Wednesday, May 30, 2012



JESSE: None of us owned a car the entire time we lived in Florida. The rest of the guys all bought bikes. I, having never learned how to ride a bike, decided to save my money for more lucrative things, like going to the movies and buying CD’s. So, having no choice but to walk to all of my destinations, I began to quickly lose weight. This resulted in me being able to breathe easier, which was quite nice.
Anyway, as you may or may not know, to get a job at a lowly grocery store in Florida one must go down to some designated clinic and piss in a cup. When the gentleman at Winn Dixie first told me this I began to unbutton my pants right then and there, unsure what exactly he was talking about. He told me to zip up, but to do it slowly, then handed me a pamphlet and pointed to the address where I was to take my piss test. I thanked him and was on my way.

Once home, I told the others about this crazy situation and asked if any of them would like to accompany me on my long walk to the clinic. Joe and Dar declined, citing school as their excuse. I looked over to Jeremy and batted my baby blues. I could see Jeremy's mind turning like clockwork and could picture what he was thinking. We would be like that Warner Brothers cartoon where the little dog hops around the big dog, gabbing a mile a minute. I would be jumping around him throwing out obscure topics and annoying him to tears until he grew tired of it and pushed me into oncoming traffic.

 Jeremy ended up making some flimsy excuse and I quickly saw that if I was to make this trip it would be alone. I headed to bed early because I would need to get up at the crack of dawn to walk all the way to the clinic.

Now I won't go into the Florida weather again. By this point, if you don't know it's hot you haven't been paying attention. I will, however, go into how fucking far this clinic was. I can only guess to the length but I'm saying about five miles by foot. I know what you're thinking: “Pussy. I run that everyday”. Well, fuck you, skinny ass. I was huge and the walk was excruc...ex...exc...really fucking hard. I felt ready to pass out every step of the way.

I finally arrived at the clinic with 64 ounces of Dr. Pepper in my hand. I signed with the receptionist and presented her with all of the file information that Winn Dixie had provided. She told me to have a seat and they'd get to me.

I took a seat, assuming that my wait would be long, but no sooner had my ass hit the seat she called my name. That’s when it accord to me that I didn't have to pee. On the entire walk here I had slurped down the Dr. Pepper and kept grabbing my crotch to control my piss impulses. Here at the clinic I felt dry as a bone.

I knew that I had to go in and let it shine. So, I stood up straight and went to task like a man should. I followed her through the door. She handed me a cup and explained the procedure. I would go into the restroom and fill the cup to a black line. I would then bring out the cup. I was not allowed to pee in the toilet. I was also not allowed to wash my hands until after handing her the cup.

I took the cup and went in to do my business. At first I didn't think the flow would come. Yet, once I whipped it out I was peeing like a champ (all right, sidetrack here: How exactly does a champ piss that make him so special?). While this was going on I noticed that the black line was approaching fast. Too fast.

I went into a panic. I had a ton more pee and it would definitely surpass the line. I wasn't allowed to do that nor was I allowed to pee in the toilet. I hit the line and I was able to hold it for a second. I had to keep going but what was I going to do?

I looked over at the sink and figured “what the hell?” After letting the rest of it flow into the sink I let out a sigh of relief and, zipping up, put the cap back on the cup and opened the door.

The nurse was waiting for me. I handed her the cup without opening the door fully. She looked at me, pleased with my performance. She then smiled and said, "If you still have a little more in the tank feel free to use the toilet."

I smiled big and informed her I'd do just that. I then slammed the door, ran over to the sink, and turned on the hot water. I let it flow to clean out all the piss and then washed my hands. After all that the nurse said I was free to go.  I walked home knowing my piss was clean. So, now my worries were done. Halfway back I had to urinate again with no restroom in sight.

JEREMY: When Winn Dixie finally caved in and gave me a job it was my turn to make the long journey to the clinic. Not being sure where exactly it was and having no clue as to the lay of the land, I asked Joe if he would accompany me. Joe, apparently not having anything better to do, agreed and guided me like the star of Bethlehem.

I always manage to screw something up whenever I have to go out into the world and interact with normal people. I made two on this particular day. The first was that I forgot my State ID back at the apartment. There was a long line of people at the clinic. I didn’t want to give up my place so I asked Joe if he would mind riding his bike all the way back to our place in the boiling afternoon weather, retrieve my ID, and then ride all the way back. Joe, being the swell guy that he is, made the grueling trek with nary a complaint. I felt bad for putting him out of his way for my own dumb ass oversight and bought him lunch afterwards as repayment.

As I sat filling out the required paperwork I nursed on a large bottle of water and did my best to will my bladder into producing the necessary waterworks. Joe returned in record time, breathing hard and sweating profusely. He handed me my ID and I turned it in along with the paperwork. As we waited I told Joe through gulps of water that I didn’t feel like I had to use the bathroom. Joe said not to worry, that by the time they called my name I would most likely—

“Jeremy Riley!”

Damn! I hurriedly drank the remainder of my water, hoping that it would induce the loss of bladder control, and made my way to the desk. By this point the nurse had called my name several times and looked annoyed. She handed me a small cup and told me to go into the restroom and fill the cup to the black line, which, to my horror, was situated an inch from the cup’s rim.

Here’s where I made my second mistake of the day. Having never taken a piss test before I naturally assumed that the nurse meant that I had to fill the cup to the brim or else they would not be able to perform the drug test and I would be out of a job before I had even started it. So with that extra weight on my shoulders I slunk into the men’s room, positioned myself appropriately and, with every bit of concentration at my disposal, willed myself to piss.

I was so stressed over the fact that I didn’t have to pee as well as the fact that I had to do so or else fail the test, that all I got was a quarter of a cup full at the most, and that was just by sheer willpower alone (my body also probably absorbed every ounce of liquid I put in me after being in the sun all day).

I became angry with myself and mentally yelled at myself as was my custom at the time. As far as I was concerned, by not being able to piss into a cup I was letting the group down. Your father was right! That little black voice in the back of my head screamed. You are and always will be nothing but a waste of oxygen!

I clenched my stomach muscles and did everything I could to produce more urine but all I got was a few lousy drops. I was contemplating running the cup under the faucet when there was a knock at the door and the nurse said, “Jeremy? Jeremy, we need you to come out now.” This was immediately followed by howls of laughter from everyone in the waiting room, Joe foremost among them.

Well, to say I felt ashamed and humiliated at this point would be an understatement. All I wanted to do was press myself into a corner and disappear from existence. But, since I had about as much chance of doing that as I did of going through an entire day without making myself the butt of a joke I stepped out and handed the cup to the nurse. I stated vehemently that I had tried to fill the cup to the rim but my stupid body refused to cooperate.

The nurse told me that what I had was plenty and that I didn’t have to fill the entire cup. I wanted to shout, “Why the hell did you tell me I had to fill it to the line?” But I was too embarrassed to do anything but stand there with my head downcast, trying hard to ignore the whispers and snickering coming from the waiting room.

The nurse said she hoped the urine was still warm enough to get an accurate reading and then told me I could go. I marched out without looking at anybody, though I could feel their eyes on me and envision their smirking, leering faces as I passed. Joe fell in beside me, laughing his ass off and announcing that he couldn’t wait to tell Dar and Jesse about our little escapade when we got home. I really wished he wouldn’t but seeing as how he had been gracious enough to fetch my ID for me I figured the least I could do was allow him a story out of the whole sordid affair.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012



JESSE: The next day I woke up a bit sore. We had spent all day yesterday carrying in heavy boxes. I got up, scratched my balls and stretched. I noticed no one was in the room with me. I looked at the clock and was surprised to see it was
I walked into the living room and saw Joe and Darren standing in the kitchen. They were yapping at each other about something. "What time did you guys get up?" I asked, walking over to the counter.

Joe was a ball of energy swirling around the kitchen. He looked as if he took speed and washed it down with an energy drink. He looked over at me and said, "Since eight or nine!  It's a beautiful day in our new home!"

Darren added, "You and Jeremy are sleeping the day away."

"He's still sleeping then," I said through my own sleep-heavy haze.

Joe guzzled down some orange juice and said, "I think he just got up a few minutes before you. He's probably in the shower."

I said, "Well I better get ready to go look for a job. What are you boys planning?"

"A little exploring. A little job searching as well," Joe giggled.

Darren nodded in agreement. "I mean we have jobs once school starts but till then we want to bring in some cash."

I wished them all the luck in the world then walked back to my room where I grabbed my best clothes for job searching. I believe you should dress nice when filling out applications. I laid them out neatly and then hit the shower. I listened to some tunes and mentally prepared myself. I have a routine when searching for a job. First thing I do is start off close to home and then work my way out. So, I knew our first two stops would be the Goodings and Winn Dixie grocery stores, both of which sat down the street from us in direct competition with each other.

We would then move across the street to K'mart and the movie theater. Then we would have a choice of going right or left on University. When we first arrived we had driven down University coming from the left side. The obvious choice to me was right, as it would be more of an exploring option. None of us had any idea what was down that way.

JOE: Jeremy and I had gone that way the day before when my parents took us to the power company to get the power put into our names. There wasn't really anything that way for quite a ways if you happened to be on foot.

JESSE: Then why the hell didn't you tell me, Joe? I bet you just wanted to make me suffer. God Bless you, you evil, evil boy.  Anyway, I started to run my pattern in my head. When I look for a job I have a routine there too. I always ask for a manager after filling out an app. I introduce myself and ask questions. This shows you're interested in working there. I always finish it with pointing out the phone number on the app. I tell them I should be available here anytime if they wish to call me in for an interview. I follow this with "Unless you'd rather just do the interview now". This works for me every time. By the end of the week I'll almost always have an interview and sometimes even a job offer.

JEREMY: I remember this morning quite clearly because I woke to the sound of Joe and Dar watching Bladerunner in the living room.  They were laughing it up and damn near yelling to each other with no regard for those asleep in the apartment (I bet they were doing it on purpose, those rapscallions).  I laid there for a moment thinking how strange it was to not only be on my own for the first time in my life, but sharing a place with my three best friends in a whole other state.  It sunk in at last that this was for real.  We were on our own.  The thought was both scary and exhilarating.

JESSE: I walked into the living room, ready to start the search. Jeremy was also there, sitting on the floor playing Shadowrun, dressed sharp as always. I plopped down behind him, pulled out my wallet and counted out what little money I had. I was in the mind not only to stop for lunch but a bank as well. We needed to start some checking accounts.

Jeremy paused the game and asked if I was ready to go. I most certainly was. I discussed the game plan I'd thought up and asked for his opinion. He agreed with it by nodding his head. He stood up and headed to his room saying, "One last stop in the bathroom and we'll head out."

I smiled and said, "Quit primping in the mirror, Pretty Boy. Time to get some jobs."


We started out at Goodings. Jeremy and I both thought it was a classier joint. Winn Dixie from the inside out just seemed dirtier. We walked in, grabbed some apps and filled them out. I asked to speak to a manager.

She came down looking pissed off about something or another. This did not have anything to do with her mood. Her face just seemed to be fixed in a permanent scowl. She told us that she had job openings for bag boy or a produce clerk. She took the apps and thanked us for our time and said she would call us if anything became available. She then turned around and left us standing there. Jeremy and I both knew that call would never come.

JEREMY: We were never able to get a job at Goodings.  What can I say; the grocery store was just too classy for the likes of us.

JESSE: After that, we went right next door to Winn Dixie's. We walked in and did the same exact thing. This time out we only got the assistant manager, a rather plump fellow with a jolly disposition. He talked to us quite a bit. This meant they were desperate for help, leading both Riley and me to feel like we might stand a chance. He thanked us and said we'd hear from him real soon.

This place seemed a cinch to hire us but I figured we should keep looking all the same. I really didn't want to work at a grocery store again. So we left and headed right onto University. We soon found this to be a grave mistake.


At the time Jeremy and I did not know each other all that well. We had only met on those special occasions mentioned before. We both knew we liked movies and certain other things but we didn't know personal details nor could we say we were in each others’ confidences at this time. So this walk, as hot and odious as it was, was the first step in that awkward ‘getting to know you’ faze all eventual friends have to go through.

Jeremy was rather quiet and introverted the whole time. I searched my mind for topics of conversation. I then started to talk a mile a minute about anything and everything I could think of. I talked about the Simpsons, movies in general, and, of course, MST3K. Jeremy remained stoic but threw in a comment here or there. I then hit upon the topics of westerns and history. This sparked his interest even further. At the time Jeremy loved westerns and my talking about that particular era really brought him to life.

The conversation began to take on more of a two-sided dimension. After a while we were both chatty Cathies. I like to think that we started to bond and that's what started him talking. Who knows, maybe he thought if he talked a little I'd eventually shut up. He knows now that only death will shut me up.

JEREMY: Perhaps not even then.  I can see Jesse’s bloated corpse on the slab as the gas escapes with a “Phhfuckyouuumotherrrfuckerrsss.”

JESSE: As we continued our walk we started to feel the full force of the heat upon us. We were both wearing dress shirts and slacks. The heat seeped through our clothes and started to boil the sweat off our bodies. We began to dehydrate. Soon talking seemed like a valuable waste of energy, so we stopped. It was over 102 degrees out, or at least it felt like it.

Looking back on it we must have walked somewhere around four miles and we quickly figured out two things: Firstly, no job would be worth walking through all this heat for. Secondly, by the time we found a place to apply at we'd be dead from heatstroke so we unanimously decided to turned around and head back toward home. We weren't ready to give up just yet though. We would simply head the other direction, vowing that we wouldn't stop until we had at least ten apps in.



Jeremy and I trudged past a large campus that we would later be told was Full Sail. Either we didn’t think anything of it at the time or perhaps we thought it was a mirage conjured up by the intolerable heat, but we passed it by without so much as a glance and continued down to a strip mall near a bike trail. There really weren’t that many businesses in our general area.  It seemed the layout for Florida was meant for drivers not pedestrians. I ended up putting one app in at some place called Kids Jungle Gym or Discovery Zone or something like that. Jeremy filled one out there as well and we were on our way.

We headed back in the direction of Winn Dixie and crossed the street to hit K'mart. We both quickly went in and filled out apps. By this time we were both exhausted but this wasn't our main problem. Our main problem was that we smelled like sweat, which was no surprise since we were both pretty much drenched in it. We knew going anyplace else in our current state would just jeopardize us getting a job there so we decide to pack it in for the day.

On the way home I told Jeremy we would have to go to the video store and the movie theater the next day. He agreed that those would be great places for guys like us to work at. We also decided that since we had achieved half our goal today we could sleep in tomorrow.  We got home and both headed to our separate bathrooms to shower.  A quick change of clothes later and we re-gathered in the living room where we put in one of Joe's Simpsons tapes and, collapsing on the floor with the AC cranked to the max, basked in the crazy antics of those beloved carton icons.

JEREMY: We kept the air conditioner at maximum power for the first month.  It got so cold in the living room at times that I would have to wrap myself in a blanket but it was a blessing to feel that cool air hit you as you stepped through the door after trudging around in the heat and humidity.  That is, until we received our first electric bill for two-hundred-plus dollars, motivating us to turn off the AC and apply it only periodically the rest of our stay in the apartment.

Also, one of my favorite memories from this time was that we ordered pizza every night for dinner for the first several days, vowing to save some for lunch the next day, but between four hungry guys that was an empty promise at best.

JESSE: An hour later Darren and Joe came home. Darren had a big smile on his face. He blurted out the one thing we did not expect to hear. He had found a job.


JEREMY: Dar had secured a job at Ruby Tuesday as a bus boy and his first day was scheduled for the very next morning. He was strutting around, rubbing the fact that he was the first of us to become employed in our collective faces and then went to bed early so that he could get plenty of rest.

The next day around the phone rang. I answered it and Dar said, rather meekly, that he had been fired and was on his way home. Naturally, we were all curious as to what had happened. I mean, you would really have to screw up to get canned on your first day of work.

Well, Dar arrived home, drenched in sweat, his head downcast, looking near tears. He explained that when he arrived at Ruby Tuesday that morning the head chef asked him if he was the new cook. Instead of saying "No, I'm here for the bus boy position" Dar confirms that he is the new cook and spends the rest of the morning screwing up customers' dishes and garnering heaps of abuse from the chef. The whole ordeal reached its inevitable conclusion when Dar spilled a pot of boiling water on the chef.

Yes, folks, Dar was the first of us to secure a job and the first of us to lose one.

DAR: I thought I could do it.


JESSE: A couple of days after Darren lost his job I got a call from Winn Dixie. They asked me to come in for an interview and I was more than happy to oblige since no one else had contacted me. I hung up the phone without saying goodbye and ran to the shower.

I was interviewed by the head Assistant Manager. His name was Terry and the whole interview process went like this:

Terry: Thanks for coming in on such short notice.

Jesse: No, thank you.

Terry: So, you want the job?

Jesse: Yes, please.

Terry: All right, we have a test for you to take on a computer. Then tomorrow we need you to take a piss test.

I ended up starting work that night. They said my position would be changed around a lot until they settled on what suited me best. That night I worked as a stock boy and around that evening I went home exhausted and plopped in bed without a word to anyone.

I worked three other positions during my tenure at Winn Dixie. I worked in the Dairy, then I was the head of the bag boys, and, finally, I ended up being the floor cleaner in the mornings. It was a pretty shitty job all together. It paid the bills though and that's all that mattered. The most exciting part of the job was the piss test, but that's a tale unto itself.

JEREMY: On Jesse’s first day of employment Dar, Joe, and I were hanging around the living room, bored and full of energy.  To pass the time we began chatting about our adventures back in Indy as if the years had quickly passed us by.  While we were doing this we formed a semi-circle and began kicking the air mattress back and forth for no other reason than we could do it and not have a parent or grandparent yell at us to stop before we broke something. 

Well, after about five minutes of this one of us kicked the mattress too hard and it shot up into the paddle fan and broke off one of the revolving paddles. 

We all paused, looked at each other, and giggled profusely.  Anyone else would have stopped at this point but we continued on, kicking the mattress back and forth until we inevitably broke off another paddle.  It was only after the second time that we decided to quit as the paddle fan was now lopsided and could no longer circulate the air properly.  Let this be a lesson to all you youngsters out there that, more often than not, your elders actually know what they’re talking about.


Monday, May 28, 2012



JEREMY: The night before the big day I was chatting with my grandmother when she began to cry. She hugged me and told me that she didn't want me to go. I understood that she had no real friends and her husband pretty much ignored her unless he was bitching about bills or wanting to be fed. She and I had always been close and when I left she would be alone. Though I truly felt bad for her I couldn't pass up this opportunity. I told her that it wasn't like I was leaving forever. It would only be a year, maybe two tops, and I would write her every chance I got (though this last would turn out to be easier said than done. For a writer I've always had trouble composing letters).

I had a hard time falling asleep that night and when morning finally came and the Devine family's car arrived my grandmother was fussing over me and making Joe's parents promise to watch over me. They assured her they would and when I had finished cramming in the last trash bag full of belongings we were off.

As the hours passed and Joe and I grew tired of talking about our plans once we got to Florida our conversation drifted to the recently made Wastelands movie. Apparently Joe had shown the flick to his parents because his dad jumped right in with a comment along the lines of "How did you pull such a piece of crap out of your ass?" I tried to defend myself by explaining all of the problems I had making the movie and how I had originally envisioned it but the old man wasn't biting. He tore into me about the laughable dubbing of gunshots, of the wooden acting (here Joe bore the brunt of the verbal abuse) of the lousy editing and choice of music for the soundtrack. I was close to saying "Fuck you, let's see you do better" but I didn't feel like thumbing a ride to the Sunshine State so I kept my trap shut.

JOE: I remember a few weeks before we left for Florida Darren's mother told me to watch out for her son. She said that I was going to be the one who held things together. I wasn't sure exactly what she meant. I promised to do my best.  About the same time Jeremy's grandmother said what amounted to the same thing. They seemed to think I was the one who was going to make sure all the bills were paid in a timely manner and things of that nature. I just remember a sort of heavy weight there on my shoulders. I was still young and naive myself. I needed all the help I could get.
I also remember Bob, Jeremy's grandfather, grilling Jeremy and I about our bills and budgeting for living in Florida. He seemed more belligerent than helpful. It was like he wanted one of us to swing on him or something. We rolled our eyes at him and assured him that everything would turn out well.

My mother told me I should take things that reminded me of home. So I packed all my movies and favorite books (which was mostly a collection of Eddie Poe books) I threw all my clothes in a suitcase and that was that for me. I was ready. I was excited. I wanted to be in Florida yesterday. I was eager to start classes at Full Sail, but we had to get there first!

My mother and father would be taking us to Florida. My littlest sister, Jackie, was also along for the ride. We got to Jeremy's house sometime after sun-up. I helped Jeremy load up his things. As we were loading one of the trash bags burst and Jeremy's massive collection of porn almost spilled out over the driveway for all to see. Lucky for us, we caught it in the nick of time. The porn was safe!

JEREMY: That was a close call with the porn. I don't know what we would've done had Joe's mother spied it. I remember spending the remainder of the journey worried that she would come across it.

Hey, don't judge me! Four guys alone in a new state needs all the porn they can get.
JESSE: We were a day away from starting the big trip. My parents decided to take me out for one last night in the city of my birth. We didn't do anything particularly special, just ate a good meal and rented some movies and before we parted ways they gave me some advice that I followed to a T: Bills were to be paid before anything else, including food. My Mother told me she wanted me to call once I got down there. I told her it might take a day or two before we got the phone hooked up.

She wrote me a check for the hookup and told me she wanted to hear from me the day after I arrived. I promised her I would and that I would make them proud. My Dad said, jokingly, "I'm already proud. You're my last born but the first to get the hell out of my house."

I was supposed to go over to Darren's house at that day since that was when his brother, David, was scheduled to swing by. We were all supposed to stay the night at his place and leave the next morning. This sounded like a peach of an idea as we wouldn't have to pay for an extra motel room. Darren wouldn't have it though. Jeremy and Joe had left that morning. He wasn't going to be a whole day behind them. He wanted to beat them there so that he could claim the master bedroom. Darren's Mom agreed and I went along with their decision only because they were my ride.

My parents dropped me off and waited with us. David arrived with his pickup truck. Darren and I began to load all of our stuff into the truck bed. David was told that we were heading out after we finished. He looked beat and ready for sleep. David took Darren by the arm and said, "Okay, we can leave tonight but we find a motel once we're outside of Indiana."

Even though Darren wanted to ride down there non-stop he had no choice but to comply since David was driving. We finished loading and it was time for goodbyes. I hugged both my Mother and sister. I walked up to my Father who held out his hand. I shook it firmly and that was all that was needed. We were Handlons and shaking a man's hand was all the emotional contact we needed. I put my backpack in the backseat and hopped in. Darren hopped in on the opposite side of me and we were off.

It took us two hours to get to the state line. Once we came close to the border I looked back, half expecting to see my family still there, waving. I watched as Indiana became Ohio and it dawned on me that I was alone in a different state for the first time in my life. Indiana looked like a distant memory as we crossed that invisible line.


 After waking up early in my strange motel room I found myself wondering something: Jeremy and Joe had about a ten-hour head start on us. Where the hell were they in their travels? I looked over to see Darren in the bed next to me. His face was buried in the pillows and while I was considering the consequences of holding his head down and smothering him to death I heard a knock on the door connecting us to Darren's Mother and Brother's room. I opened the door to see David dressed and ready to face the world. He beckoned me into his room, stating that we needed to discuss the travel schedule.

I asked if Darren needed to be there. David assured me he did not. I walked into the room in a half-sleep daze. David offered me a chair, which I gladly plopped down into. Darren's Mother smiled and said, "Darren didn't tell you how we're going to do this, did he?"

I told her I didn't know a thing. Both she and David laughed. She then explained that we would get up at , drive all day, stopping only for gas and lunch. When the sun went down we would call it a day and find a motel.

I didn't like the plan but had to live with it. I asked them to compromise lunch. I said we should grab drive-thru. That way we really wouldn't have to stop. David agreed to this addition to the plan so long as no one needed a restroom break. We shook on it and I went back to my room to get ready.

Around Darren's Mother came into our room. I was brushing my teeth at the time and luckily I was fully dressed. She called to Darren, telling him to get up, that we would be leaving soon, and then left the room.

After about five minutes Darren murmured, "I'm awake." Dramatic pause, then: "Damn, that's fine acting."

I stood there, bewildered. This was in no way fine acting. I walked over and pushed him out of bed. He looked up at me groggily. I said, "We leave in fifteen minutes, fucker. Get ready."

An hour later we were on the road. Our travels went like this: Darren and I would chat, do some writing, or read books. I find writing in a car a waste of time. It is nearly impossible to write legibly in a bouncing car. My handwriting is bad enough as it is. Reading is even more futile. Reading in a moving car is good for one thing and one thing only, putting one to sleep. Yet I kept at both in the hopes of killing my boredom.

David would blast Vince Gill through the back speakers until our ears were fit to bleed. Darren grew so frustrated he started to yell at David. David, in response, put on Michael Bolton instead. Darren never complained again.

The bright spot on the trip was David. That guy is a born entertainer. He regaled us with stories and jokes, all of them raunchy. Darren was slightly embarrassed by this, as was his Mother. Of course, I couldn't help but trade dirty jokes with him. We both laughed our asses off. This was the most enjoyable part of our trip.

On the last leg of our great journey I mostly slept. I was tired of trying to write and read; so much so that by the end of our trip I took a week off from both. Then, in the middle of a wonderful lesbian-based dream, Darren woke me up and pointed at a sign. "We're in Florida."

This really didn't affect me the way either of us thought it would and I closed my eyes, eager to slip back into the land of nod. "Wake me up when we hit Winter Park," I muttered, already winking out again. However, instead of the lesbian-based fantasy I was hoping for my mind fixed instead on Joe and Jeremy. I wondered absently how they were faring on their portion of the trip. I could only hope they weren't as bored as I was.

JEREMY: After spending the night in a cheap hotel where Joe and I swam in a slime-laden pool and ate a complimentary breakfast of one small bag of Quaker oats and a rock-hard muffin we were on the road once more. To pass the time I tried to give Joe some pointers on how to draw the human body but gave up when our creative partnership produced a being akin to Frankenstein's monster.

When we reached Georgia I remember staring out at the lush plains and valleys and thinking, Wow, this is the state Doc Holliday was born in. It was beautiful country and for a minute it seemed as if I had been transported back to the nineteenth century, save for the cars, fast food joints, and modern buildings of course.
Joe's father was adamant that we stop at the Etowah Indian Mounds in Bartow County and I was more than happy to second the motion. The Etowah Indian Mounds is an archaeological site, which sits on the north shore of the Etowah River. There are three large mounds and three lesser ones in the park that at one time contained a hodgepodge of buried goods belonging to Native Americans of the Mississippian culture, circa 1000-1550 CE.
Joe and I climbed to the top of the largest hill and stared out at the surrounding countryside. I tried to imagine what the land must have looked like those many centuries ago and what it was like to be a member of this particular tribe. Afterwards, we hit the little museum/gift-shop on the premises, studied some of the artifacts unearthed from the mounds and then we were off again.
I wished we could have visited some more sites along the way but we had a schedule to keep and Joe and I were determined to reach our apartment ahead of Jesse and Dar so that we could claim the master bedroom (You see, we were going to have to live two to a room. Yeah, I know, bummer).
As it happened, we did make one last stop before reaching Florida and this was at the Kennesaw Mountain where in May of 1864 General Sherman and one-thousand of his men came to Georgia, hoping to destroy General Johnston’s army of fifty-thousand as well as lay waste to the vital railroads and factories.  At least, that’s what the plaque said.


JESSE: Darren nudged me back awake when we arrived in Winter Park. I shot up, wanting to see my new surroundings. I stared out the window, transfixed by this strange new land. I was confused and excited at the same time. David was lost and bitching at Darren, telling him for directions to the apartment. Of course, Darren didn't know and we ended up calling the complex's office. They were more than happy to direct us and we were soon on our way again.

It took us a half hour before we finally pulled into the Glen of Winter Park. We found our building number and saw Joe carrying his boxes inside. We watched, crestfallen, as he and Jeremy would run in and out for another box. Darren screamed, "Damn it, they got the master bedroom!"

I had no clue what Darren was complaining about. Of course, I knew one room was bigger than the other but who cared? None of us had enough stuff to fill a single room. I just smiled, glad to be here. It was a long journey and here we were. I sat back and let the pure, untainted feeling of happiness wash over me. David parked the car next to Joe's parents. In my excitement I jumped out of the car before he brought it to a complete stop. As much as I wanted to run into the apartment my stiff legs wouldn't let me, so I ended up limping as quickly as possible over to our little bachelors pad.
Joe passed me as he came out and, laughing, said, “What’s the first thing Jeremy does when he gets out of the car?  He starts chasing lizards!”

“Lizards?”  I said.

“Yeah,” Joe retorted.  “They’re all over the place.

I looked, and sure enough there were these tiny lizards running around all over the ground and along the walls of the apartment.  At that moment Jeremy stepped outside, nodded to me, spotted a lizard and took off after it.  I shook my head and stepped inside.

Believe it or not, this was my first time inside an apartment. I looked around, a bit mesmerized that this was my own place. Joe walked in and put his box in a corner. He just stood there with me, basking in the glow. When Jeremy and Darren walked in they did the same thing. We took a moment just to soak it all in. We'd finally made it. This was one of the biggest accomplishments of all our lives. We were now beholden to no one. We were out on our own.

JEREMY: I remember thinking at this point that I could get arrested if I wanted to and wouldn't have to put up with any bitching from my family for it.

Hey, we all celebrate our newfound independence in our own way.


JESSE: Darren and Joe's families walked around, checking out our place. Darren and I got the small room. The room was only an inch smaller than the other. The only real difference was that they had a bathroom in their room. Ours was at the other end of a small hallway across from our room. The situation didn't bother me at all. After unpacking my things I sat down in my room and began to picture where all my movie posters would go.

After a while Darren asked me to join them in the living room. I walked in and saw just the boys. The families were outside checking out the pool. I walked over to the kitchen counter with the rest of them. Joe said, "All right, we need to gather up the cash for the first month's rent. We all owe a hundred-and-fifty a piece."

This was no problem for me. I had brought down fifteen-hundred-dollars, which was what was left over after paying for my travels. I put my money on the counter. The other boys had their cash too. Although the first month's rent almost broke them. Joe collected up the cash and put it in his pocket.

JEREMY: I, not being the sharpest knife in the drawer in those days, had arrived in Florida with a mere three hundred dollars, confident that I would have a job within the week and thus able to pay rent, bills, groceries and whatever else came up. Poor, deluded me—but mostly poor.  Seventy-five or so of this went to purchasing a bike, as I needed some form of transportation since none of us owned a car.

JOE: Jeremy brought up another point. We needed groceries. I told Jesse and Dar that my parents were going to drive Jeremy and me up to the grocery and that they could come too if they wanted.

JESSE: Frankly, by this point another car ride sounded atrocious. I declined the offer and decided to make my way by foot. Joe then adjourned the meeting and we went back to unpacking our things.Darren came into our bedroom a little later to see me going through my Fango mags. He sat down across from me and said he would accompany me to the grocery store.

I just shrugged my shoulders and muttered “Whatever”, lost in an article on Sam Raimi. After a few minutes of Darren staring unblinkingly at me I got the hint that he wanted to go soon. David and Darren's Mother came into the room. They told Darren they were on their way back home. Darren left the room with them. I sat there and waited for them to exchange goodbyes. Darren reentered the room shortly thereafter and we were on our way.

We first went to K'mart, which was rather close to our house. Darren wanted to buy an air mattress for his bed. I too was looking for something to sleep on. I found a cushion chair with a drawing of Wolverine on it that you could unfold and make a cushion mat out of. It was only ten dollars and I didn't trust the air mats.

After a quick trip home we had a choice between two grocery stores within the vicinity. There was the slightly less glamorous Winn-Dixie and then there was Goodings, where all of the rich and pretentious people shopped. I decided on Winn-Dixie for one deciding factor: It had a video store right next door called 16,000 Videos. We dropped in there first to look at their selection. I remember walking in and seeing such an enormous display of videos (Dvd's were still a bit away) that I came in my pants three times. I walked carefully through the store, slobbering over their selections. I inquired about becoming a member but sadly I didn't have enough ID.
Before leaving I made sure to grab a bag of freshly made popcorn that was free to all customers (which I wasn’t). They had a machine like the ones at the circus that constantly made popcorn. Little did we know this would become a welcome treat throughout our days in Florida.

JEREMY: Thank God for 16,000 Videos. Whenever we were low on food, which was often, we would make the fifteen minute trek through ninety-degree heat to the store, grab a bag of popcorn, and chow down as we looked over the endless selection of movies. Ah, the days of loitering (oh wait, I still do that).

JESSE: We got all of our groceries and headed back home. On the way Darren asked me how much money I still had.

I looked at him and wondered what business it was of his. Yet he was my friend and was probably just curious. So I told him I had less than fifteen hundred.

He smiled weakly and said, "I have six-hundred left. My first thought was left o
ver from what?
He hadn't spent a dollar since we left his house back in Indianapolis. So how did he only have six hundred left? Frankly, it was none of my business, so I let the subject drop.

We got home and found Joe and Jeremy hanging out. Joe's family had also left for Indiana. We packed away our groceries and sat around. Jeremy had brought his TV/VCR combo from home. We turned on the TV and put in a tape of the Simpsons and let it play as we talked about our adventures getting here. Listening to Joe and Jeremy my first thought was that I wish I had rode with them. Our talk soon turned to our plans for Florida. I told them I would be getting up early so that I could go job searching. Jeremy agreed and we made plans to search together. It was getting late so I told the boys I was going to hit the sack.

After setting my alarm I laid down on my mat, forgoing any kind of covers (who knew Florida was so fucking hot?).  Staring at the ceiling I waited for sleep to take me. I had to admit I was a bundle of energy. I was excited to be on my own. Soon, however, exhaustion overcame me and I drifted off into a sound sleep.


Sunday, May 27, 2012



JEREMY: Okay, by this point both Dar and Joe had completed their own short films; we were in the newspaper; we had our premier in which their films received much praise and Dar and Joe were hailed as talented up and coming filmmakers. Florida was just over the horizon and I found myself facing a terrible dilemma: I had yet to shoot my own short feature.  This was something I yearned to do as I didn’t want to be considered just the ‘actor’ in the group.  I had as much vision as Joe, Dar and Jesse, and I was determined to prove it.

I talked with Joe the day after the premier about showcasing my own directorial talents. Joe agreed but said it would have to be something quick since we would be leaving for Florida next month. This didn’t bother me as I was confident I could finish principal photography within a week’s time. Editing might be a tad trickier but not impossible. Joe asked me what I had in mind to shoot. Being the big old west freak that I was at the time I told him I wanted to do a western about a group of gunfighters battling over two halves of a stolen treasure map. It would be based loosely on a novel I had penned not too long before called The Devil's Bounty.

I figured the movie would have me, Dar, Joe, Jesse, and as many other people as we could recruit chasing each other around the wooded areas and railroad tracks behind my grandmother's house. The house itself would serve as headquarters while shooting and we could have the end shootout, which I planned to be this big O.K. Corral style standoff twixt the main gunfighters, in a gravel lot behind the house. Joe was all for it and said he would talk to Dar about helping out.

The relationship between Dar and I had improved since Laugh A Little but we still weren't on the best of terms. I was clueless at the time as to why and when I would ask Joe about it all he would tell me was that I needed to sit down with Dar and "Talk about it."
Now, when it comes to discussing personal problems I've never been the type who can sit down with a cup of tea and have a little tête-à-tête with another human being ("I say, old bean, I feel you have been shunning me for no apparent reason of late." "I do apologize for that, old man, but you must understand that I feel threatened by your relationship with my closest friend." "Oh my, I did not realize, I am ever so embarrassed. More tea?" "Yes, please, and these cookies are heavenly.").

I used to abhor confrontations. A bare-knuckled brawl I had no problem with, but whenever I had to deal from a purely emotional standpoint I would simply freeze up. I've improved a lot since then, but at the time I preferred to leave the lid on the pressure cooker of our relationship, allowing Joe to handle whatever negotiations needed handling between us.

JOE: I don’t remember exactly what it was about Jeremy that had Darren so irritated. I didn’t want to go back and forth between the two playing the ‘Jeremy said this and Darren said that’ game. So I told each of them on separate occasions that they needed to sit down and talk out whatever it was that had them on edge around each other.

The funny thing is that Dar agreed to join my project as one of the lead actors, but Jesse, whom I expected to have no difficulty with, said he was going to Disney World with his family on the week we planned to shoot and couldn't make it. I was disappointed, not only at the loss of one of our group's more talented actors, but also because I had planned to use Jesse's camcorder.

Well, Jesse, being the swell guy that he is, said he would lend us the camera while he was away. Joe and I walked down to his house, which was an hour's walk both there and back, and Jesse hurriedly snuck the camera out to us, explaining that it was his father's and he wouldn't approve of a couple of strange kids he didn't know using it.

You can't fault the guy for that, especially as expensive as cameras were back then, so I assured Jesse that we would handle it like a newborn babe and Joe and I quickly took off before his old man grew wise to what we were up to.

On the one hand, it was great that Jesse let us borrow the camera, but on the other it sucked that he was in such a hurry to hand it over before his father found out that he forgot to give us a battery charger or plug for which to hook it up and let it charge. Of course, me being the Neanderthal that I was, I knew nothing about cameras and thus did not realize this error until it came time to do the first shoot (though, now that I think about it, it's kind of weird Joe didn't catch this important detail right away, he being much more knowledgeable than I in the field of technology).
And when I say "first shoot" let me make it clear that this wasn't like Laugh A Little where we had a nice studio at CIRT and access to their equipment; this was me, Dar and John Mattingly (fresh from his role as the disgruntled homeowner in Blood Pudding) standing in a clump of woods with no lighting or reflectors for controlling the light, and me with a camcorder that was quickly running low on battery power with no means of recharging it.

JESSE: The camera thing was totally my fault. I had forgotten to charge it the night before. I passed out after a long night of work. I did get into a shitload of trouble though. My Father found out I let the boys borrow it. He wasn't pissed because I loaned it out, he was pissed I didn't tell him. He gave me a whack on the head and said, "Just tell me next time, knucklenob." I've always loved that phrase. Thanks Pop.

I would love to have been in the movie but the timing was bad. We had been planning the Disney World trip for quite a while; so far back that I was able to save up enough money to pay for my entire trip myself. But I was excited about being in the movie and made mention of shooting my stuff when I came back. This didn't work out either as everyone else had plans the following week. Jeremy had to go with the two birds in the hand and forget about the one in the bush (Boy, that didn't come out right). I was disappointed for the poor guy, especially after hearing about his plans for a big shootout at the end.

The role he had for me would've been right up my alley, that of the smart-ass asshole. Yet it was not to be. Disney World wasn't cheap and I didn't want to piss that money away. Sadly, I bought a cowboy hat while down there, secretly hoping Jeremy and I would shoot some scenes with me in it to help fill out his movie. In the end, though, there just wasn't enough time.

JEREMY: Joe and Dar had wanted to shoot my project as soon and as fast as possible. Because of this time limit I decided to just write out the movie's plot points and allow the actors to come up with their own dialogue on the spot. The risk of crappy performances all around were high, but we were all pretty fair at adlibbing; we had done it on several occasions during Joe and Dar's movie, so I wasn't too concerned.
Besides, my main goal at the time was to showcase my visual style. I had no illusions that the story would be weak and the acting wooden. That's what you get when you make a movie with no script or professional actors, but I figured the one saving grace would be the great camera angles I had developed in my mind from hours of watching the likes of Sergio Leone (The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly), Sam Peckinpah (The Wild Bunch), Toino Vale (My Name is Nobody), and John Sturges (The Magnificent Seven), to name but a few.

I was happy to get John Mattingly for the shoot even though he couldn't act. I only had him for one day but that was all right, I would simply have Dar's character kill his character at the beginning of the film to show what a bad ass Dar was.

DAR: At first I thought Jeremy was trying to do Wastelands because he was jealous of the movies we were doing and he wanted to have his movie out there too. I had a great time doing it. I thought it would be fun. I always had fun doing movies with the guys so doing another one was icing on the cake. I enjoyed getting on the railroad tracks and pretending, and dressing up as weird characters. And being with the group, my best friends, was great.

Dar and John showed up at my place late in the day due to prior obligations and just ahead of a storm brewing on the horizon. John was decked out in this cool black leather cowboy attire with snakeskin boots and a snakeskin band around his Stetson hat. He looked fantastic and I almost felt bad that Dar had to kill his character off so soon, especially since Dar was dressed less than spectacularly in blue jeans and a white dress shirt.

I was horrified by this. I mean, I knew our budget was next to nil and therefore I had to rely on my actors to assemble their own wardrobe, but I wanted each character to visually stand out in some way; jeans and a white dress shirt just wasn't going to cut it. Since time was of the essence I told Dar that we'd start with him as he was and have his character change his costume at some point later in the film.

I asked John if Dar might be able to pry off his snakeskin boots after he killed him (my thinking being that maybe Dar's character could steal a bit of clothing from each person he kills and assemble his costume that way), but John explained that the boots were expensive and he didn't want to part with them. We were losing light at this point and the thunderheads were drawing nearer by the minute, so I decided to just go with what we had and ushered the two out into the woods. Once there Dar asked me what I wanted to shoot first and I stopped dead in my tracks, suddenly realizing that I didn't have the first clue.

I had it in my mind that Dar and John would argue over a piece of the treasure map and get into a scuffle, which culminates with Dar shooting John in the head, killing him. He takes the piece of the map and heads off. Now, having all of this in my head is one thing, but without a written script, shot sheets or storyboards to go with I found myself at a loss. I saw Dar watching me impatiently and thought, Dammit, I'm blowing it! I nagged him and Joe to let me shoot my own movie and here I am blowing it!

I couldn't let them see that I didn't know what I was doing, so I collected myself and said I would start with Dar washing his face at a nearby stream with his gun on the ground beside him. Since the sun was setting we would get this tranquil golden reflection off the water's surface. I would then have John walk up slowly behind Dar, beginning with a tight shot of those cool snakeskin boots and pan up his body, pausing at his face as he raises his pistol, thumbs back the hammer, and tells Dar to get up slowly.

We would then cut to a close up of Dar's face in the foreground with John standing over his shoulder in the background. Dar would make a snide remark as he begins to rise, but then he would roll to one side at the last second, grab his own pistol as he went, and the shootout would commence.

I did a take of the golden shimmering water, which is disrupted as Dar thrusts his hands into it and then followed his cupped hands as they rise and splash water onto his face. I liked it and called for another take just to cover my ass. I called action and right on cue it started to sprinkle. I said to hell with it and told the actors to keep going. There was a boom of thunder and Dar said he didn't want to be near the stream with it raining. I called him a pussy and kept filming. Then the low battery light flashed on the camera and my gut twisted itself into a pretzel.

Dar asked what was wrong and I told him. He said we might as well call it a day but I was determined to get as much footage as I could because I wouldn't have John again after this. I decided to get all of John's scenes first and intercut them with Dar at a later date; I mean, what the hell, maybe I could find a better costume for Dar by that point. I got John into place, called action...and the camera died on me.

I had no choice but to call it a wrap. John headed home and I never saw him again. Dar gave his condolences to me on a shitty first shoot and left me on the front porch of my grandmother's house, wondering how I was going to find another camera in time to shoot my movie.

Joe called a couple of days later and said he knew a guy who would lend us a top of the line camcorder if we would let him be in the movie. I said no problem, delighting in the fact that I would not only have a camera in which to shoot my movie but another actor to replace John Mattingly. Joe said the guy's name was Joe Woodruff and that the only catch was that he couldn't be in the movie more than one day. I asked if we would be able to keep the camcorder until the end of the shoot and Joe said no. The camera belonged to Woodruff's dad, and he would take it with him when he left.

"One day?" I exclaimed. "You got six months to work on your movie, and Dar got three or four to work on his, and I only get one lousy day?"

Joe sympathized but explained that we didn't have a month left, let alone six, and this was most likely the only opportunity I would have to do my project, so I had best take it while the taking was good. I let out a long sigh and agreed.

JOE: I don’t remember exactly why Woodruff would only lend us the camera for one day. It may have had something to do with his father. I think his dad would only let the camera go for that long. I had borrowed a camera to shoot Blood Pudding. I broke that one once and had it repaired. I couldn’t borrow that one again. It was the best I could do at the time. I told Jeremy about it and asked if he’d want to do that. Understandably, he wasn’t very happy about it.

True, the Blood Pudding shoot was spread out over six months, but that was because we didn’t shoot in the winter. We shot it in the fall and the spring. I wish we could have had the same amount of time to work on Jeremy’s movie, but it just wasn't to be. So we did the best we could with what we had.

JEREMY: I stayed up all night before the shoot preparing the plot outline and shot-sheets. I was determined not to be caught with my pants down like last time. I met Joe up at Marsh around eight. We then came back to my place where we prepared our costumes and went over the scenes we would do first. Since Dar wasn't set to arrive until around we would shoot all of the scenes revolving around Joe and I (and Woodruff, who was set to arrive at nine) first.

I had to alter the script because we didn’t have as many gunfighters as I had originally planned. Oh sure, there were other guys we knew who could've played bit parts but none of them could make it on that particular day, so I had no choice but to pare the story down to revolve around Joe, Dar, Woodruff, and myself.

I still needed a woman for the role of my wife, but I had that covered. One of the cashiers at Marsh had expressed great interest in acting in one of our films and had told me on more than one occasion to call her any time and she'd hop on over. I tried calling her the night before but couldn't get through, so I figured I'd wait a couple of hours before calling her that morning just in case she was still asleep. All she would have to do is come over for maybe an hour, shoot a few scenes, and then she would be free to leave.

Joe called Woodruff a little before nine and gave him directions to my house. I told Joe to remind him to bring a colorful western style costume. But when Woodruff arrived I was disappointed to see his ‘costume’ consisted of a long gray trench coat, a Hawaiian shirt, Homburg hat and loafers. I pointed out that this was supposed to be a western and he looked like a reject from some bad dime store detective novel. He simply shrugged and said that this was the closest thing to a costume he had. I let it go because I had no other choice and proceeded to shoot the first scene of my movie.


The original plot of Wastelands boiled down to this:

Joe and I are partners who come across one half of a map that leads to a buried money box. When Joe discovers that another gunfighter, played by Woodruff, has the other half of the map he shoots me, takes our half of the map, and leaves me for dead, hoping he can enter into a partnership with Woodruff. I am found barely conscious by Dar who agrees to patch up my wound and help me track down Joe and Woodruff in exchange for half of the buried money. Meanwhile, Woodruff rejects Joe's proposition of a partnership and tries to kill him. A fight ensues and Woodruff escapes, wounding Joe in the process. Dar and I track Joe down to a saloon where he is nursing his own wound while contemplating his next move. Since Joe has an idea of where Woodruff might be going I renew my partnership with him and now me, Joe, and Dar are all three in pursuit of Woodruff.

Along the way we stop at my character's home to rest and plan our next course of action. Joe makes moves on my wife, which nearly brings me and him to blows. A brief scene between my wife and I reveals a bit of my past. I was a guerrilla fighter for the confederacy during the civil war and had robbed banks, stage coaches and trains since then in an attempt to get back at the northern squareheads who wouldn't allow the remnants of the shattered Confederacy to lay down their weapons and go on with their lives. My wife represents the human aspect of my character. She is the moral compass that steers me from the path of absolute damnation. Without her my character is lost.

Once we have rested and formed our plans we head out in pursuit of Woodruff. Along the way the three characters continuously bicker and Joe and I get into at least one row. As they pursue Woodruff they discover that he is, in fact, hunting them. It makes sense since he needs their half of the map as much as they need his. There are a few brief encounters and shootouts between Woodruff and the trio. We succeed in getting the map from Woodruff but he escapes with his life intact. Joe, his own private feud with me having reached its peak, betrays us by making off with both halves of the map in the middle of the night.
Now Dar and I as well as Woodruff (independently) are after Joe. I am disturbed to discover Joe's course leads back to my house. When Dar and I get there we find Joe has taken my wife as a bargaining chip and left me a note, stating that if I didn't cease my pursuit he would kill her.

I form a plan with Dar (who could care less about my wife but just wants the money) that hearkens back to my guerrilla days, which involves tracking Joe from a distance and bushwhacking him when his guard is down. The wild card in this is Woodruff, who is hunting us all. The attempted bushwhacking is foiled when Woodruff intervenes and my wife is mortally wounded. With my moral center destroyed I become an instrument of vengeance.

Dar, unable to cope with me any longer, sides with Woodruff, who grudgingly accepts him, at least until they kill off the rest of us. Joe finds the money box and while he is in a saloon waiting to catch a train I arrive and call him out. I no longer care about the money; all I want is revenge for my dead wife. Dar and Woodruff show up and the four of us square off in a vacant lot. In the ensuing gunfight Joe, Dar, and Woodruff are killed and I am mortally wounded. I take the money box, which is no good to me now that I'm near death, and toss it away. As I walk off down the railroad tracks I grow smaller and smaller until I'm nothing more than a speck on the horizon. I then pause and drop dead.
Fade out:

The end.

That was the plot as I originally wrote it, but it was way too involving to shoot in one day no matter how hard we worked on it. But I was determined to give it my all nonetheless.


Joe was decked out in a black shirt, a white and black tie, black Stetson hat, black slacks, combat boots, and a long black trench coat I had given him a few months before (if memory serves, it was the same coat I wore in Blood Pudding). Like Woodruff, he wasn't exactly dressed for a western, but, unlike Woodruff, at least he looked cool. Along with his dark eyes and natural acidic nature he was perfect to play the main antagonist of the piece.

I asked him what he wanted his character’s name to be and he promptly said "Boris." I asked for a last name and he told me Boris didn't have one. I liked that as it added a touch of mystery to the character. I threw on my duds, which consisted of a dress shirt, tie, black vest, black slacks, cowboy boots, and a white wicker hat. I dubbed myself "Cole Wilson" (keep in mind that this was years before Lance Henrikson played a character of the same name in Dead Man) and proceeded to shoot the first scene of my movie.

The scene in question takes place a quarter of the way in, after Boris has shot me and left me for dead and Dar has patched me up. Boris is sitting at a bar, nursing a glass of whiskey as he contemplates how to retrieve the other half of the map from Woodruff. I walk in and toss my hat over his drink before he can grab it. After a few tense words we decide to put our differences aside for the time being in order to retrieve the map.

My grandmother had a dining room counter with some stools that we dressed up to look more ‘western-like’ and we shot from an angle to avoid capturing all the knickknacks and decorative plates.

JOE: This was a fun scene to shoot. To hide a phone on the wall we hung a hat on it. It looks funny there.

We thought it would be cool if Boris would quote Poe at various points in the movie. We always seemed to find just the right quote. In this scene, I got to quote Poe, point a gun at Jeremy, and drink weak tea that was posing as whiskey. It was fun and I think it established the mood for the rest of the day. I had a lot of fun shooting Wastelands.

JEREMY: Because we were in such a hurry to get everything done we didn't even bother to rehearse. I gave Joe the rundown on what I wanted, told Woodruff how I wanted the camera positioned, and we shot the scene several times. Unfortunately, Woodruff wasn't a natural with the camera and it shows in the finished work. I would have preferred Jesse, whose cinematography on Laugh A Little had won them their prestige's award of best short feature, but, alas, he was tripping the light fantastic at Disney World.

The next scene was supposed to take place at my character's house, after his wife is introduced and Boris follows Cole into the bedroom to keep an eye on him while the character changes into clean clothes. Boris was supposed to have just witnessed my Achilles heel in the previous scene when he watched me interact with my wife. Hoping it is a weakness that he can exploit he casually remarks, "By the by, your wife's kinda cute. Think she'll go out with me?"

JOE: Boris is one of my favorite characters. He’s a villain. It’s always fun to play a villain. When Cole threatens Boris with death if he hurts his wife, Boris just smiles crookedly at him and tells him to take a number. Everyone wants to kill Boris and that’s the way he likes it.

JEREMY: This scene would change drastically when it came time to call my actress. I cannot remember the young lady's name for the life of me. She answered on the third ring and when I mentioned what was up she expressed her disappointment that she would be unable to shoot that day as she had a previous engagement. I told her it would only take an hour of her time at the most but she persisted that she was simply too busy to make it that day. "But," she assured me, "I can fit you in tomorrow, how about that?" I told her tomorrow would be too late, thanked her all the same, and hung up with a curse.

Great, I thought. We just did half-a-dozen takes of a scene where my wife is the central piece of the conversation and now I have no wife to show for my efforts.

I briefly played with the idea of going back and re-shooting the scene sans any mention of a wife but the clock was ticking and we literally didn't have a second to waste. The next scene, I decided, would be the introduction of both Joe Devine and Joe Woodruff's characters. This is the part where Boris confronts Woodruff and attempts to make him his partner. Things don't go according to plan and in the ensuing gunfight Boris receives a glancing shot across the leg as Woodruff makes a hasty escape.

By this point Dar called and said he was on his way over. We went out front and waited for him. Ten minutes later we spotted him walking up the street with a pretty little strawberry-blonde girl at his side. We all wondered who she was as she didn't look old enough to be one of Dar's girlfriends.

Dar introduced the girl as sixteen-year-old Heather Schuth. He explained that they weren't exactly boyfriend and girlfriend but they were quick on their way to that point. Joe and I called him a cradle-robber (amongst other things). Both of us believed that he was just going to use this shy little gal and then toss her to the curb when something better came along. Well, as of this writing they are happily married with one beautiful daughter and another on her way, so what do we know?

My second thought after introductions were out of the way was that maybe I could talk Heather into playing the part of my character's wife. She was a little too young and I didn't even know if she could act her way out of a wet paper bag (yeah, like anyone else there could) but I was desperate and willing to give anything a shot at this point.

I asked her and she flat out refused, stating that she felt uncomfortable in front of the camera (which is ironic considering that she somehow managed to unintentionally show up in several key scenes of the finished movie that did not call for a young lady with flowing, strawberry-blonde hair). I told her I understood but was determined to get her into the movie regardless, even if I had to pester her throughout the remainder of the day.

JOE: Which he did.
DAR: Heather and I were just hanging out that day. I told her what we were doing and she wanted to come and see my friends. She had a good time. She was just a kid, but we were all kids then. She was sixteen at the time, and at that age you just want to get out and do something with a bunch of boys.


JEREMY: We went ahead and shot the scene between Joe and Woodruff, and it was here that our constant ad-libbing led to a hilarious moment involving Woodruff. Now, some people can adlib and some can't. Joe and Dar were naturals in this department. Woodruff wasn't. Since Woodruff had been unable to come up with a name for himself I dubbed him ‘Frank Dodge’. I don't think he cared much for the name because when Joe calls him "Frank" during their mounting argument Woodruff yells in a cracked, just having reached puberty voice, "Listen pal, I done told you, my name’s not Frank, its Evol...EVOL!"

At first I thought he was saying he was evil because, well, 'Evol' sounds like 'Evil', but, alas, this turned out to be the name Woodruff wanted for his character. This garnered howls of laughter from the rest of us. By this point I knew the short feature was going to be crap with a capital "C" so I decided to relax and just have fun with it, to see how campy we could make it. That's why the "Evol" bit remained in the finished work.

JOE: Woodruff used to call himself EVOL in high school. He signed my yearbook that way. I don’t remember why he started doing that. He wanted to call his character EVOL in the Wastelands movie too; except, when you say EVOL out loud, it sounds just like EVIL. So that really cracked us up.

Shooting the fight with Woodruff was a lot of fun. It was a purely improvised fight scene. We mostly wrestled around on the ground. Woodruff was a skinny little dude but he was strong. This scene ends with Woodruff pushing me away from him and then shooting me in the leg before he makes his escape. It ends with me yelling, “You bastard!” Great fun!

JEREMY: To call this movie a western would be stretching it quite a bit. Joe suggested that it could be like the old Roy Roger's westerns where they have electricity and cars. I decided that it would be best if I didn't stick the movie in any particular timeframe. Maybe it could pass for an alternate reality, or the not too distant future. In short, I would leave it up to the audience’s imaginations.

Now that Dar was here we could shoot his scenes. Last time he had worn blue jeans and a plain white dress shirt. He most likely thought he would never hear the end of it from me because this time around he brought a completely off the wall costume made up of his mother's long brown leather coat, which barely fit him, a yellow button up shirt, corduroy pants that were so tight he couldn't button them, a large brown belt, women's reading glasses, and galoshes.

It looked as if he'd stolen the clothes from a variety of people, so I decided to make his character a scavenger. I asked him what name he wanted and he said "Billy Jack Higgins." The handle seemed to fit, so I agreed.

DAR: I got the idea for Billy Jack Higgins from a live action Dungeons and Dragons game I used to play called Myth. I played a thief in this one particular game and decided to incorporate that character into Higgins. Whenever I was doing a play or one of our little movies one of my favorite things to do was to go to Amvets and try to find pieces of the character little by little. I’d try to find weird pieces of clothing. So when I decided to put together the Higgins character I went to Amvets and found different odd coats, pants, and shirts. It was fun. I guess I was acting like a scavenger picking different things out.

Higgins is like a librarian who went crazy or something.  He was really smart but kind of a weakling. He wanted to prove himself so he kind of became like a Mad Max character.

JEREMY: The opening shot goes right from the title of the movie (the name of which I hadn't come up with yet) to me lying sprawled on the railroad tracks with a bloody hole in my stomach. We then cut to Dar's galoshes as he walks into frame, pan up him, and pause on his face as he lights a cigarette. He approaches me and begins to scavenge through my pockets. Weakly, I plead with him for help. Dar asks why he should help me and I explain the missing map. Dar decides that that is indeed a good reason and helps me to my feet.

There is a comical moment of him trying to steady me and get me walking, but my character, being nearly dead at this point, refuses to cooperate and Dar ends up having to carry me.

This was all improvised and shot in one take from the moment Dar hunched over me and began rifling through my pockets. Joe was providing the camera work at this point, which was a marked improvement over Woodruff's. The scene was no masterpiece, but it was decent enough, and it provided a strong opening for the movie.

At this point we decided to take a break. While we sat in the living room of my grandmother's blessedly conditioned living room I discussed the problem of not having an actress to play my character's wife. I decided that Boris had come across Cole's wife earlier in the film while searching for him and killed her. This would make his earlier comment "By the by, your wife's kinda cute, think she'll go out with me?" more cryptic. Since Heather didn't want to act in front of the camera I thought I might at least get her to play the corpse of my character's wife, whom Cole stumbles upon when he comes home to check on her.

I bugged Heather endlessly until she agreed to do it. However, she refused to have her face on camera so how I ended up shooting it was to have Boris, Billy Jack, and Cole walk up to the house. Cole tells the boys to be on their best behavior and opens the front door. As he does this his wife's hand plops out, pale and lifeless. Boris spouts something by Edgar Allen Poe and Billy Jack makes a snide comment, which sends Cole into a rage (I believe the line was "Y'know, with your half of the money you can afford to buy yourself a new wife").
Cole grabs him and tosses him roughly to the ground. Since none of this was rehearsed Dar wasn't expecting me to suddenly charge him, grab him by the collar, and fling him on his back. It just seemed like the thing to do at the time, and the "JESUS CHRIST!" that escapes Dar's mouth as he sails through the air was priceless.
DAR: Heather had a good time being the dead arm that came flopping out of the door. She was nervous that day, that’s why she didn’t want to be in it. She’d be in front of the camera now. She’s gotten better.


JEREMY: We then shot the first meeting between Billy Jack and Boris, which, when viewed in chronological order, takes place immediately following the saloon scene (apparently, Cole had Billy Jack wait outside like the mongrel he is).

JOE: This scene was also fun. My character, Boris, meets Billy Jack for the first time. Billy Jack offers Boris his hand to shake. Boris just stares at him as if he is offended by the gesture. As we walk away, Billy Jack follows Boris and makes a face at him. This is just another example of how on it Darren was that day.

JEREMY: After that, we shot the scene following the one in which I discover my dead wife (or, at least her hand), in which Boris and Billy Jack tell Cole to pull himself together or they're going to go after the gold without him. "No," Cole tells them, "I'm with you boys to the end."

As the three men walk off Frank Dodge appears behind them, laughs maniacally, and follows.

Now, when I told Woodruff to laugh maniacally I expected a low, sardonic bellow (and I both explained this to him as well as demonstrated). I called action and Woodruff lets out this stilted HA!-pause HA!-pause-HA!-pause-HA! in a high, cackling voice. I was so frustrated I wanted to grab him and yell, "What the hell is the matter with you? Okay, you're no actor, I understand that, but are you telling me you can't even do something as simple as laugh without sounding like the Joker on ritalin?"

JOE: Woodruff’s evil laugh was hysterical! Jeremy explained to him what he wanted, but he just did not seem to grasp the concept.

JEREMY: We did several more takes, all of them just as stilted.  I accepted them for as good as I was going to get.

"Cut!" I shouted. "We're burning sunlight! Move on!"


After shooting all of our scenes on the railroad tracks and around my grandmother's house we moved production into the nearby woods. We found a clearing with a large tree stump and I laid on it for my operation scene where Dar gets me drunk and removes the bullet lodged in my stomach (Of course, in reality if I survived such an amateurish operation I would be laid up for months, delirious with pain. Ah, the magic of movie-making). This scene was also done in one take with the two of us adlibbing our dialogue.

I can still remember Dar hovering over me with my knife in his hand. At one point his character offers Cole one of those miniature bottles of booze you get on airplanes (which we swiped from my grandmother's liquor cabinet). "Here, you might need some of this," he tells Cole with wide-eyed glee. "It tastes real good. Y’see, I got it from this one lady named Helga. She’s a big fat lady in a bar." Then, in a conspirator’s whisper, he adds: "She's a whore."

It was a beautiful performance on Dar's part. In fact, Dar was so laid back and easy going on this day of shooting that I almost didn't recognize him as the same despotic tyrant who had made my life hell on Laugh A Little. It seemed as if he was really into his character and, most important of all, he was having fun. The only problem I found with this scene was that at one point while Joe Woodruff was moving around us with the camera he accidentally got a brief glimpse of Heather and Joe in the background. None of us realized this until after the shoot, and, of course, by then it was too late.
It is moments like these that are the reason I do multiple takes of scenes. Unfortunately, on that day I had to go against my better judgment for the sake of completing the movie on time.

Now that I'd established that Boris killed Cole's wife I decided that our next scene would be where Cole makes the discovery himself. I suppose we should consider Cole somewhat of a dullard for taking this long to put the pieces together, but let’s cut him some slack and say he just had a helluva lot on his mind at the time. He was in shock over his wife's death, been shot in the guts, and had made a deal with a psychopath in order to locate the other half of a treasure map that was currently in the hands of another psychopath. He was overwrought.

So anyway, we did the scene of Joe and I walking down a wooded path, talking. I realize he's the one who murdered my wife and the brief partnership between the two characters ends abruptly as Joe flees under a hail of bullets.

Dar asks what he's supposed to be doing during all of this and I tell him to hang back for the time being, maybe scavenge through the foliage or something. Dar says no problem and we do the shot of Joe and I walking along, conversing, supposedly the focal point of the audience’s attention. Yeah, right. All Joe and I were doing was divulging important dialogue that's supposed to help move what little plot we have forward. Big deal. The real focus of this scene is on Dar, who manages to steal the spotlight even though he's a good twelve feet or so behind us. I must say that Dar's comic timing was on the mark that day, because every little comment or gesture he made left us all in stitches.

What went down was this: I called action and we started walking along the trail. Dar appears around the corner of some brush, seemingly out of breath, and sees how much further ahead we are. He throws his hand in the air as if hailing a taxi and calls, "Guys!" in the nasal-like voice he used for his character. He then looks around at the dirty clothing littering the ground and, true to his character, he begins pawing through them (I wouldn't recommend this myself, only Dar would scrounge through a pile of clothes laying along a muddied wooded trail). Joe and I begin to fight and Joe takes off while I fire my gun at him.

Dar then inches up with a pair of stiff pants clutched protectively against his chest. He sees me eyeing them and says, rather cheerfully, "I found me a new pair of pants!"


The day was humid and Joe was sweating his balls off in his all black costume, so he wanted to kill off his character, Boris, as soon as possible. I was disappointed, to say the least. I really liked Boris and had wanted to save his death for the big shootout in the gravel lot behind my grandmother's house. However, it was clear that we weren't going to have enough time to build up to, let alone shoot, the coup de grace as originally envisioned, which most likely would've taken an entire day in itself to film, so I consented to Joe's wishes and decided it was time to start wrapping up the movie.

JOE: It just seemed like the appropriate time in the movie for Boris to die. My wanting Boris to die at this point really had nothing to do with how hot it was. Boris is a fun character to play. I wish he could have lived longer, but, you know, too much of a good thing can make the good thing a bad thing.

JEREMY: Boris' death scene is short and brutal. We have Joe pretend to be urinating on a tree, his back to the camera. Woodruff sneaks up behind him and places his sawed-off rife to his head. They exchange a brief bit of dialogue and a scuffle ensues. Even though Joe's character is getting the worst of it he still cries out, "Give me the other half of the map!" as if he's on the giving end and not the receiving. Woodruff throws him to the ground and retrieves his fallen weapon. Joe sees this and begins to limp frantically away. Woodruff shoots him in the back and Joe falls dramatically to the ground, arms held out as if he is Christ on the cross.
Woodruff then walks up to him and shoots him cold bloodedly in the head. He rummages through Joe's pockets, finds his half of the map, lets out another stilted HA!-pause-HA!-pause-HA!-pause-HA! and takes off.

JOE: I would have liked Boris to go out more brutally than he actually did. The fight scene between Boris and Evol is pretty lackluster compared to what we had done earlier that day. Time did not like us that day and a rainstorm was coming. That was another reason why we only did one take of Boris and Evol fighting to the death. So the final confrontation between Boris and Evol is passable but weak.
JEREMY: The next shot is actually one of my favorites in the movie. We begin with the camera level with Joe's prone body on the ground. Suddenly, Dar and I appear in the distance, looking like Lilliputians from Gulliver's Travels running along Boris' chest. Gradually, we become larger and larger until we are towering over Boris' body. The camera pans up and out for a master shot in which Dar and I ad lib our scene. Dar once again steals the show as he attempts to filch Joe's tie and boots, constantly getting in my way as I search the corpse for the map.

"I get his tie!" Dar exclaimed. He dived for the tie and tried to undo it (no clip on here. Joe is one of the few people I know who can tie his own tie). I told him brusquely to get the hell out of my way and shoved him aside. He fell on his ass and was immediately on his feet again, attempting to wrench off Joe's combat boots. He was like a buzzard diving for a piece of ripe meat. It totally fit his character and it was all Joe and I could do to keep from laughing and ruining the take.

Cole and Billy Jack then go in search of Frank Dodge, who now has both halves of the map. Unbeknownst to our characters Dodge has decided to tie up his loose ends and is hunting us in turn. He appears out of nowhere and shoots Billy Jack in the head, killing him. He then taunts Cole with the map. "If you want it, come and get it!" He yells, ripping off Ray Liotta from the film No Escape. He then disappears into the surrounding foliage. Cole runs along the railroad tracks in search of the elusive Dodge, his gunshot wound slowing him down considerably.

By this point storm clouds were gathering on the horizon and I knew we had to finish up before it began raining. I tried to calculate the odds of it raining on both days of my shoot and lost count.

Here's how the movie ends: Woodruff swaggers up a yard ahead of me and shouts, "You're making this too easy!" I tell him to throw down the map. He retorts with, "Why? I'll just be picking it up again!" (Woodruff's best adlib, by the way) There is a moment’s pause and then we draw our guns at the same time. Unfortunately, my wound slows me down and Woodruff is able to plant a bullet in me.
I don't go down right away, though. By shear will-power and a savage growl I manage to stay on my feet long enough to fire off three rounds into Woodruff before keeling over. The two halves of the map fall against the hot barrel of Woodruff's gun and catch on fire. As it burns there is the ominous sound of thunder in the distance.



The final scene was hastily shot to beat the coming storm. Despite that fact it is still a halfway decent ending to the overall film. My biggest gripe with it has to do with the part where Woodruff is shot.

Now, this isn't rocket science. The director calls action, you pretend to be shot and fall down. Children have been acting this out for generations. So, what happens? I call action, Woodruff jerks a few times as if hot lead is slamming into him, and begins to fall. At that exact moment a streak of lightning flashes behind him.

Yes! I thought. What are the odds of capturing lightening on screen during a character's brutal death scene? One in a million? No, more like one in a trillion!

My excitement was short lived, however, because just as Woodruff begins to fall he stops, breaks character, and says, "Ah, I fucked that up. Let's do it again."

If I had a real gun in my hand at that moment I can assure you I would be writing this from a prison cell.

We did one more take of Woodruff being killed, with me resisting the urge to make it a reality, and then I called it a wrap.


Everyone went home after the shoot except Joe, who stayed behind long enough to watch the footage with me. Despite how lackluster, or in some cases, god awful the performances were, as well as the fact that I'd had to rush through each scene without proper lighting, a script, shot sheets or storyboards, I had finished my own feature and was as happy as a sailor in port. The only question now was how was I going to edit it?

CIRT had, by this point, shut its doors to us, and editing from VCR to VCR was possible, but it was cumbersome and the end result was certain to look rather shoddy with colored lines flashing across the screen every time I edited a scene together.
The footage was amateurish enough as it was. I wanted to at least have the benefit of a decent edit. Joe told me Woodruff's father owned an expensive editing machine. I asked if Woodruff's old man might let us edit the movie on his machine and Joe said he'd find out for me. He called me a day later and said it was a done deal. All we had to do was meet Woodruff at his house and he'd help us edit it together.

Looking back over this chapter it seems I've been rather hard on Woodruff.  Despite his crappy performance and uninspired camera work he was an all around decent guy who showed up and provided a camera when nobody else would. The movie could not have been made without him.

Woodruff lived clear on the other side of town so Joe and I grabbed our bikes and huffed it up there. We arrived an hour or so later, sweaty and excited at the prospect of finishing the movie. Woodruff had told Joe that the editing machine was top of the line and that we could convert the film to black and white. I wanted to do this in the hopes that it would give the product a more polished and professional look.

He also said we could layer music over the movie as well as sound effects. This pleased me even more because I needed to add in the sound of gunfire over the pitiful pops of the cap guns we had used. And, best of all, we could put credits at the beginning and end of the flick. No shooting painted credits on a garbage bag ala Blood Pudding. No, sir. This was going to be a professional edit, just as I'd hoped.

It was late in the evening when we arrived.  I can't remember why this was, but I think either Joe or I had to work that day. But that was fine since we planned to stay up all night if need be. By this point I had decided to call the feature Wastelands; my reasoning for this being that since it was no longer a western maybe it could be a futuristic tale set in some post apocalyptic society, or something equally lame (cut me some slack, I'd just turned twenty a couple months earlier).

Before we were even in the house Woodruff hit us with the first bad news of the evening. His father didn't want us touching his expensive equipment, so he was going to edit the footage for us, with us supervising. The second thing was that his father had to get up early the next morning for work so we had a deadline of around to finish.

Great! I thought. Why the hell is MY movie the one constantly being rushed? One day to shoot it in and a handful of hours to edit. I felt as if I was getting the bum's rush everywhere I turned.

JOE: I was under the impression that Woodruff would work the editing equipment while we supervised. It was a bit distressing that his father wanted to do the edit and wouldn’t trust Woodruff with his equipment. Woodruff was thrown off by this as well. He thought his father was going to start us off and then head to bed. I don’t remember why we got such a late start on the edit. In the middle of editing Woodruff’s dad would get annoyed and say this was taking too long. It didn’t make sense to us that he gave Woodruff permission to let us edit the movie and then get annoyed with how long it was taking. Woodruff told me he knew how to use the equipment and didn’t understand why his father wouldn’t just go to bed.

JEREMY: Woodruff's father was a nice enough guy; the mere fact that he was willing to waste his evening helping us on our project was proof enough of that, and bless him for it, but he didn't understand the first thing about how to edit a movie.

Since Wastelands was shot out of sequence we had to fast forward and rewind a lot to get the parts we needed in chronological order. This seemed to get on the guy's nerves and I began to dread telling him when he would have to wind through the tape to a specific scene or which of the multiple takes I wanted him to use for fear of him throwing us out before it was finished.

Sometimes he wouldn't cut a scene fast enough and we'd just have to move on and live with it. I asked him if he could put it in black and white and he told me the process would take too long and we didn't have time to do it (secretly, I believe he just didn't know how to do it and didn't want to take the time to find out). I told him I needed to add sound effects over the gunshot scenes and he told me the machine didn't have that particular sound effect in its files.

Luckily, I came prepared with a couple of my western movies. I figured we could plop those bad boys into the VCR and record the gunfire from there, but he said he couldn't do it and I ended up having no choice but to do the sound effects by mouth. So, every time one of the characters fires a gun in the movie you hear what is clearly a person making a PKOW! sound.

By this time it was well after and Woodruff's father was griping that he had to get up early. We threw in the credit sequence and I asked him if he could hold on long enough to add the music track to the movie. He sighed and told me to hurry up. Unfortunately, CD's were still a relatively new and expensive concept at the time so all I had on me were tapes containing the music I wanted. Since he wasn't about to sit around waiting for me to fast forward and rewind to the particular tracks I wanted I basically had to make do with whatever I happened upon first.

I lucked out in the opening and ending scenes with music from Ennio Morricone and John Berry respectively. I just happened to find tracks that were eerily haunting from both composers and it bookends the movie quite well. As for the rest of the movie, I think I'd just as soon forget.


JOE: I had a lot of fun working on the Wastelands movie. It was a relaxed shoot and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves immensely. I liked Wastelands so much I asked Jeremy to write a feature length version, which he started on while we were in Florida. Unfortunately, Jeremy destroyed the edited version of the movie in one of his trademark rages. All that survives is the raw footage and a couple of rough edits he did. I still enjoy watching the rough edits of it from time to time. Thanks for the memories guys!

JEREMY: The finished movie was (and is) an embarrassing mess. It's nothing at all like the action/adventure western I'd imagined (I know, I know, welcome to the world of making movies). I was so ashamed of it that I never showed it to any member of my family let alone potential backers or film buffs.

I had wanted to make a short feature to stand alongside Joe and Dar's own work. However, even though the feature fails in every respect, I don't regret making it. The one good thing to come out of it is the memories of hanging out on location with my friends; all of us having a good time doing what we loved. And in that and that alone I believe Wastelands to be a complete success.