(LSWC) The Easy Fall Into Rat-Bastardom

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posted on Jun, 9 2008 @ 02:56 PM
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August 13, 2006

Staring at his keyboard, Devon Taran thought he had all his ducks in a row and felt quite confident. That same confidence was boosted tenfold about an hour earlier when he checked his bank account. He hadn’t registered on the site yet as he was still pondering what screen name he would assume. He had somewhat settled on a rather cryptic and riddled handle that would eventually tie into his story.

Of course, as Mr. Skordallos had suggested, he would peruse and participate in many forum topics before he put forth his creation. Create an air of credibility and form some friendships. Perhaps it would flop. Perhaps he would be asked a question that would lead to his downfall. Mr. Skordallos had put him in contact with individuals for help at a moments notice if the need arose but the storyline rested solely with him.

A pang of guilt fluttered in his stomach as his screen displayed the largest website for conspiracy topics. He was raised to be honest man who, for the most part, followed the Golden Rule. However, life and desperate circumstances had brought him to this point. Mr. Skordallos knew exactly who he was looking for when he approached him. Devon clicked the register button and could not resist the small laugh that escaped his lips as the site’s Terms and Conditions page displayed prominently. If they only knew……….


Three Months Earlier

Devon tossed the cap and gown on the dorm bed and collapsed in exhaustion. The day’s activities had worn him thin along with his past four years at one of the most academically challenging colleges in the country high on the mountain in Sewanee, Tennessee. He was glad it was over but full of doubt of his future. The fact that he had just firmly stepped out of the closet to his mother an hour ago did not add any ease to his nerves. She had taken the news as only Devon knew she would. Like a true, classy lady.

“Well, was it anything that I…”, she asked with a catch and quiver in her voice.

Devon sighed and said softly, “No, Momma, don’t even think that.”

He knew she would try to appropriate blame to herself. All those years of her trying to fill the role of both parents probably gave rise to her question.
She straightened her posture and looked him full in the eyes, “Well, son, as long as your happy. But I will still worry.”

Devon walked her to the filled parking lot and opened the creaky door of her Camry.
“Are you sure you won’t come home just for the weekend? Isn’t everyone else leaving?”

Devon closed her door and leaned through her open window, “I’ll be along Monday…just wanted some distance between us for a few days after I gave you…..the news.” He kissed her on the cheek.

She brushed a lock of his hair away from Devon’s eye as she had been doing for 24 years, “Oh, honey, I love you…no matter what.”
Devon watched her car pass under the oaks and past the manicured university entrance.

Devon’s eyes had almost succumbed to their weight when his cell rang.
“Hello,” he said sleepily.

“Mr. Taran?” a woman’s crisp voice asked.

“Yes?”

“My name is Carena, I’m a triage nurse at Vanderbilt hospital. I’m calling about your mother…Dorretta. She’s been lifeflighted to our ER and…."

Devon cannot remember the drive westward down Interstate 24 toward Nashville quite clearly. All he knows it was fast and laced with obscenities at slow drivers through tear filled eyes.

(continued)




posted on Jun, 9 2008 @ 03:01 PM
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Two Months - Post Accident


A glance at the stack of bills collecting by the phone precipitated Devon’s need to grab the economy-sized antacid bottle. He had brought his momma home a few weeks ago after the best rehab facility in Atlanta had released her. She was rendered a quadriplegic by a logging truck driver who had been doctoring his log books regarding his sleep.

Although Devon had retained legal counsel and he was quickly advised it would probably take years to receive a settlement. His lawyer had kindly, and probably illegally, advanced him enough money to buy his momma a specialized wheelchair she operated with her mouth.

Devon’s diploma had not even had time to even gather a proper layer of dust before his life took a turn down a road only imagined in his nightmares. There was one doctor who had quietly suggested, presumably because of his age, the Devon inquire about a nursing home.

He had to admit that, in that brief instant, he had allowed the awful thought to dance in his brain. However, the memories of a woman watching baseball with her 10-year old boy with faked, rapt interest simply to please him….the memories of a woman silently wiping his tears after his pimpled colleagues reminded him he had no father….the memories of a woman folding him in instead of turning away her gay son. Those memories quashed any notion whatsoever that he would abandon that woman. As she had done for him, he would do for her. No matter what.

After quickly hearing his plight, his English professor had helped secure him a job at a publishing company in downtown Nashville. A rather fledgling start-up that only contracted a few minor authors of cookbooks, children’s books and godawful science fiction. The rather odd part about the company that perplexed Devon was the apparent opulence of the office and the enigmatic character that ran the company. Arturus Skordallos. A bombastic greek man adorned with Armani shoes, Prada suits and flashy cars. He had barely said two words to Devon since his employment began as an assistant editor. That’s why Devon was fairly surprised when Mr. Skordallos poked his head into Devon’s cubicle and invite him to a dinner party that evening.

Devon silently calculated the overtime pay he would have to pay his mother’s nurse if he attended. What choice did he have though?
“Sure, I’d enjoy that,” Devon said as he tried to remember if he had any credit left on his Visa card.


Later On That Evening At Sunset Grill


“Ahh, Devon, you’re here. Please, join our small gathering. Have a seat.” Mr. Skordallos rose from his chair and gestured to the empty chair.

Devon glanced at the people surrounding the table and visually sized the individuals up quickly. A red-headed woman with a full sleeve of fairy tattoos who appeared as though she had stepped straight out of the Woodstock festival. A portly, bespectacled older man wolfing down oysters and who, judging from the empty glasses in front of him, was working on his third martini. A younger man not barely out of his teens with a rainbow-colored Mohawk, piercings in every obvious orifice who did not look up from his cell phone as he was texting furiously.
And also, inexplicably, his English professor from college.

“Professor Henderson? What are you doing here?” Devon asked as he sat beside the red-headed woman reeking of patchouli.

“Hello Devon. How’s your mother?”

“She’s….the same.”

“ Devon, forgive me if I don’t introduce you to everyone here but they’ve asked me to not reveal their names,” Mr. Skordallos claimed as he smoothed his napkin over his lap.

Devon’s mind reeled with confusion “Ummmm…I don’t really understand that but….o.k..”

“I’m going to get right to the heart of the matter as to why I’ve asked you here tonight. We would like you to participate on our. ..writer’s circle. If you want to call it that. Professor Henderson has allowed me to read some of your work from college and, I have to say, you have quite a gift. Especially interesting to note is your interest in fringe type topics.”

“Writer’s circle? I’m really busy with my mother and why are you reading my college work?”

“Well, what if I told you that there would be a significant amount of financial gain for you in exchange for your participation? I’m sure you could appreciate that given your situation.”

“O.k, I’m quite lost here but….I’m listening about the money part.”

Skordallos tipped his wine glass and said, “You see we, meaning the people at this table, basically create stories on the internet. We sign up for various forums and get the ball rolling.”

“I’m still not following you…” Devon said.

(continued)



posted on Jun, 9 2008 @ 03:04 PM
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Professor Henderson said, “Are you familiar with the stories of John Titor, Aussie Bloke or Project Snowball?”

“Somewhat…I think their all hoaxes”

Skordallos grinned and flashed a 100 watt smile at the people surrounding the table and said, “You would be exactly right. May I introduce John Titor to you over there,” as he pointed to the red-head, “Aussie Bloke here,” gesturing to the fat man, “Mr. Mohawk over there is cooking up something new right now. An aerial drone saga complete with photos. We don’t know how that’s going to work since it involves visuals. An area we haven’t strayed into until now. How’s that coming along by the way?” Skordallos asked in the general direction of the pierced boy.

The Mohawk dude did not look up from his phone but managed to acknowledge a thumbs up to Mr. Skordallos.

Skordallos turned in his chair to face Devon squarely, “Devon, do you know who owns our publishing company?”

“You?”

“No, Excel Publishing is owned by not one but three major movie studios. That’s who you would be working for if you join us.”

“Why a publishing company all the way out here in Nashville? Why not just hire a professional, big name author to create these stories?”

“Oh they have, but we’re always looking for talent in all places.”

Devon felt the beginnings of a headache and asked,” Why not just write a work of fiction, publish it and then make the movie?”

Skordallos clapped and said loudly, “You see folks, I told you he would ask the right question. Devon, do you know anything at all about movie marketing?”

“Of course not.”

Professor Henderson piped in, “Inspired. By. True. Events.”

“Excuse me?” Devon asked

“Do you know that little title that plays before a certain movie begins or in a preview trailer….. inspired by true events?” Skordallos asked sipping his wine.

“Yes, I’ve seen it”

“My friend, that small, seemingly inconsequential title has been proven by market studies to draw in a 30% increase in ticket sales than if it were not there. With luck, talent and a bunch of people that want to believe in something so badly, that’s what will happen with our stories. They will be made into movies with that little profit boost that comes along with that title….inspired by true events.”

“But the stories you are putting on the net are not true,” Devon said exasperated.

“Ahhh…but they are inspired not based on. Aside from historical pieces, most movies made today with that title are all bull#. There are no regulations in the movie industry that dictates how much of the film may be true. Truth, of course, is open to interpretation. We are the framers of profit, son. A future investment with basically no overhead. We want you to join us.” Skordallos said as though he would say no more.

Devon rubbed his temples and said, “I don’t know about all of this. It’s a lot to take in. How do you know that someday I won’t tell someone about all of this?”

Skordallos’ eyes narrowed a bit at the weight of the question, “Because you’ll be paid handsomely, sign a confidentiality agreement, and, of course, our lawyers would eat you alive if you did. Further, to sweeten the pot, we’d be willing to offer you up to 3% of the back-end of the film’s gross profit. Back-end profits are usually only reserved for A-list movie stars. The movie may go into production 5, 10 or 15 years from now. That’s not my call. If you open your mouth, your 1% would…poof…vanish. That 1% could be extremely lucrative. It all depends on the originality, popularity and buzz that your stories generate. Devon, it’s all there, just for the taking.”

Devon stared at him without blinking.

“You think about it and get back to me. Let’s order some dinner, shall we?”


After releasing the night nurse, Devon leaned against the door frame watching his mother sleep. He still had not gotten used to the sound of the respirator and how it pushed her chest in and out so awkwardly. She would need to be turned in another position in two hours.

Devon moved to a chair beside the bed and sat down. Immediately, his mind began to tumble Skordallos’ offer over again as it had the whole ride home. It was as though a prayer had been answered.

But at what cost to him?

Could he actually play upon people’s fears, hopes and need to feel that they have “special” knowledge unknown by the masses simply for financial gain?

Devon noticed a lock of his mother’s auburn hair had fallen into her face. He arose and gently brushed it away. Devon suddenly realized she will no longer be able to do that for herself. It’s funny how the most minuscule thoughts can crush your heart to dust. Devon walked to the kitchen and retrieved his cell phone from his coat pocket. He punched Skordallos’ contact number. After the briefest of hesitation, he pressed the send button. He had an answer for him.

The End.





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