Sunday, April 11, 2004

Nando's, Melville

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Service: * *
Food: * * *
Ambience: * *
Babe Count: * * *

Phone: +27 11 726 6406

I'm with my ex-girlfriend, who shall remain nameless for reasons of her privacy. We've just been walking around Emmarentia Lake, and she's been telling me about her husband's infidelity on Friday night.

I feel a bit shell-shocked. She's six months pregnant and looking radiant. One of those pregnant women who is sexy. She's somehow not fallen into the category of expectant mom who gets lumpy and gross. Instead, her breasts have swollen to about four times their normal size. And boy, do I remember them from way back when.

I've spent half the day rewriting a short film screenplay I co-wrote some years back with Jeremy Handler. It's called HOLD.

Oscar Strauss, a buddy of mine from back at Hunt Lascaris, is now a director. He's been making a superb name for himself in directing commercials, and now he wants to start making fiction. He read a short story of mine in a collection called POST TRAUMATIC and called me up out of the blue a month or so ago.

"Roy," he said, "I've just read 'A Mother, Her Daughter, and a Lover', and I love your writing. I thought you were only a poet," he said.

"No, short stories too. And a novel," I said.

"Well, I want to know if you've got any screenplays lying around."

I told him about HOLD and POLISH and FAMILY, all of them under ten minutes. He asked me to send them. And liked HOLD the most. But with notes. He asked me to remove the love-story from the piece, and make it just pure action. "The love story is really adding complications that get in the way of the sheer romp," he said.

So today I removed the love story. I haven't mentioned this to Jeremy yet, cos he's actually a director, and it's always been in his mind that he'll direct HOLD if it ever gets made. But hey, if Oscar Strauss likes the rewrite (which, incidentally, is draft seventeen!!!), I'll show this new version to Jeremy. The only way it CAN get made is if he agrees to it, since he's the co-writer with me.

What's amazing to me is that this new version is so much slicker than the other drafts we battled over. The original draft (draft three) is what got us into the finals of the British Channel Four 'Short & Curlies' international short film competition. We had a one-week workshop in the Magaliesberg during which we met with script doctors and producers and various industry experts. And not one of them suggested simplifying the story.

So I've done that, and I'm almost happy with the result, but I'm keen for Oscar to give me more notes, to see if it's on track as the film he'd like to make. Still some stuff to iron out, but I think the structure's sound. I've emailed it to him.

Back to the lake. As my nameless ex and I walked around the lake, she told me what happened. (Names have been changed.)

"I went to pick him up, and I must have been a bit early. So I went upstairs to his office. The front door was open, and I could hear the sounds of their fucking. At first I wasn't sure, but as I went inside, I saw all these clothes on the floor.

"I stormed in, and it was dark, but I grabbed him by the hair and yanked him off. I became strong, I can tell you. And there she was, this fat, dumpy, slutty looking woman, completely naked. I don't know how I did it, but I turned the lights on as I threw Bernard off her. She was wearing way too much makeup. I couldn't believe he was fucking a tart like her. A total slut.

"So I started hitting her."

I see a little cut on her hand. "Did you hurt your hand on her?" I ask.

"This? No. This is lipstick. I can't get it off. I punched her a few times. And I picked her up and threw her out the door. She flew. I'm so sorry I didn't throw her down the stairs. I was screaming at her, 'This is MY husband, you whore!!!' Another thing I regret is that I didn't throw her clothes out the window. She should have gone out into the street naked, the bitch.

"As for Bernard, I basically ripped into his office. I broke everything I could. He just stayed on the couch, cowering. Then I found her lipstick, and I scrawled on the walls, 'Bernard's Whore Woz Here!' All of the walls. Then I went over to Bernard, who was vomiting at this point. I don't know if it was because he was drunk or because I caught him. And I smeared lipstick all over him. Then I smeared it all over my own face, and I screamed at him, 'Now do I look like her?! Now am I attractive to you? Now do you wanna fuck me?' And then I left."

Sheesh. I wish I were making this stuff up.

The lady at the counter calls a till-slip number. "One eight seven," she says.

"Is that the pita and the wrap?" I ask.

"It's one eight seven," she says.

"What's in it?" I ask.

"A pita and a wrap."

I look around the restaurant. We're the only customers. "Well then it must be ours," I say.

"Must be," she says, and my ex-girlfriend and I get into my car and head to her new house to eat supper together for the first time in many many years.

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