I fritter away precious hours dog paddling through the murk in the Web Swamp, checking out You Tube videos featuring performances by the young Lennon Sisters, and examining black and white pornographic photos snapped in the late 19th and early 20thcenturies.
It’s a typical day to this point.
I watch the Lennon Sisters sing How Much is That Doggie in the Window, Zippedeedoodah, and Mockingbird Hill. I watch the Mockingbird Hill video three times.
“Tra-la-la tweedlee dee dee it gives me a thrill…”
At the third viewing I experience vague warmth in my nether region as memories bubble to my aged surface.
I mouse to a video of the sisters’ classic Halloween performance, where they dressed as skeletons, the graphic representations of bones on their leotards accentuating their seldom-obvious physiques. I remember that I was fourteen when I obtained a publicity still of the gals in these costumes, and was deeply embarrassed when my mother burst into my room with a load of clean socks to find me slumped at the edge of my bed, without pants, photo in one hand, joy stick in the other, numb in a disoriented state experienced by few but 14-year-old boys.
More obvious warmth ensues as I examine the video, and entertain additional memories.
I turn up the sound. I listen to the ghosts of the now ancient gals, (current Branson, Mo., favorites), and I am pastoported back to my grandmother Minnie’s living room in Denver, 1958. The meal is finished. Aunt Hazel baked cannelloni, the tubes of freshly-made pasta crammed with sausage, spinach, mushrooms, aromatics, and cheeses, the array crowned with béchamel, more cheese, and ribbons of long-simmered tomato sauce. It is a dish so flavorful as to repulse the pinched Presbyterians who dominate the neighborhood at the time. Fortunately, none of that dismal crew is present at the meal.
Much to my dismay, however, the elders in the family opt to join pinched, white Middle America in a postprandial tribal ritual, gathering in front of a cumbersome Motorola to watch the Lawrence Welk Show.
There’s no getting away from the assault. Even when I flee to an adjoining room, I hear the wretched music, and the dry blather delivered by a baton-wielding anal retentive with a goofy Nordic accent.
When I go to the kitchen to get a drink of water or, more likely, to sneak bites from the pan of leftover cannelloni, I pass too near the Motorola. It hurts.
As little as a nanosecond of Myron Florin and his accursed accordion, a brief glimpse of Bobby and Sissy prancing like desperate dance school owners, or an instant’s exposure to Jo Ann Whats-Her-Name — the one with the Benzedrine smile — as she bangs out frantic ragtime music on a Steinway, proves more damaging than exposure to plutonium released during regular accidents at the Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons facility located northwest of the city.
The plutonium is an ominous presence in Denver’s Good Ole Days, no doubt responsible for gills and webbed toes on a host of newborns in the northern suburbs, and a threat to us all according to Mr. Peterson, our bipolar science teacher at Byers Junior High School. Peterson is nothing if not entertaining: one day he fills the blackboard with outlines of plans to destroy the military industrial complex, the next day he surrenders to the futility of it all and sits motionless, moaning, his close-cropped noggin down on the desk, rested on his folded, thin arms. Next to lunch, science class is my favorite part of the school day.
One afternoon, my pal Jizz and I join Fabricante in his father’s basement, in which is stored much of the Denver mob’s stash of untaxed liquor — a treasure dispersed under cover of darkness to taverns and clubs throughout the city. Any time we have an opportunity, when Fabricante’s mom is at mass at St. Francis De Sales, his dad out shaking down business owners, the three of us make for the trove, and sample the wares. This particular afternoon, we sip, we savor, and Jizz switches off the lights. My two friends emit a faint greenish glow. I figure it is the plutonium. The next day, I tell Mr. Peterson about the incident; he becomes extremely agitated, dashes from the classroom, and is absent from work the remainder of the week. When he returns, he seems to be heavily sedated.
Lawrence Welk poses a greater threat than deadly radioactive particles, or Fabricante’s father. The only relief: the Lennon Sisters. When I hear their introduction, I skulk into the living room for a peek at the virginal Catholic songbirds created by a milkman and a stay-at-home mom. I pay special attention to Janet, who seems most likely to shed the burden of her upbringing once exposed to my charms.
Tiring of the Lennon sisters and associated memories, my region fully warmed, I flip from site to site on the Internet. I’m off to a hundred or so examples of classic pornography.
I regard contemporary porn — anything produced after 1975 — unworthy of attention. I concentrate on old material, setting the latest acceptable production date at 1945, when hormone levels soared following VJ Day. I prefer material created between 1890 and 1929.
Because the folks in the photos are dead.
This brute fact propels what is vintage, simple smut to a deeper level of meaning.
“Poignant,” is the operant term, “memento mori” fits the bill.
I sip at a vodka (Tito’s Handmade) and tonic, and focus on the image of a prematurely balding fellow, masked, unclothed but for socks and sock garters, prone atop a somewhat pudgy but fetching lass with her hair secured atop her head in a careless bun. I reckon the date of the photo at circa 1910.
The participants expired long ago, likely before I was born. Despite their intense intersection, their agitations and friction, the damp, the sounds and smells…they are dead. They fucked, things eventually went south, agewise, healthwise, luckwise…and their atoms tumbled back into the vat.
As I meditate on their mortality, and mine, the phone rings.
It’s my daughter, Ivy.
“I have a clear line to Quentin Tarantino,” she says, “through an old boyfriend, from my days in LA and Pasadena.”
“And?,” I respond, mixing another drink, squeezing Italian lime juice from a little green plastic bottle into the water glass half full of my best friend Tito’s handmade vodka.
“We need to write a treatment for a screenplay and fire it off to him,” she replies, “then he’ll send it to Tarantino.”
She’s been eating THC Stroopwafles throughout the afternoon, so I’m not sure if she knows who Quentin Tarantino is, or what he does.
But, since she worked as an actress in LA, I assume Ivy’s on point, despite the fact that stroopwafles cast a shadow on things. One can’t be too cautious, a measure of doubt in order when psychoactive substances alter the mix. We live in times in which there are too many intoxicants available, and too few professionals left to consume them.
“You wrote a screenplay or two in the past,” she says. “All we need to do is rework one of them, tweak it a bit, add some edgy Tarantino shit, and ship it off. Tarantino’ll love it. We’ll be fucking rich, I can pay off the Audi, and we can fly first class to Shanghai, then make our way to Chengdu in the same luxurious rail cars used by captains of industry.”
I hear a crunching sound emanating from Ivy’s end of the line and she shifts without warning or cause to the topic of her dog Ragnar’s seizures, then pivots without reason to a critique of the current political situation in Venezuela, noting that her upcoming trip to Nicaragua might be upset by migrating Maoist terrorists intent on mayhem. Following a garbled assessment of the danger posed by Great White sharks, a final sentence is muffled and incomprehensible. She shouts an epithet, then says “I’m out,” and ends the call.
After Ivy signs off I’m inspired by the prospect of dining in Shanghai and chowing down on the fabled Wood Fire Chicken in Chengdu, so I get to business. I need money. Tarantino awaits.
In order to prepare for work, I snarf down a few droppers of tincture provided by my pal, Joe, and slosh together another triple vodka tonic. I include ice. A bit of dilution can’t hurt when one imbibes in the middle of the afternoon, and there is work on the docket.
I go to my archive and review my options. Neither screenplay in my basket does the trick. I’m going to have to come up with something new.
I attempt to think in a clear, constructive manner.
I struggle. Initially, nothing of worth bubbles in the brain pan.
Eventually, I come up with a poorly woven notion featuring a companion animal, a ferret perhaps, that defends a blind nun when she is threatened by Chechen thugs during her once-in-a-lifetime dream trip to the Vatican. The scenario doesn’t play out.
I ingest two more droppers of inspiration, each power-packed thanks to a new clone Joe acquired, and I tie into another Tito’s extravaganza. Another triple. With ice.
Reliably, that center, as Yeats noted, cannot hold, and the creative gate cracks open.
Here’s what oozes from the breach.
I feel good about it.
The element that fertilizes the plot is the sperm of Joaquim DeGroot (1920-1998) who, according to all but a few jealous peers, is the greatest theoretical mathematician of his generation.
DeGroot — creator of the DeGroot Implausibility Theorem.
DeGroot — master of Combinatorics.
DeGroot — esteemed Professor of Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at the Karlsruhe Instut of Technology, and fourth runner-up for the Nobel Prize in Mathematics, 1983.
Professor Emeritus from his retirement in 1996 to his death in 1998, DeGroot falls victim to a “blackjack attack” suffered as he wanders the lower reaches of Amsterdam’s Red Light District en route to his favorite establishment, a mercifully windowless enterprise that features large, middle-aged women of beige to yellow ochre tint. The authorities pin the assault on a group of meth-addled Javanese pimps, but a court later rules the case lacking in sufficient evidence.
As part of his living will, DeGroot leaves specific instructions to be followed should he be incapacitated by disease, stroke, irate Ph.D. candidates, opioid overdose, or an attack suffered during one of his many visits to a windowless low-end brothel in Amsterdam.
His scheme involves sperm.
- His sperm.
- Sperm removed from the unresponsive theoretical mathematician prior to his death, then frozen in a lab at Utrecht, preserved for use by appropriately screened, suitably educated women.
- Sperm purchased in 2002 by one Bonnie Prim, interim instructor in the philosophy department at the University of Stony Brook, specializing in modal logic (she has a tattoo of Kurt Godel on her upper right arm). The load of thawed wigglers is given access to one of Bonnie’s eggs and the egg is planted in Prim by technicians at a fertility clinic at St. Antonius Hospital, Utrecht. Prim’s parents (Dad a hedge fund manager, Mom an alcoholic member of the DAR and Junior League) pay for the procedure in order to prevent their daughter from repeatedly embarrassing them during dinner parties at the house in the Hamptons.
Candide Prim, the result of the merger of DeGroot sperm and Prim egg, arrives on scene at Stony Brook University Hospital on March 21, 2003.
Working note: the name “Candide” will thrill students of literature who secretly savor Tarantino’s films. The number of capable scholars of literature has dwindled in recent years, but it’s said that many of those who remain and are now employed at out-of-the-way community colleges not yet infiltrated by champions of gender studies, are fans of the Big Q. The connection to Voltaire lends a classy tone to the production.
By age 5, Candide is diagnosed as “teetering at the far end of the spectrum” and he is oblivious to meaningful human interaction, delivered in any of the common ways: voice modulation, touch, eye contact, song, bacon, nursery rhymes, repeated injections of Ketamine, kittens, etc.
By age 15, a diapered Candide spends at least ten hours each day repeatedly humming the latest Dodge Truck jingle and writing long mathematical equations on pieces of 8×10, standard copy paper, the sheets taped together in six- to ten-foot chains. He writes with Crayons, in one of two colors: Brick Red or Mango Tango. He eats nothing but Triscuits and white karaoke.
As she watches her son, Bonnie likes to imagine that if Candide had friends, they would call him “Canny,” or “Can Do.”
Bonnie is convinced Candide, though unable to wipe his own ass, is a genius, and she takes his equations to experts at the university. They attempt to unravel the seemingly sophisticated scribblings, fail to do so, but are intrigued. A murmur sets up behind ivy-covered walls, and makes its way outward like a wave coursing from the epicenter of a deep trench quake.
Following Bonnie’s untimely death (a cocaine-prompted neural event suffered during a line dancing marathon at a local country-western bar), Candide is taken in by his mother’s mentor, the kindly but confused chairman of the philosophy department at Stony Brook U. whose second-born child, Arête, is deemed by juvenile court-appointed therapists to be “socially risky, likely psychopathic.”
Arete is institutionalized as a youngster once her disorder manifests in troubling ways. She is administered electroshock therapy (seen in several stark flashbacks) but to no avail, the only result being that the seed of incredible psychic power is planted — a seed that grows and blooms as she matures.
Her father attempts to temper his daughter’s aggression with nightly bedside descriptions of the classic mind-body problem. He is unsuccessful.
When Candide arrives on scene, dad hopes a companion more damaged than Arete will provide his daughter with some “perspective.”
He is wrong. Arete is oblivious to perspective, but now possesses formidable martial arts skills learned online (Muay Thai, Kaput Kailua, Krav Maga). She and Candide bond on the day of his arrival during an intense sexual episode in a locked bathroom.
Working note: The camera avoids the action in the bathroom, instead focusing on a framed print of a Pre-Raphaelite painting hanging next to the door (Waterhouse’s Hulas and the Nymphs?). The soundtrack makes obvious what occurs within the closed chamber.
Arete and Candide proceed to open a psychic communication channel and Candide transmits info to Arête regarding his equations. He also succeeds in his goal of having intercourse with Arete at least four times each day.
Working note: Does Candide prep himself for the daily dalliances by watching Lennon Sisters videos?
Candide is more than a mute horndog, however, which becomes apparent as he labors to impart the meaning of his math to Arete. And to the world.
Working note: Candide is our Cassandra, nourished by a profound understanding of the erotic force that would be described by Epicureans as pulsing from an immutable atomic source through every cell, fiber and root, fueling the couplings and combinations that promote the creation of an infinite number of objects and beings in a timeless universe shaped by random events and natural selection. Or something like that.
Arete’s descriptions of the transmissions from Candide are transcribed and sent with scanned copies of the equations to Dr. Helmut Shrikensee.
Shrikensee spends several months illuminating meaning and insights that humble any trumpeted to date by humankind’s alleged greatest thinkers and theoreticians, Einstein and Oprah included.
Once Shrikensee begins to unravel the equations, he is alarmed by what he finds, and attempts to pass what he learns to his colleagues. Not unexpectedly, he is met with resistance and the abuse typical of cloistered, left-leaning intellectuals whenever their confirmation bias is revealed. He spends the final year of his life as a laughingstock and is used as a whipping boy at faculty meetings at ETH Zurich.
During that time, however, Shrikensee manages to convince several visiting Chinese physicists to review his findings, and word spreads after the Chinese flee to their home country toting a load of PDFs. The buzz begins, info is intercepted by various clandestine services and makes its way to nefarious but as yet unidentified individuals in our nation’s capitol. They dispatch assassins who murder Shirkensee as he interacts with a handsome post-grad teaching assistant in an on-campus bathroom stall. He is killed to ensure silence. The young man is killed for the fun of it.
Working note: The so-called “nefarious” elements are glimpsed at this juncture as they stand barely visible in dark enclosures, or are seen in silhouette, backlit against large windows. Their voices are uniformly gravelly and deep.
As he and the post grad lay dying on the dirty tile floor, Shirkensee uses blood to write a word on the wall of the stall: Clinamen.
Working note: To supply an emotional moment not expected in a Tarantino film, Shirkensee should use the blood of his paramour to write the word on the wall, then gently place his hand on the young man’s cooling carcass as he himself expires. This scene ends with a fade, and somber music, perhaps Barber’s Adagio for Strings.
Having capped their educational experiences in poorly run GED programs, police investigators are puzzled by the term “Clinamen” and, eager to leave the scene and go to lunch, they ignore the clue. A janitor eradicates it with a pine oil-based cleaning fluid.
The Chinese do not ignore the term when they wiggle it from Candide’s creations, nor do the agents working at the behest of nefarious interests. They know of the Clinamen or, as the equation has revealed, the Ultimate Clinamen. They know what it portends. They realize what will happen should the information become public, and they determine to deal with Candide and Arete.
The proverbial cat is out of the bag. Powerful forces act to stuff the feline back in the sack and send it on its way to the pet crematorium.
Forget your Grand Unification Theory, there’s a new kid in town.
The Prim Equation.
And the Ultimate Clinamen — a dramatic and terrible turn in the history of the human species and, in fact, of the planet, the solar system, likely all that exists. Those in the know, those with vested interest, understand what widespread dissemination of knowledge of the Clinamen will provoke: chaos, rampant violence, the destruction of the fabric of societies, of the very glue that holds civilizations together. In China, as per tradition, the concern is political control. In the West, for the nefarious characters (still seen in silhouette), the concern is purely economic. On the brink of disaster, certain tendencies persist.
I take a break to review my outline.
So far, so good. I adjourn to watch new episodes of Live PD on TV, and suffer another of what are becoming predictable blackouts.
The next day, I call Ivy, and fill her in.
“Seems weird enough for Tarantino,” she says, “at least so far. I like the dysfunctional characters and the juxtaposition of the academy, the psych ward, martial arts skills, Asians, and the seamy, erratic underworld. Nefarious, shadowy characters definitely fit Quentin’s MO. I think we need a lot more scenes involving explicit violence of one kind or another: shootings, stabbings, things being blown up, brains on the floor or splashed on the windshields of cars. The old man demolished by Javanese pimps is a good start, but unless you actually show the mom’s line dancing disaster with some fluids leaking from the eyes and ears of the corpse, and add a substantial amount of other gore at all points, it’s not going to carry any weight. Maybe we have the professor and his lover murdered in the bathroom stall just as they consummate their affair — the universal tangle of lust and death, the petit mort writ large, you know? Guns, knives, bombs, car crashes, fire, organized crime, drug dealers, Maoist terrorists invading defenseless equatorial nations in order to destroy my vacation plans. That’s the ticket. Get after it, dad.”
I hear crunching sounds at Ivy’s end of the line.
“Gotta go, big guy. Keep up the good work.”
I light my flame with a couple Adderall and begin to heat up the word furnace. The Adderall is provided by my friend Walt (he pilfers it from a nephew with ADHD, and the kid never notices it’s missing) after yet another attempt to procure a prescription from my personal physician Wanda fails, met with a typically acerbic response: “Oh, for god’s sake, drink an extra cup of coffee and get on with it. Leave me alone, I have a real job. And don’t forget: we need to schedule a liver panel for you in the very near future.”
I lurch ahead.
The Chinese math geeks, whipped into line by their state-appointed masters, attempt to fully plumb the depths of The Prim Equation, but run into obstacles. The geeks are confused…in Asian fashion. How does it all tie together, what precipitates the Ultimate Clinamen? Is there a discernible timeline? A timeline is critical. They are frustrated, stumped. Their hard-line masters apply relentless pressure.
Working note: No racist flavor intended, but surely there are facial expressions peculiar to the Chinese that visually communicate a state of extreme consternation. I have seen similar things in classic Japanese samurai movies. Film, after all, is a fundamentally visual medium in which silence is a virtue. No one knows this better than Tarantino; he’s worked in the industry for decades.
Prompted by the belief that The Prim Equation will provide the key to Sino Triumph — a temporary triumph given the severe nature of the Clinamen, but an orderly triumph, regardless— high-ranking government officials dispatch agents to the U.S. disguised as grad students at major institutions of higher learning and coding wizards at cutting-edge Silicon Valley firms. Field personnel send data to home base in Beijing. These agents cleverly lube naïve American intellectuals, paying for visits to small restaurants in shopettes (“for authentic Chinese cuisine”) as well as with deferential, ego-boosting comments, and they extract valuable info from the feckless eggheads. Lacking any real accomplishments, American university-trained intellectuals are susceptible to faint praise and complimentary ethnic cuisine. They give up everything they know.
Ministry of State Security analysts at the Wang Dongxing Center soon realize that 1) Prim is alive, and 2) The only person able to communicate with Prim and clear the mystery is “a mentally and ideologically unbalanced woman with red hair.”
The order is sent: “Abduct Prim and his flawed conduit, and bring them to the institute.”
Working note: I envision a series of fast-paced cuts used to portray the abduction process and the carnage involved. Scant dialogue, max action: a number of ruthless killings to include a quartering of an uncooperative convenience store clerk via use of four Smart Cars and bungee cords; frequent employment of edged weapons; spectacular martial arts displays by Arete; at least one decapitation; and several vehicle chase scenes, each resulting in a fiery, multi-casualty crash, some of the deaths requiring prolonged agony. This should pique Tarantino’s interest.
Interrogation plays a big part in the Ministry’s treatment of the helpless Americans once they are delivered to the mainland. The Chinese soon give up on Candide realizing that, despite the fact he takes pleasure in being an object of torture (the pain fractures the capsule, as it were), he remains unable to speak in complete sentences or to write legibly. He is seen tied to a chair in a bare room, his pale, hairless, well-defined late-adolescent torso adding a tantalizing homoerotic dimension to the proceedings.
Working note: This will sell tickets. Plenty of them.
Arete is tortured with vigor, and graphically, thus providing emotional juice to the alt-right males in the viewing audience. Arete’s abusers use every technique they know on the increasingly angry woman. Her clothing is torn, her lip busted open, a gash causes swelling above one eye. A breast is exposed.
Working note: This, too, will sell plenty of tickets, depending on the actress chosen for the part.
Arete does not succumb, pleasing the few ultra progressives who might watch a Tarantino film. They will be satisfied by the fact that Arete stands up to these cruel front-men for a staunch and arrogant paternalistic system, but will be disappointed by the fact the oppressors are not older, white males.
Working note: This will sell few tickets, but will give identity-focused film students something to discuss in the school cafeteria.
Her tormentors and those who seek to murder her in the US prior to her abduction do not realize that Arete not only possesses the psychic powers necessary to communicate with Candide, but she is able to zone in on the needs and feelings of anyone whom she encounters, and keen to take advantage of what she knows in order to thwart her tormentors.
Working note: Combine this sensitivity with Arete’s extraordinary martial arts skills and psychopathic tendencies, and the thrill ride begins. Put on your seat belt and helmet, Quentin, we’re ready to rock!
At the same time the pseudo-commie minions in the states find and capture Arete and Candide, and transport them to the home country, the nefarious individuals in the US send teams to China, to find and kill our intrepid duo. When the order is given, we at last clearly see the evildoers as they gather in a large display screen-lined underground conference room to make plans for the deaths of our protagonists and for continued control of the US government and the economy. Everyone in the group is at least 70 years old, all are white males, and they wear similar dark blue suits, and Ivy League school ties. They each look like Dick Cheney.
These fiends understand what the Ultimate Clinamen entails, but they are cynics, caring only about wringing as much profit from the economy as possible before disaster strikes. They vow to keep the impending clinamen event secret, so the greed pipeline flows in smooth fashion. Most liquidate their investments (precipitating a major downward swing in the markets), aware that barely taxed bequests to descendents are useless. They purchase additional yachts and Gulfstream aircraft, and network in order to figure ways to quickly bundle securities and sell them, for an extra fix prior to the lights going out.
Working note: China-based scenes deal with conflict of one kind or another: continued torture of Arete and the gradual removal of much of her clothing, the isolation of a now similarly unclad Candide in a stark cell, with loudspeakers playing dated suona and chuigushou music at max volume. Candide is deprived of kamaboko. Conflict develops amongst the captors. A mid level pain mistress by the name of Huian is assigned the task of pummeling Arete in order to break the American’s will. Huian’s resolve and allegiance are shaken in the process.
Arete is placed in a windowless, empty room, her shackles removed. The guards leave, Huian walks into the room. The heavy door is shut and bolted behind her.
Working note: The two clash in a manner reminiscent of the fight scenes in Kill Bill. Quentin knows how to stage a martial arts fight scene though, in this case, there are no swords involved.
Arete quickly sees that her skills are matched by Huian’s. The Chinese warrior mastered Sambo as a teen during training missions to the former Soviet Union, and was sent to Malaysia to study the lightning-fast attack style of Silat Kuciang with a descendent of Harimau Campo, her training deemed a success when she kills her teacher during a brief but brutal confrontation at a secret facility in the Sumatran jungle.
The two fierce females clash, and the battle progresses with each fighter sustaining injuries that would kill the average human being.
Working note: Granted, slo-mo is a cliché, but there are some scenes that require it. With slo-mo, bodily fluids and the destruction of dental features, for example, become important ingredients in the visual recipe.
The two battlers are exhausted, but press beyond the limits of human endurance in attempts to land a decisive blow. Huian misses Arete with a pukul/tendeng combo delivered from a weak Crawling Tiger stance. Arete responds with a well-timed and effective Krav Maga cross-body punch, followed by several violent blows to Huian’s head and face with the notorious Hammer Fist.
Huian falls to her back, defeated. Arete stands over her opponent and prepares to extinguish the woman with a kick to the throat. Huian understands, and capitulates: she puts her arms to her side, nods, and raises her chin to allow the winner to finish the tilt in a respectful manner. It is the Code of the Warrior.
Suddenly, Arete drops, her knees to either side of a panting Huian. Arete raises her fist, then falls forward, her lips pressed to Huian’s lips.
It is the first time either woman has felt affection for another human being. Their love is instantaneously powerful, a new team established, ready to battle evil in whatever form it appears, heedless of the odds.
Working note: This will be a breakthrough for Quentin. He has hinted at meaningful same-sex relationships and this gives him a chance to champion these unions with the aid of two remarkably powerful female characters. Candide, once freed, abandons any thought of the Lennon Sisters as he watches his companions express their passion in a variety of ways.
With Huian’s knowledge of the prison and procedures, the trio escapes.
Working note: Another sequence of quick cuts, showing the battles with guards in hallways, Huian’s triumphant murder of a group of her party overseers including the hated PLA Political Commissar who, faced with death, reveals himself as a trembling coward. Huian strangles him with his CCP neckerchief, and laughs as he expires.
The three fugitives commandeer a vehicle and are chased by both Chinese and American teams.
Working note: The competing teams clash and the violence is horrific. There is no love lost between the members of these factions.
While their pursuers work to annihilate one another, Arete, Candide, and Huian manage to get to a government airfield. They overcome the guards at the gate.
Working note: Arete and Huian dispatch several of the guards, but one runs from behind the guard shack, behind them. He aims his weapon at the two women and shouts. They turn from the unconscious and bleeding victims at their feet. As the guard levels his weapon and prepares to fire, he is blown away by a burst of automatic weapons fire (with considerable blood spatter). The camera pans from the women (stunned), tracking over the spasming body of the guard, to the figure of Candide, a standard issue QBZ 95-1 in his hands, a smile on his face. It is a breakthrough for the lad.
Huian knows her choppers, and the three commandeer a Harbin ZN-W and head for the nearby border with Tibet, flying to the safety of the Kipi Valley and the venerable Key Gompa monastery.
Working note: Tarantino will have trouble obtaining permission to film at the actual site. This is where the magic of the Hollywood film industry — set construction, computerized images, papier maché models, whatever — has significant impact.
The kindly monks at the monastery tend to the women’s wounds, and brew plenty of tea. The DorjePakmo resides at the facility; she knows of the Ultimate Clinamen and she knows of Arete, Candide, and Huian. She meets with them three times each day, guiding them via meditation to restful states, readying them for the end she knows is imminent.
Arete transforms in a matter of a week into a caring, compassionate soul, supping at long last on the sweet fruit of true love.
Huian is cleansed of her ideological conditioning and is comfortable dressed in loose, colorful robes rather than drab PLA attire.
Arete and Huian spend long hours between their sessions with the DorjePakmo, luxuriating in one another’s presence.
Working note: The camera does not enter the closed room where they luxuriate, isolating instead on a large mandala hanging on the wall next to the doorframe. The soundtrack makes clear what is occurring in the room.
Candide, in his turn, replaces dodge truck jingles with chanted mantras, and hums them throughout the day, with the exception of the time he spends behind closed doors, observing Arete and Huian satisfy one another’s long suppressed needs.
The bliss, as the DorjePakmo makes clear, will not last. Our protagonists know this, and hasten to fill their cups, so to speak.
The bliss is indeed interrupted. One day, the meager post-meditation noon meal of lentils and steamed greens is about to be served when a cry goes up from lookouts.
Candide, Arete, and Huian walk out on the top terrace of the monastery level six, the observatory. A column of PLA armored vehicles kicks up dust on a winding road at the base of the mountain below.
“Well,” says Arete, not even the three of us are going to deal with this one, but we might as well try.” She turns to Huian. “Whaddya think sweetcakes, one last rumble?”
Huian nods knowingly, and maintains her stoic demeanor.
Candide watches as troops leap from the vehicles and begin to scramble up the side of the mountain to the monastery. He grabs each woman by the hand, then looks up to the sky.
“We will not have to,” he says, stunning his companions.
Working note: Members of the viewing audience are shocked, as well. “Wait,” they say to one another,“ he can’t talk.”
“It begins,” says Candide. “And we are safe, my friends. Fear not.” Arete looks at Candide and silently acknowledges their bond. She glances at Huian and feels powerfully aroused. Candide looks at his two companions, and hums a mantra.
The camera pans to the sky, which suddenly grows dark. Then, from all sides, a light as bright as that of a thousand suns flashes white-hot. Just as The Prim Equation predicts, the Ultimate Clinamen occurs.
We see the underground bunker outside Washington, DC, fill with flames and we hear the agonized screams of the nefarious rulers of capitalist America.
Working note: This will elicit cheers from viewers, regardless of political inclination.
Top party officials in Beijing combust like the heads of matches.
Working note: More cheers, any political gulf temporarily bridged.
Candid puts his arms around the shoulders of the two women. The three huddle close. The camera isolates on Candide’s mug. He smiles. He knows something, doesn’t he? Something profound.
The light grows brighter, erasing Candide’s features. The screen goes to brilliant white then, in an instant, goes dark.
Obviously, the ending leaves the door open to a sequel, thus allowing us to troll for Tarantino with yet more bait. Perhaps this won’t be the last film of his career.
I tidy up the piece, mix another drink, and call Ivy.
“I’ve got the first draft of the Tarantino treatment ready to send to you,” I say.
“The screenplay treatment. It’s ready for you to send to Quentin Tarantino. You know, through your ex boyfriend in LA.”
“Huh? Oh, yeah, him. You know, we really didn’t like each other all that much. We’ve been texting and it seems I got things wrong. I don’t know how I got the idea he knew Quentin Tarantino. Turns out, he can’t stand Tarantino films. But, he has a friend who has an acquaintance with contacts in the industry, and that guy talked to a gal who was at a party with someone who’s got the inside scoop on what insiders say is gonna be huge in Hollywood this year, what the producers and directors really want. That’s the way things work in the movie biz, dad.”
“So,” I say, “they’re going to want lots of blood, weird action, senseless violence, odd couplings, cataclysmic disaster, things like that?”
“Nope,” says Ivy, “it’s gonna be rom-coms, light-hearted, romantic comedies lacking any substance. People meet, fall in love, have a silly disagreement or misunderstand something, split up, go their own ways, try other relationships, feel miserable, pine for one another, abandon the other relationships, get back together, get happy. That kinda stuff.”
“Can they be two female martial arts experts who clash as UFC opponents, transition from combatants to lovers, co-own and operate a Muay Thai/Krav Maga dojo, and pal up a strangely alluring guy who’s teetering at the end of the spectrum, creating mathematical equations that stump the experts while he obsessively hums jingles from truck commercials? Will they decide a polyamorous, bi-sexual lifestyle is the key to happiness for the three of them and, perhaps, for a surprisingly large number of other folks in both the US and China? Can it involve an ancient Tibetan Buddhist monastery?”
“Got any ideas?”
“I might. Can you get me a supply of Stroopwafles?”