Monday, April 25, 2011



JESSE: The premiere party was a special event for DIP. We would gather together all of our friends (and family on Joe's side) to watch our two short features, Laugh A Little and Blood Pudding (with Blood Turd thrown in for good measure) at St. Philip Neri. Each movie would be introduced by the father of the project. Except for Blood Turd, which was cruelly bestowed upon Jeremy to introduce. I was to introduce none of them and that was fine with me. I would gladly sit back and let the original members of DIP do all the hard work.

At least, that's what I figured. As it turned out I had a whole boat-load of work in store for me that day.


My Mother's voice woke me early that morning. Peering out at her from the blankets I was cocooned in I saw her standing over the bed with a phone in her hand and a concerned scowl on her sleep-heavy face. She handed the phone to me with a stern warning: "Your Father says if he calls this early ever again he will personally kill him in his sleep." She started to walk away, stopped halfway and looked back. "And you know he'll do it too."

I said a sleepy hello into the phone, following it with my Father's warning. I heard Darren laugh on the other end as if it was a joke. I assured him that my Father was a man of his word and death loomed on the horizon. I heard Darren clear his throat and say, a bit shakily, "Maybe you should get a private line for your room."

I laughed this off. I didn't want him calling this early in the morning either. I treasure my sleep very much. While Darren has always been an early morning person I was always a night owl. Now me, I don't call people at simply because I'm too full of myself to realize that just because I'm awake it doesn't mean the rest of the world is too. Darren, on the other hand, didn't give two shits. So, my Father's threat was a brilliant play to get me more sleep. I leaned up in bed and asked him what in the name of all fuck he wanted.

Darren went through the plan for the day of the premiere. He and I would go to CIRT at seven to finish adding music and tightening the edits on Blood Pudding. We would then go pick up Joe and Jeremy as well as a TV to play the movies on. And after that it would be off to Marsh to pick up a couple of specially ordered cakes and some drinks. Then it was off to the school to begin preparations for the big day. This sounded like a fine plan except for one thing: "Why the hell am I getting up at seven for?" I whined.

"I need help with all of this. You and I are the only ones allowed to use CIRT's equipment and you know it," Darren shot back.

My thought process was simple and it repeated the same question over and over again: What the hell does he need me for? So I decided to double my bitchiness by telling him he'd do fine by himself and that I was going to hang up the phone and go back to sleep.

Darren grew agitated. "Look, you're a member of DIP and I need your help to finish this. You do want to be a member of DIP, don't you?"

This was the first time Darren threatened to fire me from the group. In the months to come Jeremy and I would both be fired every other day but at the time I felt this to be a legitimate threat (I think the lack of sleep and the impending threat of my Father going to prison for murder had something to do with it as well). I finally gave in but hastily added that he was buying me breakfast.

Darren quickly conceded to breakfast. He told me he would be at my house by , which in Darren terms meant 7:30ish. I agreed and got out of bed, grabbed my things and began getting ready. As I pulled on my shirt I was struck by a sudden thought: The previous day Darren had borrowed ten bucks from me so how the hell was he going to pay for breakfast?

Around that morning I sat at CIRT with the granola bar Darren had brought with him from home. As I gnawed on this barely edible piece of driftwood I thought that maybe I should've just let my Father kill him and been done with it.

Darren pulled out the tape with Blood Pudding on it and rooted through a collection of music tapes he had borrowed from Jeremy and Joe for the soundtrack. I looked through the selection, noting such classics as Blade Runner, Once Upon A Time In The West, and True Romance. Darren had a list with a few songs Joe had picked out and which tape they could be found on. He gave me Carte Blanche to pick out the rest of the music. I chewed on my granola bar and scowled at him periodically.

I put on the earphones and began searching through the music. Darren went to work on tightening the edits. The first thing we did was watch the footage, which looked as if it had already been edited together in its entirety. I told Darren that it already looked pretty good and we didn't need to touch it. I asked who had edited it and Darren told me that Joe had done the editing from VCR to VCR and all we had to do was tighten everything up, which made no sense to me. Everything we'd been taught about editing had driven this fact home to us.
I was determined to give him my two cents worth, so in the sternest voice I could muster I said, "I want another granola bar, you cheap bastard."

He threw me another bar like a trainer throwing a seal a fish. I unwrapped it and went back to work on the music. While searching through the tapes I would hear an occasional curse from Darren. I'd turn around and watch him tinker with the editing board then watch the footage on the monitor behind him in an attempt to fathom what music I should use for which scene. Darren looked as if he was about to rip his hair out. He kept going back and forth trying to perfect the cut.

After an hour of hearing the Lord's name in vain Earl walked in. He sat down behind Darren and asked him what was going on. Darren explained the task at hand. Earl actually looking interested in something we were doing for once. He watched the footage with Darren all the way through. Earl looked at Darren when it was all done and said, "Why the hell are you editing this, it looks done to me."

Darren told him he was just tightening it up.

"Well, you can't do that with this footage, it's already been edited. You try to edit over an edit and you're only going to fuck it up. I would just leave it alone if I was you. "

Darren's response to this was to simply ignore the man. Earl got the hint and stood up. "Well, I better get going. Oh and Jesse, could you please stop singing 'Sugar, Sugar' at the top of your lungs?"

I took off my headphones and looked sheepishly at him. "Sorry, man. The Archies are the coolest."

Darren looked back at me, confused. "I didn't bring The Archies."

"Who said I was listening to them?" I said before putting the headphones back on and resuming the song.

Now, Darren didn't do a bad job on the edits. He was able to tighten a lot of the scenes. Of course, the only reason these worked was because Joe let the footage in each scene run a tad too long. This gave Darren a chance to edit before Joe's edit. Unfortunately, once or twice he hit Joe's edit, which caused the screen to blur. We didn't know any better at the time. We were young, dumb, and full of granola bars. Darren did the very best he could and I think he delivered more than he missed.

At last the music was ready to be layered in. We went ahead and added everything the boys had chosen as well as a few of my own. By the end of the day we had the soundtrack complete but noticed one scene was lacking music. We were tired by this point and still had a load of chores to complete. So we just threw the first thing we could get hold of over the scene. The scene in question was when Patch and Byron first meet on the stairway to the basement. Lucky for us the music we put in fit perfectly. All we had to do now was add music over the credits.

I asked Darren if he had made the credits yet using the toaster. He said we didn't have time and Joe had made his own using trash bags. The fact that this was only now being brought up puzzled me as I could've been working on the credit sequence while I was doing the soundtrack had I known we needed to. Darren was adamant that we didn't have time now. I knew this as well and grudgingly complied. He said not to worry as Joe wanted us to use the trash bag credits anyway. I said "Whatever" and we quickly put a sonata from Dracula over the credits.
I knew in my heart that Joe would have preferred computer credits but went along with Darren simply to save time. After about ten hours of editing and choosing music we were done. We took the final tape and headed to Jeremy's place.

JOE: That really ticked me off! Having to make credits that way when Darren had access to computer generated graphics! Oh well!

JEREMY: I was both excited and nervous on the day of the Premiere. Excited because I’d had a hand in the creation of two short features that were going to be played before a group of my peers, and nervous because the girl I had a crush on, Amy Ford, would also be there (Come to think of it, I suppose I was a little excited in that respect as well).

Joe was on good terms with the preacher who ran St. Philip Neri so we were able to secure the place for the party, just so long as it didn't involve booze, drugs, human sacrifice, sex outside of know, the usual. We had ordered two cakes from the Marsh bakery, one would say Laugh A Little and feature a big smiley face, while the other would say Blood Pudding with droplets of bloody icing splattered across it.

Joe came over early with Jim and we kicked around ideas for the Lamia script as well as a feature length version of Blood Pudding. By the time Dar and Jesse arrived we had exhausted our imaginations in both areas and eagerly sat down to watch the final version of Joe's movie.

JOE: It was fun to see the final edit of my movie. The best part was the music. I never realized how much music actually adds to a movie. I had seen Blood Pudding many times before but never with music. That is what I remember most about the first viewing of the completed movie.

JESSE: Jeremy, Joe, and Jim were very pleased with what Darren and I had done. They did throw out some complaints about the blurred moments in a couple of scenes but Darren sweet-talked his way out of that. Joe was proud and gave Darren a victorious hug. Jeremy and I just looked at each other, each of us dreaming of the day when we would be able to direct our own features (that bastard Jeremy beat me to it. I hope you're happy, ass-munch).

JEREMY: Not really, what I ended up directing was crap-on-a-stick.

JESSE: For a moment, with the future laid out before us like a hooker who had just collected her twenty dollar admission, I felt there was nothing that could stop us so long as we stuck together. We sat there, basking in the moment. Not a word spoken. Jim sat off in his own corner, wondering what was going on. Finally, he cleared his throat and said, "I think the fat kid passed gas. I mean, I can really smell it."

Damn him for ruining our moment, and damn him even more for ratting me out. The four of them ran from the room, unable to stop the tears flowing from their eyes. Sadly, they were not tears of joy but the kind one gets while cutting onions.

Ah, fart humor, once again you've gotten me out of a tricky little story gap.

We went to Marsh to pick up our cakes and some other supplies. I went to the pop aisle and picked up cases of Dr. Pepper. Jim followed me around as we traveled through the store. The first question out of his mouth was as simple as it was practical: "Who the hell are you?"

I was quite amused by this little vagabond. "I'm Jesse," I said. "I shot Laugh A Little and am going to Florida with your brother."

"Oh really, that's very nice to know," he said, disinterested.

Jim then followed me into the chip isle where I picked up some chips and cheese spread. "You sure do cuss a lot, Jesse."

"Fuck you kid. If you don't like it then it's your loss."

We finished our shopping before the boys and stood around in the Marsh video store waiting for them. The bastards were walking around, strutting like peacocks. They mentioned to whoever they knew (and some they didn't) about the big premiere they were having. Jeremy was especially proud and bragged about it to every hot female employee there (and they were in short supply).
JEREMY: Hey, those two girls were special in their own ways.

JESSE: While we waited, Jim and I went through the movie display and discussed which ones we liked and didn't like. We were especially vocal about the video games section. Jim, like his brother, is a whore for games. I was bragging about the games I owned. Jim bragged about how he could kick my ass at any game there. We traded barbs for a few minutes (mine laced with colorful obscenities) until Darren finally walked over and announced that we were ready to pick up the TV.

As he walked away Jim and I agreed that we would demolish Darren at any video game we played. Ah, to be young.

Of course, Jim and I still have the same discussions to this day. I guess we always will.

JEREMY: Jesse gets sentimental about the damndest things.


JESSE: Our next stop was Joe's Grandma's house. This would be the first time I met Joe's Grandmother. She was a rather nice old lady who had this uncomfortable way of watching you like a hawk. As she watched us disconnect her TV she said in a quivery voice just short of disbelief, "You boys aren't selling my TV for drug money, are you?"

Joe reassured his Grandmother that we needed it for the premiere. He had told her all about it earlier in the day. Her memory kicked up a few shards of that brief and most likely one-sided conversation, and she nodded in agreement. She then proceeded to tell Joe that she had since changed her mind. There was a show coming on that she wanted to watch. Joe asked her if she could watch it on the television in her bedroom. She was having none of that, So Joe compromised. He, Jeremy, and I brought her television from the upstairs bedroom down to her, set it up, and we were then on our way.

We carried the rather large and awkward TV to the car with Darren trying to lead us. Luckily, we got it there in one piece. The problem now was that the TV took up half of the back seat. Jim, being the smallest one, would have to sit on his brother's lap. Jim didn't like the idea, and Joe wasn't too hot for it either. The rest of us thought it was funny as all get out though. In the end, we settled it the Democratic way. We had a show of hands. Out-voted, Joe and Jim would have to suffer while the rest of us rode in comfort.

In a stroke of luck the school wasn't too far from Joe's Grandmother's house. We made it there in record time and quickly unloaded the stuff into the main room. Joe and I went to work setting up all the equipment. Jeremy tried to help where he could, and Darren stood around watching us. I remember most fondly that we had a good time talking about Kids in the Hall. We all loved the Kids and were cracking each other up reenacting our favorite sketches.

JOE: We tried to hook two TVs together so the movies would play on two screens at once. I don't really remember the reasoning behind this. It may have been because we had two TVs there and we wanted to see if we could do it. The experiment ended in failure. We wept openly for a few minutes until Jeremy slapped the shit out of the both of us.

JEREMY: I always seemed to be slapping somebody in the group.

JESSE: While setting up I noticed two things were missing. We had no ice for the pop and nowhere to keep the ice even if we did have it. I volunteered to walk to the local Village Pantry. I was the logical choice to go because nobody I knew was coming. My friend Dave was working and Mom and Dad decided to have a night to themselves (hell, they deserved it). They all agreed and I was soon on my way.

The Pantry wasn't too far away and the walk there took only twenty minutes. I found a Styrofoam cooler and ice and was back out in minutes. The walk back was a bit more arduous. I was weighed down by three bags of ice. So, a twenty minute jaunt was now doubled to forty. As I crossed the street a small miracle happened. My parents drove up next to me. I was stunned and pleased at the same time. My Dad leaned out the window and told me to get in.

I almost leapt into the van. I asked my parents what they were doing up here. My Mom explained that they'd dropped by my Aunt Belle's and were now on their way to the movies. In what is almost a reflex action for me I asked what movie they were seeing. My Dad told me it was a sneak preview of Forrest Gump.

I was about two seconds away from begging them to take me with them. I had seen a Behind the Scenes for the movie the night before. I really wanted to see this film and here were my parents on their way to see it before me. I was jealous and they knew I would be quizzing them nonstop when I finally got home. They dropped me off and, probably sensing my indecision, quickly sped away.

I came back inside and poured the partially melted ice into the cooler. Jeremy exclaimed that I'd certainly made a quick trip. I told him that my parents had picked me up on their way to see a movie. Jeremy asked which movie and I told him.

Jeremy looked at me like I was an idiot. "If I were you I would've went with them. That movie looks pretty good."

I knew then and there that I could always count on Jeremy to be on the same page as me. That would become an absolute fact on our journey through Florida.

We had an eclectic number of guests coming to our show. Let's meet them:


Darren's ex-girlfriend and inspiration for the character Jennifer Charles. This would be the first time I ever met her. Ginny was a short, skinny girl with blue streaks in her hair. She looked like someone who was trying to be someone they weren't. Darren was uncomfortable for the rest of the night because of her presence.


These guys were Joe's friends. I remember they all had fedoras on, Joe included. They all wore the same wardrobe too, which consisted of a suit jacket, a t-shirt, and jeans. They looked like they belonged to some poor man's Groundlings.


Joe's sister came with one of the above mentioned. I believe at the time she was dating Joe Woodruff. Another girl was with this bunch but I don't remember her name nor does it matter much.

Joe invited some young fine thing to the party. I don't remember her name or maybe I just wasn't told it. All I know is Joe hung on her like a fly to flypaper. Joe, why don't you shine your wisdom down on us?

JOE: This would be Cicely Campo. I actually invited two girls to this little shindig. The one that couldn't make it is the one I had the crush on. I’d had a crush on her since Freshman year. Too bad she couldn't make it. Cicely was super nice (she had to be; why else would she come to this little get together?) and very pretty, but we were just friends.


Now Rose was a girl who went to Tech and worked with me at O' Malia's. She showed up because she had a crush on Darren. I had a crush on her, she was a beauty. She was of Mexican-American descent. Of course, she showed me no interest and hung on Darren all night.

Amy was an actress in Blood Pudding. Jeremy hung on her all night. I'll let a better writer tell you all about her. So, get to writing, Riley, and tell us about your lusting for Amy Ford.

JEREMY: I lusted for Amy Ford.



JESSE: Jeremy was the first up to introduce the films. Jim and I laughed at him from the back row (Jim would be my constant companion through the night). Jeremy made sure everyone knew right off the bat that he did not direct this piece of shit. He went on to explain the genesis of Blud Turd, pointing out that this was really the brain child of Joe and Darren. He was taking no credit for anything on this movie, though he did admit there was a fine looking fellow in the piece whose acting reminded him of a young Brando. He was too modest to mention names but proceeded to point at himself. He then started the movie and flicked off the lights. After a few seconds Blud Turd lit up the room.

This was my first time seeing this short feature. I remember I was tickled by its quirkiness. It had no plot and no characters. It was just an excuse for them to do something silly. They succeeded and it was a pretty good short.

: Jeremy insisted on introducing Blud Turd. I remember the night before the premiere he was almost in tears about the issue. It seemed only right. Jesse got to introduce everybody to the snack table so what was left for Jeremy? For his sake, we decided to run the short with Laugh a Little and Blood Pudding. After all, Blud Turd was the result of Darren wanting to shoot us reading our poetry in front of the camera. Jeremy was the one that added the little narrative to it. I was just in the room at the time of the shooting. I was shocked at the amount of clay Darren ingested during this shoot. I think the clay has gone on to affect his brain.

Jeremy proudly introduced Blud Turd as his movie. I remember the big smile on his face as the adoring multitudes hung on his every syllable. It was a great shining moment for Jeremy.

JEREMY: Joe is lying his ass off here, by the way. And for the record, I never put all the blame for Blud Turd on the other boys' shoulders. I simply stated that the movie was a total piece of crap, which it was.


JESSE: Joe stopped the tape (all three movies were on the same tape) and then introduced his movie. Joe was quite proud of Blood Pudding. He regaled us with stories of the production and then decided he no longer wanted to be up there. He told everyone to just see for themselves. He started the tape and flicked out the lights.

Now, as far as memory recalls, Joe's feature played the best of all the movies. I'm not saying it was the best but people responded to it the most. Of course, this might be due to the fact that Joe had the most supporters in the room. The crowd really seemed to be affected by it in a weird way. Joe was quite pleased, although I think his mystery girl wasn't too thrilled to be in the same room with him by this point. Eh! Can't win them all.

JOE: Actually, I think Blud Turd played the best.


JESSE: It was Darren's turn to introduce Laugh A Little. Darren was so nervous he looked as if he was about to pass out. He started babbling about the movie in a non-coherent manner, starting sentences and then stopping in the middle to start another. No one knew what the hell he was going on about. After about ten minutes of suffering (well, it felt like ten minutes anyway) he just gave up and told everyone to enjoy the movie.

By this point I had seen the movie like a million times. Any humor, dramatic tension, or amazing camera-work no longer had an effect on me. The only thing that could bring that original enthusiasm back was to watch it with an audience, to see how they reacted to it. No one made a sound during the viewing, leading me to believe for a moment that everyone in the room had died. When the lights came on I was shocked to see everyone still breathing. I looked around and noticed Darren was gone. I was sure he was torn apart by the total non-reaction to his movie. This was one hell of a way to start a party.


While our guests tore into the cake and cases of pop I went in search of Darren. I found him in the nearby kitchen staring out a window. He turned around and saw me standing there. He had a look on his face as if someone had just killed his puppy. I told him who cared if nobody liked the movie. Fuck 'em.

Darren looked at me as if that was the last thing on his mind. "Ginny's here," he said. "What's she doing here?"

"What do you mean? You invited her...didn't you?"

"Well, of course I did, but I didn't think she would come. Seeing her again brings back all the emotions I had for her," he nearly balled. "If that's not bad enough, she brings her lover with her."

Lover? I thought. You mean her and the other girl...

I couldn't resist being a smart ass. "Well, Darren, if you're a real man you'd try to score a threesome."

Darren smiled, patted me on the shoulder and went to charm his guests. I saw Jim standing in the doorway, a puzzled expression on his face. "Um, Joe sent me to get more paper plates," he said.

"Sure, kid."

"What's a threesome?"

I smiled. "You have cable right? Well, stay up late and watch Cinemax."

"I can't. Joe's in there at night with the volume turned all the way down."

"Well, he'll be in Florida soon and then you'll see. Hell, it's a damn rite of manhood staying up late and watching Cinemax. Your brother does it, I do it, and, damn it, son, the President of the United States does it."

Back in the main room Joe was cornered by Ginny Keefe. He had a look of pure disgust on his face. I could tell that if Joe had an arch-nemesis it was this girl. She seemed to be going on about nothing at all. I could tell by listening to her talk she was a pretentious ass. I walked over and told Joe I needed to talk to him. As we made our escape I told him I was just trying to save him from Lady Death over there. He thanked me and went over to hang with his friends.

JOE: It's true. Ginny and I did not get along.

JESSE: He stuck with them the rest of the night. Darren stuck with Ginny and Rose. Jeremy was with Amy. And me, well, Jim and I spent the night hanging out. After about twenty minutes we had only one thing to say about the party: it was a total and utter bore.

Now, I won't lie. We had nothing planned but the movies. Afterwards, people were supposed to enjoy cake and conversation. My idea of a party is radically different. I was picturing a party like the one in Teen Wolf or maybe Animal House. Our party had nothing like that, just people all wanting to go home but too polite to make an early exit. Jim and I tried to liven things up with a little limboing. Jim ran and got a broomstick and we tried to convince the others to join in. Jeremy had the only good excuse for not participating: "Limboing will muss up my hair."

So the party went more and more south. Finally, I told Jim that I saw a fireworks store on the corner and I was going to buy some fireworks and set them off as a capper to the night. Jim liked the idea and joined me. We picked out some pretty good fireworks and a lighter. I became a little worried though when the cashier took my money and I saw he had only two fingers.

JEREMY: I walked Amy home about a half hour before the party ended. I remember saying good-bye to her, knowing it was for good. I stood there on the street corner as I watched her enter her house, forever disappearing from my life. I thought about what a fine scene it would make in a movie and then returned to St. Philip Neri in time to see it clearing out. Two preachers had shown up to make sure we were minding our ps and qs. I introduced myself to the youngest. He looked at me like I just wiped my nose on his shirt and said, rather coolly, "I didn't ask."

Right there is the reason I will never be part of an organized religion. People seem to be of the opinion that faith equals asshole.

JESSE: The party petered out and the DIP group formed outside to see everybody off. Jim and I started lighting fireworks in celebration. We all stood there and watched the explosions while dreams of future celebrations danced in our minds. We only had one more thing to do in Indiana and that was a little half-hour movie by Jeremy called Wastelands. After that, it was Florida or bust.

We could feel the weight of the trip on our collective shoulders, but also the exhilaration of the adventures yet to come. The party was over and our lives had begun.



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