grass to find shards
of broken glass from an antique mirror all
over the ground around his tennis shoe clad
feet. When he turns to go back to his suitcase,
Lesley trips over something embedded in
the ground. He turns around to find the hilt of
The Phoenix Sword from his dream. When he yanks it
out of the earth, he hears rustling in the
trees above him. Then more singing, then two men
carrying acoustic guitars burst through the
brush and onto the shoreline. They see Lesley
and approach. He sees they have knives tied to the
necks of their guitars and puts the sword behind
his back. Hmm. The next poem will look like a…