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 Posted:   Jun 2, 2001 - 4:02 AM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

Two men have just sat down at the bar of a mostly non-descript but clean well-lighted place. A clock overhead and behind reads "2:12" at what is most surely late at night/early in the morning. We say "most surely" because the place also contains a few of just the sort of patrons you'd expect to see hanging around a dive this late at night...or again, early in the morning. The bartender approaches while inevitably drying a glass with the inevitable towel draped over shoulder.

BARTENDER: Yeah, what'll it be?

1st MAN: Coors Light on tap, shot of Wild Turkey?


2nd MAN: I'd like a Manhattan on the rocks with a dash of bitters.

BARTENDER (smiling): Sure.

1st: Manhattan? Whew.

2nd: Hmm?

1st: Nothing. Just kind of threw me, a Manhattan and it being this late and all.

2nd: That is the pleasure of not being the one who drove all the way down here just to have a drink and talk and drive back in the same night.

1st: True. But a "dash of bitters"? You talk a lot older for your age, you know?

2nd: And you a lot younger.

1st: Say what?

2nd: Wild Turkey with a light beer chaser.

1st (grinning): OK, OK.

2nd: I will never get used to this thing you do.

1st: And what, pray tell, is this thing that I do?

2nd: Showing up on film music peoples' doorsteps.

1st: Sorry, Mr. Prosecutor, but objection denied. I called you up first.

2nd: I thank you for that.

1st: Yeah, but it's more fun showing up just like that. You should try it sometime.

2nd: I don't travel much, as you know.

1st: I once drove from Jersey to Boston one night just to pick up a roast beef sandwich!

2nd: I shouldn't believe you. On second thought, I could if you said a pastrami on rye with mustard.

1st: Ah yes, a pistol.

2nd: I miss that.

1st: Oh, nobody misses it more than me, there isn't a decent deli or bakery down here for nothing. But my old buddy Ritter calls up on a Friday night, says "You know that roast beef sandwich you keep talking about? We’re going." So he comes by, picks me up, we grab a few hours sleep in this oversized Lincoln or Buick or whatever behind a schoolhouse in Putnam, Connecticut--PUTNAM, CT, sheesh—and we end up driving into Boston for the sandwich and head back.

2nd: Is it as good as the pastrami at Carnegie?

1st: Was. Closed down a few years ago after like 50 years. This place called Elsie's in Cambridge made the best roast beef sandwich in the world. Bar none.

(The bartender drops off the drinks and leaves them to themselves)

1st: Cheers.

2nd: Cheers.

1st (in his best Sheldon Leonard impression after downing the shot and taking a swig): We serve hard drinks for people who want to get drunk fast!

2nd: You'll never change.

1st: Can't help it, there's something about that Messageboard that makes me go movie.

2nd: I bet you do it all the time.

1st: In my mind, yes, but I am reticent; oh yes, I am reticent! 'Cept at work...sometimes.

2nd: And in places like Detroit. If memory serves, Mr. Rutherford's probably still pissed that you beat him to the punch with the Beatles line.

1st: It was McCartney; "We're so sorry, Uncle Albert."

2nd (amused and shaking his head): I don't know...

1st: Oh don't give me that. I hear tell you've got a photographic memory and an ear to go with it, too!

2nd: I don't use them to drive all night for a roast beef sandwich. (He catches the bartender's eye and points to his drink)

Double it.

1st: Me too. Then how do you write?

2nd: I dont believe you have to travel all over the country like Kerouac in order to write.

1st: This is a complete reverse from that beatnik kid...Michael Fitzsimmons! Peggy Sue Got Married. Could I only hope that you're into Hemingway, too?

2nd: Hemingway, if I recall, hated Hollywood for what they did to his novels.

1st: Yeah, gave them sappy happy endings. Which I KNOW you can't tolerate.

2nd: To be honest, I haven't read much Hemingway.

1st: Get out!

2nd: Believe what you want, but I haven't.

1st: The thing that kills me--really kills me--is the way they all say he was obsessed with death; "Nada pues nada, nada, nada, nada." Bull#$%^! He saw death for what it was, a crime against life! Go read A Day's Wait. Great short story. It'll only take you maybe 10 minutes. And then try and convince me he was obsessed with death. Bull#$%^! He was obsessed with life.

2nd: The fact that he ended up blowing himself away would seem to make your opinion difficult to defend.

1st: Oh I don't know. He was a walking contradiction, couldn't come to grips with it all, I suppose. I don't know why the name Harry Townes should matter but he died last week and I knew who he was.

2nd: Harry Townes?

1st: He was 86, starred in a couple of Twilight Zones.

2nd: Like The Trouble With Templeton?

1st: Sheee, no, but you would recognize him from that Star Trek episode...oh, damn, the one with "Landru".

2nd: The Return of the Archons.

1st: Now I AM impressed. Yes! "Festival, festival...You are not of the body!"

2nd: Here's to the late, great DeForest Kelley. (They raise high their glasses and toast) Who did he play?

1st: Townes? I don't know the character but one look and you would know. --Hee-hee, you know there's a Landru Apartments complex right near where I live, I ride past the place on my bike all the time, drives me nuts!

2nd: I...can...just...imagine.

1st: But when I think of Harry Townes I think of him in the Twilight Zone as this prosecutor saying "It's a roast! That's a roast!" in an episode--can't think of the title...that starred Dennis Weaver. Dennis Weaver. Mr. Everyman.

2nd: I know Dennis Weaver; Duel.

1st: One and the same. You know I saw that when it first aired?

2nd: Hmm?

1st: Yeah, think I was around 15.

2nd: What year was that?

1st: Like '70, '71.

2nd: The early days.

1st: Huh?

2nd: Of TV movies.

1st: Oh, yeah. I caught it by accident, just turned the TV on and there it was. Felt like a nice, long Twilight Zone episode.

2nd: I could see why.

1st: Spielberg. Who knew? The funny thing is, I mean I didn't think of this then I was a kid for goshsakes, but I wonder if there really was a guy in a truck stalking Weaver.

2nd: Go on.

1st: I mean sure, you take the film literally like you could the Twilight Zone, but maybe the author had something else in mind. Like maybe the trucker was a reflection of his fears.

2nd: Or his dark side.

1st: Uh huh. Personified.

2nd: Interesting.

1st: Isn't it.

(They down their drinks, motion for another round and proceed)


[This message has been edited by Howard L (edited 19 June 2001).]

 Posted:   Jun 2, 2001 - 5:41 AM   
 By:   Chris Kinsinger   (Member)

..ooooooooh, HOWARD!

"Dual" AND "Duel"...

I can't WAIT to read the rest, so DON'T MAKE ME WAIT, OK???

Now for a few corrections and amplifications to your text:

2:12 AM???

Howard, bars close at 2 AM sharp, right? LAST CALL is at 1:50 Am.

Since when does "#$96^!" spell SHITE???



Townes was in almost EVERY TV show during the 1960's! He guested on The Outer Limits, Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Perry Mason, HERE COMES LAZLO!"> and Thriller.
The two Twilight Zone episodes that he appeared in were "Shadow Play" and "The Four Of Us Are Dying".
On Star Trek, he played "Reger" in the episode "Return Of The Archons".

There is more than anyone ever wanted to know about Harry Townes...

 Posted:   Jun 2, 2001 - 5:59 AM   
 By:   Mark Hatfield   (Member)

Hiya, Mr. L.

More installments as you get 'em done, please.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

--- The Senator

 Posted:   Jun 2, 2001 - 6:59 AM   
 By:   Chris Kinsinger   (Member)

Senator Hatfield, I URGE you to sign an EXECUTIVE ORDER, forcing Howard L to complete this work IMMEDIATELY, under penalty of death!

You can do this.

 Posted:   Jun 3, 2001 - 4:07 AM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)" TARGET=_blank>

 Posted:   Jun 3, 2001 - 6:07 AM   
 By:   Chris Kinsinger   (Member)

"Mitchell was one of the first to cast doubt on what turned out to be an intricately detailed fabrication."

Get on with it, Mr. L...

 Posted:   Jun 3, 2001 - 9:24 AM   
 By:   ManinDonutShop   (Member)

I'm missing something. What does Kaycee have to do with anything?

 Posted:   Jun 8, 2001 - 7:52 AM   
 By:   Willard Knight   (Member)

2nd: You think H Rocco and DANIEL2 are the same person, don't you?

1st: Cards on the table?

2nd: Cards on the table.

1st: I need munchies on the table first. And I gotta pee. Not necessarily in that order. Hang on.

(He departs, corrals the bartender for a second, motions toward his drinking partner and heads off into what we presume is the restroom; we hear the sound of a coin dropping into a slot, followed by Fred Astaire singing By Myself; the bartender drops off the next round, places a small bowl of pretzels in the middle; the 2nd Man sits there quietly, sips and studies the bartender for a moment and then turns his attention towards the song and for a few moments his mind alternates between Mr. Astaire and his drinking partner as he glances in the direction the other one headed; finally the 1st Man returns just as the song nears its end)

"I'll face the unknown,
I'll build a world of my own,
No one knows better than I myself,
I'm by myself,

1st: Whew. Must’ve lost 10 pounds. Wow. Now, you'd like to know--

2nd (interrupting): Are you one of those people who thinks H Rocco and DANIEL2 are the same?

1st: Depends what you mean by "the same".

2nd: Oh, I see.

1st: Yes?

2nd: You're not going to give me a straight answer, are you?

1st: Not until you ask the real question.

2nd: And what question is that?

1st: Stand by.

2nd: I've got all night.

1st: Not me. Let me explain--first, the way I see it anyone can have as many identities as they want. Do we agree on that?

2nd: Of course.

1st: Second, the thing to remember is that it can be a matter of one, two or several identities but it can be one real live person behind them, correct?

2nd (somewhat exasperated): Yes.

1st: Even if that person isn't always the typist.

2nd: What difference does it make?

1st: My point. Exactly.

2nd: SO?

1st: I have met the person who calls himself "H Rocco" and there is no way that he and The Snake are one and the same person.

2nd (nodding in acknowledgement): OK.

1st: No way. That one wouldn't hurt a fly--never, ever, no way, kaput.

2nd: OK.

1st: But I just can't let it go at that. There's something wrong with this whole scenario and I can't shake it and it's killing me. I've got to ask myself why, why would 4 people--3 of whom I have gotten to know well enough over time, the other, whatever--4 people whose integrity, honesty, sincerity and credibility I have never had reason to doubt even for a second, why would they accuse the person behind H Rocco of also being behind El Snako? Does any of 'em have an ax to grind? I don’t see any. And even if they did they're not the type to stick their necks out for such an outrageous charge knowing full well the bad atmosphere the whole thing's bound to generate...which it already has.

2nd: One of them said something that belies your point.

1st: What point?

2nd: About an ax to grind. It had to do with Detroit.

1st: I am fully aware of that and it was a low blow and I was surprised and I hope that person thinks about it and feels a little ashamed of what he said. But I can forgive him for that if for no other reason than he thinks he's only dishing out what everyone's had to take for way too long.

2nd: Yeah?

1st: The Snake's crap! And that's what also kills me--if the same guy weren't behind that no good fake limey why would H Rocco post a message seeking that no good Snake's reinstatement? WHY? He was once burned too, real bad! Why?

2nd: Is that The Real Question?

1st: No, that is not The Real Question.

2nd: Well maybe he's just as sincere and the idea of censoring anybody and anything sets him off.

1st: Then go join the ACLU, it's the Messageboard for crissakes! Like all of a sudden everybody's civil rights are threatened. Oh sure, bring back DANIEL2! You want The Snake back, fine, then while we're at it bring back small pox, the measles, Spanish influenza, polio and the freakin' black plague--at least in the corner of cyberspace where he says he's from!

2nd: Well, I think that's a bad analogy.

1st: And I think it's too bad that our friend H Rocco helped bring this upon himself, rightly or wrongly, for richer or poorer, for better or worse God bless us all, everyone!

2nd: I think the booze and the long ride is taking its toll.

1st: There you go again! Booze, who says booze anymore? Sorry, Your Honor, booze or no booze there's a reality here that's got to be dealt with by everybody.

2nd (in an argumentative manner): How did he bring it upon himself if he's not the guy?

1st: Oh, he didn't bring it all upon himself but he didn't help matters, that's for sure. You create your own breaks and they ain't always good breaks. H Rocco created his own bad break and he's gotten burned by it.

2nd: So then you too would like to see DANIEL2 banned forever?

1st: What I like or don't like doesn't matter a hill o' beans, you can't stop the Net from being the Net and that's that. You think it's about censorship, hell, for some of us it's more like there's enough ***holes out there every freakin' day and the Messageboard is a haven from the whole damn mess and now along comes this fake Brit to add to all the baggage and it's just a crying shame this little corner of life can't be free from his kind.

2nd: That's another thing, what makes you all think he might not be from England?

1st: I'm speaking for me, not everyone!

2nd (with sarcasm): Sorry!

1st (smiling): Why I oughta--anyway, The Snake doesn't know it but I let out a line any Brit anywhere near the age he claims to be and with all that brilliant intellect should have picked up on right away without batting an eyelash. About a year and a half ago I threw it into a response directed right at him that had to do with his snide remarks over Andre's command of English and the Sap took the whole damn thing literally. He didn't have a clue! And I've been suspicious ever since--or I should say more suspicious. You see, it goes all the way back to when that phony piece of **** first showed up and I had him pegged after a few posts. You may not remember but after a few little negative Goldsmith posts he states something like "in a forum such as this all the compliments in Mr. Goldsmith's favor must be offset by the dissenting point-of-view" as if we're lawyers--excuse me, as if it's C-Span and we're battling in Parliament and everybody's got to jump up and down. Oh, how noble of him. What a phony. Pu-leeeze!

2nd: Well what's so bad about that?

1st: He misled anyone and everyone into thinking he was sincere. But no, what he would do, see, is pose a question and it might be a good one, I'll give him that, but then I or anyone would respond only to find out they've wasted their time when you see that a day after the smoke clears the rat poses the same question on 3 or 4 other threads and then it occurs to you that he's not really interested in an honest give-and-take, no, he's not even listening, he just wants to toy with you. And then it evolves into distorting people's words and putting words into their mouths and misrepresenting their opinions and typing false reckless assumptions and presenting personal delusions as facts.

2nd: Now who's got a personal ax to grind, huh!

1st: Sorry, that won't work, because to me he's not a real person, not like the person behind H Rocco. So I email another person--ha ha--who shall for now be nameless and say watch out for this snake, he's playing the devil's disciple but it's mean-spirited and I list like half a dozen points to his m.o. Sure enough, sometime later comes a response asking me how did I figure him out in such a short time!

2nd: How did you?

1st: I don't know, you can tell the real ones and the phonies by the way they write. Fact is, no one comes to a website where the name of Goldsmith is held in high esteem to sling trash the way he did except for one reason, and it ain't to enlighten himself.

2nd: You have to admit that watching OTHER people quarrel is half--maybe just a quarter?--the fun of it.

1st: Oh it was funny, at first, to watch him play the flattery routine after he upset some unsuspecting pigeon. Then it got hurtful. I don't like seeing people get hurt and don't like people who get their jollies hurting other people. I took it personally for them.

2nd: How come you're not just as pissed at Andre or Lazlo?

1st: Andre is not nearly as mean-spirited, deep down, although he's coming as close to stalking Thor as stalking can come and that's something he oughta put a cork on before it's gets any more out of hand than it already has. And I've had private emails with Lazlo and he's OK. He made a fatal mistake with a second identity once and I let him know that he gave himself away; then again, for all I know Lazlo could be a he or a she or a what, I don’t know.

2nd: I don't like the way you said that.

1st: Well, without knowing the person or persons behind Lazlo, pluto, Latham Conger III, vulcantouch and The Snake and God-only-knows who else they could all be aliases inspired by a single individual...

2nd: I think that's really stretching things.

1st: Is it? Let's just say for the sake of argument--for the sake of argument--the person behind H Rocco is also behind The Snake.

2nd: But why the hell?
1st (interrupting): Why? You think the question is why?

2nd: Not that again.

1st: I'm not trying to be a wiseguy! But since you asked let's delve into the whys. There's one why I wouldn't even want to contemplate, 's too pop-psychology.

2nd: You think he's nuts.

1st: Don't put words into my mouth. But it is a legitimate why in the cold-hearted reality of bar talk. You ever see Magic?

2nd: If you think he's doing the Corky and Fats routine--

1st (interrupting, insistent): I didn't say that!

2nd: Good. I don’t want to talk into the dead of night about something as weird as that and if I thought you thought--

1st (interrupting): Bar talk. Bar talk! Sheesh! Forget about it.

2nd: Yes, let's!

1st (between bites, gesturing with a pretzel round for emphatic nonchalance): If I were the guy behind H Rocco and that guy is a writer, a writer of the compulsive sort--which is not necessarily a bad thing in and of itself--and has heavier aspirations than whatever he's doing now, and suppose he's always on the lookout for source material like any writer, I imagine, always is, why not go out there and stir up all sorts of debate and talk and expressions and dialogue even for goshsakes that he can store for use, professional or otherwise, sometime down the road?

2nd: A means to an end?

1st: Precisely.

2nd: The same thing could be said for a number of others, including Howard L.

1st (grinning): True, let the reader use discernment. (the other smiles back) But does it stand to reason or doesn't it that the more identities created the more sources for writing material down the road?

2nd: I don't like it but go on.

1st: Now we go into the realm of how. To pull this scheme off successfully, the person would need lots of time. It wouldn't hurt to be a bit of an insomniac, in this regard. And oh, a great memory for little things, details.

2nd (not liking where this is heading, not at all): Yeah...

1st: And he would need an incredible imagination. Some acting instincts. Not to mention hardware and maybe a cohort, unwitting or otherwise. Just like that Kaycee business in the news the other day. Brilliant.

2nd: What about the server thing?

1st: Oh well now there you have me. That's why I threw in the possibility of a cohort. I'm the last person to talk to about computer technology.

2nd (sounding unimpressed): Uh huh.

1st: Hey, I'm not the one who started all this--is this or isn't it a plausible scenario?

2nd: Possible, maybe, but if you want to be cold-hearted about it then yeah, it's plausible.

1st: Fine.

2nd (exhibiting a bit of impatience): Do you or do you not think the person behind H Rocco and DANIEL2 is one and the same?

1st: Still not the real question.

2nd (hand over mouth, shaking his head): Ay. (and then after a few moments' pause--) All right. What if the person behind H Rocco is not behind DANIEL2 nor any of the other alleged Angry Young Men?

1st: If that is the case, a breach of trust or whatever might pass for a breach of trust on an Internet forum has been broken and something terrible has happened to our little cyber-community and there are a bunch of folks who should be ashamed of themselves. And an aspiring writer has grievously revealed his true name out of desperation and that could have repercussions down the road. Professional ones. Obviously, there already have been personal repercussions.

2nd: Great. Hung out to dry at 33. Kobiyashi Maru.

1st: Oh it's no-win for him now, sure, but the situation can turn around, even fast. It's happened before, he's surely not the first who might have been falsely accused and suffered for it. It'll take a little time, that's all. Same for the 'board.

2nd: What's the real question, then?

1st: The real question is this--If he is behind H Rocco and DANIEL2 and/or any of the others, how much does it really matter to you, personally?

2nd: And your personal feelings are?

1st: Personal. (before his partner has a chance to protest, he smiles and while waving another pretzel--) I'll tell you...I don't know. He might be, he might not. Whatever! But I know the man I met a year ago in Detroit and that's the bottom line 's far as I'm concerned. I'd talk to him tomorrow the same way I've talked to him before this whole mess started, the same way I'm talking to you right here in the flesh. (then, in the same Sheldon Leonard manner as before, this time with a fist cocked--) Or do I have to slip you a convincer?

2nd: The real question. Oh my God.

1st: Si, senor?

2nd: Now I know why you make these visits.

1st (with a huge grin): And why, pray tell, Mr. Knight, do I make these errant little visits?

(suddenly a voice is heard shouting from up above--)

VOICE: Hey, it's quarter to 3. C'mon, set 'em up, Joan, will ya!

BARTENDER: Relax, Andre! Keep yer shirt on!

(she winks at the two men at the bar while clicking her tongue against the right side of her teeth)

1st & 2nd (after exchanging puzzled looks, at first, then shakes of heads--to each other): NAH!

(they proceed to down another pair)

1st (after punctuating the round with glass slammed against table): You were saying...

(We pull back from behind them to the sound of a coin dropping into a slot; there follows Tony Bennett singing, "Oh, the good life...")


[This message has been edited by Willard Knight (edited 18 June 2001).]

 Posted:   Jun 7, 2001 - 11:16 PM   
 By:   André Lux   (Member)

I just knew I would be involved on this one sooner or later!!

 Posted:   Jun 7, 2001 - 11:28 PM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

heh-heh, I wonder if Shaun feels the same way.">

Andre, does "above the bar" remind you of anything">?

[This message has been edited by Howard L (edited 08 June 2001).]

 Posted:   Jun 8, 2001 - 1:57 AM   
 By:   joan hue   (Member)

"Relax Andre, keep your shirt on."

Since Joan may be going through a mid-life crises, I think she'd yell, "Andre, you want a drink? Then take your shirt OFF! Now about your belt..">

I always thought bartending may be fun. Ala Tom Cruise and Coyote Uglies.

 Posted:   Jun 8, 2001 - 2:22 AM   
 By:   Chris Kinsinger   (Member)

I have only two comments:

1.) If Rocco really IS Daniel2, that will be the very best laugh that I've had in months, and...

2.) I'm devastated. Howard wrote a play about us and didn't include me.">

 Posted:   Jun 9, 2001 - 10:13 AM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

1.) The thought of having been victimized by an old fictional device is delicious, indeed. On a related note, Joan luv, have you ever seen Nobody's Fool? The inspiration for the female bartender comes from there.

2.) What, just so you can veto the casting of Al Roker again?


[This message has been edited by Howard L (edited 09 June 2001).]

 Posted:   Jun 9, 2001 - 10:27 AM   
 By:   André Lux   (Member)

Originally posted by Howard L:
Andre, does "above the bar" remind you of anything">?

Hummmm... not really.

Refresh my memory, please!

 Posted:   Jun 9, 2001 - 10:36 AM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

It has something to do with walking out on a blabbermouth at a bar and going upstairs and then watching the blabbermouth go to work on some fresh pigeon(s), out of earshot but not eyesight. Code word for blabbermouth--MCNULTY2.

 Posted:   Jun 8, 2001 - 11:07 PM   
 By:   André Lux   (Member)


 Posted:   Jun 9, 2001 - 2:13 AM   
 By:   Boris   (Member)


 Posted:   Jun 9, 2001 - 3:59 AM   
 By:   André Lux   (Member)


 Posted:   Jun 12, 2001 - 7:50 AM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

"The two Twilight Zone episodes that he appeared in were 'Shadow Play' and 'The Four Of Us Are Dying'."

The former is the one that starred Dennis Weaver, who played a man awaiting execution on death row. He claimed the world/reality was nothing but his recurring nightmare, a nightmare in which the "actors" constantly changed characters. Re the latter, Mr. Townes played a lone individual behind several "characters"; he could alter his face and personality merely by looking at a photograph and concentrating.


[This message has been edited by Howard L (edited 12 June 2001).]

 Posted:   Jun 13, 2001 - 1:59 AM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

Interesting. One of Twilight Zone's more prolific screenwriters was Richard Matheson (of Somewhere In Time fame). One of his episodes, A World Of His Own, concerned an actor who walked off the soundstage and was convinced he was the guy in real life.

Mr. Matheson, by the way, wrote another little screenplay of note. It's called Duel.

[This message has been edited by Howard L (edited 13 June 2001).]

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