Film journal excerpt #2


Investigating Officer(s): Det. T. Armstrong, Det. S. Murphy
Incident No.: 001985-19D-2020
Case Description: Dalton Kimbrough homicide investigation

Dalton Kimbrough's film journal was found in one of the boxes of script pages (Evidence # 001985-13) in the editing room/office.

The following excerpt is from the latter portion of that journal.

Note: Around mid-March, Kimbrough's journal entries ceased to be dated and ran together like one long entry. His explanation was that he wanted to witness his life's narrative evolve like an un-chaptered novel. He wanted to study "the natural rhythm of the mind."

Caution: Some rough language and situations.

I've got a song in my head that won't come out. I felt like beating it out, just pummeling my head against the wall or blowing the meat of my head away with any number of fully automatic weapons lying around here. But then I started listening to it.

If I could turn back the hands of time. If I could turn back the hands of time.

What difference would it make? Something would just come along and fumble it up again. I get so goddamned sick and tired of waiting on the tripwire to be reversed, for this to all start making sense.

In the morning, I will be amazed at myself for just sitting here, waiting for an answer to this movie to appear. Some sort of solution that will break me out of this terror of knowing that it's all just a piece of s***. A dead peace of unanswered, unutterable nonsense, filled with nonsensical words and rhythms and no life, no truth. You get something like that staring you in the face every night, and you feel like flying out of a window or putting a pillow over your head if you could only suffocate yourself.

What's the plushest way to die, I wonder? Choking on a rainbow. The blood in your veins turning instantly to ice. Drowning in velvet and flesh.

If I could turn back the hands of time.

Time is a flat circle. Now I can't help channeling prestige TV. Christ, now I am going mad!

What if I had a character stick his head in boiling water? What a suicide!

Is there any sort of gas a guy could suck on, and it would inflate him up like bubble wrap? I need to get Alonzo making a lifelike dummy that can be popped like human bubble wrap.

I've rewritten the ending to this damn movie so many times that I can't even remember the beginning in the middle. Maneuvering through this script is like being trapped in a mansion of dead-end corridors. I walk around the lodge sometimes just to feel what it's like to walk into a room and interact in a scene that has a definite beginning, middle and end, and not a scene that spins in monotonous circles. For example:

DALTON walks down the hall and into the dorm room. DAVE is the only person there, he's sitting on his bunk bed staring at the floor.


Dave, what are you doing?


Dude, sit down and look at this.


What is it, Dave? I want to look at this with you.



(points to the floor)


What? I don't see anything.


Dude, you don't see molecules?


No, Dave.


They're getting bigger, man. The molecules are getting bigger and bigger every hour. I've been monitoring the results right here.

(shows Dalton a yellow sketch pad)


These are just meaningless markings and scribbles.


Dude, you're riding this scene with the parking brake on.


If I could have turned my mind on like a video camera and walked through those scenes back at the Gulf. Those times, my life was as fractured and irrevocable as any thumbs-up movie I'd care to watch. It was the best because it was free and in living color, numbingly bright colors. Drawing life out of thin air like a fruit picker.

We made many a cotton-picker mess his or her drawers with our antics, and we nearly scared each other half to death in the process. Even in those days, I was never strong enough to put both legs up on the seat and ride it out. I was grinding gears the whole way down. And the only way to end this kind of ride as abruptly as I felt the need to is a wreck, a fiery jumble of knotted steel and flaming cushions that had performed insufficiently.

So this is what it was.

I picture the two scenes — the story of my life, the story of my film — and I see that it is necessary they converge. Because this is the end of my life. I know it as sure as if I had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. The final days are winning, and I have to see it this way to know what to do, to know what Darl should do. Teddy and all the others are only actors — they don't know what will really happen, and they don't care. I was foolish to allow them to think that they would care, and that would determine what happened. This is what happened:

Cheyenne and I had become one, moving, speeding toward a sharp, distant horizon, an oasis where we could hide from the fun and tricks that were becoming increasingly dangerous. Yet I could tell before even applying the brakes that she wasn't going to stop, that she'd run naked right out into that surf and swim until her arms fell off, and I was only willing to scamper into the surf, and laugh, and let my life trickle out of me like stale beer piss on the tide. I danced in the sand to all the lies we'd told and tricks we'd played. Two grifters can't fall in love because they'll rob each other blind.

So I employed the arts of my profession and staged a gruesome death for myself. Rob painted me up in the bathtub to look like a rich, red suicide. I pretended to be bathing when she came in, and I made sure she heard the gunshots. She exploded into the bathroom to check on me, but by then, I appeared to have blown my last life away. She knelt at the tub laughing hysterically as if she were in on the joke, but my resolve was stronger. Sure, I was sedated, but I didn't let my face crease or my mouth quiver. I was at that moment more perfect a corpse than I will be the day they close the coffin lid on me. And then she found the note, and if that wasn't overkill….

Of course, I blamed it all on her. It was her psychology, the things she did and felt the worst about, that drove me to my own death — that self she feared had killed the man she had pretended to love. It wasn't me she was crying for, it was herself. Herself and that other self, and probably even more selves. It was a hall of mirrored murderers. Pick one, any one. Boom….

It's this dynamism that Shane is missing. I guess I always underestimated her.

Gwen is a puppet, trained by some nervous puppeteer. I put her in my show, and she wants me to lead her. I can't do that. I can't do it! I only create the recipe, but the ingredients stir themselves. It was supposed to be like this from the start! It's what God must have felt like when he wound up man and woman and let them go in the woods. They knocked everything down, up and out. And they keep going, and going, and going….

I have failed once again at this art because I cannot work as a team.

I tried to paint pictures, but the physical limitations were too great to satisfy my spirit of compromise between what my eyes saw and what my hand could allow.

I tried to build, but the raw materials were too crude to withstand my designs.

I tried to mold, but the impression was only that — an impression — and not a new, amazing thing.

Call it lack of talent, or dissatisfaction with reality. Either way, it's a scenario that must be dealt with. I'd as soon rock back into the pool of unliving, that effortless tomorrow, and swim in something I don't already know about. This other business — this earthbound attention — is not for me.



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