Tag: excerpt

from Glass Walls (somewhere in the middle)

Sam wanted to know how he felt.

How he felt?

Martin had spent the last three days trying to explain it to her, telling her his life story, telling her everything no one else would ever know to look at him, but she still wasn’t satisfied. She could tell he was holding something back.

What did she want? What could he say?

How did he feel?

“You…” he began, but she was looking at him. She was looking through him. She’d said she didn’t hold it against him, that he wasn’t bound by anything. He didn’t have to say anything at all.

But her gaze tapped impatient fingers on the windows to his soul.

“Penny and I used to have this thing. We’d stay up late talking on the phone. We were teenagers before smartphones, and that’s what teenagers did.”

Sam nodded. She remembered.

“But when we saw one another in person… It was almost like we were strangers.”

He took a swig of his beer and motioned to the bartender for another round.

Martin sighed. “We’d tell each other everything. All of our fears and wishes and how we were making it in the world and how we’d never know exactly what to do next. All she wanted was to know that someone loved her, and all I wanted was to tell someone that I loved them and have them believe and accept it. We’d talk and we’d write and we’d tell one another that when we were actually in each other’s presence, it was ‘comfortable silence’ time.”

He drifted off, and they both thanked the bartender for their new beverages. After a time, Sam raised her brow as she sipped her vodka cranberry.

Martin squirmed and began talking again.

“In our early twenties, she was on her way to graduating, moving on to get her master’s, and already teaching at the college level. I was… I don’t know what I was. I was staring at a tree and trying to make it a forest.

“And I started thinking about how to categorize things. I started trying to categorize her and how I felt and the place she held in my psyche.”


“I kept coming back to how everything in my life, I could label. I could put in in a box and shove it into a closet, and I wouldn’t have to think about it again. Sure, some things would get dragged out and I’d spill it all over the floor, rummaging through for something I’d forgotten, but everything had a box and a place on a shelf when I was done.

“I could put it away.”


“But she wasn’t like anything else. She was that tennis racket that always falls out on an overstuffed closet in the movies.”

Sam shivered. It was Martin’s turn to raise his brow, but she shook her head. “I’ll tell you why when you’re finished.”

Another swig. Was his beer really almost empty? Again?

“She was a ball of yarn with knots tied everywhere, and I had some sort of programming in the back of my head that kept telling me that I had to pick apart all those knots before I could do anything else. Before I could move on.

“But I eventually forgot about it. Years went by, and I forgot about it. I shoved it down deep and cut off all the dangly bits that kept getting caught on shit.”

Yes. That beer was definitely empty. He couldn’t read the look on Sam’s face now. There was a buzzing in his ears.

“You…” he tried again.

He looked around at all those people. He tunneled into a man laughing and a woman running a hand on his upper arm. He zeroed into a adamant story told by an expressive face to a table full of delighted listeners. He came to focus on Sam’s lips and her neck, her shoulders and the way her dress sank into her cleavage, and he wondered why he’d been keeping her such a secret.

“You feel like a new ball of yarn,” he said in lower tones. This was the heart of it. This was the truth. “Something knotted up inside me. Something I can’t figure out what to do with. Something I haven’t even tried to box up because I recognize the feeling, and I know you’ll just keep spilling out. I haven’t felt inspired by anyone or anything so intensely in so long, and I don’t want to question it.”

He took her hand. She let him.

“I don’t want to question it, even if my programming tells me to pick apart these knots. It isn’t that I don’t want to bring you into the rest of my life. I want to introduce you to my friends. I want to take you dinner with the folks. I do. I just… You’re so… So completely different. So new. I just don’t know how much more… If it gets real between us, so real that it blocks everything else out…” He trailed off, his eyes down to watch his thumb play across the ring on her finger.

Sam took her hand away.


On Fire | Script Conversion 2


Elevator doors open. Young Ryan’s tie is straight. His jacket is a bit too big. He steps into the lobby.

Uncomfortable seating, sleek design, open spaces and glass walled conference rooms. Young Ryan sees HARRISON TRAEGER (50s) through a wall. Traeger’s sleeves are rolled up, and he’s inspecting blueprints.


Can I help you, Sir?

Young Ryan turns and steels himself with a breath. He steps forward.


Hi. Yes. I’m here for an interview?


A wall poster reads HEALING BEGINS WITH JESUS over an image of open hands.

Another poster: WHOLENESS. EMPOWERMENT. FREEDOM WITH THE BODY OF CHRIST under an image of a distraught woman with beseeching arms in the air.

A door stenciled: DR. MORRIS LAHEY M.D., P.C., E.T.C.

Ryan sitting on a bench beside the door. Eyes glazed. Scratching his cast.

The door opens and DR. LAHEY (50s) appears.


Ryan Dolan?

Ryan is slow to acknowledge. Dr. Lahey leaves the door open, disappearing into his office.


A window overlooking the city. A desk with a pile of blueprints. A wall of photographs of old, grand buildings.

Traeger with a folder in his hands.


This is good work, Ryan.


Thank you, Sir.


You still have a lot to learn.

Are you willing to learn?


Absolutely. Yes, Sir.


(with a smile)

Good. Welcome aboard.

A handshake.


The doctor scribbles. He doesn’t look up as Ryan quietly enters and takes a seat.

A FOLDER on Lahey’s desk has Ryan’s PICTURE clipped to the inside cover. There are red slashes throughout the typed report below.

The doctor turns his attention to the folder and CIRCLES something before giving Ryan a glance.


Mr. Dolan, I will not

beat around the bush.

Ryan is silent.


Yes, I see. They have you…


Ryan is silent.


Yes. Well. As I said,

no beating around the bush.

Your attempted suicide.

(gestures toward cast)

Depression. Psychosis.

Ryan is silent.


These are the initial diagnoses.

Our goal here is to work through your…

(checks file. scowls.)


Ryan smirks and scratches his cast.

The doctor takes notes.


We will reevaluate after three days.

Ryan is silent.


Protocol to include medication, group

therapy and observation.

Ryan is silent. Lahey jots more notes.



Very well. Have a seat in the hall.

Someone will be along shortly.

from Agency 1

The neck of the first space bug snapped easily. I caught it off guard. Its muscles were tense and I was full of adrenaline. Its head spun a full three-sixty. The second little bastard had time to react, letting its body go slack as my hands wrapped around its small head. I could twist. I could jerk it this way and that. I’m pretty sure it was unconscious after my second attempt, but that satisfying crunch just wouldn’t happen. No stream of green slime they called blood erupting from the back of its little bug throat.

I’m no sadist. I’m no monster. I’d leave it lie if I didn’t have orders. Everything must go. Every single one of these six-legged alien assholes. Their entire bodies were only about as large as a human torso. and it was hard to believe these suckers had made it all the way across the galaxy to wreak havoc on our planet, but here they were, sucking the nitrogen from our atmosphere in their giant suppository-shaped spaceships. In my briefing, I was told that their mech suits were a new improvement. A quick adaptation. They sat their little ant bodies into a bipedal robot, and they were suddenly freeing up legs to work on more nefarious projects. The ultimate multitaskers, these little fuckers. They never stopped evolving.

Maybe they were smart enough to get their asses all the way here after all.

I laughed as I pressed my heel into the face of my enemy. The pop was sudden, my boot hitting the ground and that green goo splashing about in all directions. Their brains were so small compared to ours, and we still haven’t even made it to Mars? That shit’s embarrassing.