Fear & Loathing at Fantastic Fest 2013/2009, Part 5. As if Things Could End Any Other Way. (NSFW)

CHAPTER 12: LEAVE THE HAT ON, COWBOY

It's roughly one in the morning and I'm having an impromptu picnic with Rebecca at Barton Springs, a natural spring fed pool in south Austin. Rebecca was able to snatch a bottle of vodka and a handle of whiskey from work. And right now, we're the only two living souls in sight on the grounds of the popular hangout.

Rebecca is already topless, drinking straight from the bottle of Stoli that she stole from the Highball. I've got the bourbon in my right hand.

I just came here from the biggest party happening tonight in the state of Texas and I'm with a beautiful half naked woman who's probably going to be taking off the rest of what she has on any minute now.

For any other red blooded geeky film nerd male, this probably sounds like some dream, albeit the kind where you wake up with sticky bed sheets that you wouldn't want to run a black light over.

But I'm not any other red blooded geeky film nerd male, and this is more of a nightmare, the kind where you wake up on the floor with a bloody nose screaming in a pool of your own sweat.  

Although I might have a talent for bullshitting, I've never been much of an actor. But right now, I'm giving the performance of a lifetime if only because my life actually depends on it.
I know that Rebecca is not actually Rebecca. I wish it were. Hell, maybe if things could actually work out with her, I could be content with taking on some type of new identity and living out the rest of my life here in a different timeline.

While I make empty conversation with Gina, pretending to go along under the presumption that I don't know that it's not Gina, I try to work out the logistics in my mind of creating a new life for myself if I'm unable to get back to 2013.

But that gives me a headache, so I drink some more whiskey to help dull the knives in my eyes.

Make no mistake; drunkenly courting a woman is an art, not unlike cooking.

A little lubrication is almost always necessary and a bit of alcohol is almost always part of the equation. You bring a bottle of a wine, maybe a thermos with some type of Vodka cocktail for her, decent beer and a splash of something harder for yourself, a little marijuana to share for both, some good music, and maybe some edible aphrodisiacs if you really want to hammer it home.

You want to set the right mood, and you both want to get a little loose and drop your inhibitions, but you have to be careful. There's good drunk sex and then there's awkward, sloppy drunk sex, there's plastered, blackout, rapey drunk sex, and then there's no sex at all.

You want to get tipsy, but you don't want to fall over. Life is always about balance.

Normally, I wouldn't be hitting the bottle as hard as I am with a date. Normally, I wouldn't be encouraging her to hit it even harder.

But since I'm expecting Rebecca to start sprouting tentacles that will strangle me at any moment, since it's inevitable that this night is going to end in tragedy for either her or myself, I'd rather not be lucid enough to feel the ramifications of that.

I also don't want Rebecca/Gina to take notice of my backpack full of bull testicles, blind man's eyeballs, python venom, and assorted oils.

I don't want Rebecca/Gina to see me pouring all of the contents of my bag out into the pool water.

Jimmy John Waco never explicitly explained what size the body of water used with his curse destroying ingredients needed to be. I can only hope that the pool isn't too large for this to work. I'm far too drunk to bother talking Rebecca into going back to my motel room and then trying to convince her to take a bath with me. Also, I'd expect things might get weird once I bring out the bull testicles and eyeballs.

This is the only plan I can come up with thereby making it the best plan that I can come up with.

Rebecca tells me that I should take my shirt off, so I do. She tells me to take my pants off, so I do.

But then she tells me, "Leave the hat on, cowboy. I want you to fuck me like a Mexican whore in a Sam Peckinpah film."

Her failed attempt to talk dirty makes me feel even more uncomfortable than I already was; but still, I obey her and leave the hat on. Embarrassment isn't the only thing I feel now. I feel like an asshole and an idiot, an asshole in tighty whities and a stupid fucking cowboy hat.

Rebecca is swaying her head. She looks like she might be nodding off. The vodka is starting to get to her which means my shitty plan is working.

Her hands are all over me but there's nothing sensual or erotic to it. If you've ever walked in on a drunken, coke high twenty one year old couple awkwardly fucking in the dirty bathroom stall at an even dirtier punk club, well; this is kind of like that.

She's not caressing me so much as she's pawing at me like a kitten with its whiskers cut off might paw at a ball of yarn.

I can only hope that she doesn't try to kiss me. I feel awful enough with just about everything that's happening at the moment and I don't know just how much farther I can take this act.

So I'm ecstatic when her arms finally go limp and her hands drop to the beach blanket with her body following along, slumping to the side.

I take the opportunity and head over to the water with my back pack the moment I start to hear Rebecca snoring.

I remove all of the vials and tupperware containers from the bag and proceed to open them, dumping the contents into the pool.

The moon's light is reflecting off of the cool water casting an evanescent glow on everything around it. It's beautiful really, and I wish I could actually appreciate it, but it feels more like a bitter irony.

For as beautiful as this place may be, as beautiful as this night might seem, I feel ugly, and my current actions feel even worse. I feel like a slime bucket piece of human garbage frat boy who's about to take advantage of the sorority girl who was unfortunate enough to pass out in his room during a toga party.

I wish I could have fought Gina head on, but I'm not strong enough for that. So I've resorted to dirty tricks and I'm ashamed of it.

I've emptied just about everything apart from the python venom into the water when I hear her calling my name.

Shit, she's awake again.

When I turn around, I find Rebecca/Gina sitting upright on the blanket staring at me. She looks at me knowingly but not necessarily with suspicion. So I don't know if she's caught on yet.

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CHAPTER 13: I'VE GOT SOMETHING TO SAY!

I drive away from Barton Springs literally drunk and blind since I lost my glasses in the pool.

After what I've just done, I'm surprised that God allows me to make it back to the Highball without getting into a fatal car accident, but then again, there probably is no God.

The closing night party to Fantastic Fest is still going strong and I'm absolutely furious that I'm still around for it.  

I was hoping to find an empty lot where the Highball is, or where it used to be if you want to get technical. I was hoping that I was wrong, that maybe the curse had been lifted. Even though I'm still in Austin, I figured there might have been a chance that I was in Austin in 2013.

But I just parked my car in the Alamo South Lamar lot and there's a whole bunch of drunken hipsters dressed as vampires smoking cigarettes around outside.

My cynical negativism proves to be right once again. Fuck all of you and your self fulfilling prophecy arm chair therapist bullshit. Cynical assholes are just smart enough to understand how reality actually works.

And for the second time in a month, I feel a blackout rage settling in; another violent panic attack overcomes me.

I get out of the car, slamming the door hard enough to hear something breaking within it.
I stomp my way into the brand new bowling alley that's going to be torn down in three short years and make my way straight to the bar.

I order a Johnny Walker Black and Lone Star before heading over to the DJ working the Karaoke stage. I find a piece of scrap paper and a pen and scribble down a band name and song title before handing it in.

I sit down at a nearby table, waiting for my name to be called to sing while I drink my whiskey and beer. I stare at everyone on the dance floor with hate filled contempt.

I time travel for a while, but not the kind that I want and need to.

I don't know how much time has passed when I hear Uzi Silverstein being called to the mic on the club's sound system.

I don't always sing karaoke, but when I do, I sing Misfits, and from this point forward, my actions no longer matter. I'm now completely lost and alone.

And for the next minute and twenty five seconds, I'm a punk rock god, I'm GG Allin, I'm a fucking animal.

The crowd goes wild, they think I'm playing, but I'm not. I'm singing to them, I'm screaming at them.

Attitude. You've got some fucking attitude. I can't believe what you say to me. You've got some attitude. Inside your feeble brain, there's probably a whore.  If you don't shut your mouth, yer gonna feel the floor.

I spot Neumann a few feet away, still alive since this is 2009. He's standing next to a popular horror filmmaker and he's pointing at me with one hand and waving another in circles next to his head, explaining to his friend that I'm crazy.

He's right. I am crazy. So I walk over and I spit in his face and the crowd goes wild again. I wouldn't be surprised if this becomes a thing here in a few years, maybe they'll have contests where bloggers and celebrities take turns spitting in each others' faces, and Neumann can tell everybody that he came up with the idea.

Hell, this festival is a few years away from turning into Arturo's amputee cult from Geek Love anyway.

Just as the song is coming to an end, I unzip my pants and proceed to piss all over the floor.

At this point, no one is cheering, or clapping, or dancing anymore. They're just staring at me in shock and awe.

Fucking posers.

Immediately after I drop the mic and walk off stage I spot my 2009 self grinning at me. And with all of the resentment that I hold for the majority of everyone around me, I feel the most for him. I hate him, and I hope I end the world right now. So I as I pass him, as I pass myself, I punch him in the stomach as hard as I can.

I knock the wind out of him. He drops to the ground with his hands holding his gut.

And then I leave before the cops arrive.

CHAPTER 14: WELL, THIS ALL TOOK A TURN FOR THE WORSE DIDN'T IT?


Two weeks later and I'm still stuck in Austin in 2009 and everything has come full circle.

The weed money from Toronto is finally running out. I'm down to my last three hundred dollars and left the Austin Motel a few days previous just so that I could continue to support my drinking habit. So I'm living out of my rental car in a parking lot of a Gold's Gym. But at least I can still laugh at the irony of it all.

I went back to Jimmy John Waco's motel apartment but he was gone. Maybe he was never there, I don't know. I still think he was smoking the rock.

So I'm drinking at the Elephant Room watching some of the best jazz musicians that this city has to offer perform an improvised set. Although I guess all jazz is improvised so that was a bit of a redundant quip.

Excuse me while I take another sip of my beer.

And that's when I see him sitting at the other end of the small club, Craig Christodoulou.  He's still here in 2009! He probably can't leave either now that I've killed his mother.

He hasn't noticed me, but I'm watching him like a hawk.  I wonder if I kill him too if that will finally end my horrible curse once and for all. But I know that conventional weapons won't work. I've already shot the fucker when he was just a newborn nearly one year ago, and yet he's here drinking a mere ten yards away from me at this very moment.

And I don't have any more python venom, bull testicles, or special cast off oils to use on him either.

I really don't know what I can do. But then again, my actions mean nothing anymore. As far as the rest of the world is concerned, I no longer exist. I'm a ghost. I'm like a spirit out of Japanese folklore; I'm just like Doung Myoung, the hannya that haunted me at Yubari earlier this year.

After twenty minutes or so, Craig gets up and walks over to the bathrooms at the back of the club and I'm foolish enough to follow because I'm drunk enough for a confrontation.

I give him a head start; I want to catch him unexpectedly. I want to grab him from behind while he's pissing at the urinal. And I want to see if I can strangle the life out of something that might not even be alive to begin with.

When I get to the bathroom, I see that there are two doors. The mens' room is locked but I find a hand reaching out the womens' door that's just swung open, pulling me inside.

And that's when I find Belinda, the Mexican event photographer I held such strong affections for, lying dead on the floor with Craig standing above her corpse.

So we're back to where this story started, with Craig smoking a cigarette in the bathroom of a dingy Austin jazz club while I shake my head and grieve over another innocent person who's died because of my bad decisions.

I've been drunk for just about every hour of every day for the last two months and I've lost track of time in the process. I'd forgotten that tonight was the night when I was supposed to have a date with her and she ended up being a no show.

But then again, after everything that's happened in the last three weeks, how can I be sure that I haven't already severely altered my own timeline. Maybe my 2009 self has already moved back to Philadelphia.

Craig, with his shit eating grin, finally says, "I told you that I'm here to fuck things up for you."

He continues, "You're trying to work it out aren't ya? I know you remember having a date with her for tonight four years ago, and she stood you up didn't she? I have that memory because you have that memory. And now you're thinking she never really did stand you up on purpose so now you're wondering, four years ago, did you have a time traveling counterpart hanging out in a bathroom with her corpse on the other side of town while you were left drinking alone at the Spider House?"

And that's when I mutter in self defeat, "You've ruined my life."

And that's when Craig returns with, "No, bro. You did."

I want to beat the smile right out of his face but after seeing him render an entire film audience into 12 giant human centipedes by snapping his god damn fingers, I'm not really sure just how much damage I can do to a thing like this.

Craig washes his hands in the bathroom sink and tells me, "I'll leave you to clean up your mess here."

And that's when Craig casually walks out of the bathroom, somehow finding a way to lock me inside from the outside.

There's a delay to all of my responses. I'm having a hard time processing this. It takes me over a minute before I even try to exit the pisser and go in pursuit but now it's too late.

I try turning the door knob but it won't budge. I hit and kick at the door but it's not shaking loose.

I put my weight into it and body slam the door with my side like a cop might do in an action movie, but the door still doesn't give way.

I frantically scan the bathroom looking for anything I might be able to use when I find a fire extinguisher behind one of the stalls.

I quickly grab it and proceed to use it to smash the door knob off.

When I finally bash the door open, I find myself stepping out into a dead silent jazz club. All eyes are on me, the crazy man with a fire extinguisher in his hands who's just knocked down the women's bathroom door.

I'm really getting tired of being put into these situations.

And like usual, I take off before the cops arrive and no one tries to stop me.

I run out of the small club back out onto Congress Ave. I don't see Craig anywhere but he couldn't have gotten far, the little fucker is probably expecting me to chase him. I'm sure there are plenty of other pleasant little surprises in store for me tonight.

This is never going to end.

But I run anyway. I run down the long stretch of street past all of the other trendy upscale Austin clubs and bars.

I turn my head from side to side, looking up and down all of the cross alleys, hoping to spot the little demon hell spawn shithead.

And then I see him walking down 5th street half a block west of me and I break into a sprint towards him.

I'm about twenty yards away when he turns around spots me charging at him and he immediately starts to run as well.

I can't imagine why a limitlessly powerful demon would run away from me, but I don't care. I might not be able to destroy him, but I'm confident that I sure as hell can make him hurt.
I'm gonna knock his teeth out with this here fire extinguisher. I'm going to turn this into the opening scene of Irreversible, only without the circle jerk group of leather bears around us as an audience.

Craig makes his way over to a car and is frantically trying to open the driver's side door with his keys when I catch up.

There's no pause or hesitation, the moment I'm within arm's reach, I swing the steel canister at his head.

He drops to the ground like a dead bird and I hit him in the face again.

And then I hit him four more times.

His entire body is shaking, his arms are flailing up and down, and I think he might have pissed himself.

And that's when I see the large scar on his left arm. It's the same scar that's on my left arm. He has the same 4 inch vertical knife slashing just below his elbow, another bad memory.

And that's when I remember this night four years ago more clearly. After I had gotten stood up by Belinda at the Spider House Café, I had eventually made my way down to The Elephant Room, hoping to take my mind off of the rejection with some mellow jazz tunes.

I look at his face and he has a mustache and a chin strap like Craig, the same mustache and chin strap that I had a few weeks ago. And I remember, after Fantastic Fest, I had shaved my beard.  I was living in Austin when I first shaped my devil's stache and patch.

My life flashes before my eyes. Memories of my childhood, vacations at the Jersey shore with my parents when they were still together.  My first crush in middle school, Janet. The red head drama club girl I was obsessed with in High school named Jackie. I joined the plays just to be around her. My first true love in Japan, Ayumi and the horrible things I did to win her back earlier this year and her attempted suicide. The first time I saw Edward Scissorhands in the theaters when I knew I had to be a filmmaker when I grew up. The first time I made a short film and saw it projected in 16mm to an audience. My first art gallery exhibition. The first time I made love. A traumatic drunken one night stand that left me with my first STD. The first woman who broke my heart. The first woman whose heart I broke. Gina, G-Clip, Doung Myoung,, Mike Dugal, Emmy, Dad, Neumann.

For a moment I forget where I am. I forget to realize that a gaggle of strangers are now surrounding me, filming me with their cell phones as I stand over a man who looks identical to me whose face I just crushed in with a fire extinguisher.

I turn my head and find that the car he had tried to get into is a 1999 Jungle Green Saturn station wagon.

I can't help but laugh. I look down and see the blood that continues to pour out from the gaping mess that used to be his face and I know this was all part of Craig's plan.

I didn't get the right man, this isn't Craig, it's  fucking.......................................................
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