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The International Writers Magazine: First Chapters

First Chapter of a work in progress

Exorcising Luca
by Elayne Keratsis
"There’s sex and drugs and rock and roll. All behind the tape. Just out of reach of the ordinary folk. All they can do is stand outside and look in."

"What is Past is Prologue" William Shakespeare
"This circus is falling down on its knees. The big top is crumbling down..." The Counting Crows
"You don't need Nicoret gum or the patch, you need an Exorcist" From a sermon on the Berean Bible Church website
"The full catastrophe!" Zorba the Greek

"There are only two kinds of people in the world," her gay friend Ali intoned seriously over the cell phone. It was four in the morning east coast time. Ali was in LA, the girl was in Miami and they chatted many nights during the dark hours of their discontent. The girl lit a cigarette.
"Go ahead, I’m listening..."
"There’s us. The people in the movie business. We work inside a taped off environment. We go to work on a movie set, say maybe down Hollywood Beach. We bring in all the shit, the lights, the cranes, the cameras, the trucks. Then the cops or the security guys tape off the area, close down the street, you know, to keep out civilians..."
"I’m with you so far," said the girl as she inhaled.
"So we are the people behind the yellow caution tape." She could hear Ali shuffling papers in the background. She was probably doing her filing. None of them slept well at night. Like vampires they could stay up all hours after sunset, doing the busy work that ordinary people did during the day. But a day without work for people in their profession was the equivalent of an emotional death sentence for which sleep was the only remedy.
"Ali, where are you going with this?"
"Sorry, I was doing my filing. Anyway, so that’s us. Now there is the other half of the entire world. The people on the other side of the caution tape. They drive by and see our big top circus and want to gawk. Some tourists from Indiana or Canada slow down to a crawl, staring beyond the tape, looking to see someone famous, envying all those cool people standing around behind the barricades. They wonder all about us, who we are and what we do, and what kind of awesome lives we must live."
The girl considered this. It was true that no matter what you were shooting, a crowd always gathered. It could be a shoot of a sign for an auto dealership and people came out of the woodwork to watch. Ali continued.
"As well they should. Everyone behind the tape who wants to get laid, does. The prop guys tell the young girls in bikinis passing by that they’re stunt men, the teamsters tell ‘em they’re producers, the A.D.s swear they’re directors and everyone promises everyone else a part in a big movie. The chicks are just as bad. They tell the muscle boys that they know Vin Diesel and Stallone, or that they can introduce them to the stunt coordinator who, in the meantime, has a backlog of women lined up to give him head just so they can say they had a taste of what the poor slobs think of as "greatness." There’s sex and drugs and rock and roll. All behind the tape. Just out of reach of the ordinary folk. All they can do is stand outside and look in."
The girl laughed. There wasn’t a living soul in the industry who didn’t have a book full of war stories. She herself had her picture flashed across the screen on Hard Copy twice when she was in the employ of a famous movie star, much to the chagrin of her mother and the delight of her father.
"OK, I ‘m still with you Ali, but you gotta tell me, where are you going with this? How does this relate to my present situation? What should I do"
"Let me finish..." Ali sighed. "We start to buy our own press. Never mind the fact that our personal lives are a mess. We can fly one hundred people to Guam with less than twenty four hours notice, and yet half the time we forget to pay our own cable bill. But then it doesn’t really matter, does it? We say to ourselves, after all, we’re The People Behind The Tape. We are the Fearless Gods of the Big Top. We can do just as we please, and we will never suffer consequences. If we weren’t, if we couldn’t, well, hell, then those cars would never slow down and look at us."
The girl was getting impatient. "Ali, please! What is the point you are trying to make?"
"The point," Ali said patiently "is the fact that the people driving by don’t get it at all. It’s not a big fabulous circus they are seeing, no tricks and treats, no high wire acts and fire eaters..."
"You lost me."
"Darlin’, it ain’t nothing but one big ass train wreck. Sex, drugs and rock and roll only go so far. Everyone is divorced or cheating or married to more than one person illegally from the last town they rolled in and out of. Half the guys are drunk, the girls are high on coke or pills, or trading sexual favors for better titles, the producers are scamming money and the actors are scamming the producers. The studio is scamming everyone. The unions are strong arming the workers, the workers are dodging the business agents. No one has any semblance of a personal life, in fact the word personal is a euphemism for a billboard. It’s not a circus at all. It’s one big gruesome daily train wreck." Ali finished with a flourish.
There was silence on both ends of the phone. High above the earth, the cellular phone transmission bounced back and forth across the clear starry night, from tower to slowly rotating satellite to tower, awaiting a response.
The girl spoke first. "So what does that make me?"
"You," sighed Ali once again. "In the world of train wrecks, darlin’, once again you are the conductor."
"I am thinking you’re not meaning that as a compliment." The girl stubbed out her cigarette. "Thanks for the analogy, but I prefer to think of myself as the glamorous high wire act, even if the circus is indeed a runaway train."
Ali shrugged three thousand miles away.
"Think whatever you want, old friend. But either way, you’re still working without a net, and we are nothing but a bunch of carnies traveling from town to town, wreaking havoc, causing train wrecks, and riding out under the cover of night. And this time you’ve really done it. You’re coming up on a crossroad and you don’t seem to be able to pull the switch. In answer to your question of what should you do, it seems very clear to me. You either need a real kick ass engineer...or an exorcist."
This is the story of yet another train wreck and a runaway exorcism.
© Elayne Keratsis April 2004

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