Sunday, September 7, 2014

JOHNNY CRUISE (excerpt)

Here is an excerpt from my Hollywood novel JOHNNY CRUISE. JOHNNY CRUISE is a Jekyll and Hyde type of story about a very big movie star who is at war with his abusive public persona, which has LITERALLY taken on a life of its own. John (the person) stays secluded inside a mansion high up in the Hollywood Hills while Johnny (the persona) leaves the mansion and does all the movies, premieres, press events, charity events, interviews, talk show appearances etc. John desperately wants to leave the house and show the public the REAL him, but Johnny abusively makes him stay inside, warning him that the public won't like what it sees and his career will be ruined.

Here is the book's teaser-trailer:



...

NOTE: The excerpt below takes place soon after Johnny has purposely leaked a sex tape out to the public as part of a publicity stunt. Johnny made the sex tape with Playboy model Pamela Lopez...


JOHNNY CRUISE (excerpt)


INT. MANSION - LIVING ROOM. DAY

A door slams somewhere deep into the house and John suddenly gets the feeling that he isn’t alone. His subconscious senses an energy coming from the far corner of the room. He lifts his head out of the couch and sees Johnny staring at him with an eerily blank expression.

“Didn’t sleep ‘til noon today?” he asks.


“Oh, Johnny...please don’t,” says John, burrowing his face back into the couch.


Johnny swaggers over to the Casablanca coffee table and swipes the remote control into his possession. As soon as he presses the ‘power’ button, the JumboTron shouts... 


“Johnny Cruise!”


He changes the channel.


“Johnny Cruise!”


He switches channels again.


“Johnny Cruise!”


And again.


“Johnny Cruise!”


Johnny jumps atop the Casablanca coffee table and pounds his chest like Tarzan.


“Johnny Cruise!”


“Say it again!” Johnny shouts at the television.


“Johnny Cruise!”


“Say my name again!”


“Johnny Cruise!”


“Say! My! Name! Bitch!”


“Johnny Cruise! Johnny Cruise! Johnny Cruise!!!”


“Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeehhhhhhhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawwwwwwww!!!!!!!”


All right, John has had enough of this frigging nonsense. This is absolutely ridiculous. So immature. So sophomoric.


“Turn it off, Johnny.”


Johnny whips his head away from the Jumbotron and leers into John’s line of vision. His face is freakier-looking than an eel’s.


“What?!”


“Turn the fucking TV off,” John says with the most confidence he’s had in a really long time.


Johnny suddenly becomes muzzled with submissiveness - like a puppy who’s just been scolded – and he does what he’s told. The TV shuts off.


“Well...we’re mighty assertive this morning. Aren’t we?”


“We gotta talk about what’s next.”


“What do you mean?”


“It’s gotta be something big. Like another trip to Somalia or something.”


“John, those refugees are amazing heroes to me. They make me so grateful for what I have. But I’m not gonna have time to go there.”


“Why not?”


“John, look...Pamela and I...we’ve decided to get married.”


The word “married” kills John’s high almost instantaneously.


“Married? What are you talking about?”


“Pamela and I are in love. We’ve decided to get married.”


John leaps off the couch, grabs Johnny by the arms and starts shaking him like some twisted Au pair would shake a baby.


“No. No! No way!!! There’s no fucking way you’re getting married!!!”


“Get the fuck off me,” Johnny says, slamming John into the carpet.


“Right now, everybody thinks you’re a sleaze-wad who makes sex-tapes with sluts! You gotta go to Israel and help promote peace or something!”


“No, we gotta capitalize on the moment. Right now, everybody’s talking about Johnny and Pamela. Johnny and Pamela this...Johnny and Pamela that. If we get married right now, we’re gonna be America’s biggest power-couple - hands-down. We’ll be the next Beyonce and Jay-Z!”


“No, this isn’t right. I’m gonna fix this right now!”


“Fix what?! Twelve hours ago the Johnny Cruise brand was dead! You should be kissing my ass. I saved your career!”


“MY CAREER?! Ha! It’s not my career anymore. It stopped being MY career a long time ago! It’s YOUR career!”


“Yeah, well that’s because you don’t know how to manage your career. If it wasn’t for me, you’d already be back East now, working at Shop N’ Save. You’d be washed up! A has-been. A never-was!”


John’s eyes start watering.


“Jesus, you see what I mean? You cry over every little thing. Pussies like yourself don’t have successful careers, John. Pussies like you work in a supermarket and live with your parents your whole life!”


The tears stream down John’s cheeks. For a brief moment, Johnny realizes he’s being too harsh. He decides to show a little sensitivity.


“I’m sorry.”


“Take it back, Johnny.”


Johnny kneels to the floor and rubs John’s back.


“I take it back. I take it back. Come on, buddy. Chin up, now.”


He gives John a few more rubs. Then he whips a rolled Playboy magazine out of his back pocket and opens to the centerfold.


“Look, John. Take one good look at Pamela. Take one look at Pamela and try to tell me she isn’t the hottest piece of ass in Hollywood right now.”


John sniffs up his tears and takes a peek at the magazine.


“Look at those tits. That ass. Think about all the girls who rejected you in high school. What are they gonna say when they see you with Pamela? Huh? Ya know?”


“Look, Johnny. I’m not gonna let you marry a girl you don’t love.”


“I LOVE Pamela. I LOVE her.”


“That’s bullshit. You love Hea...”


“YOU love Heather. YOU love her!!!”


“Shut up, Johnny! Shut up!!!”


Johnny has had enough of John’s impertinence. He clenches his fist and winds his arm up for a nasty punch. 


But John snatches his fist in midair! And whips it to the ground!


“Don’t fuckin’ touch me! Get back! I control you! I made you and I control you!!!”


For the first time, Johnny actually looks a little scared.


“Whoa...ok. No need to get so worked up. Relax.”


He rests his hands to his side and gives John a little room to breathe.


“I’m outta here,” John says. “This is ridiculous. I’m leaving this house. I’m leaving Hollywood.”


He hobbles his way up from the floor and heads for the foyer. But he can’t even make it halfway across the room before Johnny says:


“Heather doesn’t love you, John.”


John stops dead in his tracks, but refuses to turn around. He takes a deep breath and musters up the confidence to move forward.


“Heather NEVER loved you.”


John stops in his tracks again.


“Heather and her husband are curled up in their bed right now, holding each other tight, talkin’ about how great it was fucking each other last night.”


John’s knees start shivering and he collapses to the floor.


“But you know what she’s gonna do when she rolls outta bed, turns on the TV and hears about the sex tape? Know how she’s gonna feel? She’s gonna suddenly realize how much sex you’ve been having without her and how amazing it must be. And then she’s gonna wish that sex with Alex could be more amazing. And then she’s gonna see how hot Pamela is and she’s gonna see you get married and she’s gonna beat the shit out of herself knowing she coulda had you, but it’s too late, bitch. ‘Oh, just kidding. Come, here, hun. Let me hold you all night long. No, it’s too late, BITCH!!!’ You’re gone from her forever with a girl who’s got better boobs, nicer ass, cuter face...the list doesn’t end, motherfucker.”


Johnny starts spitting out every word like some beast from a J.R. Tolkien movie.


“That stupid bitch is gonna live out the rest of her life in complete misery knowing she missed the boat with you. Too late, you fucking bitch!”


His beastly spits turn into all-out barks.


“Too late!!!!!!!!!!!!”


John’s eyes glaze over, like they’re being put under a spell. But he shakes it off.


“No, Johnny. You’re messing with my mind. I’m not listening to you. I’m the only one here. You don’t exist.”


He regains his confidence and gets back on his feet.


“I’m leaving this house.”


This time, he successfully makes it out of the living room and even makes it into the foyer, but when he gets into the foyer, he finds that the door leading to the outside world is blocked...by Johnny. It’s almost as though he ‘beamed’ himself there, like a character in Star Trek!


“You’re not going anywhere,” Johnny growls like a guard dog.


“Yes I am, Johnny. I’m leaving this house.”


John charges at the door and plows into Johnny, but Johnny swats him away like a fly. 


John charges at him again, but Johnny easily pushes him away like he weighs about two pounds. 


John fucking lunges at Johnny, but Johnny sweeps John’s legs and slams him into the floor, belly-first. 


“Ouch! You fucking asshole!”


Johnny tries to grab John by the hair, but John slaps his hand away.


“Get back! Get back!!!”


Johnny cautiously takes a step back.


“I’m not afraid of you anymore, Johnny! I don’t even see you! You don’t exist!”


Johnny says nothing - just stares at John with an unsettling stoicism.


“I’m leaving now.”


John pushes himself up from the floor, limps to the door, grabs the brass ring and begins to pull it open.


“All right, tough-guy,” Johnny says from behind. “Go out there and fix things. Let the world see your face. Your hooked-nose. Your craggly skin...” 


John can’t pull the door open any further.


“...How about your yellow teeth?! The eczema on your upper back. Your left arm that’s bigger than your right arm due to excessive masturbation with the left hand. Let them see your thick eyebrows and uneven sideburns...”


John slams the door closed with his face and starts bawling uncontrollably.


“Let the public see the REAL you. The guy who sits on his ass all day and never donated one single penny to any charity. How much did you donate to the Red Cross last year? Huh? How many Aids walks did you participate in? How many children with Leukemia did you be a role model to? None. But you sure as hell smoked a lot of weed!”


John slides down to the floor, trying ever-so-desperately to suck the tears back up into his nose.


“Johnny, please stop. Don’t do this.” 


“Go on and leave the house, you selfish asshole! Boy is Heather gonna be glad she never left Alex for you. Holy shit is she gonna have some pleasant dreams after a long night of riding Alex like a carousel.”


Oh, John can’t bear to have such an image in his mind.


“Johnny, I beg you! Please!!!”


“You walk out that door and you’re buying yourself a one-way ticket back East. Back to the supermarket. Back to your parents’ basement. Back to having no woman. Back to snapping it to porn. Back to fantasizing about how you’ll someday marry Heather when, in reality, you absolutely never will.”


“Johnny! Agh-ha! No! Oh, stop! Please stop!!!!”


“Stop that crying, pussy! You’re one of the most famous motherfuckers in the world. You make twenty million dollars a picture. You’re a bigger brand than McDonald’s! You live in one of the nicest houses in the Hollywood Hills. Stanley Hitchcock’s house. Your favorite filmmaker shot some of your favorite movies right here where we stand and you want to leave it??? Something’s not adding up here, John.”


“Aha-ha! Oh, no! No, Johnny!”


“You always want more and more and more. You’re never happy. Millions are starving in Africa. People are repressed by dictatorships. Soldiers are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan! What do YOU have to be sad about?!”


John can’t answer the question. He can only close his eyes and hope that Johnny disappears.


“I said what the fuck do you have to be sad about?!” 


“Oh-ho! Johnny! Oh God!!!”


Johnny’s eyes pop out of his face.


“Shut up, motherfucker! Shuuuuut!!! Up!!!!!!!!!!!”


John opens his eyes and sees that Johnny has vanished. Only the echoes of his demonic screams remain, reverberating through the foyer like a dragon’s roar.


He sits upright, hugs his knees into his chest and whimpers.


“I need a hug. Somebody give me a hug. Oh, God.”


BLOWTORTURE (excerpt)

Here's a new excerpt from my novel BLOWTORTURE. BLOWTORTURE is a dark tragedy about a washed-up child actor who is now a grown man prowling around the Hollywood Hills, torching celebrities' faces with a blowtorch, destroying their good looks and ruining their careers. This particular excerpt takes place about halfway through the story. It includes provocative ideas about the Manson family, Helter Skelter, the 1969 Rolling Stones Altamont concert, the Rodney King trial, the George Zimmerman trial and America's racial divide. Any comments and criticisms/feedback is welcome.


TWENTY-SIX


Malone and Henderson had been up practically all night dealing with the Billy Daniels case so their first destination upon arriving back at Hollywood Station was the break room where they hoped there would be a full pot of coffee waiting for them. As luck would have it, there WAS, indeed, some coffee waiting for them, but there was only about a half a pot and it wasn’t exactly fresh. The coffee had likely been cooking on the hot plate for several hours, probably left over from the night shift. But even if the coffee was overly bitter, there was no less caffeine in it, so it would have to do for the moment. 


Henderson put three sugars in his coffee and lots of powdered cream. Malone took it black with no sugar.


“We’re getting close now,” Malone said to Henderson. “So close I can smell the propane…”


“That sketch may have been our big break.”


“That sketch gives me the creeps.”


“Yeah, no shit. What the hell do ya think this guy’s story is?”


“I don’t know. I just hope we don’t have another goddamn Manson on our hands.”


"Hmmmm…a new Manson Family is on a blowtorching spree in the Hollywood Hills…torching celebrities’ faces…ruining their careers in Hollywood…sounds like it would be a good movie…"


Malone gave his movie-obsessed partner a stern, all-business look.


"Call Tiffany. See if she can ID the man in the sketch."


“I’m one step ahead of ya, boss. I called her while you were giving the press conference.”


“And?”


“I got voice mail.”


“Keep trying. If you need me, I’ll be in my cubicle hiding from this doomed world.”


“Roger that.”


Henderson took his styrofoam cup of coffee and proceeded his way back to his cubicle. 


As for Malone, he also took his coffee, along with a sleeve of Pepperidge Farm Chessman cookies that somebody had left behind—he was starving as hell and he figured the cookies were better than nothing. Cookies in hand, he retreated to his cubicle so he could sip, munch and regroup.


For some reason, Charles Manson was still haunting Malone's mind as he made his journey to the cubicle. Malone realized that this Blowtorcher had the potential to be "the next big thing" but he also realized that was Hollywood-talk right there and he hated that crap. What he meant was that the "Blowtorcher" had the potential to gain about as much notoriety as the 1969 musician-turned-mass-murderer. Well, Manson himself wasn’t the murderer - he technically just ordered the murders, but it didn’t really make much of a difference. Throughout his years in the Los Angeles police department, Malone had heard all about the Manson murders, the stories of which were passed down from the elder detectives whom had long since retired. 


One of the most bizarre stories he heard was from one of his senior detectives named Ronald Johnson, a man whom Malone essentially considered to be his mentor. Ronald had been one of the detectives assigned to the Sharon Tate murders and he had become obsessed with Manson, “The Family”, Helter Skelter and also the Beatles White album, even well after Manson and the rest of the family were locked up behind bars. 


One day, Ronald pulled Malone aside and discreetly told him about a theory he was working on proving, a theory that was going to be absolutely incendiary if it actually turned out to be true. See, Ronald was convinced that Charles Manson was a product of a secret CIA mind-control program called MKUltra. He said that Manson (a hippy) and the family (a group of hippies) were essentially created through brainwashing and other mind-control methods in order to discredit the hippy movement, which - in the late 60s - was starting to grow, gain tremendous momentum and become a threat to the “powers that be". The "powers that be" mainly wanted the general population to be acting as soulless human resources who cared more about making money for the corporations; they didn't want people acting like free-thinking human beings who cared about love and peace, unity, and equality etc. So the CIA took a quintessential hippy musician - Charles Manson - gave him some LSD, put him through hypnosis, maybe even used a little shock therapy on him, and basically created a monster that would preach all this mumbo-jumbo about how the Beatles White Album prophesied a great race war (which he called Helter Skelter) and then he would round up a family of hippy disciples, start a hippy commune and go around murdering high-profile people in Hollywood to get the most attention, the most press, thus discrediting the hippy movement, making it appear to be a sinister, evil sham.


Ronald also yapped something about how Helter Skelter and the great race war functioned to enhance the racial divide in America, shattering any progress that the hippies and civil rights activists had made during the 1960s civil rights movement. The media couldn't get enough of Manson and his swastika carved into his forehead and all his racial bigotry. There was just one sensational image after another, of Manson sticking out his tongue, looking like the devil incarnate, yapping about white supremacy. It was really thrown into the face of the public. Americans were bombarded with these demonic images. And all it did was add fuel to the racial fire...


In conjunction with Helter Skelter, Ronald also insisted that "Altamont" was another event manufactured by the CIA to further widen the racial divide in America. Altamont was a free Rolling Stones concert held in December 1969, only a few months after the Manson murders. Held at the Altamont racetrack in San Francisco, the Stones concert was basically a follow-up to the enormously legendary Woodstock concert that had also taken place a few months earlier. The concert was free, tons of hippies were coming and everybody expected it to go as smoothly as Woodstock went. But they were wrong. Things went sour when a white member of the Hells Angels (the Angels were hired as the only security guards at the event) stabbed and killed a black gentleman who was waving a gun in the crowd and that moment was widely viewed as the moment when the peaceful 60s ended. The seemingly racially-motivated event discredited the peace and love emanating from the hippy movement and it reestablished the racial divide that had been getting smaller and smaller, ever since JFK, Martin Luther King and other key figures gave momentum to the civil rights movement in the earlier part of the 60s.


Of course, Malone was only about in his early 30s when Ronald was telling him all this conspiracy-theory crap, so he thought the man to be eccentric, if not totally off his rocker. But over the years it kind of lingered in his mind, gestated a bit and seemed to make more and more sense. He could at least see Ronald’s rationale behind what he was saying. Whether it was the Rodney King trial or the George Zimmerman trial, the media always seemed to be needlessly building up non-racial (or minimally racial) events into something overly racial, for what reason he did not know, unless they were, indeed, assisting with an agenda to widen the racial divide and make blacks and whites hate each other. After all, if you really thought about it, all the attention that the media gave to stories like Rodney King and George Zimmerman, O.J. Simpson/LA. riots…all that relentless attention accomplished in the long run was make blacks hate whites and then when blacks acted like assholes towards whites, the whites would then hate blacks, and thus the racism swelled into something greater and greater, never alleviating the problem or addressing the problem or helping the problem but always simply making the problem worse.


So it always seemed to Malone that the media - and maybe even the government-types who were drawing attention to these questionably racial events (like Barack Obama in the case of the Zimmerman trial), making them seem overtly racial - had a hidden agenda up their sleeve. Maybe they DID really want to keep people divided and more powerless so they could do God-knows-what, have more control over them or make more money or take over more countries or God-knows-what. After all, you can’t conquer until you divide…


But such thoughts were not important right now. There was a madman on the loose in Los Angeles and Malone needed to do his job and find out who the “Blowtorcher” was and, God, the media really got lucky with that name. Usually the names they came up with for serial killers or rapists were rather silly and stupid, but he had to admit that “Blowtorcher” was pretty damn good, even though he hated to admit it and hated how the media sensationalized everything.


Malone took a seat at his cubicle and took a look around to make sure nobody was looking. He poured a swig - OK, maybe a shot’s-worth - of Jack Daniels into his black coffee. That’s what he really needed to wake him up on this not-so-fine morning. Caffeine wasn't enough; he needed the one-two-punch to the face, liquor-caffeine-boom.


Brrrrp...brrrrrrppp. His phone started chirping. He picked up line one.


“Yep?”


It was Peg, the secretary for the detective’s department.


“Hey Willy, it’s Peg here.”


“Morning, Peg.”


“I have a…um…a Dr. Simons on line-two. He says he has information about the Blowtorcher. I dunno...he sounds pretty legitimate.”


“OK, send the call over.”


“All right, one sec.”


Malone dropped the phone back on the receiver and then, after a moment, there was another chirp. Line Two was flashing. He picked the phone back up and went to line two.


“This is Detective Malone speaking.”


“Yes, Mr. Malone...I think I know who you’re looking for.”


Needless to say, Malone’s attention had been captured.


“Who is this?”


“My name is Dr. Simons. I’m a psychiatrist at the Los Angeles County State Hospital. The sketch that was on the television...I have reason to believe that he’s a former patient of mine.”


“I see.” 


Malone took a long sip of his Jack N' Coffee. The burning from both the heat and the hard alcohol felt good as it washed its way down his throat - just what the doctor ordered.


“How sure are you?”


“I’m about seventy-five percent sure.”


“Seventy-five percent?”


“Yes."


"That's pretty confident."


"Yes, I'm pretty confident.”


“So you were his psychiatrist? Is this guy a real nut-job?”


“Well, no, yes…I don't know. See, that's why I'm only seventy-five percent confident. I never thought he'd do something so violent. He was troubled, though I never deemed him violent. But I must say...that sketch on the TV looked just like him."


"Tell me where he is."


"With all due respect, this man needs to be approached delicately. Perhaps it's best that I bring you to him."


"These matters are best left to the authorities, Dr. Simons. He could be dangerous and we can't be held liable for your safety."


"But he knows me. I can keep him calm."


"We'll handle it, doctor. We're trained to keep people calm. We know what we're doing."


"Yes, yes, I see."


Malone had enough beating around the bush and he wanted to get down to brass tacks. All he wanted to know was where the hell the potential Blowtorcher could be found so he could get the guy behind bars and he could go home and get some goddamn sleep.


"So, doc…where can we find this guy?"


Dr. Simons sighed. He took his line of work very seriously and when he failed to help a patient of his, he took it personally. In the case of Adonis, Dr. Simons had always thought that he could have done more, or at least could have done things differently. He had prescribed the young man a cocktail of antidepressants; first it was Prozac and then when that didn’t seem to work much, he prescribed Zoloft and eventually Lexapro. In hindsight, Simons realized that his prescribing of such drugs was probably done prematurely and he probably could have gone the slower route and done more counseling first. Deep down, he knew that the drugs only made the young man’s brain more toxic and propelled Adonis further and further down a psychological downward spiral. If it was true that Adonis was responsible for these brutal assaults occurring in Hollywood, Dr. Simons was going to feel horrible about it. He was going to feel that it was all his fault and that maybe, if he had done things a little differently with him, MAYBE Adonis would have turned out OK. 


But, alas, what needed to be done, needed to be done…


"You can find him at 3121 North Beachwood."