(The Last Blunder is a humorous weekly serial detailing the making of a true independent filmmaking catastrophe. I hope all of you who read along find it entertaining and can relate to it to some degree. The names of the participants have been changed. Any comments, suggestions, compliments, or criticisms can be sent to damianATkaverasfilmDOTcom. Enjoy!)
The Last Blunder: Chapter 13 by Damian K. Lahey
Things proceeded at a snail’s pace. The crew’s amazement at Spanky’s absolute incompetence had faded into a dull acceptance. The days went long, real long, and we got further and further behind every day. Spanky wandered around set stoned, waiting for shots to be set up, oblivious to what was going on around him. While certainly tedious, the shoot went without incident until the end of the second week. We were shooting two houses down from Biff’s. This gave him a reason to walk around his neighborhood and be bossy there, too. I was glad, as this meant I could get caught up on work at the office and still be a block away from set if I was needed. I went to set at call time, though, to greet everyone as they arrived. The crew was looking more and more haggard and getting more and more vocal about the bad food, the long hours, and Balthazar Spankenstein. What’s worse is that some members of the crew had taken the time to actually read the script, so the cat was out of the bag that this was one big waste of time.
I was about to walk down the street to the “office” and begin taping and typing up receipts, when a taxi pulled up. The door swung open and Randall Dillon crawled out with a six pack of beer. He was wasted. Our gaffer, Terence Heart, Randall’s boss, gave me a look and walked away. Randall threw a wad of dollar bills at the cab driver and began walking to set. I took a deep breath and was about to approach him when another car came careening up. It was his girlfriend, Samantha, and she wasn’t happy. She had a black eye and said Randall was lucky he wasn’t in jail. Randall called her a crazy bitch and demanded she leave him alone when he was at work. He burped after he said this and swilled from his beer. He turned his back to her and proceeded to set. Samantha jumped on his back and began clawing at his face. Randall yelled and screamed and flailed around like the redneck Frankenstein monster he was. Biff Frank stormed onto set WWF style, grabbed Samantha, and dragged her away. Randall continued to scream and curse, but Biff told him to get to work. Randall’s face was bleeding. He turned to me and demanded to see the set medic. I told him he was holding the set medic in his hand. Randall looked down at the beer he was holding and smiled.
Biff calmed Samantha down and convinced her to leave. I approached Biff and told him that we needed to replace Randall. Biff told me I wasn’t old enough to understand, but women like Samantha loved to manipulate men and get them into trouble. It was all her fault and none of Randall’s. She’d definitely done something to him to ‘mess with his mind’, which is how most women controlled men. After this enlightening lesson in men/women relations from Biff, I went back to the office. I had payroll to do and also had the money for the vendors. The office was a good place to be. After a start like that, I’d let Biff clean up the mess. He could explain to female crew members just what kind of circumstances demanded physical violence from their men. I wasn’t going have any part of it.
Back at the office, I put on a Kinks album and went to work. Not five minutes had passed when Shifto Jeans came in. He was stressed out. He had every reason to be. Every one of the parents of our middle school age cast hated his guts. There wasn’t one lie he could’ve told that he hadn’t told and it was starting to bite him in the ass. It was also odd that Shifto had surrounded himself with a bevy of assistants, more so than anyone else on set with the exception of Salami perhaps. Each one of them was more resourceful and helpful than Shifto, who was nothing but pomp and circumstance. They were constantly covering for him, while he paraded around wearing his trench coat and fedora like Sam Spade. Billy Bold and Studs Diamonds had stopped coming to set and he now answered directly to Biff. And Biff didn’t give two shits about how much money Shifto had invested in the project.
Shifto was in to use the Xerox machine and was more distant than usual. He seemed a tad frenzied. I didn’t want to know about it, nor did I care. Shifto informed me he was going to Sweden with his wife and two kids for a week and that his assistants would be handling his responsibilities. I told him they had been for the past two weeks, so he probably wouldn’t be missed. He snorted and finished packing up his stuff and told me Biff wanted him to pick up the vendor money while he was there. I had forgotten to give Biff the money in all the white trash drama that had transpired on set. Biff didn’t trust me with money and made that clear at every opportunity. He wanted it in his glove compartment or he was constantly worried I was going to take the money and go to Vegas, and marry some black dwarf stripper.
I gave the envelope with the three grand in it to Shifto. Just then Biff called. He told me once again not to worry about Randall, who was a man pushed to alcoholism and violence because of the mental torture inflicted upon him by his woman. Biff had seen this before in the backwards redneck town he’d originally come from. I told Biff I’d just given Shifto the three grand to take to him. Biff asked why. I turned and saw Shifto hurrying out the front door. He had pulled a fast one! I told Biff Shifto was making out with our money and to try to block him at the end of the street if I couldn’t stop him. I hung up the phone and rushed out after Shifto, who was now getting into his car. I screamed at him to give us the money back. Shifto’s kids asked what was wrong and Shifto began rolling up their windows. “I’ll pay you back when I come back from Sweden. If you think about it, it’s my money anyway,” he yelled and then peeled off. I ran after him, screaming obscenities. I watched in amazement as one of the three ton grip trucks backed out of the driveway to block Shifto. Shifto swerved his Mercedes, ramped up over the median, and made it around the grip truck and drove off. A defeated and exasperated Biff told me we would just have to trust Shifto would pay us back when he got back from Sweden. There was nothing we could do but wait.
(I want to thank everybody for reading and hope you continue to read as the misadventures of The Last Blunder continue next week...)