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Ethan and Jake sat sweltering in a cramped, windowless basement office, surrounded by chest-high stacks of file folders. Seven enormous file cabinets lined the facing wall. Florescent lights hummed and flickered overhead. Sweat-drenched shirts clung to the men's backs; flies circled above the cracked porcelain toilet in the adjacent WC. Every now and then, cockroaches would swarm out of the cardboard boxes that were piled higgledy-piggledy in front of a lopsided desk and stampede across the carpet to the corner where the two sat filing.

"Ethan, man, this sucks," said Jake, shooing away a rat with a three-hole punch.

"I'm not Ethan. I'm Ronnie. Ronnie Garibaldi. Have you finished with those D's yet, Martinez?"

"Don't call me Martinez, dude -- for fuck's sake! This sucks, man. We haven't eaten in three days. You won't let me flush the john. If we left right now we could be having a beautiful meal and getting laid inside of forty-five minutes. Let's go!"

"Martinez wouldn't do that. He's the temperate one. The strong, silent file clerk. Garibaldi is the firebrand." Three red ants were romping in the matted wilds of Ethan's goatee. "Remember the backstory: you have dreams, you've struggled against the odds. And your mother was killed by a Crip. Pass me another one of those binders."

Jake clambered to his feet clutching an armful of manila folders and violently yanked open a file cabinet drawer. It gave a horrible metal-on-metal screech, and he tossed the folders inside.

"Careful, Martinez! That's not like you! Are those alphabetized?" A snarling Pit Bull terrier wandered into the office. A pipe had burst in WC and the room was starting to flood.

"Agggggggggghhhhhh! Fuck!" The dog latched onto Jake's leg and drove its fangs, through cracking skin and cartilage, into his femur.

"Stay in character, man!...This is research...Lee Strasberg...Where are those invoices?"

Ethan's right leg had popped out of its girdle; he spent a good three minutes maneuvering the wheelchair through lapping fecal surf, before he was able to rejigger the contraption and resume flapping at the file folders with his arm-stumps -- for Ronnie Garibaldi was a quadruple amputee, whose gruff exterior concealed a tender heart, and whose chance discovery of a classified report, in a low-lit basement office one late night, would not only change his life, and win him back the woman he loved, but would bring him face-to-face with the man who had deliberately not disarmed the land mine, and bring to justice a corrupt Army General.

"Strasberg!" Ethan cried. "Backstory!"

Date Written: July 11, 2004
Author: Craig Lewis
Average Vote: 2.4

07/15/2004 qualcomm (2): i'm'a two this
07/15/2004 Will Disney: this short coulda used some broads in it to spice it up
07/15/2004 Benny Maniacs (2): I hate to say it, but is feels like a Danko - not that Danko writes two star shorts - but there's something about it - possibly the "for fuck's sake" Englism.
07/15/2004 Dylan Danko: Snot me.
07/15/2004 Ewan Snow (3): Maybe it's the "WC" englishism. But this isn't Danko, I don't think, cuz he's been demoted again, I think. I didn't like this too much, but two stars seems a little harsh.
07/15/2004 qualcomm: maniacs, i am not tricked. i know this is your work.
07/15/2004 anonymous: Not Maniacs, Sausage. Wish it was.
07/15/2004 Ewan Snow: Interesting. Who among us would not use the subjunctive in the sentence below? OSS, your thoughts? Or is this BM throwing us further off the trail? Maybe he doesn't use subjenctive BECAUSE IT ISN'T CONTRARY TO THE FACT!!!!
07/15/2004 qualcomm: when you can't figure out who it is, it's disney
07/15/2004 Ewan Snow: Also, OSS, how would you characterize the problem with this one? It's well written, but sort of fizzles. Also, once you realize that they're researching parts and who the actors are, it's sort of disappointing. It's like it's not enough of a surprise, maybe, or not strange enough, even though it feels like it was purposely not disclosed at first so that it could later be revealed.
07/15/2004 anonymous: Snow's insights into short's failings perceptive. Had notion to write short funning method acting following Brando's death but didn't do cruc job. Should have deleted.
07/15/2004 qualcomm: snow, i don't know where to begin. it's a pain in the ass to read, for some reason. the descriptions difficult to follow. it's like somehow, the sweat act that the two characters are in the midst of has infected the writing. it feels very stagey; the acting is bad.
07/15/2004 Dylan Danko: I'm pretty sure I know who this is and it's not Matza.
07/15/2004 Dylan Danko: The graciousness with which he responded to Snow's comment should give you a hint.
07/15/2004 Ewan Snow: Let's see, graciousness... is it Jackie O?
07/15/2004 Dylan Danko: He's a diva if that's what you mean.
07/15/2004 Ewan Snow: I have no idea what you're talking about.
07/15/2004 Dylan Danko: Coy little Snow. Bat your eyelids.
07/15/2004 Ewan Snow: Dude, what the fuck are you talking about? Are you implying this is Lewis? If so, you're off your rocker. Just say what you mean, damn it! And this time, don't sex up the fucking dossier!
07/15/2004 Ewan Snow: Actually, I take that back. I see the Lewisian tendencies now. Yes, yes, it's becoming quite clear.
07/15/2004 Craig Lewis: By Lewisian tendencies I assume you mean cystalline prose?
07/15/2004 Craig Lewis: That's crystalline prose.
07/15/2004 Will Disney: cystalline? gross!
07/15/2004 TheBuyer: I'd give this a two but I normally like scoop shorts and am now aware for turid flip jilk ooo buuuuhhh mwaaa...it's so fucking hot in my apartment.
07/16/2004 John Slocum (2): I want out of the Cult of Lewis.
07/26/2004 Mr. Pony (3): Kinda falls into clever.