(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 14 by Damian K. Lahey
As we were winding down another painful week of shooting, it was once again time for me to do payroll. This consisted of me walking to the bank and taking out twelve thousand dollars in cash. I would then take this napsack of cash to whatever location we were shooting at, divide the money up and put it into envelopes that I would in turn pass out to the crew at the end of the day. It was something I enjoyed doing and even though it wasn’t very much money – it always boosted the morale of the crew. On this particular pay day, I noticed the bank had given me two hundred and sixty five dollars more than it should have. I counted the money again and it still came out the same. The teller had obviously made a mistake. I did the rest of the payroll and put the envelopes in a duffel bag. I walked out onto set and located Biff, who looked pissed off at whatever was going on in front of him. I told him I had to go to the bank and correct the error they’d made. Biff laughed in my face and told me there was no way he was going to trust me to return the money and that he was coming along. While I was a little miffed that he didn’t trust me, I was more miffed that he was coming along as I’d planned on stopping at Slice of Life for lunch and a much needed drink. Now I was going to have to settle for whatever bullshit our poverty row catering company was going to be dishing out.
On the ride to the bank, Biff stewed in silence. He told me he was going to verify all the transactions I’d made. I told him to go right ahead. At the bank, Biff stood with me at the counter while the lady looked over my transactions, verified them, re-verified them and then validated for the 4th time that the previous teller had given me two hundred and sixty five dollars by mistake. Biff accepted what she told him, but was disappointed. He’d wanted to catch me red handed stealing from the production, so he could fire me and run me out of town, assuring his rise to becoming the independent film tycoon of Wilmington. He could have it as far as I was concerned.
On the way back to set, Biff told me he had plans for our day off. Randall Dillon’s girlfriend, Samantha, felt remorseful over the scene she’d caused the previous week and wanted to throw a barbecue for the crew that weekend. Since Samantha worked on “The Big Show” in town, Biff felt it would be politically savvy of him to chum up to her, so he could possibly get a gig on that show in the future. Biff told me not to invite Spanky, Shifto, or Studs. I told him not to worry. We went eight hours over schedule that day and it was painful. But at least I had envelopes of cash to give everybody at the end of the day.
Randall’s party was strange. While everyone else caught up on sleep, Morrison, Biff and I went over to Randall’s. Biff was happy there were some “Big Show” crew members milling about for him to dole out the schmooze to. There was a nice spread there and plenty of liquor. Samantha was dressed like every horny redneck’s dream – skin tight jeans and a leather halter top showing lots of cleavage. She kissed our asses shamelessly and kept telling everybody that Randall was such a great fuck she didn’t mind if he was constantly shit faced and smacked her around every once in a while. It was ‘his way’.
On his part, Randall was more drunk than ever thought possible. His favorite Lynyrd Skynyrd song was ‘Gimme Back My Bullets’. Before playing the song over and over again for two hours, Randall told us the story behind the song with a slurry passion. You see, back in the day, redneck rockers referred to top chart pop songs as ‘bullets’. For example, if your single was in the top ten you had a bullet, or straight bullet if you will. After being seen as cynical sell outs for their cheese box anthem ‘Workin’ For The MCA’, Skynyrd’s next couple singles were duds. So, in ‘Gimme Back My bullets’, Skynyrd called for their chart topping status to return to its former glory. It never happened. Randall blared the song on his ghetto blaster. He whooped and hollered, trying to conjure the spirits of his long dead rock heroes. There was an above ground swimming pool at Samantha’s that would’ve made any honky proud. Randall climbed up and asked everyone to go swimming with him. Before anyone could point out that the cover was still on the pool, Randall tossed his beer over his shoulder and jumped in. He flipped and flopped around in the blue tarp until he was helped out. Randall laughed his ass off and then played ‘Gimme Back My Bullets’ again and sang along as loud as he could. Biff was really embarrassed by his behavior, but no one else seemed to care.
Morrison and I hung out and talked about how miserable the shoot was until it got dark, and the crowd started to thin out. Biff looked exhausted from all the schmooze he’d been splashing around the place and was about ready to go. I could tell he hadn’t clinched a day job when The Last Blunder wrapped, but had made some good connections. As we were saying our goodbyes, we passed Randall Dillon, passed out on the kitchen floor with his pants down around his ankles snoring loudly. Samantha told us she’d wake him up later when she was ready ‘for a good ride’.
We had one more week to go before we ran out of money and it was going to be a long one.
(I want to thank everybody for reading and hope you continue to read as the misadventures of The Last Blunder continue next week...)