Writer’s Camp by Frederick Foote
by Frederick Foote
Oh, I know you. I know the language of your face and the taste of your spit and the smell of your shit. I know you Kaden, your odd ways and salacious salad days. I know you shamelessly and seamlessly without laps or omission.
Wyoming. Why the fuck am I driving these table-lands on an October evening into gathering dusk to a place I have never seen for Rika, a mean, cruel, malicious bitch, who tried to destroy me and mine, body and soul? For the money? Shit, I never even set a price. What the fuck am I doing?
I know how you fuck and suck, and the curve in your dick and the glint in your eyes. I know your secret hungers.
According to the GPS, the Crossroads are two miles ahead and then a right for three miles on a dirt road to the cabin. The cabin that will be just right for me; just like Rika said. I fucking despise her to death and beyond. I truly do. She gets under my skin and on my last nerve. But, here I am trying to save her bony-ass? Why? Why? That is the fucking question.
Kaden, you want to fuck me now, right now. Don’t shake your head don’t deny it. Don’t lie. Never lie to me about that Kaden. I need you. I need you to save me. Yes, to rescue me. Don’t cum on yourself with glee. At least try to hide your pleasure in my pain. Name your price. I will even throw in a free fuck or two. Would you like that? Huh? Miyuki will never know unless you tell her. Kaden, don’t get angry and don’t leave until you hear me out. I won’t mention your treacherous Japanese slut again. I promise. Just listen and hear my prayer to you.
Save her? I need someone to save me. Save me from fucking up again. It will be different with Miyuki. It has to be. I need to save me from myself. I — shit! What? There is someone ahead… At the Crossroads… A woman standing out here in the middle of fucking nowhere. A sister! My god. What the fuck. I slow down and pull my rented BMW over in front of her. She is red like Georgia clay with a smile like the sun on fresh snow. And laughing eyes. Aaahh shit.
I’m out of the car in a flash. I scoop her up in my arms and swing her around laughing like a loon. She laughs with me. A glorious, wonderful, full-bodied, lusty, honest laugh.
Finally, I put her down with my hands on her shoulders. “My name is Kaden. Who are you? What the hell are you doing out here?”
She puts her hands on my shoulders and grins up at me. “Waiting for you Mr. White. I’m waiting for you.”
“For me? What? How did you know my name?”
She pulls down her hands and slips a harmonica from the pocket of her worn denim jacket and plays like James Cotton, plays a little Junior Wells and smiles at me again. “You need to get to work Kaden. I will see you anon. I promise.”
“Look, look… waiting for me… that is a delightful line, but it’s getting dark and chilly. Do you have a car? How did you get here? Are you alone? Did Rika put you up to this? What-“
“Wow! You have a lot of questions. You really are glad to see me?”
“You are the first black person I have seen in Wyoming. Yes, I’m glad to see you. Are you real?”
She plays a little Sonny Terry. “Kaden, I have a little business to attend to, OK? Go on and I will see you later if you like.”
I stand there in the deepening shadows arguing with her. Telling her I can’t leave her alone out here. She plays a little Carey Bell, kisses me on the cheek, and pushes me into the front seat of my car. I give her directions to my cabin.
She is still playing as I drive away.
I’m out of the business Kaden. They have black listed me. Right now, no studio will work with me. My investors have run off or been scared off. Right now, I could not produce a puppet show. But, I have an amazing property and a gifted director and my own money, but I don’t have a screenplay. And you, Kaden, are the script doctor. I need you to give me a script in forty-eight hours.
I didn’t even get her name. The red woman, the sister at the crossroads. The further away from her I get the less real the encounter is. But, my last meeting with Rika that is indelible.
Give me the script I need in forty-eight hours, and I will do anything you ask, pay any price. You will own me. Except, I will not forgive Miyuki – that I cannot do.
And that was the perfect opportunity to tell Rika to kiss my fat black ass and to leave her there in her designer clothes and thousand-dollar haircut and her immense savagery and boundless anger. I looked at her, into her fierce gray eyes, studied her long face and thin lips. Lips I can still taste. “I don’t want to own you, Rika. I want you to leave Miyuki and me the fuck alone. That’s what you can do for me, for us. Send me your fucking property.” My last words to her.
She knows I write best in isolation, near water and wildlife and big skies. So that’s why I’m headed toward a cabin, I have never seen to try and save the career of a woman who was my friend and lover and colleague. A woman who tried desperately to destroy me and Miyuki.
I must be fucking crazy.
The cabin is perfect full of light and bright woods, feeling warm and natural with sliding glass doors looking out over a stream thirty-yards away. There is an Ugly Stick rod, Penn spinning reel and a tackle box by the door to the rear porch facing the stream; a cottonwood grove to the north and a sprinkling of willows to the south.
I call Miyuki on the satellite phone, there are no cell towers around here. She is short with me, angry that I took this job. She calls right back, apologizes. We talk about the baby coming and life as parents and other odds and ends.
I relax, step out on the back porch. I fit in here. I can write here.
Rika has given me a perfect writing camp.
I will need every ounce of this perfection. Rika calls on the satellite phone. The property is a short novel, ninety-seven pages, by Ambrosia Anderson, a sister, a school mate, a mutual friend. Fire Friction is one of my five favorite books full of poetry and love and hate and betrayal and redemption of a devastating and unnatural manner. Difficult, difficult, difficult if not impossible to script.
I reread the novel on my laptop computer on the back porch in a heavy jacket in the clean, crisp, night air.
There is something I need to do. Someone I need to check on… someone I need…
The knock on my front door comes at 2:00 am. I’m eating cheese and salami and drinking a local craft beer.
It’s the red sister at my door.
“Kaden, may I come in?”
I pull her through the door and to the table. Her hands are freezing.
“God woman you are cold. Coffee? You need some hot coffee?”
She laughs her big laugh and hugs me. “Kaden, you are kind and-“
“Sit. Are you hungry?”
She is hungry, cold and exhausted. I feed her and direct her to the smaller of the two bedrooms.
“Kaden, you are kind and generous. Thank you.” She kisses me on the cheek, closes the bedroom door, and leaves me to my night work.
I wake at noon to the smell of coffee, bacon and sausage almost on the edge of an idea of how to write this screenplay… just out of reach.
I see her now in the clear light of day. A full face and bright brown eyes and luscious lips about five-six with inviting, easy riding curves.
She serves me, plays the harp for me and gives me the launching pad for the day. I enjoy watching her talk, play, and move. I’m already fond of her.
I put on my hiking boots, hug her good-bye, hold her just a little too long.
I hike north along the creek, clear my mind. Watch and listen and feel. I fall into the landscape, float into the sky.
An hour later, I’m back at the cabin. The red woman is gone. The kitchen is immaculate. There is a note: “Kaden, thank you. Could I impose on you again tonight? I appreciated your hospitality.”
I take a beer and my computer onto the back porch. I use the phone hotspot function to check my email. A fish jumps in the creek.
I make my living, of late, rewriting scripts, screenplays even video scripts on short notice. Rika wrecked my regular employment opportunities. Speed is my specialty. I may get three to five jobs a year. Last year I worked less than thirty-days. But, I get paid. I still don’t believe how much I get paid.
I work from 4:30pm to 4:00am I barely notice the red woman come in and make fresh coffee, eat and kiss me on the cheek.
It is done all in one draft. I have done the impossible. It is the best thing I have ever written. I close up my computer, put on my jacket and boots, step out into the night air.
I walk a few yards from the cabin, and I fall to my knees weeping uncontrollably. I give prayers of thanksgiving for my creation, for the words that will bring this story into a new life on the screen.
I call Rika at 6:00am. I email her the screenplay which is more script than screenplay.
I pace around waiting for her response.
At 7:00am the phone rings. I answer immediately. There is silence. “Hello, hello… Rika?”
“Kaden Whistler White, I love it.” There is a long silence. “Thank you, thank you Kaden.”
While Rika is sitting up a conference call to Ambrosia, I call Miyuki. I send her the script.
I pace again. Miyuki is the real writer with published novels and poetry and awards and recognition. Her opinion means everything to me.
She is crying when she calls back, tears of joy.
There is no conference call. Ambrosia calls me direct. “I love you brother man. I truly, truly do. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
I scream as loud as I can, for as long as I can.
The red woman is there in a white robe with a look of concern.
I pull her into my arms, press my lips to hers, fill her mouth with my tongue. I taste her from lips to toes.
We fuck. We don’t want to stop. Ever.
The phone rings. We keep on Fucking.
The sun rises and falls. We fuck.
“Kaden, would you like to be with me forever. This can be forever if you want it.”
I look at her astonished that she even has to ask that question.
“What about Miyuki? What about your daughter growing toward birth? If you go with me forever you will lose them forever.”
Why is she doing this, this nagging? They will be better without me. My other two wives, my other two children do better without me. Shit!
I answer by kissing her hard between her legs in her creamy sweet spot. She makes it sweeter.
“And your screenplay, your script. Can you leave that behind? Can you abandon that?”
She is on top of me doing incredible things. I blink, lose my concentration. “What? What did you say?”
She works her hips like magic massage. “To be with me, you have to leave all that here.” She makes a twist that brings tears to my eyes.
“What I thought we would be here. Where would we be?”
“In a better place. Just the two of us, forever.”
She leans down and licks my lips.
I concentrate on what she is doing to my dick. We finish together. We lay side-by-side staring up at the wood ceiling. I close my eyes and I see her breasts and vagina, taste them, need them. I have to have her again, now. But she sits up in the bed and crosses her legs and gives me that lighthouse smile.
“Kaden, you have been kind and generous to me. I don’t want to take advantage of you. If, you like you can stay here and enjoy your success, family and friends.”
She has my attention now. “And us? What about us?”
“I’m very busy Kaden, but I will make time for us. I will do that to repay your kindness.”
I reach for her to kiss her, but she holds me back. “If you want to do this, we should do it now. I want you very much, but you have to decide now.”
“Why? What’s the hurry? We-“
“Time is running out on us. Others are coming to interfere. We don’t want that do we?”
I shake my head no. “I want to be with you this has been the best day of my life. I want to be with you.”
She smiles that special smile I love to see. “Three days since you completed your screenplay.”
“Three? No! No way. How-“
“I need your soul. Not this minute, not right now. You will have a long healthy life. I will collect your soul on the last day of your lush life with Miyuki and your children and grandchildren.”
We are in our underwear. She is straddling me in the kitchen chair feeding me breakfast, rubbing her breasts against me, licking the grease from my lips.
Hurricane Rika arrives, blows open the door and bears down on us with deadly intent.
“I knew it was you! I just knew it. You lying piece of scarlet filth. You, you fucking cheating, lying red lump of defecation!”
At first, I thought Rika was screaming at me, but she is all up in the red woman’s face, spraying spit and venom.
My new lover is cool, too cool, scary cool.
“Rika, you wrath is an old and tired act. Sit, Rika, enjoy the warmth of the last bridge you have to burn. Sit, now before I lose my patience with you.”
“Fuck you bitch!” Rika sits and pops right up. “Kaden, you stupid fuck, did you make a deal with it? Did you? Did you?’
I smile sheepishly. I shrug. “How do you know her-“
Rika cuts me off. “Her? Her? You mean Beelzebub? You mean Scratch? “Fucking Lucifer? What did it promise you Kaden?”
“Rika, it was just a joke. We were just joking around, around… right?”
My red woman slides off me, stands over me, looks at me tenderly. “Everything I promised and more is yours.”
Rika collapses onto a chair shaking her head in disgust and despair.
Now I’m standing. “Come on. Come on. You, you… this is not real…”
“Kaden, you can call me Tyre. All I promised and more.” Tyre holds out her hands to me. I step back from her. I look at Rika. Rika returns my look for a second and looks away. It is way too quiet in my writer’s camp now. I hear an owl hoot near the cabin.
“Kaden, I’m sorry. I’m sorry. You did a deal for the screenplay. I never meant for you-“
“Rika, the screenplay is mine, by myself, honest. I didn’t make a deal for the screenplay.”
Tyre nods her concurrence and smiles at Rika.
“Poor Rika, poor baby you underestimated your ex-lovers, colleagues, friends, and co-worker. That is an ongoing problem with you Rika.”
Rika ignores Tyre and stands facing me.
“For what? For what did you sell your soul? What did you want so fucking bad?”
I open my mouth and try to speak, but there is no sound.
Tyre has her arms around my waist.
“Tell her Kaden. Tell the Brazilian-Swedish slut about our contract.”
I swallow hard and croak out a response. “I get her. I get Tyre.” I pull away from Tyre. “I, I…”
Rika is laughing now. Laughing and crying and snotting and sounding crazy. She stops at last. “Tyre is not a she or a her or male or female or boy or girl. Tyre is a fucking it. It! She fooled you and lied to me. Oh, fuck.”
I turn to Tyre. “Are, are you-“
Tyre has turned away from me and is glaring at Rika. “Rika, twice you have accused me of lying to you. I never lied to you. I gave you what you asked for and more. I never lied to you ever.”
Rika whips out her cell phone. “You promised in red and white, in our blood, that I would be the top producer in Hollywood. The top dog, number one, with no one else even close. There!” Rika tosses the phone to me. I catch it and read the red lettering on white paper. “Read it Kaden. Fucking read it.”
“Sit down Rika. I will make this right if I lied to you.” Tyre turns to me. “Kaden, sweet and kind Kaden, you be the judge. If you believe I lied. I will return Rika her soul. Is that fair Rika?”
“Fuck you Abaddon. I don’t trust you at all.”
“Of course, course you don’t, but you trust Kaden. You just trusted him with your career, which is, for you, the same as your poor miserable excuse for a life. What do you have to lose?”
Rika sits across from Tyre and stares at her for a moment. “If I win you free both of us from your crooked soul stealing agreements.”
Tyre leans toward Rika. “No. I will free one soul, but I will let you select which one, you or Kaden.”
The two women sit across from each other at much at war as any two armies.
Rika sighs and she folds her hands in prayer. “Let Kaden go. He… he… let him go.”
“Fuck that Rika. Save yourself. You need to save yourself.”
“Wow! This is wonderful it would appear that you two have some affection for each other. We will see how this works out. Kaden would you please read our agreement out loud.”
“’Within twelve months of this agreement, Rika Sandoval will be and will be recognized by her peers, the press and the public as the most powerful and influential producer in Hollywood.’ And Rika promises to deliver her soul to Tyre or her minions twenty-five years from the date of this agreement.’ Are you guys serious. Are you two for real?”
Tyre turns to me with that irresistible smile. “Kaden, despite your continuing infatuation with this paranoid monster on steroids, was Rika number one as described in our contract?”
I turn to look at Rika. “You were Rika. You were the boss of bosses.”
Tyre smiles at Rika. “Yes, a king of kings.”
“Fuck you both! She has you fucking enchanted. Kaden, what is my position in the industry today, right now?”
“You’re not even in the business today. You are probably the most hated person in Hollywood.”
“So much for your fucking contract. You fucking lied.”
“Oh, I think not. Kaden, why is your friend so thoroughly detested by all those she has worked with?”
“The truth is that you treated us all like shit. You’re petty, vindictive, arrogant, exploitative, and on a good day just plain evil.”
“Wow! Well put and heart felt. Kaden, in light of what you just said, do you believe I kept my part of our bargain?”
It takes me about thirty-seconds to consider Tyre’s question. “I don’t know if you helped her get to the top, but she was number one in the industry. From what I have seen she was the cause of her own downfall. Rika, as good as you were at climbing to the top you were better at falling into the pit.”
Tyre is beaming like a red sun. “Rika, do you still want to save Kaden’s soul or have you reconsidered?”
Rika, is breathing deeply and staring at me with a look of confusion, anger, frustration. She starts to speak, but just shakes her head and flops back into her chair.
For the moment, there is just the sound of Rika’s harsh breathing.
I turn to Tyre. “Did you help her get to the top?”
My answer is another beatific smile. “I was essential to her ascent, but I never lifted a finger to help her.”
“I don’t understand. How could you be essential if you never helped?”
The smile moves from me to Rika. “I told Rika she would succeed to the level she desired. She did the climb to the top on her own. Rika, you always, had the raw talent, viscous. cunning, and ruthless drive. You just needed someone to free you up to do it.”
There are tears rolling down Rika’s cheeks as she sits with her head bowed.
“Tyre, did you cause her to, to self-destruct like that?”
“I was essential to her descent, but I never lifted a finger to harm her. Kaden, don’t look so confused. Much of Rika’s unfortunate behavior may be rooted in her ill-founded belief that I, not she, was the cause of her rise to fame and fortune.”
Rika finally finds her voice again. “You motherfucker you did nothing except play me like a fucking piano. You never lifted a fucking finger. You let me rise because you knew I would fucking fall. You dirty motherfucker.”
“No hard feelings Rika please. You sought me out at the crossroads. You begged me to help you. I declined, and you begged so sweetly and made such succulent promises and delivered such sweet favors I relented. And here we are.”
“Fuck you, you Daughter of Perdition, you Angel of Deceit. You might as well take my soul now. God, how I fucked up.”
“Wait, wait just a minute. Tyre, it wasn’t just the soul you were after it was the show – The Rise and Fall of Rika Sandoval – you enjoyed the fucking show. You wrote the script for the show in broad strokes. You loved the fucking show!”
And now I get the smile and the large laugh and the cherry red kiss and the luscious tongue and the full warm body press.
“Oh, please, you two deserve each other. Oh, shit how stupid, dumb and fucking blind I-“
“Rika, shut up. Just shut up and listen.” Rika gives us both the finger as she stands to leave. “Rika sit the fuck down and hear me out. Like I heard you out. Just listen.”
I put my hands on Tyre’s shoulder. “Tyre, let’s have act two. Rika has a great property, with a wonderful script and, and if she can get back to number one, if she could do that would you give her back her soul? I mean what a show that would be and we could both watch it together. Now, that would be something.”
Tyre’s eyes are as bright as flames, her skin glows like an ember, her smile is blinding. That’s our answer.
We all shake hands on it.
Rika hugs me good-bye before she leaves to start working to save her soul.
“Kaden, I suppose you want to cancel our agreement based on what you have learned about me, about what I am. I can understand if you do…”
That’s not what I want to do. I spend the next few hours showing Tyre what I want to do before I get back to my family and my life, if I ever can. I mean, how can I resist live theater on this intimate scale? A soul is a small price to pay for the best seats in the house and in the company of the playwright.
Kaden, I thought I knew you, inside and out, but you do have the capacity to surprise even shock me – may the devil take your eternal soul – I hope the show is worth it for both our sakes.
* * * * THE END * * * *
Copyright Frederick Foote 2016