Poplife: Issue #22

Fri, July 5th, 2002 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
Matt Fraction, Columnist

SHEENFUCKINGSHEEN

PAGE ONE

[Good Damn Eats.]
Good Damn Eats.
PANEL ONE
We're outside of the world-famous ROSCOE'S CHICKEN AND WAFFLES on Pico Blvd., somewhere in Los Angeles. The parking lot is full, people move in and out. The sun has just begun to set.

NO DIALOGUE

PANEL FOUR
FRACTION and a random mishmash of the GRAMMARPORN-LA crew absolutely overflow a booth. CHU, HAN, DAVID ALLSPAW, TOM GASTALL, CHAD WARD, JANET HARVEY, SAM HUMPHRIES, and FRACTION sit elbow to elbow, some in chairs around the table. Before them, on Roscoe's plates, are about 18 whole dead chickens and massive piles of waffles and pancakes. Everyone not eating is waiting for food.

NO DIALOGUE

PANEL THREE
FRACTION looks down at his plate, sad.

NO DIALOGUE

PANEL FOUR
FRACTION'S POV on his plate: there's still a leg and a good bit of some pancake left over. NOT waffles-PANCAKES. This is Important.

FRACTION (1):     SHIT, I HIT THE WALL.

FRACTION (2):     I CAN'T FINISH.

PANEL FIVE
FRACTION, cupping his face in his hand, glancing over at HAN, who tries to figure out exactly how he's going to consume his food. Half a chicken, fried, and two waffles.

NO DIALOGUE

PANEL SIX
On HAN, still wondering just exactly HOW hungry he actually is, let alone how he's going to navigate eating all this food on a table overwhelmed with plates.

NO DIALOGUE

PANEL SEVEN
FRACTION turns to HAN with a serious business proposition; HAN contemplates it seriously.

FRACTION:     TEN BUCKS IF YOU JUST EAT IT LIKE A SANDWICH.

HAN (1):     …

HAN (2):     …BONES, TOO?

PAGE TWO

PANEL ONE
OUTSIDE of Roscoe's now, by the front door as the GPLA squad tries to figure out what's next. CHU, CHAD, SAM and FRACTION are on-panel. Everyone is basking in a food-induced sugar coma; calls are being made; plans orchestrated.

CHU:     --BUT, NO-- THE CREDITS COME OUT OF A POOL OF SEMEN, AND--

FRACTION:     HAVE YOU READ SPEED TRIBES?

PANEL TWO
On FRACTION, sitting on a small brick wall and smoking as he talks.

FRACTION:     THERE'S THIS BIT ABOUT A PORN STAR CALLED 'CHOCO BON-BON,' AND--

PANEL THREE
SAM HUMPHRIES, tall, wiry, and hugely 'fro'ed, chimes in.

SAM:     CHOCO BON-BON! THE GUY WITH THE DARK TESTICLES!

PANEL FOUR
TWO SHOT on FRACTION and SAM, giddy and laughing at the minute obscurities of Japanese Male Porn ephemera, and of most likely being the only two occidental guys in LA so enthused by "Choco Bon-Bon."

FRACTION:     RIGHT! RIGHT! BECAUSE THE BLUE DOTS--

SAM:     --YOU CAN STILL SEE--

FRACTION:     --RIGHT!

SAM:     --I LOVE CHOCO BON-BON!

PANEL FIVE
PULL BACK on the whole scene. SAM and FRACTION have just made things weird and uncomfortable (as if that were possible) for the rest of the GPLA crew, who suddenly look at their watches, at their feet, at the sky, anywhere.

NO DIALOGUE

PAGE THREE

PANEL ONE
We're outside of some damn hipster bar or the other. It looks like a roadhouse from the outside. Cars overfill the parking lot. GPLA wanders en masse towards the front door.

CHU:     "DUDES GONE SAD!"

FRACTION:     "YOU WON'T BELIEVE WHAT THESE SAD ALCOHOLICS WERE UP TO WHEN WE LEFT THEM DRUNK AND ALONE IN THEIR BASEMENTS…"

[Chinese Democracy.]
Chinese Democracy.
PANEL TWO
INSIDE the bar now. It's decorated the way that a stoner decorates his attic bedroom in his parents house. The GPLA are spread out between the bar and two tables. The clientele are all Not Really Waiters.

MUSIC:     TAKE ME DOWN TO THE PARADISE CITY

PANEL THREE

At the BAR stand FRACTION and JANET HARVEY, waiting for the BARTENDER-- who Isn't Really A Bartender-- to wander back their way.

MUSIC:     WHERE THE GRASS IS GREEN AND THE GIRLS ARE PRETTY

PANEL FOUR
FRACTION grins, nodding his head with the music. He shoots the devil-sign to JANET.

MUSIC:     OH WON'T YOU PLEASE TAKE ME HOME

CAPTION:     EDITOR'S NOTE: FAITHFUL FRACTION ISN'T HITTING ON JANET-- HE'S RIGHTEOUSLY ROCKIN' OUT AND NOTHING MORE! -- Monogamous Matt

PANEL FIVE
JANET responds in kind, rocking out.

MUSIC:     TAKE ME DOWN TO THE PARADISE CITY…

PANEL SIX

PULL BACK, ANGLE ON FRACTION and JANET, devil-signs held high, heads banging as they rocking out sans irony.

MUSIC:     WHERE THE GRASS IS GREEN AND THE GIRLS ARE PRETTY…

PAGE FOUR

PANEL ONE
OUTSIDE on the LOS ANGELES CONVENTION CENTER, right next door to the spacious and strange STAPLES CENTER that you've heard so much about. CABS and BUSSES pull up and out, people rush towards the doors. FRACTION is getting out of a cab curbside.

NO DIALOGUE

PANEL TWO


INSIDE the main doors of the convention center. All sorts of booths chirp and honk for the attention of passers-by; a row of black ticket counters form a barrier between the entryway and the show itself. A Disney-esque serpentine line wraps from one counter. Over these counters are signs: PRE-PAY, PRE-REGISTERED, VIP, INTERNET REGISTER.

FRACTION waits in line.

NO DIALOGUE

PANEL THREE
ON FRACTION, leaning over the counter, finally at the head of the line. The Booth-Drone searches a database for his pass to the convention.

FRACTION:     F-R-A-C-T-I-O-N. FRACTION.

BOOTH DRONE:     NOPE, SORRY.

PANEL FOUR
FROM BEHIND the BOOTH as the BOOTH-BOT points down the row of booths to his RIGHT. FRACTION, like a dog, looks at his finger, not at what he's pointing at.

FRACTION (1):     I'M ON A PANEL, SO-

BOOTH BOT:     OH, WHAT YOU WANT TO DO IS GO TO THE V.I.P. COUNTER AND TELL THEM THAT.

FRACTION (2):     V.I.P.?

PANEL FIVE
FRACTION stands underneath the VIP BOOTH, going through the process again.

FRACTION:     F-R-A-C-T-I-O-N. FRACTION.

BOOTH DRONE 2:     YOU'RE NOT IN THE SYSTEM.

FRACTION:     I'M SPEAKING ON A--

PANEL SIX

FRACTION'S POV on BOOTH DRONE 2, typing away.

BOOTH DRONE 2 (1):     OH, YOU'RE A PANEL-SPEAKER?

BOOTH DRONE 2 (2):     I'LL HOOK YOU UP WITH A PASS, THEN.

FRACTION (OP):     UM…

PANEL SEVEN
The BOOTH DRONE hands FRACTION his should-be-very-very-expensive-Bad-Ass-Pass to the BDA Conference with one hand, and a FREE TOTE BAG with the other.

FRACTION:     YOU WANNA SEE MY ID OR CALL SOMEONE?

BOOTH DRONE 2:       NAH. HERE'S YOUR TOTE BAG.

PANEL EIGHT
BIRD'S EYE, ANGLE DOWN. FRACTION has more or less bluffed his way into the L.A.C.C. and now stands with his little badge and stupid-ass tote bag, marveling at what he just pulled off. He's looking around and realizing that the show appears rather anemic.

FRACTION:     OKAY.

PAGE FIVE

PANEL ONE
We're watching a movie screen. On it are scenes from Takeshi Miike's HAPPINESS OF THE KATAKURIS plays. It's a family musical of sorts. This shot is of a little gray gremlin tearing the uvula out of a woman's throat.

WOMAN:     MY UVULA!

[Richard Sagawa: Bombing Iraq for his Stepmom Queen Elizabeth.]
Richard Sagawa: Bombing Iraq for his Stepmom Queen Elizabeth.
PANEL TWO
ON SCREEN: We see RICHARD SAGAWA, dressed to the nines in a US Naval Officer Uniform, soaring through the air. As he strikes a pose mid-air, the windows of the hotel behind him shatter.

SAGAWA:     I LOVE YOU!

PANEL THREE
ON SCREEN: an OVERHEAD shot of RICHARD SAGAWA and the DAUGHTER KATAKURIS as they lie back over a field of stars. Weird sub-dwarves in lederhosen float about. SAGAWA is inexplicably wearing a pair of OAKLEY OVER-THE-TOP shades.

NO DIALOGUE

PANEL FOUR
ON SCREEN: another OVERHEAD shot, angling down on the entire KARAKURI family (MOM, DAD, SON, DAUGHTER, and GRANDDAUGHTER), sans GRANDFATHER who has ascended to heaven. They smile, and thrust a big THUMBS UP into the air.

KARAKURI FAMILY:     YEAH!

PANEL FIVE
LOW ANGLE on FRACTION, HAN, and CHU, staring open-mouthed and wide-eyed at the screen. They almost have tears in their eyes.

CHU:     OH MY GOD.

PAGE SIX

PANEL ONE
INSIDE a small room somewhere within the L.A.C.C. MIKE and KANE sit in front of a projection screen and have wireless microphones clipped to their shirt. FRACTION is sitting down in the empty seat next to them.

MIKE:     …FROM MK12.

PANEL TWO
PUNCH IN on the THREE. FRACTION is fidgeting with his mic.

MIKE:     SO, I WONDER IF YOU COULD TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE PIECE.

FRACTION:     SURE.

PANEL THREE
FRACTION'S POV: a bank of spotlights shining into his face. Beyond them, the crowd watching and listening to him are one dark mass of shadow.

FRACTION:     BLAH BLAH AFTER EFFECTS BLAH BLAH…

PANEL FOUR
FRACTION'S POV: his fingers fidgeting still with the wireless mic, trying to find the best place to clip it. The SFX and DIALOGUE Balloons are intertwined.

SFX:     RUSTLE RUSTLE RUSTLE

FRACTION:     MAYA LIVE

SFX:     RUSTLE RUSTLE RUSTLE

PANEL FIVE
BACK on the WHOLE PANEL, left to right MIKE, KANE, and FRACTION. FRACTION still fucking around with the goddamn stupid piece of shit microphone.

MIKE:     SO, WE GAVE YOU THE IDEA, AND YOU GUYS REALLY RAN WITH IT.

SFX:     RUSTLE RUSTLE RUSTLE RUSTLE-

PANEL SIX

SAME, only there is NO SOUND and FRACTION has looked up in disbelief from his microphone troubles and stares at MIKE.

NO DIALOGUE

PAGE SEVEN

PANEL ONE
OUTSIDE the Convention Center now at a sort-of outdoor seating area. Movers and shakers hustle and bustle, pressing the flesh and talking on celphones. FRACTION, THE REP, and a BUSINESS CASUAL GUY sit at a small, round table, washed out by the noon-time LA sun. FRACTION is propping his head up with his hand.

B.C.G:     WHAT I BELIEVE IS THAT THE :30-SECOND AD IS DEAD…

PANEL TWO
CLOSE on the B.C.G. as he talks, trying to hold his conversation together while outlining the Vision Thing at the same time. The expression on his face suggests he's been doing this a lot lately.

B.C.G.:     …MARKET'S CURRENT CONDITION, CORPORATE CLOSINGS AND BUDGET CUTBACKS…

PANEL THREE
PULL BACK again. FRACTION is nearly melting out of his chair, B.C.G. is leaning in-this is the POINT of his ramble. THE REP leans in, listening attentively.

B.C.G.:     …A CONGLOMERATE OF SORTS, NATIONWIDE, WITH A CORPORATE STRUCTURE YET THE TALENT AND VISION OF--

PANEL FOUR
ON FRACTION, his posture is unchanged.

FRACTION:     YOU KNOW THE REASON WHY CORPORATE CULTURE CAME UP WITH THE PHRASE "THINK OUTSIDE OF THE BOX"?

PANEL FIVE
TWO-SHOT, FRACTION and THE REP. THE REP rolls his eyes to Heaven as FRACTION, to THE REP'S chagrin, scuttles the meeting.

FRACTION (1):     BECAUSE THEY ARE THE BOX. THEY EXIST TO MAINTAIN STATUS QUO, NOT TO ENCOURAGE ANY SORT OF CHALLENGING WORK.

FRACTION (2):     THAT'S WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO.

PANEL SIX

BACK on the THREE-SHOT again. SILENCE. THE REP looks to B.C.G. apologetically. The B.C.G. shakes it off.

NO DIALOGUE

PANEL SEVEN
FRACTION'S POV, as B.C.G. leans in. He's trying to be polite, but he's hung himself and knows it. Polite-pissed. A little sinister under the guise of friendly.

B.C.G.:     AT WHAT POINT DID YOU HEAR ME SAY "CORPORATE CULTURE"?

PANEL EIGHT
ON FRACTION, still unmoved from his original slouch. A little grin: Professional? No. But Mission Accomplished nevertheless.

FRACTION:     YEAH, WELL.

PANEL NINE
BACK to the three shot. FRACTION unmoved, THE REP facing B.C.G., the B.C.G. turning to THE REP in kind-- trying to convince themselves that this meeting isn't a waste of time.

THE REP:      I THINK WHAT HE MEANS TO SAY IS--

[How To Get Out Of Shitty Meetings.]
How To Get Out Of Shitty Meetings.
FRACTION:     --HEY, DID YOU GUYS SEE MINORITY REPORT?

PAGE EIGHT

PANEL ONE
OUTSIDE of the MAYAN THEATRE, an old-time movie palace in downtown LA that's decorated after a Mayan Temple. Neon sign, banner marquee, the whole bit. A steady stream of taxis dump people out and pick people up, big BOUNCER GUYS stand with clipboards by a velvet rope, etc. FRACTION leans against the outside wall, smoking and trying to shake the bass out of his head.

SFX:     WHUMP WHUMP WHUMP WHUMP WHUMP

PANEL TWO
FRACTION in foreground, opening his wallet and trying to figure out if he has enough cash to cab it back to his hotel in Santa Monica. In the BACKGROUND, a LANKY GERMAN KID with a swathe of BLUE HAIR notices him.

SFX:     WHUMP WHUMP WHUMP WHUMP WHUMP

PANEL THREE
FULL on FRACTION and the GERMAN, who has approached him innocently. FRACTION looks up from his wallet, the GERMAN is all nervous and polite like he's afraid to interrupt what's going on. He's about three feet taller than FRACTION.

GERMAN:      EXCUSE, PLEASE? YOU ARE FROM MK12?

SFX:     WHUMP WHUMP WHUMP WHUMP WHUMP

PANEL FOUR
FRACTION looks up and smiles.

FRACTION:     YEAH, YEAH I AM.

SFX:     WHUMP WHUMP WHUMP WHUMP WHUMP

PANEL FIVE
The GERMAN is all bright eyes and smiles.

GERMAN:      I SAW THE, Hm. THE FILM? FOR THE PANEL?

SFX:     WHUMP WHUMP WHUMP WHUMP WHUMP

PANEL SIX

OVER THE SHOULDER on FRACTION, embarrassed and flattered.

FRACTION:     OH, YEAH. YEAH, THAT WAS ME.

GERMAN (1):      I REALLY, HM. I LIKE, I LIKE-

GERMAN (2):      I DON'T HAVE, HM. THE TALKING? THE WORDS?

SFX:     WHUMP WHUMP WHUMP WHUMP WHUMP

PANEL SEVEN
OVER THE SHOULDER up on the GERMAN as he and FRACTION try to hold a conversation.

FRACTION:     NO, NO, YOU'RE DOING FINE. THANK YOU.

GERMAN (1):      THANK YOU. THANK YOU. YOU SEE, THE WORK, YOUR WORK.

GERMAN (2):      HM. HOW DO… SOUL?

SFX:     WHUMP WHUMP WHUMP WHUMP WHUMP

PANEL EIGHT

BACK on a WIDE TWO SHOT as the GERMAN and FRACTION continue to have a conversation with key words and hand gestures, the flow of people continuing in and out of the Mayan.

SFX:     WHUMP WHUMP WHUMP WHUMP WHUMP

PAGE NINE

PANEL ONE
ANGLE through the FRONT WINDSHIELD of a YELLOW CAB. A nebbishly little guy in a white dress shirt and black vest drives. FRACTION leans up from the back seat, sticking his ear through the window in the plexi-glass barrier. The radio drones on quietly.

[John Entwhistle, Rest In Peace.]
John Entwhistle, Rest In Peace.
CABBIE (1):      IS TOO BAD. IS TOO FUCKING BAD.

CABBIE (2):      JOHN ENTWHISTLE, MAN. THE FUCKING WHO. IS ALL TOO BAD.

FRACTION:     YEAH.

PANEL TWO
REVERSE, through the BACK WINDSHIELD. FRACTION leans forward, etc. etc. Los Angeles at night all around, miles of strip mall remixed with Barrio soul and broken by sprawl.

CABBIE:      YOU LIKE THE FLOYD? THE PINK FLOYD?

FRACTION:     NAH, MAN. I LIKE THE KINKS. YOU?

PANEL THREE

SAME as PANEL ONE, only FRACTION is grinning, trying not to laugh. The CABBIE is looking in the rear-view mirror.

CABBIE:      NO, LAKERS.

PANEL FOUR

SAME as PANELS ONE and THREE, only FRACTION is speechless.

NO DIALOGUE

PANEL FIVE
SAME as PANEL TWO, only FRACTION is leaning back in his seat, resting his head and staring up and out of the rear windshield.

FRACTION:     CAN YOU TURN THIS UP?

PANEL SIX

ANGLE ON the CAB, racing down Pico Blvd. The radio is on.

RADIO:     THEY CALL ME THE SEEKER… I'VE BEEN LOOKIN' LOW AND HIGH.

PAGE TEN

PANEL ONE
WIDE on FRACTION, sitting in an airline seat in the middle of an empty, three-chair row. He stares up and ahead blankly. The rows behind him are intermittently occupied.

NO DIALOGUE

PANEL FOUR
FRACTION's POV on the NO SMOKING/FASTEN SEATBELT SIGN over him. BOTH are illuminated.

NO DIALOGUE

PANEL THREE
BACK on FRACTION. Eager. Antsy.

NO DIALOGUE

PANEL FOUR
BACK on the sign. The illumination on FASTEN SEATBELTS has gone away.

SFX:      DING.

PANEL FIVE
BACK on FRACTION'S seat, but he's nowhere to be seen.

VO:      THE CAPTAIN HAS TURNED OFF THE 'FASTEN SEATBELT' SIGN…

PANEL SIX

FROM OVERHEAD, as though the CAMERA was an oxygen mask almost. FRACTION has immediately stretched out across the vacant row he occupies, curled up to fit the best he can. One boot stretches out into the aisle.

VO:     …YOU MAY NOW REMOVE YOUR SEATBELTS AND MOVE FREELY AROUND THE CABIN.

PAGE ELEVEN

PANEL ONE
FROM OVERHEAD, angling DOWN on FRACTION and KELLY SUE lying in bed together. It's almost pitch-black, the only light in the room creeps through streetlights outside their windows. KELLY SUE is dead asleep, FRACTION is staring at CAMERA, wide awake.

NO DIALOGUE

PANEL FOUR
SAME as PANEL ONE.

FRACTION:     PANCAKES.

PANEL THREE


SAME as PANEL ONE, only KELLY SUE has opened her eyes and looks at FRACTION.

KELLY SUE:      …what?

[Don't talk to your fiance about pancakes at three in the morning.]
Don't talk to your fiance about pancakes at three in the morning.
PANEL FOUR
SAME as PANEL ONE, only KELLY SUE tries to follow what the hell FRACTION is talking about.

FRACTION (1):     AT ROSCOE'S. I HAD PANCAKES INSTEAD OF WAFFLES.

FRACTION (2):     PANCAKES ARE WAY MORE FILLING THAN WAFFLES.

FRACTION (3):      THAT'S WHY I COULDN'T FINISH ALL OF IT.

PANEL FIVE
SAME, only KELLY SUE is already falling back asleep. FRACTION has a dumb grin of satisfaction on his face.

KELLY SUE:      THAT'S GREAT, MATT.

FRACTION:     YEAH.

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