CHAPTER 14: CASH FOR GOLD, FILMS FOR GUNS
Another morning, another hang over. I'm now on day 4 of the festival and I still can't be sure if I've actually gotten any sleep in the last 96 hours. Dementia is starting to set in and I fear what that might lead to.
I find myself lying on a bare mattress in the Mattress Ware House's stockroom. It's funny to think that someone might be purchasing this at some point the future. I chuckle to myself thinking of the particular detail that there may be blood stains on this from my ass flogging the previous night. Lord only knows what might be on the other mattresses laid out on the floor around me.
There are a few other hippies in various states of undress still passed out in the spacious stock room space, but I don't see Cindy or any other recognizable faces. I wonder just how weird things may have gotten a few hours ago. I'm waiting for the embarrassing memories to come back to me as half forgotten flashbacks but I'm drawing nothing but blanks.
The only thing I can recall in any specific detail is Natalie Portman. She really believes that I'm some sort of super spy with the Israeli defense force. Somehow, she's already aware of G-Clip and his asshole crew of fake Anonymous terrorist activists here at Sundance. To what degree she knows of their plans, I'm still unsure.
I'm having considerable trouble remembering the specifics of our conversation; I was stoned and drunk on moonshine after all. For all I know, I could have drunkenly attempted to cop a feel and should probably avoid running into her again.
But then I see a piece of notebook paper laying beside me with her name on it. There's an address and time written on it. It's not my hand writing, so I can only assume it's hers, and I assume this a location and time for me to meet her at.
My phone is dead. Luckily, I carry a pocket watch. It's a French made piece from the late 1930's, an early form of pornographic kitsch. There's a nude couple copulating painted in the center of the watch, the man thrusts his pelvis into a Rubenesque red headed woman with each passing second.
It's now one thirty in the afternoon, Natalie wrote two thirty on her note to me. I have no idea where I am, so I guess it's time to get up and find myself a cab.
Forty five minutes later and I find myself standing in front of Cash for Gold shop, presumably, the only one in Park City. Really, these places have become a cancer of the American commercial landscape. And I should know, I run one back in Philly. And even though this is Park City, an entirely fake re-creation of old town village Americana where everything is created to look cute and quaint with waspy old money aesthetics, this place is just as tacky as anything you'd find on the Atlantic City boardwalk. The building itself may be a tasteful, red brick ode to yesteryear, but all of that is lost with the gaudy neon lights and giant flags proclaiming, "We Buy Gold."
I enter the small shop, if you can even call it an actual shop. The moment I pass though the entrance, I find myself in a small barren room with a single fold out table in the center with a small scale placed on top.
It looks exactly like my shop. For whatever reason, there's a strange sense of satisfaction knowing that this place is nearly identical to my own.
There's an olive toned man sitting at the table. He's wearing an expensive and shiny dress shirt with the top two buttons undone. The bushy crop of chest hair peaking out is almost as prominent as my own, almost. I'm guessing that he's Israeli. He smiles at me without making eye contact. There is only one thing about my appearance that has his attention, the gold chain necklace around my throat.
He talks through his teeth.
"That's a beautiful piece you're wearing. I'm guessing that's about 10 pennyweights."
For whatever reason, precious metal buyers use pennyweights as a standard practice for weighing gold. I've been working this industry for three years and even I still don't know or understand just what the fuck a penny weight is. But then again, that's the point. No one knows what a penny weight is; it's just a strategy to convince sellers that they have less then what they think they do. This guy is wrong with his assessment though, my necklace is just over 22 penny weights, not 10. I should know; I bought it at my own shop. It's over an ounce of 14k gold.
He asks me, "Are you looking to sell that today? I'll offer you $200. That's my final offer."
I bought the necklace for $450, its scrap melt value is about $900, although it could sell retail for around $1400.
I politely tell the gentleman to go fuck himself before I hand him the piece of notebook paper that Natalie Portman gave me last night. Well, I guess I should say it was this morning. Time is just an elusive bitch.
The man goes quiet for a moment intently reading the note. He finally makes eye content and respectively nods his head, almost as an apology for his shameful offer on my necklace. Still, that doesn't completely stop him from pursuing it further.
"I'll go get the boss for you, but if you want to sell me that necklace, I'll give you $350."
"Just get your boss, asshole."
The tan, impeccably well dress gold buyer stands up and signals me to follow him throw a door that leads out of the small room. I follow him down a narrow staircase into the basement where Harvey Weinstein and Natalie Portman are already waiting for me.
The first thing I notice is that there are hundreds of guns on display along the stone brick walls of the unfinished cellar. I can't help but recall that scene from Tremors where Fred Ward is grabbing random guns off the wall and emptying thousands of rounds into the grabboid that's forced its way through the ground. Except, I've never seen or heard of half of the guns on display here. These weapons look like they're from the fucking future. A few remind me of the machine guns from the new Call of Duty game, the one where you shoot Russians and tan men fifty years from now.
Harvey smiles at me and simply says, "Had I known who you really were in that taxi, we wouldn't be here now."
Part of me really wants to hand him my spec script at this moment just to see how he responds.
Instead, I answer him, "But I'm not really sure where we are?"
Natalie tries to answer my question.
"It's been brought to our attention that an independent offshoot of the hacker group, Anonymous, are planning a cu de gras of sorts during this year's festival."
I follow up her statement.
"Yeah, I ran into them already. I'm pretty sure I already handled it."
Harvey continues. "Good, so you are aware of their plans then? I hope you can tell us what they are."
"I couldn't really follow it all; it's pretty complicated and stupid."
It's true, I couldn't really follow all of it, but that's not because it's stupid, it's because I was drunk and stoned when it was explained to me."
I shrug my shoulders and casually declare, "I wouldn't worry about those assholes."
I'm met with silent, judging stares. This has become more and more common for me the past four days.
Natalie argues, "We can't afford to take it as lightly as you. They are well armed and dangerous individuals."
I look around at all of the shiny, beautiful, but very deadly weapons being showcases almost as if they were paintings and say, "And you guys aren't?"
This comment is met with more silence. My IDF double agent disguise might be starting to become a little too transparent. I personally blame the moonshine for that.
Natalie breaks the tension and tells me, "We can't rest comfortably rest until these rogue cells have been eliminated from the equation, and seeing how you're one of the most deadly operatives in the field, we feel as though you're the man for the job."
I think to myself, hopefully not aloud, "Aren't you a fucking vegan who had to wear specially made ballet shoes for Black Swan? You want me to kill these guys?"
Instead of saying what I'm thinking, I respond with, "Sure. No problem."
Harvey asks, "Are you well equipped enough for the job?"
"No, I flew here. It's kind of hard board a plane these days with a Colt Python in your carryon luggage."
Harvey smiles and follows up my statement.
"Well, take whatever is here that pleases you."
I study the impressive arsenal around me and find it displeasing. All of these guns look like Nerf products. Deadly weapons shouldn't be designed to look like toys. There is nothing fun or cool about firearms. I can't bear to place my hands on any of the futuristic devices of death that are now in my sight. That is, until I find a Taurus tracker, a massive, .357 with a six inch barrel, the only revolver of its kind that holds 8 rounds. Only an asshole would carry this thing, naturally, that's what I want and grab off of the wall.
Weinstein then looks at me like the asshole that I am. Shocked at my choice, he asks,
"That's what you want?"
"This is all I need."
The gun in my hand is longer than my cock and nearly as thick as my fucking thigh, there's no way that I can holster this on my hip. I stare at the weapon with puzzled curiosity until Natalie hands me a shoulder rig.
"You might be needing this to not draw attention to yourself in public."
I can't be sure that I'm not hung over but rather still drunk because I find myself saying, "Can I kiss you?"
Once again, I'm confronted with an awkward deadly silence that I try to weasel my way out of.
"Heh. Just kidding."
Natalie then hands me a prepaid cell phone and informs me that they'll be calling me in 12 hours to see that job is done.
Harvey has to help me figure out how to strap the shoulder holster into the right fit which I doubt instills much confidence in him of my ability for the task that I've been given. I'm thinking that I want to ask Natalie Portman if I can kiss her again since I do look totally boss while wearing the shoulder holster. I'm fucking John McClane at this point, except that I'm a drunken fucking idiot who's the last person that ought to be walking around with a loaded gun right now.
I think I may be stuttering and slurring my words when I ask Harvey, "But is this film festival really just a front for an international arms black market?"
My words are again met with silence, so I shrug my shoulders and exit the Cash for Gold shop having no idea what I'm supposed to do next.
CHAPTER 15: WHERE EVERYBODY KNOWS YOUR NAME
I spend two or three hours walking around downtown Park City pretending to be a super secret agent before I give up and head into the first bar that looks like it could potentially be cheap, at least, cheap for Park City.
Sure enough, I find Dan seated a small table with a glass of Johnny Walker on the rocks in front of him. If the past 3 days hadn't been so god damn insane, I'd probably be weirded out by the fact that he's shirtless. But who am I to judge? He has another drinking buddy seated next to him. I make my way to his table feeling a sick sense of pride knowing that I'm secretly packing heat.
I'm not really surprised that Dan's company is none other Barton Monarch AKA Terrance Malick, although I doubt Dan is aware of this fact since Barton is again wearing a blonde wig and prosthetic nose and mustache. This whole week has been like a bad Marx Brothers routine.
As I sit down, I have to ask, "Why aren't you wearing a shirt, Dan?"
With zero enthusiasm, Dan responds, "I was in the shower when my hotel was evacuated. I was rushed out of my room before I had time to get fully dressed."
He follows his comment by finishing his nearly full glass of whiskey and doesn't seem inclined to elaborate so I have to press him for the details.
"What the fuck, Dan? And?..."
He savors the golden scotch nectar swishing about in his mouth before continuing.
"Supposedly, there was some type of big shooting at the theater across the street from my hotel. I don't really know the specifics. It was during a screening of The East. There was a bunch of assholes in those stupid Guy Fawkes masks that shot each other to hell midway into the film. I think it was supposed to be some type of viral stunt where they had intended to use blanks. You know, they tried to get a bunch of attention online by making some asinine political statement about violence. But the dolts accidentally loaded their guns with live rounds instead of blanks. Everyone initially thought it was some terrorist attempt and they evacuated all of the surrounding buildings. So here I am."
I turn to Barton Monarch who's nursing a pint of beer while gorging himself on yet another McRibb sandwich. He gives me a knowing glance before smirking and telling me, "I robbed a bank this morning."
With perfect timing, a server approaches our table and I promptly order their cheapest draft and a shot of their well whiskey.
Well, I'm just glad we're all on the same page here, three crazies all enjoying happy hour together. I'm also glad we have a good server because it takes less than a minute before she returns with my drinks and a refill for Dan. Barton is too busy enjoying his faux beef sandwich to notice her presence.
Dan holds his glass up to his nose, enjoying the aroma before taking a more respectable sip of the potent hooch. He gargles the whiskey in his mouth as if it were mouth wash for a while before swallowing and continuing his discussion.
"That's not all. After the entire festival was seemingly placed under lockdown after the shoot out, the police caught half a dozen other kids in masks carrying guns loaded with blanks trying to sneak their way into the award ceremony. I think it's safe to say the two events are connected and someone fucked up pretty seriously. As far as I know, no civilians have been hurt yet, but the cops are definitely out on the hunt for anyone who might be connected to all of this madness."
I drink my shot with pride. I did that. I single handily saved Sundance from a cataclysmic tragedy. God bless the stupidity of Die Hard 2. The huge fucking revolver resting against the side of my chest suddenly becomes a lot less heavy. I still feel pretty badass knowing that it's there though, but I take comfort in knowing that there's no reason why I should end up using it now. Life is not a video game and I dread having an excuse to pull it on anyone. I sip my beer feeling content until I actually taste it. It's Yuengling. I figured Stella Artois would be the cheapest beer here; Yuengling makes me pee like a race horse. Then again, frequent bathroom trips should elevate the still pulsating prostrate infection that's plagued my entire time here thus far.
I wave the waitress over to table and order a round for the three of us, my treat. Fuck it, I've got two thousand some dollars worth of shit to pawn when I get home, I'm feeling rich at the moment. This is how alcoholics live. Next week, I'll be complaining about being broke again.
My stomach starts growling and Dan looks at me like I just farted in a public space. The truth is that I can't remember the last time I actually ate something. Luckily, Barton has an extra McRibb sandwich to offer me. Are there even any McDonalds here in Park City or did this guy really just bring a box load of these things with him here? Then again, what the fuck do I care? I'm drunk and anything will taste good at this point.
Today was a good day.
That is, until the prepaid phone in my pocket starts vibrating. It's only been three hours since my little sit down with Natalie and Harvey, but I'm guessing they heard about my super awesome ninja stealth skills in squashing G-Clip's crazy scheme and they want to congratulate me on a job well done.
I answer the phone and immediately recognize the voice but it's neither Natalie nor Harvey, it's G-Clip.
"I thought you were with us, Film School."
"Most of my men or dead or in jail. And I've got no one to blame but you, Film School. You're a sly one but they didn't get me yet. I'm still here, Film School. I'm here and you don't know where."
Shit. No. no.no.no.no.
G-Clip goes on, "I'm not alone either. There's not many of us left, but I got your friend. I wasn't dumb enough to trust you completely. I put a tail on you, I saw where you went, I know who you talked to you, and I decided to give myself a souvenir. She wants to be a cleaner, maybe you can show her how cause you made one hell of a mess for me, bro."
There's a moment of dead air as he hands the phone off to someone else, someone female, and someone who sounds a lot like Natalie Portman. And then I hear her on the other line.
Another moment of dead air before G-Clip comes back to remind me just how royally I fucked myself.
"You recognize that voice, Film School?"
I need a good gulp of lager before I respond by slurring the words, "Sure, what of it? You got nothing, G-Clip. NOTHING."
"Yeah, you think so? This nothing is about to have a nasty snowboarding accident off of a cliff. You want that blood on your hands?"
I have to actually look at my hands and visualize blood on them before answering, "No."
"Then this is how it's going to go down, Film school"
I can't help but think that this is just like every shitty action movie ever made. I tell myself that I have to be Harrison Ford. No one ever fucks with Harrison Ford and his family in a bad action movie and gets out alive. I have to think like Harrison Ford in Air Force One, or Firewall, or whatever, they're all the same.
I egg G-Clip on. "Tell me how this has to go on, buddy."
He gives me a time and a place to meet.
I finish my beer. CHAPTER 16: EVERY STUPID STORY NEEDS A CAR CHASE
G-Clip gave me two addresses on the phone. The first is the name and location of a ski resort, the second address is comprised of longitude and latitude coordinates which I already know is a bad sign. G-Clip wants me to meet him out somewhere in the middle of nowhere. I would have preferred the crowded Starbucks.
But then again, it's already been established that G-Clip isn't afraid of instigating mass public hysteria. The truth is, there's no way for me to be adequately prepared for whatever trap that's been laid out for me.
I excuse myself from the table and exit the fake Irish bar and hail a cab.
With all of the media insanity still ensuing from the afternoon's pair of shootings, the entire town has become a giant parking lot while reporters and bloggers fight and fuck for coverage. It really is Park City now... heh.
My short five mile taxi ride becomes a forty five minute endurance test. I plug my IPod ear buds in and blast some Pissed Jeans to get my adrenaline going.
I periodically reach to my side and feel through my shirt for the grip of the giant fucking hand cannon saddled under my armpit. Eight rounds, I've got eight rounds. I probably should have had the foresight to ask Weinstein for some speed loaders and extra shells. I can only hope that there are no more than four of five of G-Clip's accomplices left. I figure I should allow myself three missed shots or so.
I slide my hand through an opening between two buttons on my shirt and run my fingers along the holster finding the thumb snap for the holster release. I practice snapping the release open and closed a few times making myself familiar with my weapon and carry conceal arrangement.
When we finally get to the designated ski resort, I come to the harsh realization that I don't have enough cash to pay for the ride. The cabby locks me in the car until I can produce something of enough value that will satisfy him enough to let me out. I play with the idea of pulling the hand cannon on him and threatening my way out but decide to play it cool instead. I give up my prized, probably priceless porno pocket watch in lieu of the $9.65 that I'm short on.
I enter the entrance of the resort and talk to a concierge about the coordinates that I've been given and if he'd know how I might find them.
It takes him a few minutes of playing around on his computer to find out where exactly these numbers are telling me that I need to go to.
He looks at me with a gay cat's curiosity before starting with the questions.
"Is this some type of scavenger hunt that you're on, sir?"
I hesitate before answering.
" It turns out that these coordinates well place you right at the entrance for our North Ridge Ski lift. That will take you up over the Skylander curve for one of our more advanced slopes. Really, this is strictly for the pros."
He looks at me before asking.
"Are you serious about skiing?"
I guess something about my appearance says that I'm not.
"Yeah, bra, the narlier the drop the better, duuuuddeee."
The concierge arches his left eye brow before telling me. "That slope is currently unavailable to guests. We had too many amateurs hurt themselves out there this year and it's become too large of a liability for us to leave it open. It's a decent distance from our main grounds, normally, we'd run shuttles out to the those lifts for those looking for a challenge."
I ask, "How far out from here is it?
"About 6 miles."
I think to myself, that's just far enough for any gunfire to take place without drawing any immediate attention.
I ask the concierge to draw me a map of how I can get out there and inquire about renting a snow mobile from the resort. I give the concierge my credit card for collateral.
After I'm taken back outside and shown my newly rented snow mobile, I call up my credit card company and report my card stolen. CHAPTER 18: EPILOGUE
So I returned to Philly after saving Natalie Portman and Sundance and I paid my rent with the money that I got from pawning all of the shit I took from the gifting lounges.
After two weeks of detoxing with many days of sleeping in and staying away from drugs and alcohol, I finally realized that I forgot to call help for Uzi Silverstein. COMING SOON: Boozie Movies returns to the land of the rising sun for the Yubari Fantastic Film Festival where Greg's sole intention is to destroy his Japanese ex-fiance's new marriage with some French prick with the false hope of rekindling his love for her. Stay tuned and find out how Boozie Movies ends up embroiled with the Yakuza and the Tokyo shit & vomit porn industry.