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2008-12-27 - 5:17 p.m.

I had a single week of work at Megalith this week, so I wasn't able to write to you my dearest blog, even though you were always on my mind. But the week has finally ended, I am pleased to say � and I am now a nice 1000 buckaroos richer, and that shall come in handy as rent day approaches. Note: I said "as rent day approaches" and NOT "as Christmas approaches" for you will have well deduced that I am not going to be using even a tuppence of my hard earned money on Christmas presents. Not when I can blame the Economy for my perennial lack of cash. Really, a recession provides a boon for the naturally miserly, such as myself.

The scripts I read this week reminded me of Hobson's Rule of Screenplay Dialogue, which is never wrong. The rule states, and I quote, that no script with the line "Time to die!" can be good. And so it was this week, at Megalith, when that line popped up in not one, but two terrible scripts.

It is interesting that the Spec Market -- the open market for one off screenplays, not those having to do with tentpoles like Harry Potter or Narnia or Lethal Weapon or whatever -- is all but dead. They have laid off script readers at Paramount, Sony, Disney, Fox, and Megalith. So my situation � a fat middle aged fellow suddenly being deprived of the occupation in which he had been trained � is becoming more common than not.

At another studio, I heard rumors of a meeting in which the story editor told all her employees, "Now is the time to start thinking of a back up plan." I hear that everyone in the room laughed, joking that they "had no skills." Well, I am the poster child for what happens next, I tell you, as I shlep my little library book cart up and down the non-fiction section of The Library.

Mind you adventures continue. After some play I was reviewing for The Big Paper, I found myself waiting for the bus in the very dark heart of West Hollywood. I don't know if you are aware, but the bus stop happens to be directly in front of an upscale store that sells underwear to upscale muscle queens. If you will remember the saying from some Spike Lee movie or other that "you can never go broke opening a hair salon in a black neighborhood," the saying "you can't go wrong opening an underpants store in a gay ghetto" holds true, as well.

Anyway, as part of some kind of an inducement, this store selling outrageously over-priced saran wrap underpants had a handsome near-naked male model standing in the doorway. Oh, he was quite a beautiful fellow, too: He had the sort of washboard stomach and spikey pecs that normally appears only on the blown rubber costumes worn by superheroes in cartoonish movies. Except, everything this amazing fellow had was real. He was a veritable icon of All American blond pulchritude.

And, thank you jesus, he was also half naked, dressed only in a slight blue pair of jogging shorts that clung to his nether region just so, hinting at the pleasures within. He stood in the doorway of the underwear store, smiling at the passers by and shaking hands, his blazing white teeth glittering in the arc lights of Rage next door. I could barely look at the fellow: It was like watching the sun. So much All American beauty threatens to burn out the retinas of your eyes, leaving them mere sockets, bleeding pus.

Fortunately, the handsome stud was being shadowed everywhere he stood by a troll of almost unbearable hideousness, dressed in a baggy grey sweatshirt. He was in his late 40s, blobby if not obese, with a dangling hook nose and buggy eyes. His chin jutted over his lower lip, like he was suffering from an incredible overbite � and his hair hung about in grainy wisps, like he was used to standing in the rain outside the window of the man he was stalking. And make no mistake, he was stalking the astonishingly lovely near-nude model.

Every time the model would walk a few steps to the left, the hideous troll would follow him, drooling and burbling, and clearly desperately trying to prove that he would crawl and eat a mile of the model's feces for one chance to do the model's laundry. The beautiful blonde man had a fixed smile on his face, which would fade every so slightly when the hideous troll would waddle up to him. Every so often, a clerk from inside the underpants store would come out and try to distract the model, asking him inside to autograph the calendar in which the beautiful stud was appearing. The villainous troll would try to follow, but the clerk would slam the door to the underpants store in his face.

But not to worry: Every time the handsome model appeared in the doorway, there was his companion, the hideous troll. And the hideous troll took it upon himself to act like the model's promoter and publicist. He would call out to passers by, loudly roaring, "Come and meet fitness model James Ellis! Come and get a calendar signed by fitness model James Ellis!" Few actually turned down the invitation: It was amusing to stand at the bus stop and watch as the long line of faces whom one half recognized from Adam4Adam all trailed into the store to blush and smile at the fitness model and scowl at the hideous troll.

And yet, as I watched the two interact, I was suddenly aware in a brief blistering flash of clarity that the line separating the beyond amazing looking model and his bloated, bug-eye, frightful sycophant was surprisingly thin. Both men were, in fact, freaks of nature. The studly gorgeous blonde, with his dimpled chin, blazing white teeth, glittering eyes, and the monstrous, mushroom-like creature with the dome head, mucosy hook nose, and crazy OCD-need to worship the other fellow � well, they were peas in a pod.

If the handsome James Ellis was a narcissist and exhibitionist, needing to be worshipped for being genetically blessed � and his buddy the troll was a weak minded, desperate stalker who only felt alive in the presence of the glowing beauty of his idol � well, the only difference between the pair was the fact that one of the pair is admired by the world, and the other is shunned and found repulsive. As the pig-like beast of a stalker cooed, "come and meet James Ellis, the Fitness Model!" it was all I could do to keep from walking right up to the troll and saying "YOU're James Ellis, fitness model? Well, how exciting!" But I did not do such a ridiculous thing.

Indeed, to a blind man, what would be the difference between the pair? Perhaps the troll could have invented the fax machine or found the cure for cancer, and it should have behooved the handsome hunkubus to be saying "come and meet Joe Schmoe, inventor of the fax machine!"

And yet, you and I both know that the man in the anorak, with the combover, probably just lived in his mother's basement and ate bugs while jerking off to photos of James Ellis, fitness model. And James Ellis, just as long as he remained beautiful, with his shiny teeth, plump pectorals, and an ass you could bounce a silver daughter on, would be worshipped and would have to do nothing but look pretty for his entire life, like a cat.

The kicker is, when I got home, I checked myspace, and discovered that the same James Ellis, Fitness Model, had sent me one of those general "spam" friend requests, even though I had never met him or even exchanged words with him while he was standing outside the underpants store. What are the chances of that, I must ask you. If you are reading this blog on myspace, you can find him for yourself on my friends list below. Needless to say, the troll did not send me a friend request.

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