[Table] IAmA: A year ago Reddit frontpaged a video I directed called Sexy Saxman. Since then, it's been a wild ride leading up to RollingStone featuring my latest music video! I am Mike Diva, AMA!
Verified? (This bot cannot verify AMAs just yet) Date:
2012-08-27 Link to submission
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Last updated: 2012-09-01 13:17 UTC This post was generated by a robot! Send all complaints to epsy.
|Questions ||Answers |
|How many women were instantly impregnated during the making of sexy sax man? ||All of them. |
|You impregnated my wife who was already pregnant. Do you want him? ||Ill take him and raise him as my own. |
|I had missed the train on this video and having seen it today; I can confirm it is now one of my all time favourite videos ever! So damn funny! Congrats on your success you totally deserve it. ||Thank you! glad i could provide you with some lulz :) sorry for the shameless plug but If you dig that vid, consider subbing to my channel. ill be releasing a few videos every month starting in September! :) |
|I would like to know how that conversation went with the FBI guy that recognized you. ||Well about 5 FBI agents, 3 TSA agents, and 2 undercover air marshals were all telling us how fucked we were and that we were gunna have a mark on our permanent record. Sergio and i were fuckin terrified. Then one of the FBI guys was like "wait a sec.. were you the kids that made that one video with the guy running around with the saxophone?" and we were like "yeah thats us!!" and then everyone just sorta laughed and let us go with a slap on the wrist. It was some fuckin crazy shit youd see in a movie. very surreal. |
|Can you do some George Michael? ||BA BWAAAHH DA DA DA BWAAAAAH DA DA. |
|Nice! How about some George Michael? ||BA BWAAAH DA DA DA BWAAAAAAH DA DA. |
|Now do that one that goes like dada da da-da. ||NEVER! i HATE that one! |
|Did Tay Zonday sing Chocolate Rain when you worked together? ||Singing Chocolate rain is Tays only form of communication. He literally has to say "chocolate raaaain" before every sentence. |
|Are you a magic wizard? If so can I be one too? ||Yes but you must first drink the blood of a virgin unicorn under a waning blood moon. |
|Wtf, I've done this several times and I'm still not a wizard. ||What kind of crystals did you have around your neck? you have to have blue power crystals, not the green ones. |
|This would explain it. I always forget that it's not the green ones. ||Heisenbergs got the best wizard Crystals in town, i definitely recommend getting those. They're 99.1% pure. All other wizard crystals are like some generic off-brand Cola. His are Classic Coke. |
|What are your five worst life decisions and your five best life decisions? ||One of the worst: Filming a documentary in New Orleans after katrina hit. that shit was mad brutal and i wasnt prepared. Documentary stuff just aint for me. one of the best: Honestly, making the sexy sax man vid. I had no idea itd put me on the map the way it did! |
| ||Everybody give it up for Tay Zonday! He's a great guy and a true pleasure to work with! |
|Has anyone ever got pinkeye on your set? ||Hahaha if you're who i think you are, you and i both know thats a "yes". |
|Care to share with the rest of the class? ||We filmed my BAMMO show Turbo Time in a space ship set thats in the back room of my house. I happen to have 3 dogs living with me that just LOVED to shit in that space ship for some reason. So every day wed have to clean up shit before shooting. Unfortunately, someone workin on the set had to crouch down a lot and touch the floor. They ended up getting pink eye the next day |
|I've been a fan for nearly eight years. I still have my original cd copy of the first Vyncent Flaw album that you burned for me back when you were in high school. The ringtone from your "Cell Phone" video has been on every phone I've owned in the last six years, as well as many I've gotten a hold of at parties that I've snuck it onto as the main ringer. I remember when your lip sync contest videos still had the copywritten music on them, before YouTube went insane with that stuff. It has been an insane pleasure to be on this ride with you for the better part of the last decade. The fame you are finally amassing is well deserved, as your talent easily exceeds your tiny Asian frame. Now that we have my fanboy tirade out of the way, I wanted to know if and when a full Vyncent Flaw album might be available for public consumption. As well, I'm sure the offers are there, but do you have any tentative plans on directing a full length feature any time soon, or do you plan to stick to more personal jobs and BAMMO related projects for the time being? ||Woah thats fucking crazy that you still have that CD!! I DONT EVEN HAVE THAT SHIT!! Im coming out with a vyncent flaw (tho im going under just mike diva now) music video in a couple weeks so stay tuned to my main channel!! as far as another CD, im going to TRY to release an EP soon but honestly the video stuff takes up 99 percent of my time now. I really wanna do a movie soon and Im actually signed on to do a feature length zombie webseries called "six bullets to sunrise". We'll see what happens from there :) |
|My level of arousal is immeasurable by current scientific means. ||Shit, i forgot to say man. I totally know who you are and I love you for sticking with me through all these years and being such an awesome person. I cant tell you how much i appreciate it :) People like you keep me going. Thankyouthankyouthankyou <3. |
|If you're ever in Florida, drinks are on you. ||Deal. |
|Anything you can do to make Jenna Mourey funny again? ||The poor girl is releasing a video every single week. Can you imagine how hard it is to make something that pleases millions of people every week? Shits hard man! |
|Well now I feel like a terrible person. I guess shes kinda like Leno, but better and smaller boobs. ||She's good people. I have the utmost respect for her and everything she does. Know any other legitimately funny AND hot girls on youtube? Me neither. |
|Well that shut me up. Off topic, Dubstep Guns was amazing. ||Thank you sir :) if you liked that, youll love my new Kill The Noise video. Its got dubstep guns AND zombies! Link to www.youtube.com |
|Mike Dahlqvist? Any Scandinavian heritage? ||Yup! i'm half swedish :) |
|Any chance of a part 2? And what do you see in your future for Bammo? ||Unfortunately no part 2 for that vid but there will be one for dubstep guns! I'm still doing Bammo for a few months but starting next month im going to be focusing more on my main mike diva channel . |
|Why is that? ||Therell be no part 2 for that vid cos the songs actually called kill the noise pt1. its a little confusing i know haha. |
|What's it like being friends with Tupacs twin? ||Awesome, josh harraway is one of my favorite human beings. He's also one of the brightest people I know. Caught him reading a book on calculus on set. For fun. Wtf. |
|Who was your favourite artist/group to work with? ||Kill the Noise gave me a lot of freedom to do whatever the fuck I wanted so it was really awesome working with Jake. Mindless Self Indulgence were also very nice and fun to work with. As far as youtubers go, Jenna Marbles is fucking hilarious and one of the sweetest girls you'll ever meet. |
|What did you do for MSI? ||I did a music video for Mark David Chapman when i was like 18 and then another one for Im on Crack a couple years ago. |
|How do you feel about Vitamin Water using the saxman in their (I think it was the superbowl) commercial? Were you compensated for their usage or make any kind of agreement with them? ||I had nothing to do with the Vitamin Water commercial, and i'm not quite sure how i feel about it. it was kinda cool at first but now that i see it fucking everywhere all the time its getting a little bit annoying. Sergio was compensated nicely i'm sure. |
|Has George Michael contacted you? If so, what did he say? ||I'm sure george michael has seen the video but we have yet to hear from him about what he thinks. Hopefully he has a good sense of humor about it. |
|I believe you live in Los Angeles. Would you say you're approachable? For instance, would I be able to say what's up, I dig your work, make up a secret handshake, and invite you in on this spliff? ||I would be down for all those things, especially the last part. If you see me on the streets of LA, please come and say Hi! Im a nice guy and its really awesome to me that people like what I do. |
|You say that now, before you're world famous, and every single camera in LA is being shoved down your throat. But in all seriousness, you seem like a chill guy. I liked the Sax Man vid, keep doin what you're doin. ||I made my friends promise to shoot me in the face if i ever become a stuck up asshole due to fame. i cant stand people with ego's who think theyre better than everyone else. I'm just a fuckin geek who loves makin videos. I cant believe ive made it this far and if i make it further, i'll still be the same person! |
|Did you get in any actual trouble for filming Sexy Saxman? ||Nah, but we almost got in BIG trouble when we tried pulling it on an airplane on the way back from Jimmy Fallon in NYC. When the plane landed we were greeted by about 5 FBI agents, 3 TSA agents, and 2 undercover officers who repeatedly told us how fucked we were. We were treated like terrorists and they said wed have a mark on our records and that we would be spending time in jail. We were terrified until one of the FBI agents was like "wait a second.. were you the guys that made that one video with the sax guy running around?". We were like "yeah!! thats us! we're just a couple of kids fuckin around we didnt mean any harm by any of this!". then they just let us go with a slap on the wrist and everything was cool! Definitely one of the most surreal moments of my life. |
|Mike, can you go into a little detail on how you do your color grading? I love the cool purple/blue blown out highlight look that you get, for instance on your latest video Kill The Noise. Thanks for all the inspiration and entertainment even if you can't get to my question. ||Tbh man it's just a shit load of layering. I have a magic bullet looks suite layer, a grunge layer, and old film layer that I literally stole from planet terror and looped, and some selective color overlays. It's all just a matter of overlay settings and how much ur willing to tweak out on one scene! |
|You should definitely add it. There's probably a good bit of people who might not put the connection together. Either way, I love your style and I'll continue to follow what you do moving forward. On a side note, any larger scale projects or feature videos that you're thinking of working on? ||Yeah man, i have a couple things in the pipeline but nothin solid yet! Im in the early stages of workin on a 6 part zombie webseries called six bullets to sunrise. We'll see how that goes! |
|He doesn't like George Michael? HE DOESN'T LIKE GEORGE MICHAEL!! BOOOOOO. ||Haha most people have no idea that's me talkin in the vid. |
|How do you come up with your ideas? ||A lot of my ideas come while im stuck in traffic and bored. Other than that, brainstorming with friends helps out a lot.. and weed doesn't hurt either. |
|Hey Mike, hows it going? ||Great man! stoked on LIFE :) |
|I like seeing positivity on Reddit. You're awesome. ||Thank you sir! I believe that staying positive and humble no matter what is the key to happiness and success. |
|How often do you change your Hair ? And do you apply Eye Liner once a day or throughout? ||Haha I change it like once every month. As for the guyliner, i almost never wear any unless I'm filming or goin out. |
|Oh, and I love Vyncent Flaw, btw. ||First off I wanna say that its so fucking awesome to me that youve been into my work for such a long time. :) I'm very flattered. As for that video, it had to go. It was too fucking weird and I didn't wanna scare any potential clients away yadigg? Tho for some reason my parents thought that the singing penis video was hilarious, i have no idea what i was thinking at the time. |
|Edit: how is Maxxx (sp?) Jenga? I thought someone would have asked. ||Also, i just realized the videos still uploaded but its just private. Heres a link that you can watch every night before bed. Link to youtu.be <-- for those who want to see my face singing on my dick, you should probably click that link.. |
|There's a rumor going around that you're doing a follow up to Heroes and Villains that you did with De Storm. Is that true? I loved the first one. ||Yup!! i shot 2 and 3 recently and theyll be up in a month or so! :) should be pretty epic. |
|Did you go to west covina high or are you a local? I noticed west covina foodcourt and west covina highschool, and the ross at eastland... West covina local here, right off lark ellen. ||I just happen to live in covina actually, good eye! |
|Mike, been following you for a bit over a year now. Seeing your older videos and seeing what you create now there is a HUGE difference in quality and ability. What was the direct cause of this change? Hard work? Formal classes? Centaur tears? ||Thanks man!!! thats awesome you've been following me for so long!! Honestly dude the only reason my shits better now than it was before is cos in every video i make i try to push myself out of my comfort zone and try something i've never tried before. Through that, i feel like i've grown as an artist. That, and my vial of centaur tears doesn't hurt either ;) |
|Got to add: Link to www.youtube.com. Rofl. I love tay zonday man. That shits amazing. Also, a lot of asians where you live mate. Where abouts are you that there's a huge concentration of asian-americans/canadians? ||I live in covina! mainly mexicans and asians here haha. thanks for diggin that vid man, it was a blast to make! |
|Hey Mike sorry I'm late to the party. I've been a big fan of yours for a while now! Which video has been the most fun to shoot? Were the guys from the banned lunchablez having trouble keeping a straight face on set? Were the girls all WTF when they learned they would get pissed on by Capri Sun and have little pepperonis tossed at them? ||Thank you for being a fan of my work! i really appreciate it :D i would say lunchablez was def one of the most fun vids to shoot. i was dying laughing the whole time. the girls were a little bothered but the capri suns ended up being filled with water so it wasn't that bad! |
|Great videos! I'm hoping you could give some advice to some up and coming YouTube musicians :) Are there any particular things we should know or read about SEO or YouTube to get more views? What would you say is the most critical part of a video going viral? What's more important: the music, the message, the entertainment factor, visuals or do you feel they share equal importance? How long should people spend on their videos? I'm sure this varies, but I wonder if there's a minimum amount of effort before they should be posted online. Any other great tips to help us achieve some success in this crazy over saturated online world?? ||Thank you! Its really hard to really pinpoint what will make a video. You pretty much just a find a hole in the video market and fill it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesnt. whats most important is the entertainment factor. Everything else doesnt matter nearly as much. finally, the main key to youtube success is consistency. Make a video every monday for a year and i promise you will have a following and enough subs to make enough money to live off the youtubes. Then, collab collab collab. Hope this helps! |
|Holy shit YOU made the Kill The Noise music video?! Wow, that is easily the best EDM video I've seen. Anyway, how did you end up making it, did he contact you or vice-versa? ||Wow thanks!! I was bothered by the fact that there were no EDM vids out there that really did the songs justice so i went out of my way to try and make the best EDM vid out there and I'm honored that you feel i succeeded!! I'm a big kill the noise fan and I was rockin his KILL KILL KILL album for about a week when Jake hit me up out of nowhere and asked me to do a video for him. Needless to say, i shit bricks. At first he wanted me to do a video for the song "talk to me" but i requested that i make a vid for "kill the noise pt. 1" cos its way more cinematic. |
|You definitely did it justice, thanks for answering my question and keep doing cool shit :) ||Thanks a lot man, will do!! :) I'll be releasing a video twice a month on my channel starting in September so please consider subbing! Itd be awesome to have another EDM head like myself following my channel :) |
|So, for the Kill the Noise video, what do you do as director? Do you come up with the whole thing? Where did all of the stunning visuals in the background come from? ||For the kill the noise video i came up with the concept, drew storyboards, put together the costumes and all that stuff, directed it and edited it. Me and my buddy jo made the graphics for the 3 crazy background visual shots. |
|Also, for things like the commercial, how did you do the camera work? Do you have your own professional cameras like that or did EA Games let you use it for the shoot? ||For the EA commercial we rented a RED Epic. |
| just listened to your brothers music, you are one talented pair of siblings. ||Thanks a lot man, glad you dig his stuff!! Hes crazy talented and needs to get the exposure he deserves. |
|Oh and do you have a boner for the 80s? :D. ||I never really appreciated the 80s until recently. Most 80s shit sucks, but i def have a boner for certain elements of the 80s :) |
|How would the one lead to the other? Your first Saxophone vid was a bit ... uh ... amateurish? How did it lead to more professional gigs? ||Well, that vid wasnt really supposed to be anything flashy, but it turned people on to my other vids. If you watch them, you'd see that I can actually direct things other than just running around with a saxophone player. Check out this vid and youll see what i mean. |
|I discovered you from the MSI music video contest and I've been watching your videos progress ever since then. Since it's obvious you've got a ton of opportunities and things in front of you, I won't ask about that. My real question is what's Maxx up to and how does he feel about all this? ||Thats awesome, thanks for keepin up with me from day 1! :) Thats fucking awesome!! Maxx has been stuck in sacramento these past few years but hes moving down to LA with me next month so youll be seeing a lot more of him in my videos/music now! I flew him down to be in the kill the noise video as well if you didnt notice. Thanks for the support and please stay tuned to my channel, i'll be releasing videos every month again starting in September! |
|Anyways, I was curious about your creative process. Do you story board a lot of your stuff? Your visual style seems to lend itself to a lot of digital-fuckery. I mean that in compliment to your skills in post, and your vision to shoot a lot of, what I assume, coverage. How long do you typically take in post vs shoots? ||Thanks for sticking with me man! I really appreciate that :) I actually dont storyboard most of my stuff unless its something MASSIVE like the kill the noise video. As far as the digitalfuckery (i like the way you put that, i think ill steal it) it really depends on what type of video! the kill the noise video took like 4 months straight to edit. The 30h!3 video on the other hand took about 2 weeks to shoot and edit, but that was only cos i was crazy rushed by their label. |
|Hi Mike, hopefully I'm not late to the party. I scrolled through the comments but couldn't find anyone asking you how long it takes to edit one of your videos? Your stuff is crazy and you're definitely worthy of the fame. Congrats. ||Hey man thanks a lot! you know it really depends on what kinda video it is! for something like kill the noise, it took 4 months and that was with help from a friend. for something like dog step it took me 2 weeks. |
| ||Thanks for the love and support :) |
|How did you get your start in making films? Did you study it formally or was it just you and your friends messing around and going from there? ||I started just shooting random shit with my brother when we were kids. stupid stop motion things, silly violent vids, whatever would keep us entertained! i never had any formal training and i firmly believe that in this day and age nobody really needs formal training. just keep doin what ya do and if you're persistent enough you'll succeed! |
|I recently came back from a Skrillex concert and I'm pretty sure one of his visuals (being projected) showed your DOGSTEP video. Have you been in contact with Skrillex about this, did I see what I thought I saw? Thanks Mike, I'm a huge fan. ||Haha yeah man ive seen videos of it and i was crazy stoked to see him use that. Im a huge skrillex fan and its an honor for him to play my vids on his stage. Ive kicked it with him briefly a couple times but i never really brought it up. Thanks for being a fan of my work <3<3<3. |
|What do you use to edit? Also, about how long does it take? (When I saw the name MikeDiva in the title I died.I love your videos) ||Thank you!!!! I use adobe premiere and adobe after effects to do my vids, and as far as how long they take it really depends! a vid like Kill the noise took like 4 months straight, while dog step and lunchables took 2 weeks. |
| ||Appreciate your love and support buddy :) |
|Your collaboration with CorridorDigital was pretty awesome. What are those guys like off-camera? Specifically Sam? He kind of comes off as a little impatient and rude, but I could be wrong. ||Thank you, corridor digital are both awesome people and good friends of mine. Sam can come off that way cos he has a very specific vision for his work, but hes a very nice guy. |
|How was it working with Sam and niko on DUBSTEP GUNS?! ||They're good friends of mine, and awesome people all around :) |
|How does it feel knowing everything but the sax video is shit? ||How does it feel being the only one in this AMA who thinks that? |
|May I humbly submit my video response, 'saxman in his natural habitat' Link to www.youtube.com ||Hahahah naturesaxman. amazing <3. |
|I have 3 friends that are with me on this one. ||The coolest of stories bro. If you're not the type of person that likes neon zombies being fucked up by cyberpunks then I reeeally dont make my videos for people like you anyways ;) |
|Can anyone explain to me what came first between this video and the John Hamm digital short on SNL? ||Sergio inspired the SNL sketch. |
|Holy crap mike, glad to see you're doing so well. I wish I had the drive to keep up and become successful in doing the things I love, what keeps you going? ||Thank you!! The only thing that keeps me going is knowing that i have no other options in life. I had a real job (its a grind coffee) for 2 months and wanted to die. I suck at school, never went to college. I literally have video and music and thats it. If i don't succeed at this, then ill be homeless! i guess thats as good a motivation as any :) |
|Mike, I love your work! It's quite entertaining and whatever fame/recognition/awards you get I feel you deserve. Please keep it up! My fave vid by you will always be Dogstep. How long did it take you to do that vid? I can't imagine your dogs and cats liking that at all haha. ||Thank you so much man!!! the dog step vid took about 2 weeks from concept to completion! it was kind of a bitch cutting out all the hands and stuff. Surprisingly, my dogs and cats weren't really bothered by it at all! one of the cats, prince, was all about it actually. he stuck around for more! |
|Wait wait wait... the Sexy Saxman director is the guy who directed the new KTN video? That... just blew my mind. ||Haha i love this comment!! Hate to be a shameless plugger but if you dug those two videos you should consider subbing to my youtube channel! I'll be releasing a couple vids every month starting in September :) |
|You made that video for Kill The Noise? Fucking awesome video, I love it! ||Awesome, thanks man!!! hate to shamelessly plug my shit but if you dug that vid you should consider subbing to my youtube channel. I'll be releasing new vids on it every month starting in september!! :) |
|Does it hurt that Sergio is making money hand over fist instead of you? Everyone knows Sergio, noone gives a shit nor knows of Mike DivaRupaul or whatever the fuck your name is. ||What hurts me is that there are people like you in this world that are stupid enough to think that Sergio makes more money than me and that nobody gives a shit about what i do. Have you read any of the comments in this post? |
|Any plans to work with Peter Pepper again? New album on iTunes tomorrow I can't wait. Looking forward to your solo stuff too! ||Thanks!!! No plans as of now, but maybe some day. i love peter, great guy! theres new mike diva music video coming out on my channel in 2 weeks so stay tuned! |
|Did you end up getting banned from the West Covina Mall while doing the Sexy Sax Man video? I recognized it from the video, I live in the city hahaha. ||Yup! I've been banned from there twice now! the other time was for my 30h!3 robot video. Fuckem, still shop there all the time :) |
|While I do despise 99% of Dubstep tracks, I have to commend you on how good the video looks ;) Feels like it's made for the internet ;) Also - do you realize there's a guy that's called Mike SHIVA who's a huge scammer reading fortunes for people? ;) ||Thank you!! and no i didnt but thats pretty fucking awesome :) |
|You're from Sacramento correct? I think I saw you on campus at sac state one day. Great work, keep it up! ||Yezzir, you probably did! and thanks!!! :) |
|What was it like meeting Tom Green? ||Hes a great man, i love and respect him |
|Was it completely your idea to do this, or did you have people that urged you to do it? ||The AMA or sexy sax man? |
|Niko from Corridor Digital here just chiming in to say that Mike is a cool dude and everyone should keep their eye on him. He's got big things in his future. ||Thanks for the support buddy :) been too long, lets kickit this week fasho. |
|Scribble scribble scribble. ||Woah thats awesome, great work! |
|I hate to break this to you. But of those 10.4 million views of DubStep Guns my household makes up about 4 million of those. So you know...it's a bit less impressive that way... ||Haha awesome :) |
|Awesome, I just subscribed to your youtube video. 1.5 hours later, found myself somewhere foreign. Crazy world. ||Thank you so much for the sub!!<3. |
|Dubstep Guns was one of my favorite videos last year. The editing is just.....bangable. ||Thanks brotha! I know i keep saying this but if you dig Dubstep guns you'll dig my new video for Kill the Noise. I consider it a nice little follow up to dubstep guns: Link to www.youtube.com |
| ||Also, dubstep guns 2 coming soon ;) |
|I hate your hair so very much. ||Thats cool, its different now. |
|This sucks! I missed the 3 out of 4 AMA's that I have wanted to do. ||Still here yo! |
|Dude! No question, just gotta say I love your work. Especially your MSI video. Good stuff man! ||Thank you so much!!! Stay tuned to my channel, new vids coming soon! Also, surprised you like the msi vid more than the kill the noise vid haha. i feel like everything i was TRYING to do with the MSI vid, i succeeded at doing with the KTN vid! |
|No questions to ask, but wanted to tell you how many times the Sexy Sax Man video has brightened up my day. Keep on keepin' on :) ||Thanks man! :) have you seen any of my other pranks? you might like my "extreme caroling" vid. |
|Don't, don't do anything with Smosh. Just don't. ||Smosh are actually from my hometown Sacramento and they're some of the nicest and funniest guys youll ever meet. |
submitted by tabledresser
American White Hair
I don’t make waves. I choose my battles carefully, just roll with things as a rule. And I don’t like confrontation. So I took her shit—ate it, really—for two years, and I never said anything. But when she rubbed it in my face in front of everyone, I decided it was time for a little payback.
You know me. I’m smart. I’m patient. I never let on that anything was bothering me, and I was very, very careful. I prepared. Real revenge doesn’t come back to bite you in the ass. You have to get away clean. You have to use your assets: in my case, a cop for a father, a chimneysweep for a brother, and a bit of inspiration.
Inspiration rode the wings of a short story by Edgar Allan Poe called The Cask of Amontillado. I’ve always been a fan of that old, dead drunk—related to his put-upon characters, especially Hop Frog and the narrator from The Tell-Tale Heart. And what did these characters have in common? Why, the lust for revenge, of course. As horrified as some readers are by these stories, I’ve delighted in them ever since I was old enough to fully understand them. Not that the protagonist always made out well at the end, but for the short story in question, here—well, I had everything I needed to pay it the perfect tribute. That protagonist did get away with it, too. A perfect ending.
I’m telling you, Marissa, she never knew it was coming. Not from me, in any case, not until the time was right. There were, perhaps, others she was keeping an eye on. Gertie was a real bitch, so she had enemies as well as minions. I wonder if she even knew how many people hated her. I can’t ask her now.
You should have seen the way I conducted myself. I was very cool. When I think about it, I can’t help but smile—just the way I smiled at her, as if nothing were wrong, as if all I wanted was for her to like me. Hell, she probably thought I was hot for her, like so many of those brainless, soul-less fucknuts she fancied as friends, or groupies. She’d been given everything, you know, and didn’t appreciate a damn thing. As far as she was concerned, she was entitled.
I’ve told you about this silver spoon, this Gertie Lawrence—Gertie of the Hollywood Lawrences, with the perfect face and the perfect perky tits and the fucking Ferrari; Gertie, who never saw an application for a student loan, or for a scholarship, or even for a job, so far as I ever knew. Lady Gertie, if I might be so bold, American royalty, who was only going to college to prim her image before continuing with her appointed destiny as an actress.
It was at the football game, behind the stadium, where the booze flows like the River Styx and the bonfire smells like black Tibetan finger hash, that I met her that night. She was so blasted, going on and on about her perceived triumphs to a gaggle of sweater-clad succubae, that at first she scarcely knew I was there. I was dead sober, of course, knowing my intent and set upon it—knowing also, without a scrap of doubt, the state she would be in by this time: stoned enough to be susceptible to flattery, yet still possessed of enough motor functions to (more or less) walk.
Twenty-one years have passed since that night, but I can still see her—in Technicolor, to use a Tinseltown metaphor—standing in front of the beer keg, one hand on a concrete strut supporting herself against the possibility of collapse, the other with a red solo cup of Amstel Lite. She was wearing her best Gucci leather to ward off the cold, complete with matching gloves. Christ, her boots probably cost more than the contents of my entire closet.
She wouldn’t have known Amstel Lite from Miller Lite, of course. She was, like her subjects, considerably less concerned with the taste of beer and more concerned with its effects, and had purchased the Amstel only because it was the most expensive light beer she could get in a keg.
But there was one thing Gertie knew very well: marijuana. Oh, yes, Gertie knew her drugs with the clinical intimacy of a pharmacist, but most especially in the matter of pot was she a true connoisseur. She would rather choke on the pipe resin of fine Seattle Mary Jane or Columbian Red Hair than wallow in a dime bag of the local garbage. And it was by this weakness—not that I’ve got anything against a little grass, now and again—that I ensnared her.
I drew close as she was accepting a refill from one of her lackeys, and the vapor that escaped her lips smelled twenty proof at least. Much of her following had gone off to watch the second half of the game, and of the few that remained, most were milling about aimlessly in the parking lot. Soon, a moment came—a precious moment, one which might not have come a second time—when I was the only one in her immediate circle, and I didn’t waste a fraction of it.
“Hey, Gertie,” I said, quite cheerfully. “How’s it going?”
“Look who it is,” she answered pleasantly, taking a prissy little sip from her solo cup. “Decided to take the night off for once, did we?”
“Library’s closed. Actually, that’s kind of why—”
“Thank you, but no. I wanted to ask you something.”
“You sure?” she pressed, setting her beer on the keg, reaching out, smoothing the wrinkles on my jacket, her hands lingering in some places more than in others. Breathing on me. “You don’t have enough fun. That’s what your problem is.”
“Yeah, so I’m told, but—”
“I’ve been telling myself, I should get started on project Cameron. Somebody’s got to get you good and fucked. Might have a friend or two who’d stoop to that.” And she laughed.
I laughed with her—a little too heartily, perhaps, because she looked at me strangely. Then I said, “Beggars can’t be choosers, huh? Another night, maybe. I got a score on something. Something I could use your help with. I mean, if you’re too busy—”
“What d’you got?”
I shifted on my feet, a child’s parody of reluctance.
“C’mon. You can tell Aunt Gertie.”
“Three dimes,” I said. “The carrier said it was American White Hair, but I’m not sure.”
Gertie gave a low whistle. “American White,” she said, musingly. “Now, that’s got to be a load of shit. This is Connecticut, for Christ’s sake. How much you get screwed out of?”
“Fifty bucks,” I replied evenly, “if I got screwed. It seemed like too good a deal to pass up, if it turned out to be legit. Like I said, I don’t know. I mean, I could always ask Hartman, but you always said Hartman wouldn’t know a quality score from a bag of oregano.”
Gertie never said that, but I knew she wouldn’t call me on it.
“All right, then,” she said, her ego sufficiently stroked. “Show me.”
As you have no doubt surmised, I had no American White Hair on me that night—or any night, for that matter—nor did I even know where such a “score” could be made. American White is rare, genetically altered and purified in its early growth for medicinal purposes. I don’t know if the marijuana base—distributed on the west coast black market to wealthy glaucoma cases, as a rule, back before it was legalized anywhere, for any purpose—has any curative value or not. But once it’s been treated with PCP and liquefied cocaine, the high it delivers went for more than a hundred bucks a gram, even back then. This alone would have been enough to justify Lady Gertie’s skepticism, but the fact that I had come across such an embarrassment of riches stretched the suspension of her disbelief to its limit.
“I don’t have it with me, Gertie,” I said. “If word got out that I was walking around with this shit in a plastic bag, I’d never get back to my dorm alive. You’ve seen the freaks out here at night. That’s why I came to you.”
“Yeah, but—well, anyway, I know you’ve got this thing going on here. Maybe I should just talk to Hartman. I think he’s back at the dorms.”
“No, no,” Gertie said, shaking her head with the benevolent fervor of the well intoxicated. “He wouldn’t know American White from oregano. Where’d you put it? You didn’t leave it in the dorm, did you?”
“No way,” I assured her. “Trust me to be more careful than that. I left it in the basement of the library before I locked up.”
“Library basement,” she said, her voice rich with motherly approval. “That’s good. Good for you.”
And so it was. The university’s library, which had stood now for over three hundred years, was something of a personal responsibility of mine. When your family’s strictly middle class and you want to graduate Ivy League, you don’t get a lot of free time. In my case, academic scholarships weren’t enough, not even after two hot and sweaty summers cleaning and rebuilding the insides of chimneys with my tyrannical brother. No, I worked at the library, six nights a week, filing books, sweeping floors, and generally picking up after the entire student population, often until the dark, early hours of the morning. I had a set of keys, and the trust of the head librarian.
Oh, and on this night, Marissa, my power was absolute. You might recall the remodeling project that year. The powers that be had decided to transform half of the basement into a computerized archive. Boxes were moved, furniture installed. With my willing assistance, old walls had come down, and new ones were put up in their place. Jack Miles, the foreman, called upon me often enough, always complimenting me on my superb work ethic, a commodity he correctly perceived as being in short supply among the rest of the student body.
The hardhats were not at work that Saturday, nor would they be for the following three days. Another task was keeping them occupied while the library basement remained half-finished, much to the chagrin of the university. For me, however, it was a matter of no small convenience. I thought that night (and I still think) that the temporary closing of the library basement was a matter of destiny.
Gertie took a decidedly un-ladylike swig from her beer, draining it. A few members of her fan club were beginning to come back from the game. “All right,” she said. “Let’s have a look.”
“Are you sure? You’ve got friends here. I don’t want to screw anything up for you.”
“What?” she said incredulously. “What friends? This is bullshit. Anyway, it’s five minutes there, five minutes back, right? You mind driving?”
I shrugged my shoulders, watched her refill her solo cup. “No,” I said, quite sincerely. “I’ll be happy to. I should warn you, though: my car’s a piece of shit.”
“That’s okay,” she said, her voice lazy and slightly slurred. “It’s been a while since I’ve ridden in a piece of shit. Take me to it.”
So I led her, and this was the trickiest part of the plan. As we went through the parking lot, somebody could have easily stopped us. Most of the people were in the stadium, but there were still quite a few in the parking lot who might have said, “Where you goin’, Gertie?” or “Don’t ditch, girlfriend, we got half a keg here.” But we weren’t bothered by anybody. In fact, no one seemed even to take note of our passing.
As we drew nearer to my modest little automobile, Gertie stumbled, spilling her beer, and I caught her by the sleeve. She wrenched her hand free but didn’t say anything. She just regained her balance, looking around to see if anyone had noticed, and muttered, “I’m fine.”
I led her to the passenger side of the car, eased her inside. Got behind the wheel. For a long time—must have been twenty or thirty seconds, but it felt like an hour—I just sat there. That was my only moment of doubt throughout the entire enterprise. It wasn’t conscience that caused me to delay (most thinking people would applaud my actions, inwardly if not aloud); no, it was the simple dread at the possibility of being found out. Had I been careful enough? What hadn’t I considered?
Gertie sat, eyes closed, breathing steadily. One might have imagined her asleep until she said, “What gives, Cameron? Can’t find your keys?”
I started the car. “Thought you’d passed out,” I said. “I was wondering what to do.”
“I’m fine,” she assured me.
I drove the car. The parking lot attendants didn’t monitor the outgoing traffic, so none of them would have noted our departure. Whether or not the members of Gertie’s fan club back at the beer keg had seen us leave together, I didn’t know, but that was a chance I was willing to take.
Gertie muttered something about the absence of a CD player in the car as she fiddled with the radio dials. She settled upon a particularly annoying pop station, but I held my tongue on the matter. “This is really cool of you,” I said instead, “taking the time to help me out like this.”
“Project Cameron begins,” she said, a bit dreamily and with a satisfied smile.
It does indeed, I thought in agreement.
“God damn!” she suddenly shouted, so abruptly that I jerked the steering wheel in surprise. “Where the fuck’s my beer?”
“You spilled it,” I said gently, almost apologetically. “That’s all right, though.”
“Like fuck it is.”
I reached over her, eyes still on the road, and opened the glove compartment, marveling even in my nervousness at the different usages of the word fuck she had at her disposal. “Check it out,” I said. “I never leave home without my spare tire, so to speak.”
“Speak English or die,” she snapped, but then she smiled. There, in my glove box, was the answer to Gertie’s alcohol problem (the problem being, at the moment, that she didn’t have any): a glass bottle, flask-sized and mostly full, of Mad Dog 20/20. “Very good, Cameron,” she said. “Now that’s thinking.”
Mad Dog’s the cheapest swill on the market—but, as I have said, that was of little consequence to Lady Gertie. “I do my best,” I said. “Cheers.”
She took a long pull from it. In a sidelong glance, I watched her knock back half the bottle; then she passed the bottle to me. “Here’s to it,” she said.
I didn’t ask what “it” was. I simply took the bottle, held it to my closed lips for a second or two, and then gave the bottle back to her, drawing my jacket sleeve across my face afterwards for effect.
“That’s some disgusting shit,” she declared as we pulled onto University Drive.
“It does the job,” I answered.
It was still only eleven o’ clock when we drove into the parking lot behind the library and the rest of the quad. You know the lot I’m talking about, down the hill, with an avenue of trees shielding the windows of the dormitories from the prying eyes of any miscreants or perverts who might be prowling about at night. In this case, it had the opposite (and quite favorable) effect of shielding me from their eyes. And since the lot was used almost exclusively by commuters who were, by now, long gone for the evening, Gertie and I had the entire expanse to ourselves.
“Why are we parked way the hell out here?” Gertie asked, predictably.
“I don’t want to be seen going in,” I said. “It would look awfully suspicious, don’t you think, the two of us going into the library at this hour? We go in through the back, nobody even knows we’re there.”
She smiled, took another hit of Mad Dog. “Cam,” she said, “you are uptight.”
I hate it when people call me “Cam.”
“Yeah,” I said. “I guess I am. Do you want me to pull around front?”
Gertie thought about it. Then she said, “Na,” and opened the door.
When I met her outside the car, she was leaning against the front fender of the car. She was sweating, even though it was cold as hell. It looked like she was going to pass out right there.
“Come on,” I said, tilting my head in the direction of the trail that led to the back of the library. “Just an eighth of a mile up the hill, and we’re there.”
“Comin’,” she said, stumbling forward.
I caught her again, and this time she didn’t shake me away. “Are you sure you want to do this?” I asked, urging her forward, lacing my voice with concern. “You’re pretty wasted. I could just drive you home, you know.”
“No, no, no,” she insisted, and actually picked up the pace a little bit. “Gotta see if you’ve got the real deal. American White. Christ.”
“It’s no trouble,” I assured her. “Everybody has nights like this.”
“I said I’m okay. Anyway, my fuckin’ car’s at the stadium.”
After several long minutes, we finally passed through the avenue of trees and stood at the back entrance to the library. “Well, here we are at last,” I said triumphantly, drawing the key ring from my pocket and unlocking the door. “Hold on a minute while I switch off the alarm.”
I went inside, but I didn’t need to deactivate the alarm. Actually, I had never turned the alarm on before leaving the library earlier that night. Had I done so, the memory system of the library alarm would have remembered a second entrance. By never having activated it in the first place, I had, in effect, never left the building to go to the stadium that night—providing, of course, that none of Lady Gertie’s groupies had been sober enough to take note of me.
The security cameras were another matter. Every other week, we reused the old tapes, keeping the most recent fourteen days of library security recorded for posterity. All I had to do was switch them off, make a copy of last night’s tape in the media center on the second floor, label it “Saturday,” and I was safe as kittens. No one would notice that the last two nights of recording were exactly the same—unless there surfaced some reason to really examine them, and I doubted that any such suspicion would be raised.
So you see, I was very careful. I should have anticipated the next problem.
When I went back outside to collect Lady Gertie, she was slumped against the wall of the building, fast asleep. I sighed at the prospect of the work ahead of me. Ideally, she would have lasted all the way through the ground floor, down the stairs, and into the basement. A quick, gratifying bash over the head with a flashlight would then have sent her the rest of the way towards unconsciousness, and I would have been spared the trouble of having to drag her. But it was not to be.
I took the bottle of Mad Dog from her hand, poured what little there remained on the ground, and slid the bottle into her jacket pocket. I then positioned myself behind her, took her under the arms, and commenced with the dragging. “Come on, Lady Gertie,” I said, rather enjoying myself after all. “Time to get the White Hair.”
She was really quite thin, and the effort proved to be nowhere nearly as strenuous as I had feared. I spoke to her as we moved through the darkened halls. Pleasant, forgettable conversation as a rule—and she periodically seemed to respond, though only in unintelligible slurs and dribblings. “What was that, you silly little bitch?” I said at the top of the stairs. “I didn’t quite catch it. Oh, well, on with project Cameron. Time to get you good and fucked.”
Down the stairs we went, one cautious thump at a time.
“This is fun, Gertie, you know that? You always said I didn’t get enough fun out of life. We should do this more often. What? What was that you said? Oh, yes, it is rather dark down here. Not to worry, I know the way, yes indeed, you just let me … take … care of … everything.”
Once in the basement, I let her go. The back of her head hit concrete with a wholesome smack, soliciting a groan. “Whoops,” I said, pulling a string that activated a single light bulb in the ceiling. “Sorry about that.”
We were in the half of the basement that was being remodeled, and the place was a total mess. A lot of wall space had been completely knocked out in order for electricians to come in and wire the basement for future computer utilities. But there was one area, where an obsolete old boiler used to be, that Miles and Company had decided to simply seal off. The south wall was made entirely of brick—as had all the walls, at one time, before the advent of painted concrete blocks—and the boiler section consisted of an indentation in the wall, dimensions ten feet across and five feet inside. Miles and Company had already laid brick, and the conspicuous indentation had been covered.
I had un-covered it last night, at least partly, using a sledgehammer to smash enough of the bricks out from the fresh mortar to accommodate the entrance of my friend. That entrance, which represented a grueling hour and a half’s worth of work, was three feet wide and nine feet high. Within the tomb, I had hammered a climbing spike into the back wall. What there remained to do, for all intents and purposes, was a good deal easier than rebuilding the inside of any chimney.
Gertie was, by this time, squirming on the floor. Time being a factor now, I quickly stripped off her jacket, dragged her to the broken wall, and handcuffed her. Handcuffs? you say, and well you might. My father, a homicide investigator, had possessed these from his days as a beat cop, and they were little different from the sort you could buy at the S&M shop in Hartford. Anyway, I cuffed her tightly, pushed her through the hole in the wall, and squeezed myself in after her. She was drooling, eyes fluttering, when I raised her arms to the climbing spike—she almost didn’t reach, and for a moment, I feared I had placed the stake too high—suspending her there, leaving her toes just barely touching the concrete floor.
I thought she was finally starting to come around when I brought the bucket in and placed her feet inside of it. “Gertie?” I said. “Gertie, are you waking up now? Got a new pair of shoes for you, Gertie. Hope you like concrete.” But as she didn’t answer, I completed the task, using the materials left out for me by Miles and Company. The concrete ooze would settle while I was gone, I knew, and I hoped Gertie would remain unconscious while it did.
From her pants pockets, I took her car keys. From the basement floor, I retrieved her jacket. I smoothed the wrinkles on her shirt, my fingers lingering in some places more than others. And then I left her there, trusting to my good fortune and to destiny that, when I returned, I would find the find the situation unchanged.
Never driven a Ferrari before, I thought. Thanks, Gertie.
She woke up at four-thirty in the morning. By then, I had long-since returned and was about halfway done with my repairs to the wall. I still had her jacket and her car keys with me. I am not a thief, Marissa, and although I had borrowed these items for a time, I had no intention of keeping them. I also had a portable tape player—quite old fashioned of me—a pack of cigarettes, a lighter, and a one-gallon can of gasoline.
At first, I heard only a low, strained moaning from inside the dim recesses of the indentation. “You’re up early,” I said, shining the flashlight inside. “Good thing, too. I might have finished while you slept.”
Gertie looked around frantically. With many a “What the fuck?” and “How the hell?” she initially seemed determined to ignore my presence. But that only lasted a few seconds. At length, she said (rather quietly, I might add), “Cameron, what are you doing?”
“Isn’t it obvious?” I said, laying another brick. “I’m fixing the wall.”
I heard the handcuffs rattle, scraping against the climbing spike. I heard the bucket, too, coming up off the floor and instantly clanking back down. I wasn’t worried. I’d hammered the spike in at a good angle; she’d never get the handcuffs over the end of it.
“Listen, Cameron,” she said, her breath coming in gasps, her voice panicky. “I don’t know what you’re thinking of doing, but it stops right fucking now. Get me out of here!”
“You know what you need, Gertie?” I said, sliding the tape recorder up against the wall.
“I need to get the fuck out of here! Get me the fuck out of here! Right fucking now! Jesus—Jesus, what have you done to my feet—?”
She was crying—yelling, too, sure, but crying all the same. I shook my head at her, shining the light in again. “What you need, Gertie,” I said, pushing the record button, “is to pray. Have you ever done it before? Because now would definitely be a good time for it.”
Her screams filled the room. I continued laying the bricks, basking in the symphony of her cries, telling her about all I had done while she slept: driving back to the empty stadium, wearing her jacket in the event I was spotted from a distance; leaving my car in the lot, dropping hers off at the airport; and, finally, taking a cab back to the stadium to retrieve my own vehicle—making, in effect, a missing person’s case for the police. I’d even paid for the airport parking with her own money, since she was the one about to disappear.
I have no idea how much of what I said registered with her. She was quite busy with her screaming.
Finishing the brickwork didn’t take long. Before adding the final bricks, I threw her car keys into the tomb and stuffed her jacket through. By now, she was only whimpering.
I picked up the gas can. I shone the light through the hole, showed Gertie what I was doing. Wonder of wonders, she started screaming all over again. This time I joined her—outdid her, even, since my voice was fresh. I was laughing, too, even as I poured the contents of the can through the hole in the wall.
I waited for her to stop making noise. It took some time.
“I’m doing you a favor, you know,” I said, lighting a cigarette. “You don’t want to just stand there, do you? How long would that take to kill you? Anyway, I don’t think you’ll burn to death—”
Gertie caught her breath, steadied her voice. And she chuckled. “You got me good, Cam,” she said, sniffling, hitching gasps. “Real good—”
“—No, you’ll choke to death on the smoke. Probably. Actually, maybe not. I don’t know.”
“—We’ll all have a good laugh over this. I’ll never hear the end of it.”
“That’s right. You never will.”
“Jesus Christ, Cameron!”
I regarded the cigarette between my fingers. “Guess that’s as close to praying as you can manage …” I thought aloud.
I aimed the little missile, cherry first.
“Cameron, no! NO, PLEASE, NO! WAIT—”
I tossed the cigarette through the hole. The fire caught.
The noise that followed was singularly amazing. There’s really no describing it, no comparisons to make, no metaphors one can assign to such a sound. But it was the sound of death—death of the aware, if it helps in any way—accompanied by the scraping of the handcuffs and the thumping of the concrete shoes.
I finished the job. I put the last bricks in place, checked the time. Still early.
I gathered my things, laughing quietly, and exited the library. It was Sunday now. The library would not open until Monday. I set the alarm.
For twenty-one years, she has remained there, the last monument to that old boiler room, completely undisturbed. May she remain so for all eternity.
Sleep well, you silly little bitch.
submitted by MarcusDamanda