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Apr 03

the following is fiction.

fiction — though rarely factual — is often True.

“oh… hi.”


the next thing was a pause. i know it was probably only a split-second, but it felt like an hour. as all blood rushed to my brain, i feared whatever look i must be giving her. my brain scoured for social info on how next to proceed. nothing instinctual was there.

“what are you doing here?” was all i came up with.

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Mar 05

here’s an interpretive exercise for directors: pick a song, poem, hymn, or psalm (preferably at random… open a book, eyes closed, and point your finger, e.g.). craft a story that demonstrates visually and audibly the essence of the original work.

story and screenplay © parabolos 2012
please do not reproduce or produce derivative works without permission. thanks.




KATE (mid-20s) hustles on her way. She is dressed simply, but sharply, and dark, in contrast to her brightly lit nighttime surroundings.

Other PEOPLE bustle about on this early winter evening. Some beggars hassle passers-by. Kate ignores them, lost in her thoughts, going over some sheet music.

EDDIE (50ish), a street musician, slowly strums his guitar, but no one seems to listen, least of all Kate.


Kate looks over her music. She glances up at a few of the other girls in the elevator car with her. They are also dressed well and made up, going over music themselves.

Kate catches herself being distracted and turns her attention back to her sheet music.


Kate is now just pretending to look at the music.She glances occasionally at the other girls, but mainly stares across the top of the page at the floor.

A door opens.


Kate Abrams?

Kate snaps out of her daze and plasters on a smile, rising.


Kate sings. Her eyes closed, she calls the music up from her memory.

A few gray heads in the front row listen and write notes. One interrupts her.


Thank you.

Kate, a bit stunned, stops and looks at him.


Very nice. Thank you for coming.

Kate forces a smile and does a slight bow before exiting the stage. As she exits, she looks to the gray heads one more time. They busy themselves turning pages, making notes, and checking their PDAs.


Kate rides down alone. She stares at the floor, her music rolled up in her hands.


Kate walks home. It is late, and the streets are mostly empty, save a beggar or two.


Having changed clothes, Kate cries, looking into the mirror.


SERIES OF SHOTS: Kate practicing her music and getting increasingly frustrated.


Kate sitting in front of her one window, staring out of it, in a trance. The television plays mindlessly in the background. A microwave dinner sits on the table in front of her, half-eaten.


Kate exits a coffee shop with a high-dollar drink to go. She is dressed warmly, but comfortably. She strolls slowly, burdened.

Faintly, the sound of SINGING.

She looks up, listens. Follows it.


The open doors of the church cast a warm light onto the cold street. Kate steps into the light and hears the choir practicing. She steps in.


She walks about a third of the way down the aisle and sits in an empty pew. The pews are almost entirely empty, except for a few parents down near the front. The choir sings “Nearer My God to Thee.”

Kate’s face starts to ease as she listens. She sips her drink and begins to relax.

A feeling… someone behind her. She turns and looks.

There sits Eddie, his eyes closed, swaying back and forth singing along quietly.

Kate turns back around, contemplates, then watches the choir.


Kate puts on her make-up. She is dressed nicely again.


Kate walks down the street going over her sheet music. She passes Eddie who pays no attention to her as he strums his guitar.

Kate stops and watches him. A STRANGER drops some coins in Eddie’s hat. Eddie’s face lights up for a moment as he smiles at the passer-by, but then drops as the man walks away, not listening. Eddie turns his attention to his fretboard once again.

Kate looks at her sheet music, then to Eddie. She rolls up her music and puts it in her purse and goes and sits next to him. Eddie looks at her confused. Kate smiles awkwardly.


You know “Nearer My God to Thee”?

Eddie just stares at her for a second. Kate’s smile fades to “oh crap, what am I doing?” Eddie breaks his stare and begins strumming, and then singing.


Nearer, My God, to thee… Nearer to thee…

Kate joins him, smiling.

Soon, passers-by pause to listen. Eddie pays attention only to his guitar. Kate only watches him as she smiles, swaying back and forth to their singing.

When the song is over, a smatter of applause calls their attention to the small crowd that has gathered. Kate, genuinely surprised, smiles at Eddie. He grins slightly back.

People drop money into Eddie’s hat. Dollar bills even. They look at the money. They stare at each other for a moment.


Just a closer walk with thee?

Kate beams.



Eddie starts playing. Kate touches his arm as she begins singing with him. He playfully nudges her off. Kate laughs and continues singing.



from Psalm 95:1,2

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Mar 01

by lunchtime, i found myself with, for the first time in years, absolutely nothing to do.

so i decided i’d return to one of my favorite places — downtown Memphis — and be a tourist. i’d lived there, but never explored it as a stranger, really, so i’d seen the movieplex and the Denny’s, but often missed out on a lot of the history.

i moseyed down Beale Street and read every sign, every historical marker, every cement-bound time capsule of a Memphis of the past. some things i knew, some i didn’t. i went to the river and watched it go by. i watched the trolley make its trek down Main Street. i went to see if Eddie was playing guitar in front of the Walgreen’s; he wasn’t. maybe i got a bite to eat. or not. i don’t remember. i just remember how unnatural — but wonderful — it felt to mosey.

about 4:30, with the sun getting lower in the summer afternoon sky, i found a little cheesecake place near the Arcade diner. i went in and ordered a piece of cheesecake and a cup of coffee. i almost choked at the $8.32 price, but didn’t want to seem a dolt, so i handed over my debit card. he told me i could sit wherever i liked, that he’d bring it out to me.

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Feb 27

as with many of the stories i will post here, this story may be rooted in some truth like all fiction, but is still fiction. and though it may be in first person, the narrator is not necessarily myself.


Owen lives down the street from my parents. every time i go visit, we walk the dogs around the historic neighborhood, and Owen’s house is one of the first and last houses we see. i don’t know how someone lives in that house. it was once a beautiful two-story, southern plantation style home, but i now cannot tell if it was once covered in white siding, or if it’s that i can actually see the termites.

the roof looks like it’s about to fall in. above the front porch sits a bench and a step ladder; it looks like maybe there was a nice patio-style landing maybe sixty years ago, but whatever floor may still be there now rests at the same angle as the rest of the roof.

the yard is unkempt, and what’s there wouldn’t look good if it were kempt — palm trees, cacti, magnolia, dogwood, pea gravel, mismatched grasses, cement decor… it’s all kind of a mess, made worse by being covered in leaves, dirt, litter, and the eccentric collection that only good Southern white trash can effectively straw strow (what’s the present tense of strewn?) across the half-acre corner property.

and it’s this mishmash of a lawn that serves as the home of Owen’s many yard sales. i’m not sure exactly what the yard sale laws are in this little hamlet, but they obviously don’t apply to Owen, at least in his mind. he has them every few hours i think. where he digs up this junk is a compete mystery to me. i guess he finds it on the side of the road or something? it’s like he sees some garbage and thinks, hey, that mostly demolished coffee table just needs a little dusting, that’s all.

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Feb 23


i love watching Mathilda sleep. she does it with as much intensity as she does everything else. looking at her, it’s hard to remember she’s only 18 months old, but her behavior is very much that of a puppy. having not seen her or Larry for almost three weeks, they were ecstatic to see me. Mathilda wanted to get so close to me that jumping up to be at eye-level with me (which she is almost capable of doing) isn’t enough… she was trying to bite me and swallow my face… i guess if you’re a puppy, everything you value goes in your mouth at some point.

when i take her for a walk, she jerks and pulls, she chases after birds and squirrels, cowers and runs away from traffic, and in general wears me out. when she eats, don’t get in the way, or you’ll draw back a nub. she would never growl or bite anyone intentionally, but every time she eats, it’s like her last meal. everything she does — walking, playing, eating — is done with such intensity. even sleeping.

when she sleeps, it’s like she’s trying as hard as she can to get in as much sleep as possible. the slightest noise, and that head pops up off the ground waiting for something exciting. or tasty. when she dreams, she starts breathing heavily, then her oversized paws start moving, and every now and then she’ll give a deep, quiet, “rrruf…”

i always wonder what she’s dreaming about. do dogs dream like we do? do they see pictures and hear sounds? do they dream of people they know and places they’ve been? do they dream of giant bones or crippled cats or ponds full of fish and ducks and mud?

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