A Possible Cover for “The Poet” and a question…

So I found a decent possible cover for The Poet, the second book in Faces In the Crowd. It isn’t an exact representation of  what I had in mind, but it is a good pic. What do you think?

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Although the man in this pic is a bit older, visually, than I had envisioned Connie looking, it has a similar feel to what I had in mind.

As far as The Price of Lust goes, I am still without a possible cover. I can’t seem to find a provocative/suggestive cover of a black-haired woman in a bathrobe/night robe on a balcony (or one that suggests that she is on a balcony). I guess this is just too much to ask as far as photos, especially those that I can use freely for cover art. In many ways, I want to cover suggestively erotic, but not exactly openly so. Does this make sense?

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Big News

Since I learned of  the demise of the vanity that first published my first three books, I have been on a mission to re-edit and re-release those books. As everyone knows, my first three books were published through PublishAmerica/America Star Books. For two years (2015 and 2016), they attempted to charge me a fee to “return” my publishing rights to me. at first, it was $50, the last time, it was somewhere around $80. Recently, I attempted to contact the company unsuccessfully. I tried to contact one of the reps that used to contact me with their “promo offers”, but the email came back undeliverable. I, then, got on their website and tried to contact the company directly…but the messages would not go through, which told me that the site was just running, but no one was overseeing it.

I, then, Googled the company and found that they had undergone a lawsuit, name change, and then a change in structure…before completely shutting down. This means that, legally, I could now publish my own books, especially the two that have been out of print for over a year. So, I am now proud to announce the following:

Seven By Jay: Seven Short Stories and So Here’s to Twilight and Other Poetry/ So Here’s to Twilight II: The Fall of the Grand Empire ( both originally published as a single book So Here’s to Twilight and Other Poems) are officially re-edited and re-released!

Seven By Jay can be found here: (first is Kindle version, second is paperback)

https://www.amazon.com/Seven-Jay-Short-Stories/dp/1549919091/

Here are the links to So Here’s to Twilight and Other Poetry:

https://www.amazon.com/So-Heres-Twilight-Other-Poetry/dp/1549900250/

and finally, to So Here’s to Twilight II: The Fall of the Grand Empire:

 

https://www.amazon.com/So-Heres-Twilight-II-Empire/dp/1549904957/

 

 

The Faust Syndrome: scenes 7-10

*sorry this is late*

 

Scene 7: open to Sam attempting his entry into politics.

Sam

(narrating)

After the death of Frankie’s girlfriend, I deemed it necessary to back off from my mischief in my own community. Instead, I decided to start my climb up the political ladder. I knew, being young, I would face a hard climb but I had an ally no one else had. I was backed by the very Devil himself and I had been given my first mission. Infiltrate Congress.

Sam

(campaigning)

…And I promise that I will do what is best for this community and the state as a whole. We will prosper as a state and a community. Let’s move this state forward.

The crowd cheers, drowning the rest of his speech out.

Sam

(narrating)

Many in the community saw sending me to Congress as a way to banish me from their midst without incurring my wrath. Indeed, most were so frightened of me that they thought I would visit them in the night if they didn’t do something that was in my best interest even if it meant betraying their country. So, they sent me away to Congress. And in my delusion, I believed that they had seen my true worth.

Pan from Sam packing to his arrival in DC.

I didn’t realize, nor did I care, that they would ultimately use this extended time to find all the damning evidence against me they could. I  did not care  because I believed that those who had evidence would be too terrified to give any testimony. I merely thought that the Devil would keep me from harm. I would be wrong in both respects.

Scene 8: Sam’s first day in Congress. He is observing, looking for the weakest members. These will be the ones he will blackmail and/or pull into his sphere of influence.

Sam (from San Diego)

This bill concerns me. Nowhere does it explain who benefits and who does not. It is a disaster waiting to happen. (gesturing) Our dear colleagues across the aisle expect us to simply accept, not to debate. In good conscience, I cannot back such an endeavor.

George (from Miami)

I agree  with my esteemed colleague from San Diego. This is the biggest cluster fuck I have ever witnessed…and to think that my dear friend Mike was involved in the formation of this pile of shit. How can my Republican colleagues believe that this could ever do America any good.

Shelly (from Maine)

(waving her arms wildly)

We need to work together on bills like this! This is not a partisan problem or a partisan subject. These affect everyone. When we treat these things as partisan privileges, we play God with the lives of millions!

Mike (from NY)

(Objecting to the debate)

I call for a vote!

Sam

(indifferent)

I second.

Senate Majority Leader

Sam Machivala, You are out of turn. (returning his attention to the rest of the Congressmen/women) Vote denied. We will be resuming tomorrow to debate and possibly submit for rewrites.

Fade from assembly. New scene: Sam’s apartment. He has just walked in the door .he loosens his tie and throws his suit coat onto the nearby couch.

Sam

(with relief, to himself)

Home sweet home. (sighs) Never thought legislating was so tiring. Or stressful. Not really hard, just tedious.  

As narration begins, continue with various scenes of Sam  debating in Congress.  

Sam

(narrating)

I would spend six years as a junior senator, then the last three as a senior.I backed several beneficial bills, but they only covered many more “greed” bills that I pushed my fellow senators to pass. And pushing was something I was very good at. Very good.

Fade to scene of Sam hiring a group of private investigators to shadow his colleagues. He gives them specific instructions as the narration continues.

My first year in office, I spent a lot of time researching my colleagues. Their  vices. Their family lives. Their deep, dark secrets–those things they tried to keep hidden.

I found each weakness and began to exploit it to my own benefit. I found out which senators were sleeping with the wives of their colleagues. Which ones frequented prostitutes.which ones were sleeping with underage interns. And so on.

I found, though, that no matter how different both sides believed they were, there was always something I could use against them. They were the same, under the private lamp. None had true family values.neither one was truly conservative. Neither were truly liberal. Both lied. And lies could be used as blackmail.

It was all so exhilarating! The thrill of discovery. The thrill of the threat. The follow through. The watching as a career ended in a crash.

Ah, but I came to realize that it was an everyday occurrence in Washington. The power players had already set that wheel in motion, but I learned to use it much more adeptly than the rest. And I used it to its fullest potential. Often.

Fade to scenes of Sam sing every conceivable piece of information as blackmail against his colleagues as narration continues. End of scene.

Scene 9: it has been about a year. Sam stumbles into a young lady at a social function. It is a gala party being held at her father’s house. He assumes that she is in her 20s, she is not. She is more like 17/18, but looks and dresses older.

Sam

(narrating)

I was barely a year in my first term when I met her. She was the eldest daughter of one of my esteemed colleagues, but I knew I had to have her. I didn’t want to make her my wife, though I would temporarily just to further my career, but I had to have her sexually. I didn’t care if she was willing, I just wanted her.

Sam

(seductively.)

I want you. I have to have you.

He pins her to the wall.

Lil

(willingly)

What’re you waiting for? I won’t fight you. I want it too.

Sam

(grabbing her wrist)

Come on. Let’s get away from this place. Somewhere quiet. Secluded.

Sam and Lil leave the party in his car. He drives her out into the country and pulls off on a backroad. Zoom out of the interior to an exterior shot of the car as the occupants crawl into the back. As the scene fades, the car begins to rock.

Sam

(narrating)

To my surprise, though she was barely eighteen, she turned out to be very willing. Even more, she was much as I was. Filled with malice and hate for all. She did not love me, no. rather, she grew to hate me as much as she hated all in Washington. But she knew a power to be reckoned with when she saw it. And I was.

Fade in on wedding scene, then morph into scene of Lil playing laying with a cabana/pool boy. Sam acta as if he doesn’t notice.

We were married after our second tryst. I looked the other way as she dallied with pool boys and other members of the elite, including many of my colleagues–which she would record so I could use the tapes as blackmail. Oh how she loved that trait in me! But she also looked the other way as I led my colleagues’ wives into lustful orgies and much more. I, too, recorded every tryst to use as blackmail if needed.

Fade from scenes of Lil laying with and kissing on various senators, with the final scene panning out to reveal a camera concealed in a closet, to scenes of Sam doing the same with those senators’ wives. Again, pan out to reveal a camera concealed in the closet, then fade out.

Yet, as much as I hated my wife, and as much as she hated me, we decided to try for an heir. We wanted our union to look good. I wanted someone to carry on my legacy of evil, she just wanted a child.but our attempts were unsuccessful, for very obvious reasons. Yet, the reason had not dawned on me.I merely thought that it was natural that she and I were having this kind of trouble. I had never paid very close attention in health or science classes.

Sam and Lil are discussing something as the camera fades in.

Sam

We need a family. We need to look normal, even though we are nowhere near being such.

Lil

(nodding)

I agree. Just because we hate each other, we can at least try to be as normal as possible in appearance. Besides. I wanna baby.

Montage scenes of Sam and Lil trying for a baby. End of scene.

Scene 10: Sam watches as Lil leaves to visit her parents. After she is gone, he sits down on the couch. Leaning back, he closes his eyes. After less than 30 seconds, he sniffs the air and sits up, opening his eyes and sits up. He gets up and looks  down the hall toward the bedroom. Belial stands in the hallway, hidden in the shadows.

Sam

(narrating)

At one point early in my career, on my birthday, Belial visited me. My remaining childless was weighing heavily upon my mind, as were a few other questions. His appearance, at a time when she wasn’t around, was so opportune.

Belial

(with a beguiling smile)

You look a little long in the tooth. Is there something I can do for you?

Sam

(irritable)

Yes. you can tell me why I cannot have children.

Belial

(with a hint of surprise, his eyebrow raised)

Is it not obvious?

Sam

(getting more irritated)

No, enlighten me.

Belial

(sighs)

You have no soul. Soulless people cannot propagate. They are sterile. You will either have to go childless or adopt. (shakes his head in wonderment, muttering to himself) I swear. Some humans are so dense. They just don’t get all that they are giving up until they want something to carry on their name. (Sam winces in pain, the comments made by Belial having their desired effect)

Sam

(half in retaliation, half in frustration)

You did not explain this to me, Bea. you stated, and I quote, ‘you will have everything your heart desired.’ And my heart desires a child.

Belial

(heavy and dark, venomous)

Never call me Bea. There are no pet names between us. I am your friend, true. But nicknames between business associates is very disrespectful.

Sam

(remorseful)

I am sorry.i did not realize that I could not use terms of endearment.

Belial

(with a pleased smile)

There is more than that on your mind, isn’t there?

Sam

(warily)

Yes, but I need you to not become angry.

Belial

(quizzically)

And why is that?

Sam

I have some (he pauses) philosophical questions that are, shall I say, a little on the religious side?

Belial

(sternly)

You were warned about these kind of questions.

Sam

Just bear with me, please.

Belial

(sighing, disappointed)

I will have to check with my master.

Belial vanishes for a few seconds, then reappears.

OK, but just this once and no more.

Sam

My beguiling friend, why must there always be a war between Heaven and Hell?

Belial

(mortified)

This question is forbidden! Why must you ask questions of such a manner? Do you know that my master could strike us both down for such blasphemous questions?

Sam

(remorseless)

Please, I beg you, I ask only for philosophical purposes. To fully understand my own part in this whole thing.

Belial

(rolling his eyes, hissing in disapproval)

Alright, but no more of these kinds of questions after this. We need no goading from you to hate all things of Heaven. The war between Heaven and Hell has been an endless one. We fight because we hate all that is good and right. All that Heaven represents. When Heaven created man, we resented the newly created man and vowed to destroy Heaven and rule man as we desired.

Sam

(pressing his luck)

What of the Bible? Is it really the truth?

Belial

Your truth is whatever the truth of our lord is, not the truth of the life you abandoned or that most hated book. (he grows impatient and angry)

Sam

(still pushing his luck)

Is there anything such as redemption?

Belial

(icily)

We are lords over all the earth. Not God. Not man. We determine who is and who is not worthy of your so-called redemption.

Sam

(acquiescing)

Then I am completely satisfied. No more foolish questions.

Belial

(with foreboding)

Let me warn you. There will be no more questions on this subject. Remember, Faustus was a real man and he was torn to shreds for his infractions of our golden rules. But your fate could be far worse if you continue to pester me with such detestable questions.

Sam grows quiet  and visibly abased. He bows his head for a few seconds. Then Belial speaks again.

(in a softer tone, but commanding)

Come kneel at my feet. It is time for something important.

Sam

(looking up momentarily, then rising and going over to do as he is asked)

What?

Belial

(smiling maliciously)

Why, it’s time for you to take the oath, pledging your complete loyalty to Hell and it’s Dark Prince.

Sam raises his right hand to swear the oath. Pan out from Belial and Sam as the narration begins.

Sam

(narrating)

And so, i pledged my undying loyalty. Yet, I had never been so loyal that I had never betrayed those I was supposed to be loyal to, and I would find that Hell’s minions were the same. At nineteen, The Devil had gained my soul. At twenty-three, he now had control of my very actions.

Fade to black. End of scene. End of act 1.  

The Faust Syndrome Act 1, Scenes 3 through 6

Scene 3: Pan to an event that happens before the library scene as narration continues Sam is in bed with the woman next door when his girlfriend (Sandy) walks in and catches them. A fight ensues and she walks out. lines here are ad libbed for sake of spontaneity. the argument is heated, but muted, being behind the narration. 

                                                     Sam

                                              (narrating)

                          I must digress a little. I was nineteen when the

Devil became the owner of my soul. In facts, the

                       eve that Belial came to visit me was the very eve

                      of my birthday and I had all but squandered the day.

                      I remember it all so well because I had just broken up

                      with my girlfriend for what I thought of as a betrayal.

                     She had not betrayed me, no, but my purposes.

She had caught me in a tryst with a married neighbor.

That was her only crime, and it really wasn’t a crime at all.

I had wronged her. I had destroyed her faith in my “love”.

But I didn’t love her. That was the problem. I didn’t love anyone.

fade to montage of scenes where Sam is with different women and chasing women as the narration continues.

                  I was far from being a loyal lover. Women were my greatest

                    vice. Or, should I say, my greatest weakness. I lusted after them.  

I stalked them. I even lusted after the ones I could not have.

And all I wanted from women was, well, sex. That, to me, was all

they were good for. Otherwise, they were a big waste of money and

time. Wine them, dine them, but make sure they go to bed with you in

the end–that was my philosophy.

It didn’t matter  whether they stayed or not, just as long as I got what

I wanted from the. I didn’t realize that it was all wrong, I just knew

that I wanted what they had to offer…even if they really weren’t offering.

I scoffed at my Christian upbringing, I was from wealth and privilege, I

didn’t need God or his rules.

Pan to scenes of Sam wining and dining women, then bedding them.Fade to scene of Sam making lewd gestures and laughing as he is driven past a church. Adlib lines to match scenes. 

In my young mind, women were there to do as I bid. My word,

where they were concerned, was law. If they didn’t give willingly,

I would take it. If I couldn’t take it, I would slander them. Shame them.

You might say that evil had already taken a fair root in my heart but not enough but not enough to destroy my soul. Yes, I had committed crimes against so many young ladies up to this point,but I had always been able to repent my evil away until I signed my soul away.

Scene 4: an hour after the pact is signed. Sam’s father’s fever breaks and he regains his health over the days that pass. Sam’s mother and father watch as their son begins to change. At first, it was subtle, then more apparent.

Sam

(Narrating)

Before I go on, I must tell you that my father regained his health in the days that followed. He had been near death for about a week,but for some reason, the fever broke and he was well almost within hours of my signing away my soul. He would remain a thorn in my side for over ten years and I would grow to loathe him. Yet, he was a good man and in the dark recesses of my mind, I knew that he just wanted to save his youngest son. Mama, too, could see the changes in me. How hard they tried to regain my soul for me!  

Fade to scene of Frankie’s bedroom. A dark corner. Frankie’s back is to the corner, he is getting ready for bed. Sam , in spectral form,appears in the dark corner and Frankie turns and jumps, spooked.

My first deeds, though, had nothing to do with my parents or women. It had everything to do with a friend who had “betrayed” me. yet , much like the situation with my ex-girlfriend, he had not really betrayed me.

Frankie

(spooked)

Jesus! Where did you come from?

Sam

(with an evil smile)

Nowhere. What are you nervous about, Frankie? Afraid I might do something?

Frankie

(starting to grow fearful)

How did you get in here? All the doors are locked. And the windows are all shut down tight with the shutters closed.

Sam

(maliciously)

Not everyone has to use doors or windows, Frankie. Sometimes all it takes is a guilty conscience or thought. Maybe I will visit your girl after I am done here.

Frankie

(defiant, yet fearful)

I don’t know what I have to be guilty of.I didn’t do anything to you.

Sam

(evilly)

Think, Frankie. Hard. You betrayed me. You told Susan where I was. She found me with Marla.

Frankie

(in desperation)

What the hell were you doing with Marla?

(suddenly realizing what the answer is. Shock suddenly registers in his eyes)

Oh God! Why’d you do that?!?

Sam

(coldly)

None of your business, Frankie. But I know you told her where I was. She told me.

Sam

(narration)

Of course, this last part had been a lie. She had not been told, nor had she told me that anyone had told her where I was. She had just simply stopped to see Marla and found us.

Frankie

(defending himself)

I did not tell her!!! Hell! I didn’t even know where you were! I swear it!

Sam

(coldly)

Too late, Frankie. No amount of swearing will absolve you this time. This time, you have betrayed me one too many times.

Sam forces Frankie to sit down and write a false confession  and suicide note. Sam forces Frankie to make a noose and hang himself.he waits until Frankie stops kicking and breathing, then leaves.

Sam

(narrating)

Over the next hour, I made him write out a false confession. It was a beauty,even though it was all lies. I made him write out a suicide note, then made him make his own noose. It had to be believable. Then, I made him hang himself. I waited until he stopped kicking and moving before I left.

Pleased with myself, I felt I needed to find a woman and celebrate. And who better than the girlfriend of my late friend? I smiled in anticipation.

Sam seeks out Frankie’s girlfriend and attempts to seduce her.  

Fiona

(angry)

Knock it off, Sam. I don’t love you. I never will. Go away. You can’t have me.

Sam

(viciously)

You will live to regret this.

Enraged, Sam returns home to plot fiona’s death.

Sam

(narrating)

I did not expect her to reject me. Devastated, I went back home to plot against her as well. Yet, I refrained from carrying it out right away. I wanted to let the shock of Frankie’s “suicide” go away. I wanted to punish her in other ways. I wanted to really hurt her.

Scene 5: fade to a later date. The sadness of Frankie’s death has seemingly eased for Fiona. Sam has been watching. Waiting. His eyes reveal that he believes that the time is right to bring his plot against her to fruition. He appears, one night, in her bedroom after she returns from a date with some friends. She is undressing when he appears.

Sam

(evilly)

Hello, Fiona. Have you missed me?

Fiona

(panic stricken)

Dear God, Sam! How the hell did you get in here?!?

Sam

(maliciously)

Magic!

Sam begins trying to force himself on her, pushing her toward the bed. As scene fades, she screams. Fade back in on scene of her lying on her bed, her hair messed, her face battered and bruised. She is crying. Sam stands where he had appeared earlier, an evil smile on his face.

Sam

(with an evil laugh)

We’ll continue this tomorrow night,  

(vanishes, leaving her to cry inconsolably)

Shakily, she goes to her desk and pulls out her diary and begins writing every event that has led up to this misfortune, including the rape itself.

Sam

(narrating)

Little did I know that she would be a witness to my crimes in ways even the Devil could not know. Yes, she would keep a detailed diary about me. The flags I raised in her mind. The horrible truth about what I would become.

She would keep a detailed record of every time I would visit her and every time I raped her. In the end, it would be one of the few documents that would seal my fate (pause) twenty years after her own death. The last night I would visit her, I would leave her a shattered mess. She lay, motionless, in a pool of her own blood after the beating I gave her as I made her do the things that would make her unravel. Unashamed, I left her that way.

Fade to scene of Fiona in a puddle of blood, Sam leaving. She regains consciousness after he leaves and seeks out her diary. After writing one last entry, she hides it where she knows Sam won’t find it. After this, she sits at her desk and writes a suicide note and hangs herself.

Sam

(narrating)

At some point in the night, after she had made one last entry in her secret book, and after hiding it well enough for me not to find, she wrote a suicide note and then hung herself to end the pain I had inflicted upon her. In her note, she left her family a clue as to where she had hidden the book but warned them not to look for it until I was well out of the community.

That night, I called upon a host of succubae to give me the pleasure I wanted in bed. I was addicted to their touch and their ways. So amazing were the nights they visited me that I forgot about women for a while. I had not been told that to call upon their pleasures would age me greatly over time, but I would not have cared anyway. I was young.what was a long life if I could not taste all the pleasures Hell had to offer?

Unashamed of the deeds I had committed, I went on with my life as if I had done nothing wrong. The town began to wonder what was going on, though. Two of their most beloved children had been taken from them for no reason. One had been savagely beaten and assaulted until she committed suicide, the other had simply committed suicide for no apparent reason. And I was the only one who knew why.

Fade to scene of Sam in his bedroom, surrounded by succubae. They are crawling on him, kissing him, and arousing him. Fade to black as the remainder of the narration continues. End of scene.

Scene 6: one year later. The anniversary of Belial’s first visit. Belial has returned.

Sam

(narrating)

I would spend the rest of my nineteenth year breaking into the houses of those I had gone to school with, taking all of their belongings and leaving clues that pointed away from myself. Small, petty stuff, but still another step in the direction of my own eternal damnation. I had no reservations. No pride. Just a vengeful  heart bent on hurting everyone around me.

I would receive a visit from Belial, once again, on the anniversary of our first meeting. Every birthday would be another friendly visit, goading me deeper into evil. Yet, he waited until all were asleep but me. I had stopped sleeping after Frankie’s death.

Belial

(hissing malevolently cheerful)

I see you have created quite a stir! Not bad!

Sam

(raising an eyebrow)

By whose measure?

Belial

(grinning evilly)

My master’s, of course. But he wants more. And he wanted me to deliver another message.

Sam

(looking at Belial quizzically)

And that might be?

Belial

He wanted me to remind you that, if you read the fine print, and I hope you did, that he will come for you at the appointed time. This means that he will come himself or send some of my coworkers to collect your body once your time runs out.

Sam

And how much time do I have?

Belial

(shrugging)

Roughly twenty years.

Sam

(frustrated)

Not enough.

Belial

(sneering maliciously)

No? You presume to tell my master how much time you need to do things?

Sam

(frowning angrily)

No, but if your master expects me to get into politics, he needs to give me until I am fifty.only one man has made it into the White House before they were forty.

Belial

Do you doubt the power of my master that you think he cannot influence enough to get you there before you are forty?

Sam

(shaking his head)

no , but I doubt the human willingness to follow his lead. Too many astute people who can’t be fooled by the likes of me.

Belial

(soothingly)

You tell a big enough lie and you can fool anyone into selling anything. Besides. We need you in office to raise our membership. We have fallen on some hard times and need you to recruit. Oh, and you won’t be in the White House until you go to Congress.

Sam

And you are telling me that I will be doing that soon, I take it?

Belial

(smiling evilly)

Sooner than you think.

 

A break in writing, mourning the sudden end of a promising partnership, and moving right along.

So I am taking a moment away from posting another couple of scenes for Faust. I need to address the sudden end to a project I had invested my whole heart into. It started six months ago with my stepping into the shoes of a publisher and publishing a book for a friend and client. Over those months, I toiled, while I was in classes, at attempting to get him a production option through the major studios (not realizing that they had already published their three-year schedules) and trying to secure a producer to help make the film project an actual movie.

I had a foot in the door with Amazon Studios. I had a producer and a directorial duo who were excited to to work on the project. Now, I am looking at a termination of the contract before I can even secure a studio’s commitment.

Update: The partnership is still intact, but the contract is to change so that he can bail should I not secure a studio by the end of the month. Tall order, but Either Netflix or Amazon Studios will definitely want this little gem.

Moving right along, I am going to try and have Faust complete around the same time as Soldiers. That way, I can make two deals at once.

The Faust Syndrome: Act 1, scenes 1 and 2

   The Faust Syndrome

Act 1, Scene 1:  open with head shot of Sam. His hair is dishevelled, his eyes wild-yet-vacant.  his head is moving, almost as if he is struggling against bonds. Slowly zoom in on Sam’s  eye until the camera appears to go into the pupil. Fade to a cloaked stranger descending into Hell. Even the demons give the  stranger wide berth. His purpose in Hell is made known as he is accosted by the Devil resulting in him gesturing to a figure, obscured by a multitude of ravens feasting upon it, affixed to an ‘X’ shaped cross. The Devil nods and allows the stranger to go to the figure.

                                                               Stranger

(in a strange tone)

be at ease, my child, and begin your tale. I shall record all and take it  to the world and let all be known.

Sam

(pained, yet not muffled by the ravens. Repentant)

For those who read this tale, please–I beg of you–do not make the same mistakes I have made, for the tale you are about to read is true. I know, I lived it. (pan out to reveal hands writing as he speaks) And now, I regret my ever having lived…more than I could ever imagine. I regret ever being so polluted by desire and aspirations that I do not know where to begin making amends.

fade to scene of a birth. The family is affluent. progress through growth from baby to young child. Young Sam has an unnatural gleam in his eye that hints at an unhealthy obsession with wealth and power. As the scenes progress, he pulls “Dr. Faustus”, “The Devil and Daniel Webster”, and historical legends (Julius Caesar and the Ides of March) from the shelves in the family library.he also pulls other books (random) from the shelves feverishly researching something. as the scenes progress, it is evident that Sam seems to slowly transform from a normal youth to someone dark and evil, though very much handsome.

                                                                 Sam

(narrating the scenes)

I was born to wealth and privilege, but began to have great ambitions long before most children know what they want to become as adults. Being a voracious reader, I knew well the classics Doctor Faustus and The Devil and Daniel Webster…and even classic tale of Julius Caesar and the Ides of March. Much of my youth was spent in my father’s library divided between devouring the classics and doing research.

As I read, my ambitions grew. My desires, all so selfish, festered within my soul–eating away at me. My aspirations blinded me so to the realities of life and the world around me. All three caused me to stray from the path of truth, though I believed I was in search of it.

I became completely enveloped in my ambition and desire that all else was darkened and only my self-created search for ‘enlightenment’ mattered. But it wasn’t enlightenment that I found. Nor was it the freedom I craved, nor the power that I thought was rightly mine. Instead, I was to find that my soul was bound to slavery and no longer my own. In haste, I would sign away something that never belonged to me in the first place…and become a vassal of the darkness, owned by the Devil himself.

Scene changes to a cold dismal November. A 20-year-old Sam is in the family library, desperately searching through antiques tomes, some that are huge, others that are small, for something that isn’t made directly known through his ad libbed mutterings. he is pale, making it apparent he is both ill and weak due to the lack of sleep caused by his fevered search. Moaning can be heard somewhere else in the mansion, rising from time to time over the howl of the wind. The calendar behind Sam is on Nov. 22. pictures of Sam’s five anonymous brothers hang on the sides of the nearest interior shelves.

It all happened on a cold November night, when I was in the midst of my delusional search and at my weakest.I sat in the library, surrounded by the books I hoped would bring me some understanding of the occult world, when he appeared. It wasn’t my father,for he ailed at death’s door in one of the rooms above; and my brothers had all left the comforts of the manse for lives of their own. How I envied them all that they had, all that they had worked hard for and earned. Their money, their notoriety, their wives, their children, their homes, their cars…ah, but I stray from the story.

He appeared, there in the library, perched high upon the wheeled ladder that hung from the furthest shelf–smoke and the smell of Hell itself upon him. His name, though not that of the Dark Prince,was only breathed in the confines of Hell.Yet, he was considered, at least in his own mind and heart, a Lieutenant of Hell’s legions and an expert at buying souls.

Scene 2: Sam is distracted by a smell. Brimstone. He searches the room with his eyes, turning in his chair, for the source of the odor. Sitting upon the top of the wheeled ladder farthest from him sits a dark stranger who had not been there before. He is evidently excited, almost overjoyed, at the sight of the stranger.

Belial 

(Smiling. In a mesmerizing, seductive voice)

Seems you need a friend. Maybe I can be of service…?

Sam

(rhetorically)

And what sort of person needs friends when friends betray

your plans and keep you from rising  to the level in life that you should?

Belial

(in an amused hiss)

Well said, child of man, but not all friends betray your trust.

I won’t. It is not my place. In fact, my master has sent me to make all

your wishes and dreams come true.

Sam

(with sarcasm)

Really?

 Belial

(in agreement)

Indeed.

Sam

(intrigued)

Then, what must I call you?

Belial

My true name Is far too long and unutterable for your tongue,

so you may call me Belial.

Sam

And the price for your friendship?

Belial

(evidently lying, but convincingly)

Nothing. But for what I can give you, my master only asks for

your soul.

Belial produces a contract out of thin air and lays it in front of Sam. He produces a quill as well and hands it to Sam.

Sam

(testing Belial)

And what can your master give me? I must know

before I sign anything.

Belial 

(perceiving Sam’s businesslike stance)

Very astute, you are, so I shall tell you. Powers supernatural,

strength of a thousand men, the reverence of your peers,

and fame throughout the world. Immortality, agelessness,

whatever your heart desires.

Sam

(decidedly)

Very well, friend, then give me the contract. I would

have this and more.

Belial

(pushing the document closer to Sam)

Here it is, but it has to be signed in your own blood

for it is a pact betwixt you and my master. (pauses for a moment)

Yet there are a few restrictions I must make you understand.

(pauses to ponder his words) You must never ask any questions

about my master, the workings of our realm, or bring up the name of the                            High Father or His Son in my presence or even after I am outside your                                                   presence. And believe me, we will know.

          Sam

(slightly amused)

Then I have no more use for going to church?

Belial

(in agreement)

None. Continue to go, and our agreement would be

jeopardized. We wouldn’t want that, now, would we?

Hands Sam a knife. Sam pricks his finger and puts the nib to his finger, allowing his blood to be sucked into the reservoir. Sam puts the pen to the document.

Sam

(signing his name)

Not at all.

The signed document vanishes in a whisp of smoke. Belial smiles at Sam. Sam is less than amused. INtrigued with this new business arrangement, he begins plotting with his new “friend” as narration continues. 

Sam

(narrating)

Still, being young and naive, I allowed my desires to override my sensibility and clear thinking. I had no interest in my own soul, though I should have been more astute, defensive, and cared most about the wellbeing of my soul. But I thought, ah, but what is a soul that I should care one way or the other what happens to it? And so, I signed away the most important piece of me…my soul. And for what? A bit of power otherwise earned by hard work and careful planning? Abilities that are taboo to man for the very reasons I wanted them? A few years’ notoriety that I could have gotten by fair means rather than foul? All so selfish of reasons that I rue the day I ever met Belial, though that is not his real name. Nor will I utter it, for to do so is to call upon him and the bargain I made with him.

Fade to scene in Hell, Sam on the cross-though hidden from view by the ravens that are pecking at the man beneath as he continues to narrate.

Oh, if I could but turn back the clock…go back and prevent myself from committing so foolish an action! But it is too late for such, so I must suffer the pangs of my torments which I bought with my selfishness and decadence. The unquenchable flames which lick my feet; the hellish ravens which peck at my belly, pulling flesh-if, indeed, you can call it flesh-from there and my limbs.The agony! But all of my making. All the while, the Devil sits with my captive soul, mocking it and laughing…leering at me with mocking eyes and false concern.God forgive me!

Pan to scene of a leering Devil holding a glowing globe in his hand. The Devil looks over, from time to time, at the figure on the cross.

the one desire that sealed my fate was for power unimaginable. Some would term such a desire a form of magic but power over the air and such appealed to me. Powers supernatural were the forbidden fruit I desired so much that I gave my one chance at Heavenly glory away. As for money and fame, they were-in my eyes-a plus that were fringe benefits of my bargain. Once signed, the document vanished in a puff of smoke and my soul was taken from me. for the first time in my life, I felt empty. More than empty. I felt as if my life had truly ended. Yet, my newfound journey had just begun.

the hole where my soul had been began to fill with a deep greed, an insatiable thirst for riches and power. My heart began to grow dark and evil; malice, avarice, lust, sloth, gluttony, and a multitude of other evils which I would have never taken on if I had continued my journey with my born companion, my soul. My ambitions now had no end.By fair means, or foul, I desired to get as much as I could. I lusted after what I could not have. I envied all who had more than I.  I plotted their demise with every waking breath.

 

 

“The Faust Syndrome” Act 1, Scene 1…the Choices…

Before I begin, I  want to make it clear that I will be writing three different versions to Act 1, Scene 1. After all three are up, I will ask which opening scene is best. With this in mind, let’s begin.

******

 

                       The Faust Syndrome

Act 1, Scene 1:  open with head shot of Sam. His hair is dishevelled, his eyes wild-yet-vacant.  his head is moving, almost as if he is struggling against bonds. Slowly zoom in on Sam’s  eye until the camera appears to go into the pupil. Fade to scene in Hell. Sam, nearly unrecognizable, being covered with ravens that seem to be  feasting on his flesh, is talking to an unseen visitor. Sam is affixed, bound, to an ‘x’ shaped cross, unable to move.

Sam

(pained, yet not muffled by the ravens. Repentant)

For those who read this tale, please–I beg of you–do not make the same mistakes I have made, for the tale you are about to read is true. I know, I lived it. (pan out to reveal hands writing as he speaks) And now, I regret my ever having lived…more than I could ever imagine. I regret ever being so polluted by desire and aspirations that I do not know where to begin making amends.

fade to scene of a birth. The family is affluent. progress through growth from baby to young child. Young Sam has an unnatural gleam in his eye that hints at an unhealthy obsession with wealth and power. As the scenes progress, he pulls “Dr. Faustus”, “The Devil and Daniel Webster”, and historical legends (Julius Caesar and the Ides of March) from the shelves in the family library.he also pulls other books (random) from the shelves feverishly researching something. as the scenes progress, it is evident that Sam seems to slowly transform from a normal youth to someone dark and evil, though very much handsome.

Sam

(narrating the scenes)

I was born to wealth and privilege, but began to have great ambitions long before most children know what they want to become as adults. Being a voracious reader, I knew well the classics Doctor Faustus and The Devil and Daniel Webster…and even classic tale of Julius Caesar and the Ides of March. Much of my youth was spent in my father’s library divided between devouring the classics and doing research.

As I read, my ambitions grew. My desires, all so selfish, festered within my soul–eating away at me. My aspirations blinded me so to the realities of life and the world around me. All three caused me to stray from the path of truth, though I believed I was in search of it.

I became completely enveloped in my ambition and desire that all else was darkened and only my self-created search for ‘enlightenment’ mattered. But it wasn’t enlightenment that I found. Nor was it the freedom I craved, nor the power that I thought was rightly mine. Instead, I was to find that my soul was bound to slavery and no longer my own. In haste, I would sign away something that never belonged to me in the first place…and become a vassal of the darkness, owned by the Devil himself.

*********

OK, that is the first possible intro scene.  Now, for the second possibility.

*******

 

Act 1, Scene 1: A cloaked stranger descends into Hell. Even the demons give the  stranger wide berth. His purpose in Hell is made known as he is accosted by the Devil resulting in him gesturing to a figure, obscured by a multitude of ravens feasting upon it, affixed to an ‘X’ shaped cross. The Devil nods and allows the stranger to go to the figure.

Stranger

(in a strange tone)

be at ease, my child, and begin your tale. I shall record all and take it  to the world and let all be known.

Sam

(pained, yet not muffled by the ravens. Repentant)

For those who read this tale, please–I beg of you–do not make the same mistakes I have made, for the tale you are about to read is true. I know, I lived it. (pan out to reveal hands writing as he speaks) And now, I regret my ever having lived…more than I could ever imagine. I regret ever being so polluted by desire and aspirations that I do not know where to begin making amends.

fade to scene of a birth. The family is affluent. progress through growth from baby to young child. Young Sam has an unnatural gleam in his eye that hints at an unhealthy obsession with wealth and power. As the scenes progress, he pulls “Dr. Faustus”, “The Devil and Daniel Webster”, and historical legends (Julius Caesar and the Ides of March) from the shelves in the family library.he also pulls other books (random) from the shelves feverishly researching something. as the scenes progress, it is evident that Sam seems to slowly transform from a normal youth to someone dark and evil, though very much handsome.

Sam

(narrating the scenes)

I was born to wealth and privilege, but began to have great ambitions long before most children know what they want to become as adults. Being a voracious reader, I knew well the classics Doctor Faustus and The Devil and Daniel Webster…and even classic tale of Julius Caesar and the Ides of March. Much of my youth was spent in my father’s library divided between devouring the classics and doing research.

As I read, my ambitions grew. My desires, all so selfish, festered within my soul–eating away at me. My aspirations blinded me so to the realities of life and the world around me. All three caused me to stray from the path of truth, though I believed I was in search of it.

I became completely enveloped in my ambition and desire that all else was darkened and only my self-created search for ‘enlightenment’ mattered. But it wasn’t enlightenment that I found. Nor was it the freedom I craved, nor the power that I thought was rightly mine. Instead, I was to find that my soul was bound to slavery and no longer my own. In haste, I would sign away something that never belonged to me in the first place…and become a vassal of the darkness, owned by the Devil himself.

*****

OK, so here you have the end of  the second possibility. On to the third.

******

Act 1, Scene 1:  open with head shot of Sam. His hair is dishevelled, his eyes wild-yet-vacant.  his head is moving, almost as if he is struggling against bonds. Slowly zoom in on Sam’s  eye until the camera appears to go into the pupil. Fade to a cloaked stranger descending into Hell. Even the demons give the  stranger wide berth. His purpose in Hell is made known as he is accosted by the Devil resulting in him gesturing to a figure, obscured by a multitude of ravens feasting upon it, affixed to an ‘X’ shaped cross. The Devil nods and allows the stranger to go to the figure.

Stranger

(in a strange tone)

be at ease, my child, and begin your tale. I shall record all and take it  to the world and let all be known.

Sam

(pained, yet not muffled by the ravens. Repentant)

For those who read this tale, please–I beg of you–do not make the same mistakes I have made, for the tale you are about to read is true. I know, I lived it. (pan out to reveal hands writing as he speaks) And now, I regret my ever having lived…more than I could ever imagine. I regret ever being so polluted by desire and aspirations that I do not know where to begin making amends.

fade to scene of a birth. The family is affluent. progress through growth from baby to young child. Young Sam has an unnatural gleam in his eye that hints at an unhealthy obsession with wealth and power. As the scenes progress, he pulls “Dr. Faustus”, “The Devil and Daniel Webster”, and historical legends (Julius Caesar and the Ides of March) from the shelves in the family library.he also pulls other books (random) from the shelves feverishly researching something. as the scenes progress, it is evident that Sam seems to slowly transform from a normal youth to someone dark and evil, though very much handsome.

Sam

(narrating the scenes)

I was born to wealth and privilege, but began to have great ambitions long before most children know what they want to become as adults. Being a voracious reader, I knew well the classics Doctor Faustus and The Devil and Daniel Webster…and even classic tale of Julius Caesar and the Ides of March. Much of my youth was spent in my father’s library divided between devouring the classics and doing research.

As I read, my ambitions grew. My desires, all so selfish, festered within my soul–eating away at me. My aspirations blinded me so to the realities of life and the world around me. All three caused me to stray from the path of truth, though I believed I was in search of it.

I became completely enveloped in my ambition and desire that all else was darkened and only my self-created search for ‘enlightenment’ mattered. But it wasn’t enlightenment that I found. Nor was it the freedom I craved, nor the power that I thought was rightly mine. Instead, I was to find that my soul was bound to slavery and no longer my own. In haste, I would sign away something that never belonged to me in the first place…and become a vassal of the darkness, owned by the Devil himself.

***********

So there you have all three versions, all three possible beginnings. all three are good, but which is the best possible beginning? Please give input.